20 June 2013

New values and culture statements for the Australian Public Service were launched this week.  The values, with an acronym of I CARE are about being

Impartial :  The APS is apolitical and provides the Government with advice that is frank, honest, timely and based on the best available evidence.

Committed to Service:  The APS is professional, objective, innovative and efficient, and works collaboratively to achieve the best results for the Australian community and the Government.

Accountable:  The APS is open and accountable to the Australian community under the law and within the framework of Ministerial responsibility.

Respectful:  The APS respects all people, including their rights and their heritage.

Ethical:  The APS demonstrates leadership, is trustworthy, and acts with integrity, in all that it does.

The Australian Public Service Commission has developed a model for strengthening a culture based on these values. The model involves organisational building blocks reflecting commitment, leadership, management systems and assurance. It is designated as “a plan for integrating the APS Values into the way we work”.

The language and purpose of these building blocks have much in common with the “6 Trust Elements” promoted by the State Services Commissioner as essential for strengthening public trust in Government.

Strengthening a values-based culture: A plan for integrating the APS Values into the way we work

    Integrating the APS Values into the way we work  
The building blocks for a Values based culture What this means for the APS What this means for the agency
Commitment 1.The APS Values are the basis for the way we do business.
  1. The agency’s strategic plan and operational/business plans reflect the APS Values.
  2. Agency communications with employees support and reinforce the APS Values.
  3. On-boarding and other learning and development activities incorporate ‘how to live’ the APS Values, including how to make good values-based decisions.
Leadership 2. Leaders integrate the Values into their agency’s decision-making processes and culture and consistently reflect the Values in their own behaviour.
  1. Leaders take a stewardship role and build the APS Values into the governance practices of their agency and wider APS.
  2. Leaders build a culture of trust with employees and agency stakeholders and clients.
  3. Leaders model the APS Values, have the highest standards of behaviour and take sound, reliable, fair and ethical decisions.
  4. Leaders coach and guide others to take sound, reliable, fair and ethical decisions.
  5. Leaders make clear that conduct consistent with the APS Values is expected and deal appropriately and effectively with unacceptable behaviour.
  6. Leaders guide employees in understanding the relevance of the APS Values to their day-to-day work.
Management Systems 3. The APS Values are integrated into day-to-day operations.
  1. Management practices support values–based decision making. The APS Values are reflected in management policies and procedures, including employment policies.
  2. Where judgement is required in decision making, guidance material appropriately reflects the APS Values.
  3. Performance Management Frameworks take into account the way in which employees uphold the APS Values, recognising that the Values provide the basis for how organisational goals are achieved, and the importance of appropriate behaviours in the workplace.
  4. Reward and recognition schemes reinforce and promote values-based behaviour.
Assurance 4. Mechanisms are in place to provide confidence that decisions and actions in the APS are based on the APS Values.
  1. The integration of the APS Values into the agency is constantly assessed, including through staff and client surveys, and lessons learnt are applied.
  2. Areas of risk in upholding the APS Values are identified, evaluated and managed.
  3. Unacceptable behaviour is addressed. Suspected breaches of the APS Code of Conduct are managed in a fair, timely and systematic way.
  4. Employees know how to report misconduct and are confident in doing so. Employees are aware of the statutory review of action scheme.
  5. Employees are aware of the Ethics Advisory Service and agency support processes.
  6. Internal control systems, such as internal audit and fraud control, work effectively to identify behaviour inconsistent with the APS Values.
  7. Decision-making processes are transparent and open to appropriate scrutiny, supported by appropriate record-keeping processes.