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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Chapter 2 – Ethics and Integrity in the TSS

State Service Employment Framework

Following the release of a discussion paper in August 2016, SSMO has continued to work with key stakeholders on the examination of the TSS Employment Framework. The examination is expected to be completed in late 2018.

Discussions have focussed on recruitment processes, particularly those that are directed through Employment Direction No.1: Employment in the State Service, and feedback to date has assisted further discussions with HR managers and unions around conceptual employment frameworks.

Activities in 2017-18 under the examination have included:

  • developing and releasing Guidelines for Senior Executive Recruitment, which aim to ensure a transparent, effective and merit-based recruitment approach that is compliant with Employment Direction No. 17: Senior Executive Service and Equivalent Specialist Officers – Administrative Arrangements and Conditions of Service and the State Service Act 2000 (the Act);
  • developing and releasing Guidelines for Temporary Filling Arrangements for Officers under Section 29 of the Act; and
  • reviewing Employment Direction No 28: Family Violence – Workplace Arrangements and Requirements.

As part of the examination SSMO is also reviewing current Employment Directions (EDs) which provide guidance around the management and resolution of misconduct matters in the TSS to ensure they reflect the principles of good practice. The EDs being reviewed are:

  • Employment Direction No. 4: Procedure for the Suspension of State Service Employees with or without pay;
  • Employment Direction No. 5: Procedures for the Investigation and Determination of whether an employee has breached the Code of Conduct; and
  • Employment Direction No. 6: Procedures for the Investigation and Determination of whether an employee is able to efficiently and effectively perform their duties.

External Examinations

SSMO and agencies continue to work together to review recommendations from reports by external authorities, including the Auditor-General and the Integrity Commission, to enhance TSS workforce management policies and practices.

In November 2017, the Auditor-General tabled his Report of the Auditor General No. 3 of 2017-18: Appointment of Tasmanian State Service Senior Executive Service Officers, General Stream Bands 9 and 10 and Professional Stream Band 6 Positions. The audit examined eight senior appointments across four Departments.

The Report found that the Departments examined generally complied with the mandatory requirements of the applicable Employment Framework, as well as identifying opportunities for us to enhance and revise our processes to better align with best practice. As a result we have been:

  • reviewing selection reports for compliance and appropriateness;
  • developing and implementing guidelines on SES Recruitment and Conflicts of Interest in Recruitment; and
  • developing policies and procedures to support the declaration and management of conflicts of interest, in conjunction with the Integrity Commission.

Following the tabling of the Integrity Commission’s Report No. 2 of 2017: Investigation into a complaint of an alleged conflict of interest against senior executive officer of TasTAFE in early 2017, a number of measures have been implemented to improve recruitment, procurement, culture and financial controls. A new Chief Executive Officer and a new Chair of the TasTAFE Board have also been appointed. SSMO is assisting TasTAFE in its ongoing response to the issues raised by the Report.

In December 2017, the Integrity Commission published Report No. 3 of 2017: An own-motion investigation into the management of misconduct in the Tasmanian public sector, five TSS agencies were included in this review along-side five local government and two other bodies. In response to the Report, and as part of the ongoing examination of the TSS Employment Framework, SSMO will consider the Report’s findings.

State Service Vacancy Management

Government Jobs Website Visitor stats:
- 460,773 unique site visitors in 2017-18.
- 79,094 average site visits per month.

The revised Managing Positions in the Tasmanian State Service (2016) framework continued to support agencies to meet the TSS’s commitment to reduce employment-related costs through:

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

In 2017-18, 30 Targeted and Negotiated Voluntary Redundancies (TNVR) were progressed, and 17 people left the TSS after accepting a Workforce Renewal Incentive Program (WRIP) payment.

In 2017-18, a total of 3,666 advertisements appeared on the Government jobs website (, advertising 4,016 vacant positions 1.During 2017-18 we continued to trial a new approach to attract applicants from more diverse backgrounds to our SES vacancies by reducing the burden of preparing lengthy applications with detailed responses against selection criteria. The concept of using a ‘short-form’ was adapted from a similar approach used by other jurisdictions, and asks applicants to only submit a one page summary and resume in support of their application.

The trial of this new approach is ongoing and has been expanded to apply to the Whole-of-Service Graduate Recruitment Program, and other targeted programs in 2018-19. To support agencies in using this new approach, SSMO developed a guide to accepting and reviewing short-form applications.

PageUp eRecruitment System Security Incident

On 4 June 2018, the TSS was advised that it was among a number of Australian organisations that were impacted by a security incident through one of their eRecruitment providers, PageUp.

