PSst! Not so simple in internal affairs

Mandarin conducted a readership survey of government office buildings that bureaucrats love to hate. The topic has become a bit of a sticking point, with workplaces looking to lure employees into the physical office.

A recent APSC report on diversity and inclusion in Commonwealth government agencies found that 39% of civil servants worked in the ACT and that 45.4% of flexible working arrangements adopted by workers were for the “work outside the office” or “work from home”. .

While the the political boffins at the top of the APS hierarchy identified the benefits of flexible working as a boon to diversity and inclusion, 64% of agencies reported multiple barriers to facilitating more flexible working.

The agencies said that among the top three challenges preventing government workplaces from offering more flexible arrangements were the essential functions required on-site, the availability of IT assets and access to classified documents.

This, though the benefits of flexible working have been distilled into the following six organizational benefits for the APS workplace:

  • Increase productivity and engagement,
  • TEU lifting,
  • Boost talent recruitment by expanding the recruitment pool,
  • Increase workforce mobility and agility, attract more skilled and diverse workers, and
  • Allow inclusion to flourish.

So you can imagine our dismay at reading a response to a survey of conditions at the Home Office office in Belconnen.

“There is no space in the foyer to sit and drink coffee/read or move around,” one official said, explaining that opportunities to meet and interact with other department officials were hampered.

“I loved meeting people in the general lobby of my office building,” they added.

The office building at 6 Chan St is a far cry from the posh Ministry of the Attorney General digs across the bridge, with dedicated collaboration spaces, deliberately executed lighting design and a meditation space to encourage the staff to lean towards more mindfulness. in the office.

Hey, Home Affairs: Time to reconfigure your homies’ work environment? Food for thought is a dish best served with a bit of honesty.

These accolades will mean more as the job market heats up and competition for talent sees departments battling against each other in front of a welcoming and hospitable environment.

You can share your views on the worst government buildings to work in (and why) with us here.

ANAO staff lead spares with overwork

Spare a thought for the hard-working officials at the National Audit Office, who are stretched thin to cope with the deluge of work they are responsible for holding other government agencies accountable.

We had some clues that ANAO’s 376 staff members, who contributed to the filing of 46 audits in 2021-2022, were burdened with a relentless workload. In all career streams – business, accounting, finance, economics, public policy, law, social sciences and information technology – people are running out of steam and risk becoming exhaust. Many seek to switch to other government agencies out of sheer desperation.

ANAO’s objective is to support accountability and transparency in the Australian public sector and to contribute to improved public sector performance.

According to an audit quality report the agency released in September, which is essentially a scorecard of its own performance against legal standards and regulatory requirements, the office produced 245 opinions on audits of financial statements, performed 40 additional audits by arrangement and three audit opinions on performance statements in 2021-22. It is a prolific body of forensic production for a fiscal year.

With regard to human resources, ANAO’s performance in the previous fiscal year fell below the norm, both in terms of the workload of executives and managers and the workload of staff. .

“Staff turnover and workload metrics remain risk areas for audit quality. It is thanks to our high quality and high performing staff that ANAO produces quality audits and fulfills its purpose with parliament,” the audit revealed.

“Sustaining resource requirements is a critical area of ​​focus for ANAO in building our workforce capabilities and is an area of ​​focus in ANAO’s 2022-2023 Corporate Plan and the ANAO workforce plan 2022-25.”

We hope, for the good of the ANAO team and the public sector at large, that the Auditor General will find a solution in the blink of an eye!

The finance secretary is not a fan of the gray cardigan joke

It takes a savvy fashion eye to figure out what the creme de la creme of Canberra mandarins are sporting when it comes to costume. The key is to find a designer whose fit and color elevates what can be a lackluster style of slate, navy and black Monday-Friday jackets.

For women at the top of the bureaucracy, the quality of an Anna Thomas blazer with a complementary tweed skirt is hard to pass up. Its appeal lies at the intersection between form-fitting but not overly stuffy or pretentious.

