Monday, May 10, 2010

Continuing Education for the Australian Public Service

On Saturday the Prime Minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, announced that every public servant will be expected to undertake learning and development every year. This is contained in Reeommendation 7.3 of the APS Review: "Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration". The recommendation does not specify an amount of training, just "... should undertake learning and development every year aligned with their career goals ...". However, continuous education programs run by professional bodies typically require 30 hours per year (Australian Computer Society, Australian Psychological Society, Society of Hospital Pharmacists of Australia).

Recommendation 7.3: Expand and Strengthen learning and development

  • Identify core service-wide development needs.
  • Endorse a principle of annual professional development for all APS employees.
  • Deliver core learning and development programs that are centrally procured.
  • Evaluate a range of courses and negotiate the best rates for the APS.

Lead Agency: Australian Public Service Commission (APSC)

Actions to make this happen

  • The Secretaries Board would affirm that every APS employee should undertake learning and development every year aligned with their career goals and capability gaps identified in performance agreements (Recommendation 7.4). Recognising that employees share a responsibility for personal development with their employer, professional development would be broadly defined to include:
    • Training and education;
    • On-the-job development (e.g. secondments, projects); and
    • Coaching and mentoring.
  • The APSC would develop an annual learning and development strategy, in consultation with an advisory board comprising Agency Heads and Secretaries, based on the Human Capital Priority Plan (Recommendation 7.1) across four broad elements of learning and development:
    • Core activities that shape the APS (for example, APS culture/values, SES induction and, performance management);
    • Leadership/Management Training;
    • Skills training (for example, policy, program implementation, delivery and technical knowledge); and
    • Education (for example, PhD and Masters scholarships).
  • The strategy would be delivered by both the APSC and individual agencies.
  • The APSC would:
    • Centrally procure programs relating to core activities that shape the APS with multiyear funding commitments by all agencies for this purpose. These core programs would also include the areas of strategic policy, implementation and regulation. Programs would cover topics such as writing skills, project design and management, development of business cases, data collection, quantitative analysis, regulatory design and contract management;
    • Conduct quality assessments of all available professional development programs and courses (in particular leadership/management programs) centrally negotiate prices with providers and disseminate this information to agencies; and
    • Develop a stronger relationship with the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), the National Security College and other providers to support the competitive delivery of public service executive training training and to ensure the capacity exists to meet increased demand for high quality professional development.
  • A sub-committee of the Secretaries Board would oversee APSC delivery.
  • Individual agencies would:
    • Draw upon APSC endorsed programs and courses where available; and
    • Retain responsibility for procuring professional development programs and training responsive to their agency’s needs, particularly in relation to skills training and education (e.g PhD scholarships)....
From: Reeommendation 7.3 , "Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration", Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Government, 2010.

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