The future of the public service workforce: a dialogue

Helen Sullivan and I have recently been working on a dialogue paper based on the work we have been doing around the future of the public service workforce with Graeme Head who is the Public Service Commissioner for the New South Wales Public Service Commission.

This paper appears in the most recent issue of the Australian Journal of Public Administration which, as I have previously described, is now being edited by a collective including myself.  The first issue comprises a series of dialogue papers between academics and practitioners on key contemporary themes in public administration.

In this paper we explore the issues of the future public services and the nature of work and consider the implications in terms of the public service workforce.  We go on further to offer some sense of where New South Wales is taking aspects of this forward in practice.

If you are interested in the paper it is currently available for free and can be accessed through the following link.  We are currently considering how we might take this research agenda forward so if you have any thoughts about gaps or things you would like to see then please get in touch with me.

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Another commissioning resource

I was recently flicking through some resources from the ever excellent Institute of Public Administration, Victoria division and came across a podcast I did on the topic of commissioning a bit back.  This was based on a paper I had in the Australian Journal of Public Administration that explored the UK experience of commissioning and what we might learn from this for the Australian context.

You can listen to the podcast here.

If you weren’t at IPAA’s international women’s day dinner this year (like me) and want to catch a recording of Dr. Anne Summers speaking the link is here (and it is well worth a look).

The Mandarin and commissioning

The Mandarin is an excellent online magazine for public servants.  If you haven’t come across it before it is well worth checking out.  We are very fortunate to have a good relationship with this publication at the Melbourne School of Government and it means that they help us promote our latest events and research.

My latest piece in The Mandarin has come out today and is based on the commissioning evidence review we published earlier in the week.  If you are interested in reading the piece there is a link to it here.

Commissioning public services: an evidence review

Commissioning is a concept that has started to gain a footing in the context of Australian public services in recent months.  Whilst previous work on commissioning has largely been confined to the United Kingdom (and England in particular), commissioning appeared as a key concept in last year’s Federal Commission of Audit and subsequent Federal Budget.  At the level of state government, Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria have all been experimenting with this concept and it has become an important component of workforce competency in Victoria.  Medicare Locals are soon to be replaced by Primary Health Networks and the tender for these organisations has commissioning as a key function.

It is clear that in the context of Australian public services the time has come for the concept of commissioning.  What is less clear is whether this will drive significant change in practice and the length of time that this concept will be around.

In an attempt to inform discussions of commissioning in Australia, the Melbourne School of Government has recently published a review of the evidence relating to this concept, which also sets out a number of lessons relating to commissioning.  If you are interested in this concept more broadly or want to discuss this with us further then please get in touch with me directly.

Australian Journal of Public Administration

Towards the end of last year I was absolutely delighted to be part of an editorial collective that has taken control of the Australian Journal of Public Administration.  This is a wonderful journal with an amazing history and back catalogue which is produced for both academic and practice audiences.

Myself, Janine O’Flynn, Anne Tiernan, Adrian Kay and Maria Katsonis have been beavering away for a few months to get our first edition in place and make all the sorts of changes that new editorial teams typically do.  Our first issue is out now and contains a number of great articles to kick off the tenure of the new editorial team.

In this issue we have focused on a series of dialogues between academics and practitioners on substantial topics such as public sector reform, policy and success, innovation and federalism.  A number of these papers have been made available for free for a limited time, so even if you don’t usually have access to this journal you can check it out. We are always keen to hear feedback on what we might do more of or do differently so if you have any thoughts or ideas about how we take this journal forward then drop us a line.

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