The Australian fashion house was a favorite of former NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian. Minister of Public Service Katy Gallagher also has some clever Anna Thomas sets in high rotation.

So it was with awe that we saw Finance Secretary Jenny Wilkinson wearing what appeared to be an Anna Thomas ensemble to the IPAA national conference dinner this week, and we laughed in amusement when she raised an eyebrow as a guest speaker cracked a joke about gray cardigan-wearing bureaucrats. “I don’t wear grey!” she articulated.

Facts are facts – some mandarins are leading the fashion pack and the finance boss is in great shape.

Check on delivery

The Teals may have cried light aquamarine murder over the decision to cut some of their staff positions, but are they doing more with less disruption at the PMO? The typos posted on the Prime Minister’s website raise a strange eyebrow.

Our favorite so far was Albo’s ‘address to the NSW Labor Cnference’ which surfaced over the weekend and which we hear leaving coffee on the monitors from unresponsive chuckles.

People can be so immature.

A brief clarification on Mike Pezzullo’s Optus (with kittens)

Home Affairs Chief Mike Pezzullo has never been afraid to talk about the seriousness of all things cyber, geopolitics and culture, but does the National Chief Protector have any super power to handle Ministers when dig themselves in a hole?

With DFAT now apparently ok with Optus victims traveling on passports without replacing them, Pezzullo gave a speech at Australia’s cybersecurity conference last week to clear up some thought-provoking opacities after Cabinet rounded Optus.

“Let me put it together in terms of the directions the Commonwealth Government is heading. Clare O’Neil is my minister, the Home Secretary. She is also a specified and titled cybersecurity minister, the first time we have had a specified and titled cybersecurity minister at Cabinet level. We’ve had other ministers responsible for cybersecurity, but not at the Cabinet level,” Pezzullo said.

“She was very clear in her instructions to the Department, which means her instructions to me, and through me to my Department – and she said that as part of some of the public comments she made on the matter. from Optus, which I’m not going to solicit; I’m just going to go back to the directives she gave me, and which she also expressed publicly – in her opinion, as the national minister of cybersecurity, we we’re about a decade behind on some of the ancillary, important policy areas around consumer data protection, around privacy and some of the consequential policy areas that are complementary to the very technical areas that specialists IT security tend to focus in. We’re about a decade behind,” he continued.

But wait, there’s more.

“And she, as the responsible minister in government, together with her colleague the attorney general, the treasurer and other ministers who have responsibilities in these general areas, have said that this catch-up is going to happen under the watch of this government. She has made it very clear that the government is determined – and it is not just in relation to the Optus case, she has used the Optus case to talk about it generally – to bring together in closer political alignment these ancillary and related areas of digital identity. , consumer data protection, privacy protection, etc. The responsibilities of different ministers and it is his job, together with his ministerial colleagues, to pull it all together,”

Do we sense a budget allocation coming? Keep reading.

“Most centrally, in the more technical area of ​​cybersecurity, in her judgment, she has said publicly, we’re about five years behind where we really should be. She gave due consideration to the work done by the previous Parliament, the 46th Parliament, to pass some legislation that fixed some parts of this problem, so the critical infrastructure legislation passed by Parliament in March, for example, gives us world-leading authorities on fight against cyberattacks against critical infrastructure.The Optus hack was not that.

So what was it then? Mike has a good idea.

“I do not in any way want to diminish or minimize the significance of this incident itself or the consequences it has for people in terms of their personal identity security alone and therefore their own safety anxiety. , and prospect him there for fraud. I don’t want to minimize that at all. But in terms of the risks that we are trying to manage, there are unfortunately, I have to say, more catastrophic, more consequential, and darker scenarios that can very easily be painted and that may well unfold. I hope I’m not right tonight.

Ouch. Mike warns it’s time to respect the awesome power of the internet and not degrade it with furry friends.

“Now some of that has gone into our obsession with watching cat videos and looking at the other litter that we browse on our social media. I don’t know why humanity would have devoted so much effort just to this end.

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