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Home / Australia / Mathias Cormann: the ‘state of the service’ is strong

Mathias Cormann: the ‘state of the service’ is strong



This is the opening speech of the "APSwide conference", delivered by Mathias Cormann, Minister of Finance and Public Service Wednesday, October 10, 2018 in Canberra.

While Cormann has turned to the Australian Public Service many times in his role as finance minister, this was his first outing as a minister of public services. As the address of APS Commissioner Peter Woolcott, Cormann discussed the changes taking place in society that require changes in APS and reinforced the need for the public sector to be in tune with the public at the service.

  • Controls on administrative spending have been effective and are still needed
  • To develop skills, familiarity and improve liaison capacity, APS should consider ways to rotate public employees through state governments, private sector companies and the third sector
  • While new skills such as data and coding are needed, the APS must not forget the basic enabling skills ̵
    1; an understanding of the role and structure of government, management of the basic competence of data and analytical skills, of communication skills, of the ability to appear before a committee of estimates of the Senate

. Goodmorning everyone.

It's nice to be here to talk with you about the important role of Australian public service.

It is nice to have a delegation of senior executives here in the Public Service, led by the Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, Dr Martin Parkinson and of course also the Secretary of my department, Rosemary Huxtable, the Australian public service commissioner Peter Woolcott, Glenys Beauchamp, the health secretary and Heather Smith the secretary of the department of industry.

The Australian public service is world-class and the "service state" is strong.

In my role as Minister for Public Service I look forward to working constructively with all of you and everyone involved on how to further improve and strengthen an already exceptional public service for Australia.

Our goal must be to continue to modernize our public service, to ensure that it is as effective, efficient, productive and responsive to the needs of the Australian community as possible.

As Finance Minist For the past five years, I have been actively engaged in addressing many of the Australian public service challenges.

The best way to increase efficiency;

Increase productivity;

Engage effectively with individual Australian citizens and provide the best possible results for the Australian community and our economy; and indeed

Together, as a government and public service, how to work best with all other interested parties to provide good results in public policy and programs.

Some of the challenges we face are relatively new. Some are not.

Some of the debates on what public service should be should be what it should be and how it should be its business is long standing.

But some of the context and some of the opportunities for how they can be dealt with today have evolved – and will inevitably continue to evolve forever.

Today, individual Australians are better informed and more actively involved. In the era of Twitter and Facebook and social media in general, Sky News, media 24/7, all of you and we all know exactly what it can mean from time to time.

New technology options and channels, more complex information and information flows, new skills and pool of expertise – offer us better opportunities to be more efficient, more productive, more effective and actually more responsive to the needs of individual Australians, businesses and the community and in fact more user friendly. The expectations of the community in that context obviously continue to grow.

The APS works best when it is open to new ways of operating and prepared to move from old familiar ways – where there are opportunities to anticipate the needs and needs of the day's government on behalf of the Australian community.

The aspiration to an Australian public service of high performance, professional, influential and responsive that attests to the highest ethical standards of behavior is bi-partisan, even when our respective accent can be different from time to time.

The Role of Public Service

In 2001, in his speech to the Institute of Public Administration, Prime Minister Howard reflected on the important role of public service and the relationship between public service and government

He said:

"The quality of each government depends, to a large extent, on the quality of the advice it receives, to believe otherwise – that a responsible and successful government can be sustained in the long term without the support of a bureaucracy. dynamic and dedicated – challenge logic and history. "

He also said that:

" whatever the extension and direction of changes in the future, Australia must be sure that its governments, of any political persuasion, will be guided by an honest board and considered based on rigorous analysis, a solid understanding of administrative practice and a reasonable precedent. "

In this context, clearly roles and confi defined between the ministries and the public service are important, but they are not in themselves sufficient to guarantee the effectiveness and the integrity of our governance system.

Mutual respect is at least as important, as is transparency and responsibility [19659007] The most important thing of all, the thing that binds us all together, is the pursuit of a common purpose.

Independence and reactivity are not mutually exclusive.

