Points of View 29th March 2019

Thodey Inquiry into APS Interim Report

by Scott Miller

This Points of view was written by Peter Timmins.


There are plenty of references to open government related issues in the report that identifies as one of the imperatives for change, that:

“the APS is too often perceived by stakeholders to be a closed book, reflecting a risk averse culture, reluctance to provide information and sometimes tokenistic approaches to consultation. Sharing more of its work with partners, and genuinely listening to and acting on their insights, will help deliver better outcomes and earn public trust.”

Priorities for the future include steps to ensure genuine transparency and accountability for delivering outcomes for Australians, and recognition of the value and importance of partnerships:

“The APS’s impact, influence and success in the years and decades ahead will rely heavily upon meaningful, lasting relationships. Such relationships are essential if the APS is to deliver on government priorities and serve the public. This will require a fundamental shift in mindset and approach, with the APS bringing greater confidence in its role and contribution, and greater humility in how it partners with others. The partnerships will be many and varied – including state, territory and local governments, civil society, business, communities, service providers, and the Australian public. They will be typified by the highest standards of ethics and integrity.

Relationships of this quality will be evident in genuine commitments to work with others (and willingness to be held to account), regular release of the valuable data and research the APS gathers and produces, and best practice approaches to engaging meaningfully with the public.”

The interim report cites as a guide to the future this ANZSOG paper (by Dr Nik Kirby and Simone Webbe) that puts forward far-reaching recommendations promoting and ensuring a stronger focus on ethics and Integrity.