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Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration

Hi there Govloop members. This is a lengthy post. I apologise for that.

It’s been a while, but the Blueprint has finally been released. Go take a look.
The Conversation
On 29 March I was lucky enough to be able to attend ‘APS Reform: A Conversation’ at the Museum of Australian Democracy. This event was part of the release of the report ‘Ahead of the Game’.
The format was a discussion between Mr Terry Moran, Chair of the Reform Advisory Group, Advisory Group member Ms Ann Sherry AO and Deputy Secretary Ms Liza Carroll. The conversation was hosted by Dr Julianne Schultz AM editor of the Griffith Review.
It was a great conversation- fluid, natural, informed and, in some respects, passionate. By the latter I am referring to the passion around doing the best by the public and the nation.
In my view there were two standouts in the conversation. One was concerned with internal red tape, the other around Web 2.0 (social media if you like).
Internal red tape was an issue that came up frequently in the widespread consultations carried out by the Advisory Group. Terry mentioned the tendency of corporate areas to create red tape – HR was one example given. Some internal red tape was decribed as ‘bizarre’ and there was a sense that these areas needed to change. I suppose this struck a nerve as in my own submission to PMC I expressed the view that to reform the APS we needed to drastically reform corporate areas.
The other significant thread of the conversation was around citizen engagement and Web 2.0 technologies. There were others of equal significance of course – e.g leadership. However, citizen engagement was most significant due to the impacts on everything we do. And let’s not forget the beefing up and expansion of the APSC (exiting).
We had a little time left for questions. A few people braved the microphone. Yours truly included.
Action
It would be really great to get some input from our Govloop colleagues and friends. Especially, on what you think Agencies/Departments could do to bring the blueprint to life. I also venture to say that the blueprint could also be of use in other countries and jurisdictions.
Could you also cross post here to help get the ideas moving.
Steve D

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Profile Photo Jury Konga

Steve,

Thanks for the post and again, another excellent document emanating from Australia. I scanned the document quickly and offer the following as initial thoughts. As you stated, there are certainly many good recommendations that could be leveraged by other countries and jurisdictions. Bringing any “blueprint to life” is usually a daunting task and much of the reason for this lies with the degree of leadership support for truly changing the culture (not just tinkering around the edges). One of the phrases that captured my imagination some time ago was from the British film “Us Now”, about mass collaboration and government, which asked the question “Can we all govern” – indeed! How open do administrations want Open Government to be? How can you effectively manage a fully engaged citizenry? I look forward to others thoughts on next steps.

Cheers

Jury

Profile Photo steve davies

Thanks Jury

Your reply is very helpful. Among other things it prompted the following ideas:

The key question on the site Us Now says it all really, “In a world in which information is like air, what happens to power?”

This question applies just as much to how public sector agencies operate internally, as it does to how they operate externally.

Typically this would be the sort of work given to organisational development or human resource practitioners in corporate areas. So what sort of brief would you give them to make this shift?

But before that the question is how do these corporate areas need to change? In the main they are to used to a top down process driven approach, (impose it on their own people in fact) and seek to preserve their own corporate patch.

Which lead me to the question of whether by cutting internal read tape and doing something about some of our bizarre hierarchical structures and practices we can liberate and harness the smarts of all our people to make a shift of this magnitude?

Full post is over at OZloop.

Thanks again – Steve