The contestability of ideas is at the center of the Westminster system. This exchange of ideas is well supported by public sector councils that reflect the deep knowledge established in the context of government policy and objectives.

Prime Minister Howard in 2001 noted that "most of the changes that affect APS stem from the constant need for the Service to reflect the times and the environment in which it operates, values ​​and priorities of the Australians and the specific needs of the government. "

Neither the ministers nor the public service sit behind the walls or exist in a bubble. We are part of the community we serve.

Many modern public policy challenges do not fit perfectly with the responsibilities of a single portfolio or on the borders of a particular department or agency. In fact, individual Australians who expect their government to find effective solutions to a variety of problems do not look at the detailed mechanism of government agreements. They look at the Australian government as a whole.

More than ever, we must ensure that we use proven and effective tools to facilitate cross-portfolio, cooperation between agencies and collaboration. And I could say, during my five years in this role, I found particularly effective the agreements between the various task forces on a whole series of public policy areas.

In a context of 21 century it is well understood and accepted that the public service does not have an exclusive monopoly on the development, packaging and supply of a closed set of political options to the government or on the provision of services on behalf of the government.

Public service is at its best and most influential when it undertakes a broad commitment with stakeholder organizations, a thorough analysis of the evidence and, in case of delivery, when it has a clear view of technological advances, of the readiness of abilities and capacity for increase.

become even better, stronger, more responsive and even more trustworthy, involving, using and recruiting the skills of the private sector and community as appropriate and allowing employees to spend periods of time working in those areas. A freer flow of people, ideas and perspectives helps build a deep understanding and improves the quality of the governing council.

Also in this context, and this is a question that has been discussed in recent months, which is why I could touch it, the use of private sector contractors and consultants, where appropriate, is an effective way to maintain low the general cost of public administration, when the company needs access to relevant skills and competences or a surge in demand for certain public services is temporary or when a particular set of skills and competences is achieved in more efficient and maintained in a specific private sector activity with an appropriate scale.

A recent review by Elizabeth Alexander and David Thodey's Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, which draw on a diversity of opinions and expertise in the development of strategies and policies should be a matter of routine for the government. [1] [19659007] I firmly support this point of view.

We do it, but we could do more.

I know that public service extends widely on problems; sometimes he gets opinions, analyzes and advice from experts; and sometimes issues public input proposals to test options.

These are all good and sensitive approaches to be encouraged and should never be seen as a weakening of APS. On the contrary, I believe they are all approaches that strengthen Australian public service.

Ministers and public service have different roles, but a goal – good and effective government for Australia.

We work to achieve this goal in a legal framework and in a context of public and parliamentary control. I am sure that many of you appreciate this exercise of parliamentary democracy three times a year, also called the Senate estimates. I love it. Honest. I know Rosemary loves it too. I do not think Martin appears in these days. The prerogative of the head of the Department of Prime Minister I believe. He loved it. When he loved it, most of the time I was asking questions from the other side. This was fun too. But it will never be repeated again, for my part.

The Public Service Act of 1999 obliges civil servants to behave in such a way as to support the impartial and apolitical nature of the SPA, even when they make public comments.

These principles have stood the test of time through governments of different political persuasions.

They will continue to develop, and impact not only on organizations, but on the individuals that make up APS.

I do not accept the notion that APS has over time, through legislative stealth or any other means, has seen its role and professional contribution diminish

I think, simply, that the world has changed and expectations they have changed.

I see a highly professional group of people who adapt to this ever-changing environment and continue to give their best advice without fear, with frankness and competence in the best tradition of Westminster.

Improving the way individual Australians and businesses can deal with Govern

Government policies and activities have a significant impact on the economy.

Action and initiatives to improve efficiency, productivity and quality of service demonstrate to the Australian community that we focus on them and the future.

one of the reasons why the government has asked the Independent Review of the APS, led by David Thodey, to examine how APS can drive innovation and productivity in the economy. [2]

Our policies and services must be carefully designed to ensure that individual Australians, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders can work effectively and have a positive experience when they interact with us.

