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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Review of the Tasmanian State Service - Terms of Reference, November 2019


The Review of the Tasmanian State Service (“the Review”) will ensure the Tasmanian State Service (“TSS”) is fit-for-purpose for Tasmania today and into the future. The Review will make findings and recommendations to the Premier and Treasurer for consideration.


The TSS and its nearly 30,000 employees need an operating environment that supports development and can meet the requirements of governments and the community. The State Service Act 2000 and other laws, policies and procedures establish the framework for management and employment of the TSS. These arrangements determine the structure of the TSS and govern its ways of working.

Scope of the Review

This Review will focus primarily on the governing framework of the TSS. It will identify structural, legislative and administrative improvements that will transform current structures, services and practices to deliver a more efficient and effective public service.

This is primarily a structural review. However, it is anticipated that broader findings related to operational and cultural improvements may arise in the process.

The Independent Reviewer will examine the following key areas of focus:

  1. Promoting public service change and innovation that delivers public policy and service delivery to improve the client experience and meet the needs of governments and the community;
  2. Identifying opportunities to deliver government services, programs, projects and other initiatives more efficiently or effectively, including information technology platforms;
  3. Identifying ways to promote collaboration and partnerships including to support more flexible movement between the private and public sectors;
  4. Achieving greater economies and efficiencies in TSS administration, including opportunities to streamline bureaucracy and services where suitable;
  5. Examining the feasibility, effectiveness and efficiency of further decentralisation of government services;
  6. Facilitating areas of cultural change within the TSS (e.g. promoting risk-based decision making, promoting innovation, improving accountability and identifying ways to enhance performance);
  7. Identifying ways to help develop the long-term capability of the TSS;
  8. Implementing enhanced workforce management processes across the employee life cycle, including opportunities to implement improvements to how the TSS manages and recognises employee performance;
  9. Attracting, developing and retaining a skilled public sector workforce with the capacity to meet emerging economic, social and technological opportunities and challenges.

Having considered the above focus areas, the Review will then provide proposed changes to the State Service Act, and associated administrative arrangements to ensure that the governing framework is fit for purpose, and meets the current and ongoing requirements of the TSS.

The above issues are to be considered in the context of relevant previous reviews and experiences, in Tasmania, other states and territories, nationally and internationally; and to consider how such reviews may inform a future TSS.

The following items are outside the scope of the Review:

  • Employment matters relating to Tasmanian Government employees who are not covered by the State Service Act including Government Business Enterprises, and State-Owned Companies;
  • Cultural and operational matters unrelated to the governing framework of the TSS;
  • Wages policy and conditions for public sector employees that are negotiated through awards and agreements;
  • The role of trade unions to advocate for public sector employees; and
  • The introduction of either a minimum or maximum target for the total number of public sector employees in Tasmania.

Have your say

Before the Review can begin, the Tasmanian Government is seeking feedback on the scope of the Review, namely the nine areas of focus that will guide the Review. Feedback received will inform the final Terms of Reference for the Review.

Click here to have your say


The governance of the Review is set out in the diagram below:

Governance structure of the Review of the Tasmanian State Service

  • Dr Ian Watt AC, the Independent Reviewer, will lead the Review and provide his report to the Premier and Treasurer.
  • The Reference Group will provide advice, community views and industry best practice to inform Dr Watt's deliberations. It will comprise six to eight members with public and private sector experience, together with a representative from the public sector unions and the not for profit sector respectively.
  • Heads of Agencies will provide advice and strategic guidance to the Independent Reviewer.
  • A project team based in the Department of Premier and Cabinet will support the Review.


  • A report will be provided to the Premier and Treasurer before 31 December 2020.
  • The Government will then consider the findings and recommendations of the Review and associated implementation, including any legislative amendment, in 2021.


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