PageUp is the vendor of the eRecruitment system which supports online applications through the Tasmanian Government jobs website. The PageUp system is also used for other internal processes such as vacancy management and on-boarding/induction activities. PageUp is used by all agencies except the Department of Education and TasTAFE.

The Tasmanian Government takes the protection of personal information very seriously. As soon as we became aware of a risk to the security of that information immediate steps were taken. On 5 June we took the precautionary step of disconnecting the jobs website from the PageUp system while the incident was under investigation.

There was some disruption to recruitment activities as we worked to put in place interim advertising and recruitment systems and processes. The building, testing and implementation of these systems required a whole-of-service approach, and were implemented successfully on 15 June.

Throughout the incident we provided regular updates on our response, and important cybersecurity and online safety information to users of the jobs website through updates on the website homepage, direct email contact, and media releases.

As at 30 June 2018, we continue to work closely with PageUp, DPAC’s Office of eGovernment, external security organisations and across TSS agencies. Following a thorough assessment of any ongoing security risk it has been determined that the TSS will reconnect the jobs website to the PageUp system in mid-July.

Workforce Reporting and Planning

In early 2017 SSMO established the Workforce Planning Community of Practice group with representatives from all agencies. The group met regularly during 2017-18 to work through the newly-developed Guide to Workforce Planning.

SSMO also continued its work to enhance TSS workforce data collections and data analysis capability, and to contribute to interjurisdictional workforce data analysis through its involvement in the Interjurisdictional Workforce Data and Analytics Committee.

Agencies continued to develop their workforce planning capabilities in 2017-18 and reporting using strategic workforce planning to meet their business objectives. Plans varied in scope from whole-of-agency plans, to divisional and business-unit level plans, and included activities to address a number of key strategic workforce areas, including:

  • addressing workforce shortages;
  • increasing diversity in key occupations;
  • better workforce profiling;
  • behaviours, values and culture;
  • attraction, recruitment and retention;
  • skill/capability and career development;
  • health and wellbeing (including resilience);
  • performance management; and
  • the ageing workforce.

Empower Integration and Automation Program

The Empower Integration and Automation Program aims to improve the Empower Human Resources system used in most agencies to pay and manage our employees. This will be achieved by reducing the number of manual processes, reducing administrative overheads and costs, and significantly improving real-time agency and whole-of-government reporting capabilities.

SSMO has been working with agencies to harmonise coding and configuration arrangements in preparation for the migration of all small and medium agencies to a new shared database in
2018-19. The old databases will then be closed.

In tandem with this we have been working with the Department of Justice to pilot the Joint Agency Reporting Service (JARS). JARS will give all users real-time access to trend and point-in-time employee data, including interactive visualisations to improve data analysis. The pilot has been operational since April 2018 and will go into full production by the middle of 2018-19. It will then be extended progressively to all other agencies.

Change Management

In 2017-18, agencies reported on processes for managing change that included consultation with unions, Ministerial offices, managers, employees and other stakeholders. The consultation included keeping stakeholders updated via email, face-to-face meetings, briefings, intranet articles and training sessions.

There were a number of change processes managed through 2017-18, including:

  • the Department of Education’s Learning Services undergoing a statewide management restructure;
  • the Department of Health and Human Services relocating multiple business and operational units;
  • DPAC commencing work to create the new Department of Communities Tasmania which was announced following the 2018 State Election;
  • the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment responding to the discovery of fruit flies in Tasmania;
  • the Department of Treasury and Finance releasing a replacement Budget Management Information System; and
  • TasTAFE undergoing changes to the TasTAFE Board, executive staff and the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer.

SSMO also continued to maintain the change management resources on its website to provide information to support agency activities.

State Service Employee Survey

Following the 2016 People Matter Survey, SSMO completed an extensive review of employee surveys. This review included gathering feedback from agencies on the design and delivery of future TSS Employee Surveys, an examination of other public sector jurisdictions’ surveys, and an assessment of survey options in the market.

The review assisted in aligning future surveys with best-practice design, and allowing comparable data to be collected to support agency workforce planning and management activities, and decision-making. The review also enabled the survey to be reduced in length with fewer questions and the option for agencies to include a number of agency-specific questions.

A full survey is to be conducted every three years, with smaller, topic-specific surveys in the intervening years. Agencies will also have access to a new framework of reporting that includes dashboard reports as well as PDF reports.

It is anticipated that the first full survey under this new arrangement will take place in  mid-September 2018.

1. Vacancies that were withdrawn are not included in these totals. SSMO does not report on the number of appointments made.

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