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Public Sector Informant : PSI
2 THE PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMANT [MAY 2010] 10-03698/1466815/2 Human Resource Management HBA Consulting now offers a dedicated Human Resource Management consulting service --- HBA HR. This complements the well-known industrial relations and workplace investigations services we provide. HBA HR enables HBA Consulting to offer an extensive range of HR advisory services to organisations in both the public and private sectors. HBA HR offers the highest level of experience and professionalism, with a strong focus on delivering quality advice and assistance. HBA HR provides a range of advice and assistance including: • Establishment, classification and organisational structures and job design reviews • Work Level Standards design, review and redrafting • HR Policy and procedures review and development for all HR practice areas, including the development of policies to support your Agency Agreements implementation • Performance Management system development and review • Strategic, tactical and operational HR planning linked to business outcomes • Facilitation and training services • HR governance design and review HBA HR has a strategic alliance with Piazza Research, the first ACT based market research company to achieve ISO20252 Quality accreditation, to provide a range of qualitative and quantitative HR research ser vices, including staff satisfaction, customer satisfaction and issues based 'pulse' sur veys. Please contact Gary Champion to find out more about HBA HR Phone: 02 6259 0712 Mobile: 0419 401 250 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.hbaconsulting.com.au NATPUB364_3 May 2010 CONTENTS 3 Social Trends: Australia needs a bureaucracy that resists the frenetic demands of the news cycle -- Stephen Bar tos 4 UK election: Unless the polls are way of f the mark, Thursday will be the final cur tain call for Gordon Brown's Government -- Larry Elliott 6 Moran review: The PM must now invest in public sector reform or risk losing the few positives in his blueprint -- J. R. Nethercote 6 Innovation: Public ser vants can use contracts to encourage creativity, but they must accept that some failure is normal -- Paul McGinness 8 Hawke repor t: The insulation scandal failed to answer who is responsible for whole-of- government issues -- Richard Mulgan 10 Notes for File: Sharon's views on management discomfor t her stylish Director -- Charles Augustus Dent 12 Histor y: Australia accrued 10 external territories after Federation, some by means it would never dare today -- Ernst Willheim 34 Procurement: Well-designed contracts can help agencies find significant savings -- Richard Morrison & Holly McAdam 36 PSI Diar y: conferences, courses and events 39 Privacy: Privacy Awareness Week reminds public ser vants of their duty to protect citizens' personal information -- Karen Curtis 40 Immigration: Past freezes on processing asylum claims did nothing but prolong refugees' miser y -- Savitri Taylor 42 Politics: It's unlikely that principle was behind states' initial resistance to the PM's hospital reforms -- Graeme Orr 44 Superannuation: Retired federal bureaucrats face higher taxes than their state counterpar ts -- Daryl Dixon EDITORIAL Markus Mannheim Phone: (02) 6280 2230 email@example.com ADVERTISING Karl Chamberlain Phone: (02) 6280 2361 firstname.lastname@example.org [ PUBLIC EYE ] It's just not English THE Informant often rails against the atrocious language that blights so much government work. But what if the public could formally hold to account the writers of meaningless dross? This is now more than merely an Informant fantasy. The House of Commons' public administration committee recently recommended empowering Britain's civil service watchdog to investi- gate confusing and misleading language. Its brilliantly succinct report, Bad Language: The Use and Abuse of Official Language, concludes that language which is so bad it prevents someone from receiving benefits or services to which they are entitled ''should be regarded as 'maladministration' ''. ''The unlovely language of this unreal world [of government jargon] floats along on a linguistic sea of roll-outs, step changes, public domains, fit for purposes, stakeholder engagements, across the pieces, win-wins, level playing fields and going forwards,'' says the report, which a mere 15 pages long. It even invites public ridicule of bad writing, saying mockery ''serves a useful purpose''. The British Government, in a slightly less elegant response, has since agreed with the recommendation. Hills are alive with Strine WERE public administration academics expecting a late European spring and an early Australian winter? That might account for why, according to one observer, ''about 50 bloody Australians'' were scoffing down raclette at the International Research Society for Public Management's annual conference in Switzerland last month. The organisers confirmed that 53 of the 387 participants at the Berne event were Australians, who outnumbered even the Swiss (43). A back- of-the-envelope calculation suggests the event cost Australian taxpayers more than a quarter of a million dollars. One can only imagine the fun Senate estimates would have had with the junket if these academics were accountable to the public in the same way as are the bureaucrats they study. The conferen- ce's theme, ironically, was the global financial crisis and how effectively ''billions of tax dollars are being spent around the world''. The Informant hopes, in time, to share with readers some of the valuable (or at least costly) insights that were gained. Oiling a rusty axe FINANCE Minister Lindsay Tanner assured journalists last month he had ''no plan to cut overall public service numbers'' in next week's budget. But rumours are creeping down from the bureaucracy's top levels of a specific overall target: a 10 per cent cull, to be achieved through attrition rather than redundancies. Rhetorical axes are often sharpened at this time of year, and the Informant notes that both this government and its predecessor tend to talk hard about public service cuts to audiences outside Canberra before going on to employ several thousand more staff each year. But this year's signs are a little different. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Terry Moran has already proposed capping the SES and is particularly concerned by the rapid growth of executive level 1 and 2 staff. The accountability bunker ONE of the Commonwealth's smaller integ- rity agencies has an unusual view of accountability. The Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity, which watches over federal police and the Aust- ralian Crime Commission, was set up in December 2006. It has issued one media statement in the 31G2 years since. While similar agencies encourage media exposure, using it to deter misconduct, the commission refuses almost all interview requests. The commission's strategic support director, Nick Sellars, is its only authorised media contact, but refuses to issue his phone number to journalists. The clear message from this obfuscation? Misbehaving officers can relax: even if they're investigated, the public is unlikely to ever know about it. 10-05514/1 Imagine I Learn I Be Your Mother Is So Special Show her how special you think she is. Purchase a gift voucher or two from our professional wellbeing clinic where she can receive awesome relaxation, remedial, hot stone or aromatherapy massages. Purchase more than two Gift Vouchers and receive 15% off. Offer ends 9 May. Call 6295 2323, email: info@ omshanticollege.com.au or visit us at 2A Barker St, Griffith Shops (next to Shoprite)
PSI - September