We asked the Independent Review to examine how we can improve the experience of Australians

Secretaries are also implementing a roadmap to modernize the public sector.

Every point of contact, every interaction that the government has with individual Australians and companies gives us the opportunity to build trust and trust.

Every time someone interacts with the government, they will form an impression: the government is sensitive to my needs, offers quality and relevant services, is it professional, does it matter, my taxpayer dollars are well spent?

These interactions involve every member of APS.

In 2016-17:

  • 399 million state health care services were provided; [19659068
  • 897,000 job seekers received assistance through JobActive and Disability Employment Services.

In the same year, the company signed contracts worth $ 47 billion of goods and services to support governmental administration and to provide benefits and services to the community

4.4 million people used business.gov.au and 3.8 million small businesses have been registered with Australia as a tax office.

Every innovation, every little improvement, has the ability to touch a large number of Australians.

But every innovation, every improvement involves risks and involves challenges.

Government needs to keep improving Anticipating public expectations

Many parts of the government are facing this challenge.

I mentioned the Department of Human Services, which is transforming the way its customers access payments and services. Most transactions will become digital, processing times will be shorter and virtual assistants will create new, easier ways for customers to interact with the department.

Already about 254,000 students have access to automated assessment processes.

claim claim time for students was reduced from 36 minutes to 12 minutes.

The transformation will bring similar improvements to the seven million DHS customers.

This work will not only improve the experience of individual Australians interacting with DHS, but will also reduce the amount of time that DHS personnel will need to employ for manual data entry and processing. on paper.

This means more time to focus on individual Australians, who often need to engage with the government when they are most vulnerable to them.

During TaxTime 2017 about 3.5 million individual taxpayers used myTax.

Both the Tax Office and the Department of Human Services, as significant public service organizations when it comes to the volume of regular and continuous interactions with individual Australians and the entities concerned continue to modernize the way they interact with their customers, continuously improving the user experience and increasing efficiency and productivity.

Innovation has always won being digital, but it will always mean working differently and in new and better ways.

Last year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics conducted the Australian postal survey on marriage, a unique commitment to public service and one that is likely to be seen as a landmark in national history Australian.

While ABS conducts numerous statistical collections, the Australian postal survey on marriage has been different in many ways.

It was designed and conducted in less than 100 days and this included managing a challenge before the High Court. It included only one application addressed to just over 16 million eligible Australian citizens.

The goal was to make people's participation easier and to ensure the integrity of the process and the results.

ABS worked and consulted with nearly 30 different government departments and agencies, which provided experience and staff, help to provide an excellent survey.

Ultimately, a national response rate of 79.5% exceeded all expectations for a voluntary survey and assistance to the Australian community to solve a problem that had remained unsolved for a long time.

Offering efficiency, supporting productivity

Australia has recently completed 27 years of continuous economic growth.

Stronger economic growth is what helps to increase government revenues to finance the essential services that Australians rely on and to sustainably finance an uninterrupted world-class Australian public service suitable for this purpose.

Our challenge is to ensure that our productivity can be sustained and improved as our society and the economic environment continue to evolve.

Ultimately, productivity growth leads to a standard growth in life as the benefits are distributed through the community.

However, what is called 'multi-factor productivity'. – the ability to get more out of all the inputs – is now lower than in the years & # 90;

All sectors are grappling with this problem. The low-hanging fruit may have already been taken and today we have a more complex productivity challenge than in the past.

Australian tax payers want to see the value of government building for our nation.

When we improve the efficiency and productivity of the public service, we create space in the budget for external programs and services, which directly benefit Australians.

I have argued for many years that public service spending, yes, should be as necessary as it should be as little as possible – that we should always focus on the value of the business and that we have a responsibility to ensure that the taxpayer dollars are wisely spent.

Taxpayers want to see high quality government services delivered at low cost, well-targeted, timely and easily accessible. Now some of you might say that these are mutually exclusive goals. I do not think they are mutually exclusive. They are certainly competing goals. That is, it is certainly fair to say that it is about finding the right balance.

