What’s the future for Australia’s public service? Can modern government adapt to meet the challenges and evolutions of a transforming society? Our partner ANZSOG is helping to make this the case.
When we think of influencers of social change, we tend to turn our gaze to the private sector. CEOs with big voices and much media spotlight capitalise on social sentiment to formulate or support an agenda. A good example of this fell during the debate on same-sex marriage when 30 leaders from Australia’s largest corporates signed a joint letter calling for marriage equality.
However, the successful functioning of public services is just as critical to social development in Australia if not more so. It’s also a landscape which continues to evolve at rapid pace.
The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) is supporting this growth in an unrivalled way. Created in 2002 by government, for government, ANZSOG’s mission is to create public value by lifting the quality of public sector leadership in Australia and New Zealand.
In recent months ANZSOG has made some impressive changes to its core education and research programs, and expanded operations to continue this mission. The Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) and the Executive Fellows Program (EFP) remain central to the institution’s offering and continue to equip future leaders with skills to confidently lead fresh agendas.
Encouragingly, many of these fresh agendas are being led by an ever-increasing number of women joining public services each year and being promoted into senior leadership roles—an advance ANZSOG wholeheartedly supports.
Associate Professor Catherine Althaus, Associate Dean (Academic), said the increasing number of senior female leaders in public administration roles provides essential diversity to meet the needs of the communities they serve.
“Women provide more than half the talent, as well as client population, for public services. That means they are critical to the future of policymaking and service delivery across every part of government.
We know for a fact that involving women in leadership brings unique attributes that drive improved performance and a competitive edge. We need to support and encourage women, not just to become leaders, but to bring their own style and authenticity to leadership, because that will deliver the full benefits of diversity to leadership, service and innovation in the public sector.”
Professor Michelle LeBaron, a specialist in culture and resilience, is one such new recruit. Brought on as a core member of the faculty, Michelle’s focus is on the issues confronting Indigenous Australia and New Zealand and practical efforts to support community groups.
“When we pay attention to Indigenous perspectives on public administration and the strength and resilience of their communities, it opens up possibilities for how we might do government better,” Professor Althaus said.
“Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Māori ways of knowing can inject a creative power into public administration, that we have yet to fully tap. ANZSOG wants to be part of the effort to work with Indigenous peoples to see what we can produce together.
In 2018, the Executive Fellows Program will focus on a ‘three countries, three cities model’ with teaching being held in Canberra, Singapore and Wellington. The idea is that participants spend more time out of traditional academic settings to get first-hand experience.
THE EMPA similarly equips future leaders with the skills to confront new practical challenges facing the modern public service.
Participants learn from globally-recognised academics and senior practitioners from the executive of the public service, not-for-profit and private sectors. Both courses are flexible to ensure the load can be balanced with work and other responsibilities. Associate Professor Althaus says this is an important component of making sure the programs cater to everyone.
“Everyone nominated for an ANZSOG experience deserves the opportunity to learn in cutting-edge environments while maintaining work and life commitments. This way we get the best from our current and future public sector leaders.”
We pay attention to the participant experience as central to what we do at ANZSOG. Our programs are unique in delivering immersive, face-to-face learning experiences that tap the best of interactive and blended learning. Participants are connected with a diverse and powerful cross-jurisdictional network to work with live, real-world issues challenging Australian and New Zealand jurisdictions.
The support of ANZSOG’s owner government is critical to this and ANZSOG values the ability to work with an incredibly talented, committed and diverse group of public officials to amp up their public service contributions, deploying the best of theory linked to practice.
In line with new changes, ANZSOG has committed a yearly $750,000 to research, with matching funds from governments and universities to inform best practice in public administration. The organisation’s Evidence and Evaluation Hub will continue to work with governments to improve their capacity to develop evaluation frameworks, and to evaluate specific public programs.
Ultimately, improving the skills, capacity and management of public sector leaders is a critical part of Australia’s overall economic and policy success but is not something widely acknowledged or reflected upon in everyday life. ANZSOG does just this; and ensures that public services meet the expectations of the societies they lead.
Applications are currently open for the 2018 EFP and the 2019 EMPA. To find out more visit: anzsog.edu.au To keep informed about everything ANZSOG has to offer sign up to our newsletter: www.anzsog.edu.au/sign-up-enews