What’s happening?

For the first time in almost 10 years, the Australian Public Service has been conducting a review of the classification system.

The classification structure is important because it affects employees’ pay, career progression, the nature of the work that you do at your level, and your opportunities for development. The APS Hierarchy and Classification Review is being undertaken by an independent panel, which sought feedback from the CPSU.

The CPSU conducted meetings of members across its full APS membership, and also specific sessions with members drawn from:

  • Service delivery functions;
  • Digital and Information Technology;
  • Legal; Science; and Graduates and former graduates.

The CPSU submission draws on feedback from that membership engagement. You can read the CPSU submission here.

The APS Hierarchy and Classification Review Panel’s recommendations have now been released.

The report outlines a plan to prioritise work on leadership behaviours and the capability of supervisors and managers.

The initial focus on leadership and capability detailed in the report is welcome, as is the decision not to proceed with changes to the classification structure at this time.

The focus on leadership capability as well as the Labor government’s commitment to restore genuine bargaining in the public service, provides an important opportunity to address some of the issues the CPSU raised in the Hierarchy and Classification Review, including the historical undervaluation of work more likely to be performed by women, First Nations employees, employees with disability, and those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, usually performing frontline, service delivery work.

There are also opportunities to create meaningful career pathways for specialists and professionals, including in the critical areas of digital and data. These areas are critical to ensuring the APS has the skills and capability it needs to serve the Australian community now and into the future.

It is encouraging that the APSC has acknowledged the complexity of the more ambitious proposals around classification reform and will consider the approach to those proposals in consultation with CPSU representatives in the future, ensuring you have a strong voice in these changes.

Any changes to the classification structure would be complex, challenging to implement, and would need to come with strong safeguards for staff. Genuine bargaining, and the commitment to negotiate with employees and unions at the service-wide level, provides a great opportunity to achieve positive change and greater equity for public servants through that bargaining process.

You can read the Panel's full report and recommendations on the APSC website here.


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