As I said at the beginning of this talk, this is not a new challenge for all of us together to face. [19659007] The Public Service Act of 1922 talked about making savings and promoting efficiency in the management and operation of departments, and defining measures such as improving organization and procedures, simplifying work, abolishing work not necessary and avoid unnecessary expenses. [3] We could have written it today.

Necessarily, we need to think about how we conduct and how we can improve our business.

Both efficiency and productivity are important.

But improving productivity goes beyond simple efficiency [19659007] Being productive means ensuring the desired or desired result with less time and resources.

Through the economy, improving productivity increases the possibility of better and better goods and services produced with the same, or less resources, higher profits and wages and lower prices for consumers.

Government, yes, helps save money, which helps keep taxes and our economy at an international level low.

It also means that we can use our limited resources to achieve better results and more tangible benefits for the Australian community.

It is not just about saving money, it is also about higher quality services offered in new and different ways; on better public policy results

These benefits arise when we take a coordinated approach to our operations and purchases, to take advantage of the scale and to avoid duplication.

Control of the cost of administration

Across the Commonwealth government has a pretty good curriculum when it comes to using the controls of the whole system to reduce costs.

Under the Commonwealth Public Service Act of 1922, the then Public Service Board did things like limiting the number of staff to actual needs, disrupting unnecessary expenses and checking whether the return on expenses was adequate [4]

As we say in the classics, the more things change, the more they remain the same. [19659007] Today, we achieve similar goals by exercising controls and frameworks for central policies that create discipline and transparency in the way we operate.

Nonprofit companies and private sector organizations have

It is clear that we too must do it.

It is a matter of public domination that when we entered the government, a matter of fact observed, we inherited a rapidly deteriorating fiscal position and the size of the public service slightly inflated, and in the context of a budgetary position overall worsening, in our opinion, unsustainably so.

As part of our overall strategy to fix the budget to enter the government while in deficit, we have reduced and then maintained the size of the public service to what we considered to be a fiscally more sustainable level.

A cap to the number of employees in the general government sector – the ASL limit – was introduced by our government in 2015. At a time when the community was invited by the government to make sacrifices to help bring our budget under control, this was an important part of our budget repair strategy.

The ASL offset rule has given the government a better pace to monitor and manage the priority allocation of public service resources across the government.

The Dividend on Annual Efficiency has been established since 1987.

Both controls recognize that we operate within constraints, that we need to have the discipline to re-evaluate priorities, give priority to re -definition of priorities when new pressures and new spending requirements are identified and considered.

At a time when the budget is in deficit and there is an expectation that all sectors of the community are contributing to the repair of the budget, it is really important that the public sector also gives its contribution and the Australian public service has

These input controls have been effective.

In both business and charity – for the profit sector, as I mentioned the cost of general administrative expenses in proportion to global turnover or total charitable spending is an important indicator of their overall efficiency and productivity.

The overall cost of federal administration as a percentage of total spending, including, I dare say, the cost of consultants and contractors in support of public administration, fell by 8.5 per cent in From 2007-08 to 6.8% in 2017-18 and it is expected to continue to fall to 5.6% by 2021-22.

This is probably not a bad time for some advertising for those of you who want to see a little bit. more details on all this and what we are trying to achieve as a government when it comes to the Australian public service. It's a great document, which is not quite read, I think, and it's called Budget Paper 4. The Budget Paper 4, which is issued by the Minister of Finance, has a great foreword in it and you can see a lot of this detail statement. So, if you have not read, when you go home, please Google Budget 2018-19 and it will be there.

Problems of Ability and Ability for APS

Improving APS and making sure it is relevant for the future is more about systems. Obviously it is also competence and capacity.

I support the sentiments expressed in the recent revision of the PGPA law by Elizabeth Alexander and David Thodey, who said that we could do better in cooperation and collaboration with other levels of government and with the private and non-profit sectors in the accomplish our goals [5]

The reviewers found that other countries, such as New Zealand and the United States, were better at coordinating their efforts in key areas of performance than the Australian government .

