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Professional public administration — key initiatives

This objective fosters and promotes a high-performing public service. It ensures effective WoVG performance and outcomes. It protects the values of good public governance in support of public trust.

DPC’s outcomes on the following key initiatives have helped us achieve the ‘Professional public administration’ strategic objective.

Office of the Governor initiatives

In addition to constitutional and ceremonial duties, the Governor, the Honourable Linda Dessau AC, participated in a range of community and international engagement events in 2020–21. The events program was adapted in line with changing COVID-19 restrictions, with arrangements made to hold in-person events virtually.

The Governor and her spouse, Mr Anthony Howard AM QC, hosted a series of events to thank frontline and essential workers and first responders. These included representatives from many organisations that helped keep Victorians safe and supported during the summer bushfires and COVID-19. The Governor and Mr Howard continued their engagement with Victoria’s regional communities through both in-person and virtual visits as part of the regional tour program.

Implementing security upgrades for government buildings

In 2020–21 the Office of the Governor completed a significant program of projects including security and conservation upgrade works.

Chief Parliamentary Counsel services

In 2020–21 the Office of the Chief Parliamentary Counsel (OCPC) drafted a range of legislation to implement major government policy initiatives and reforms.

OCPC drafted several Bills as part of the government’s response to COVID-19 including Acts relating to residential tenancies, health measures and to extend the state of emergency.

Legislation to implement significant social policy initiatives were also drafted, including to repeal the offence of public drunkenness, to significantly reform screening people working with people with disability and children, and to improve standards in child safety. Various Bills implementing financial measures were also passed.

During 2020–21, 214 statutory rules were made, including to improve the operation of magistrates courts, to improve road safety regulations and to implement changes required by COVID-19.

Throughout 2020–21 OCPC continued providing drafting services to parliament to facilitate the passage of legislation, to prepare House amendments and to introduce Private Members’ Bills. The demand for drafting services and advice from Members of Parliament across all parties continues to be high. In 2020–21 the volume of formal advice provided on legislation increased by 17 per cent.

OCPC continued to work closely with DPC to further improve community access to the law by developing and implementing enhancements for the legislation website launched in the previous financial year.

Securing public records by accessing a customised storage facility

Public Record Office Victoria (PROV) received funding to help access a customised storage facility to increase storage capacity. The planning to transfer 10,000 linear metres of general storage capacity to a State Library Victoria storage facility in Ballarat has been completed; however, the transfer was delayed due to COVID-19. This is now expected to occur early in 2021–22.

Improve government recordkeeping through the Information Management Maturity Assessment Program

In May 2021 PROV released the 2019–20 Information Management Maturity Assessment Program report, which maps the status of information management across eight government departments and two agencies. Prioritisation and resourcing available for information management activities through the year were found to have been significantly impacted by MoG changes, technological and system changes, and COVID-19, which resulted in maturity levels remaining similar to, or in some cases, less than those of the previous assessment cycle.

PROV online

COVID-19 saw PROV’s face-to-face services impacted in 2020–21; however, it also presented opportunities to expand online engagement with users and to showcase collection items available online. In 2020–21 PROV delivered the following initiatives:

  • An online exhibition titled ‘A New Normal’ brought together local street photographers, documentarians and photojournalists to capture moments of kindness, creativity, hardship and the surreal that defined 2020 in Victoria. These contemporary images were featured alongside photographs drawn from the collections of the Victorian Government and National Archives of Australia to further explore the concept of ‘A New Normal’.
  • The Victorian Community History Awards was held as an online event for the first time. Almost 1,500 people tuned into the awards broadcast across YouTube and Facebook, with viewers interacting and engaging with winners through chat and social media channels.

Supporting the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal and Compliance Officer function

DPC provides secretariat support to the Victorian Independent Remuneration Tribunal to set remuneration frameworks for Members of Parliament, public sector executives and local government councillors.

During 2020–21 the secretariat supported the tribunal to:

  • make the Members of Parliament (Victoria) Annual Adjustment Determination 2021
  • review and report on the superannuation arrangements for Members of Parliament
  • make an annual adjustment to the remuneration bands for public service executives
  • make the first comprehensive Determination setting the values of remuneration bands for executives employed in prescribed public entities and the Prescribed Public Entity Executive Remuneration Guidelines to assist employers with placing executives within the remuneration bands
  • provide advice to public service and prescribed public entity employers that proposed to pay executives above the remuneration bands
  • issue determinations setting the remuneration for chief executive officers in prescribed public entities under the Victorian Government Public Entity Executive Remuneration Policy.

The secretariat also supports the compliance officer function that is attached to the tribunal to independently hear and determine appeals from Members of Parliament in relation to claims for work-related parliamentary allowances and the separation payment. The compliance officer did not hear any appeals in 2020–21.

Enhancing public sector integrity and governance capability through the Victorian Public Sector Commission

The VPSC’s strategic priorities are to promote workforce reform, support a positive employee experience, develop outstanding leadership and promote public trust. These priorities support a trusted public sector that delivers exceptional outcomes for the Victorian community. The VPSC’s role was particularly important this year as the workforce continued to support the government to respond to the impacts of COVID-19.

Key initiatives included:

  • revising the Flexible Work Policy to embed flexible work in the VPS and support new ways of working so the VPS can create the best public value for Victorians
  • sharing resources to promote accessibility and inclusion in public sector workplaces including a wellbeing toolkit to help managers support their team’s wellbeing during remote work
  • issuing new guidance to support hiring managers to use special measures in recruitment, building a diverse and inclusive public sector workforce that reflects the community it serves
  • issuing integrity guidance for new board directors, an induction checklist for organisations and an employee guide to maintaining integrity when working remotely
  • extending the application of pre-employment misconduct screening to prescribed public entities to ensure executives across the VPS are subject to the same integrity checks prior to employment
  • publishing the State of the Public Sector in digital format to ensure workforce data is up to date and freely accessible to the community.

The Jobs and Skills Exchange

The Jobs and Skills Exchange has played an important role in designing and implementing new approaches to enhancing workforce mobility and career development in the VPS.

Key initiatives during the year included:

  • establishing a flexible employment model to meet surge demand for expertise across departments
  • growing employee membership to the Jobs and Skills Exchange within the VPS
  • starting to roll out the Jobs and Skills Exchange to Victorian public entities.

The Jobs and Skills Exchange was transferred to the VPSC on 1 December 2020.