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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Chapter 1 - State Service reforms and priorities

During 2015-16 a number of reform and other activities were progressed by the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s State Service Management Office (SSMO)* to ensure that the State Service continues to deliver quality services to the community in a strategic and efficient way.

Managing positions in the State Service 

The Managing Positions in the State Service (MPSS) framework continued to support agencies to meet the State Service commitment to reduce employment-related costs through:

  • identifying essential and non-essential functions;
  • establishing strict controls for filling vacancies;
  • clarifying redeployment mechanisms; and
  • providing voluntary incentives to support specific individuals to cease employment.

In 2015-16, a total of 95 Targeted and Negotiated Voluntary Redundancies (TNVRs) were progressed, and 259 people left the Service through accepting Workforce Renewal Incentive Program (WRIPs) payments. In addition, 3,267 positions went through Central Vacancy Control from 1 July 2015 to 30 March 2016**. A review of MPSS was conducted in early 2016 to ensure it was meeting its objectives and the processes were clear. The findings of this review were incorporated into MPSS 2016, released in April 2016.

* For more information about the role and activities of SSMO, see SSMO's website

** At March 2016, Central Vacancy Control ceased operation following the introduction of the revised Managing Positions in the State Service 2016.

Supporting gender equality

In 2015-16 Heads of Agencies led work to progress a whole-of-service gender diversity strategy. Gender Diversity in the State Service will be released in August 2016. This strategy will include initiatives such as setting a target of at least 40 per cent representation of women in senior executive positions by 2020, with a goal of 50/50 representation. Key actions will include establishing flexible work arrangements, reducing unconscious bias in recruitment and management decision making, and identifying the barriers women experience in the State Service.

'The attitudes of men towards women and the way many of us behave are overwhelmingly the cause of family violence in our community.

Responsibility for change rests with us, not with victims, and it starts with embracing gender equality.’

Greg Johannes, Head of the State Service, reflecting on gender equality after discussing family violence with former Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick and family violence campaigner Rosie Batty.

This work has also been supported by efforts to prevent and reduce the family violence experienced by our employees. SSMO has been working with agencies to raise awareness of the current supports available to employees, such as the provisions under Employment Direction No.28 - Family Violence – Workplace Arrangements and Requirements initiatives were prioritised such as including family violence leave in Awards/Agreements, and strengthening the awareness raising and training offered to contact officers and managers.

In 2015-16 there has been an increase in the representation of women in the Senior Executive Service of 4.28 per cent to 34.01 per cent from 29.73 per cent in 2014-15.

In addition, a new e-learning module on family violence training was developed for use by all employees. This training has been rolled out to four agencies and implementation will continue in 2016-17. Early users, such as the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Department of Treasury and Finance and the Department of Police, Fire and Emergency Management, have used the e-learning module to support their efforts to become accredited under White Ribbon Australia.

Alongside the whole-of-service work, agencies also progressed a number of specific activities in this area. The Department of Treasury and Finance set up a gender equity working group that has undertaken a comprehensive staff survey (65 per cent response rate) and is running focus groups to identify barriers and opportunities to improving the representation of women in leadership in the Department. This process will inform the development of Treasury’s Women in Leadership Plan.

In addition, through developing its draft Gender Diversity Action Plan, the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment undertook extensive consultation involving more than 600 employees. This consultation included workshops to develop the draft Plan and subsequent consultation on the recommendations in the draft Plan. The consultation process found that there were some real and systemic issues that the Department is now able to actively address.

Special forum for the Senior Exeuctive Service on gender equality

Photo: Kate Jenkins, Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner; Troy Roderick, Head of Diversity & Inclusion,
Telstra Corporation Limited and Professor Meredith Edwards AM, Emeritus Professor, ANZSOG Institute for
Governance at the University of Canberra, spoke at a special forum for the Senior Exeuctive Service on gender equality.

Managing change within agencies 

In the 2015-16 Agency Survey* ten agencies provided information about a range of organisational changes that they progressed in consultation with employees and unions, including:

  • the Department of Health and Human Services and TasTAFE underwent significant organisational structure changes;
  • the Department of Premier and Cabinet, took a major role in service delivery when Service Tasmania joined it from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment; and
  • other agencies reported changes to their facilities and workplaces - for example, the Department of State Growth and Tourism Tasmania employees have moved, or are in the process of moving, to other buildings.

To support their employees, agencies reported using a variety of techniques including establishing specific ‘change teams’, such as the Department of Health and Human Services’ Strategic Project Unit. Other supports included regular communication between senior leaders and employees (such as in employee newsletters and on intranet sites); providing training for employees required to undertake amended duties; making managers accountable for their ability to support change; and developing project plans and communication strategies to support the change management process.

The changes reported by agencies were reflected in the whole-of-service responses of employees to the 2016 People Matter Survey** results. These results suggest that while agencies are prioritising support to employees through change management processes, improvement can be made. SSMO will continue to work with agencies to build their capability in this area, for example through progressing work with the University of Tasmania to develop a Change Management Toolkit aimed at supporting leaders and managers. Work commenced on the toolkit in 2015-16.***

 * The Agency Survey is an annual survey completed by agencies to detail their current workforce management activities and as a formal reporting measure to the Head of the State Service.

**The People Matter Survey is an annual ‘employee’ survey that provides an opportunity for employees and officer to contribute their views about their work and work environment. Please refer to Appendix B for further information.

***Please see Chapter 5 for more information about this initiative.

Supporting State Service priorities

SSMO has continued to work with agencies to ensure the achievement of State Service priorities. For example, SSMO has supported the Population Strategy released in early October 2015, by:

  • exploring opportunities to increase the number of secondments in and out of the State Service, including into the private and community sectors;
  • encouraging graduate employment by trialing a whole-of-service program for Human Resources graduates; and
  • promoting the concept of flexible work practices, including the planned development of a Service-wide workplace flexible practices policy.

SSMO has also been supporting agencies to ensure the smooth implementation of the Working with Children registrations. State Service employees and volunteers working with children will need to be registered by 1 January 2017. During 2015-16, Child Protection Service workers, Child Education Service and Library Service workers have transitioned to the new arrangements, building on the transition of Youth Justice Services in 2014. In 2016-17, SSMO will support the Department of Education to transition Registered Teachers to the new arrangements, which must be completed by 1 January 2017. In addition, SSMO also supported agencies in the implementation of State Service priorities such as their commitment to White Ribbon Accreditation, and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).