For the Commonwealth, considering ways to rotate public employees through state governments, private sector companies and the third sector offer a way to build understanding and familiarity between different sectors of our economy and improve the ability to connect everywhere.

I asked the new Public Service Commissioner, Peter Woolcott, to look into this and consider the extension of initiatives like and what he saw as a public service leader heading to Wagga Wagga in a command withdrawal. to involve indigenous elders, service providers and people working in the settlement of refugees. [6]

I would also like to commend the Australian Public Service Commission for the work it is doing to help agencies get the most out of professional training in public service.

There has been a lot of focus on increasing new skills to position the SPA for the future – coding skills, data analysis capabilities, and so on.

But we also need to ensure that basic enabling skills – an understanding of the role and structure of government, financial management, core competency of data and analytical skills, communication skills, the ability to appear before a commission for Senate estimates perhaps – they are also developed in a coordinated way.

In this regard, the Department of Finance and APSC worked together to use APS census data to improve our understanding of the highly involved teams. They found that engagement, which is a productivity factor, is higher in teams where new ideas are welcomed and encouraged. Ensuring that we build a public service culture open to innovation is a key leadership competence that will increase in importance in the coming years.

The Independent Review of the APS is an important opportunity to reflect on what we need to capitalize on the new technology and global developments that are transforming Australia's economy and society, and that they are challenging our citizens, businesses and the wider community.

But it also gives the opportunity to reflect on the value of APS and the value of public employees in their role.

Conclusion

I conclude by returning to the

It is so important to go on that we continue to have a busy public service.

It is important that civil servants continue to work well with others and continue to engage extensively, including and in particular with business and community stakeholders in developing their advice and in finding the best ways to provide objectives of public policy and public goods and services.

As a government, we do not support the splendid model of isolation of APS, the past and obsolete notion of a special and remote administrative class, which has characterized public service here and in other parts of the world in a & # 39; it was far away.

This is an obsolete and imperfect model.

What we need to continue working towards, protect and preserve, is a system based on a strong code of principles, ethics and professional behavior, with strong responsibilities, in which the business of the government is conducted as it may be, because people are able to do a good job and promote the interests of Australia and Australians.

We must always look for an efficient, effective and economic public sector that offers tangible benefits to all Australians, which helps drive innovation and productivity in the economy and helps us to grow our standard of living.

Let me close by thanking you all for choosing a career of service to our community as members of the Australian public service.

L'APS di oggi, che si è evoluto nel corso di molti decenni e l'APS del futuro, è un vero e proprio APS per cui vale la pena lavorare. [19659007] Stai apportando un contributo prezioso e prezioso al nostro paese e alla nostra comunità. Spero e confido che questo ti porti grandi soddisfazioni e orgoglio. Grazie.

Note a piè di pagina

1. Elizabeth Alexander e David Thodey: Revisione indipendente sull'operato della Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 e Rule, Commonwealth of Australia, settembre 2018, p.43

2. Termini di riferimento per la revisione indipendente della SPA, 2018.

3. Commonwealth Public Service Act 1922, section17.

4. Commonwealth Public Service Act 1922, sezione 17.

5. "Il sistema si riunisce bene in una crisi. Ad esempio, in risposta a disastri naturali come inondazioni, incendi boschivi e cicloni, e nel caso della crisi finanziaria globale del 2007-2008, abbiamo assistito a iniziative coraggiose prese in tempi brevi con una cooperazione significativa tra diverse giurisdizioni e diversi settori del economia. È un peccato che esempi di governo e funzionari pubblici che si uniscono con altri per lavorare al meglio sono incentrati sull'evento, piuttosto che regolari. Ci sono grandi sfide strutturali che affliggono la nazione nella sfera economica e sociale, e le aspettative dei cittadini riguardo al governo qui non sono inferiori a quelle che sono in crisi ". Elizabeth Alexander e David Thodey: Revisione indipendente sul funzionamento della Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 e Rule, Commonwealth of Australia, settembre 2018, p.45

6. https://www.apsc.gov.au/how-well-do-you-know-public-you-serve

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