Rapid hiring and firing in the public service

by Miklos Bolza06 Aug 2015
Public Service Commissioner, John Lloyd, has once again promised to “kill needless bureaucracy” in the Australian Public Service (APS), making it much easier for employers to recruit, manage and lay off staff.
Speaking with The Age, Lloyd said his agency was developing a strategy to eliminate extensive work and delays caused by public servants who constantly underperformed.
"There seems to be a lot of people who are stuck in the system – who are not performing or are not able to attend work consistently for an extended period of time,” he said. "Sometimes this goes on for many months, even years.”
Lloyd is looking into appeal and review processes within the APS to ensure balance between fairness and efficiency. "Our society has significant protections for all workers in Australia. So it is a matter of understanding whether the additional rights of review available to public servants are warranted.”
He is also reviewing termination procedures for public service employees to ensure they remain consistent between public and private sectors. Although the Fair Work Act covers all Australian workers in case of unfair dismissal, the processes were over-engineered, Lloyd said, and may end up harming the interests of both employee and employer.
Public servants can use APS regulations to initiate reviews while being performance-managed, an extra step which can possibly make the termination procedure “laborious”.
Lloyd also set his sights on the hiring process, looking to boost efficiency. In a speech to the Institute of Internal Auditors last week, he said recruitment often took three months or more to complete.
"The best people aren't going to wait 12 weeks," Lloyd said. "Our agencies should have the ability to mirror some better and more competitive employment practices in the private sector.”
He highlighted the need for the APS to attract Australia’s top talent, a goal only viable with modern recruitment processes. The current framework, which Lloyd described as “highly prescriptive and inflexible”, was insufficient to meet these needs.
Related stories:
Public Service Commissioner: sickies and red tape need to be tackled
APS bosses warned to control hiring practices
Sickies on the table as APS bosses granted leverage


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