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Public Sector Informant : PSI - September
Schedule of Fees & Charges and Terms and Conditions may be obtained by calling 1300 13 23 28 or calling into any ADCU Branch. The terms and conditions should be considered in deciding whether to acquire the product. To receive this product you must become a member of ADCU. Lending Criteria applies. ABN 48 087 649 741 AFSL No. 237988. Hit the road. Whatever you want in life, we can help with a Personal Loan For more information visit www.adcu.com.au, call 1300 13 23 28 or visit your local ADCU branch. [SEPTEMBER 2010] THE PUBLIC SECTOR INFORMANT 25 servants accomplish greatness When a stuff-up occurs out of genuine attempts to improve systems, we'll acknowledge and applaud the good intention The architecture of trust Trust is a hard, not a soft, option. It takes courage and resolve, and some risks, as it takes you outside your comfort zone. And it requires all of us to have discipline and open minds to work smarter and more transparently. I want: Citizens to be able to trust our public institutions -- including Parlia- ment, watchdogs and bureaucrats -- to defend their interests at every turn. Politicians and ministers to be able to trust that the public service will give them objective, high-quality and fearless advice. NSW public servants to be confi- dent they are valued for their integ- rity, impartiality and expertise, and to trust government to do what it says and not manipulate and politicise an apolitical professional service. Strategic direction and leadership Re-establishing trust will rely on solid foundations and the NSW Liberals and Nationals are committed to a return to true Westminster-style government, with a public service confident in unambiguous strategic goals, with clear policy directions, transparent processes and consistent accountability. We want the energies of our public servants again contributing to evidence-based policy development, not to justifying policy backflips and excuses for government inaction. Those energies will increasingly be needed in NSW if the latest popu- lation forecasts are to be believed. Population growth increases demand for public services, a fact that should belie the inevitable Labor scare campaign about our plans for the NSW public sector. We're also committed to constrain- ing the politics that has strained the trust between public servants and government, between citizens and our public institutions. It's why in our policies on planning law reform, managing transport systems and infrastructure delivery, we invest responsibility in experts, independent authorities and communities, to ensure decisions are made on evi- dence and professional advice. The NSW Liberals and Nationals believe that public employees also deserve strong instruments to pre- serve their independence and we've released detailed plans to: Reform freedom of information. Strengthen whistleblower protec- tion. Regulate lobbyists. Legislate public sector ethics ref- lected in codes of conduct for public servants and ministers Strengthen the powers of the Independent Commission Against Corruption. Reform campaign finance. A new public service commission Our plans (announced in 2008) include establishing a NSW public service commission. Much of the transformation we seek will be entru- sted to a NSW public service com- missioner, whose tasks will be to: Ensure NSW has the best qualified and most professional public service in the nation. Restore and maintain the highest levels of integrity, impartiality, ability, accountability and leadership. Ensure that public service posi- tions are filled on merit and qualifica- tions, not patronage and favouritism. The commissioner will be charged to explore new ideas, including proposals in the Moran blueprint, and consult regularly and widely with public employees, free of politics. The commissioner will be asked to look at ways to recruit the best and brightest, retain our valuable people and upgrade professional develop- ment, especially in new areas of emphasis, including customer ser- vice, strategic policy development, e-government and performance man- agement. Innovation and reward We also intend to use the public service commissioner to foster the confidence to innovate, with rewards and incentives for those who try good new ideas. We want to end the culture of blame and scapegoating. Citizens expect governments to manage known risks, learn from mistakes and turn the lessons into better results. Under a NSW Liberals and Natio- nals government, when a stuff-up occurs out of genuine attempts to improve systems and offer the public better services through innovation, we'll acknowledge and applaud the good intention. Innovation does mean that sometimes you may fail. But more often than not, you'll excel. And when you excel, so do communi- ties across the state. We'll task the commissioner, in consultation with agencies, to help develop performance management tools to recognise outstanding per- formance and identify areas that need more attention. We'll aim to: Be better at finding out early when something is off target -- by running the ruler over our own performance, and by treating ''bad news'' as an opportunity to get things right, faster. Encourage feedback on the com- munity's direct experiences of gov- ernment services so the public service can itself fine-tune performance. Let the managers manage and implement government priorities without interference. As I approach next year's election, I understand that it takes a team to run this state. I know we need the best team -- many teams -- collaborating creatively to transform NSW. My ambition is for a NSW Public Service that's independent and confident, revels in its own successes and is acknowledged as world-class. So whatever their background or history, the NSW Liberals and Nationals are seeking quality individuals dedicated to reform, innovation and the great vocation of public service, putting their talents and energies to changing NSW for the better, delivering the reliable quality services our citizens deserve and restoring the state's future prosperity and opportunities. The task ahead of us is immense, but I suspect turning 53,000 tonnes of steel into the world's largest steel arch bridge made for a few sleepless nights too. When it opened in March 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge gave a desperately needed boost to the citizens of NSW. On that day, it was understood that anything -- anything -- is possible if people are animated by a single purpose and believe they are contributing to something bigger than themselves. Next year, I hope we can offer a new signal that things will get better. My hope lies in the willingness of the men and women of today's NSW Public Service to emulate the com- mitment and passion of all those who strove to build that bridge almost 80 years ago and secure their own place in the history of our great state. Barry O'Farrell is the NSW Opposition Leader. This is an edited version of his address to the Institute of Public Administration Australia in July.
PSI - October