Better decisions, better services in the Western Australia Public Service

When my colleague and BDO principal Alan Ferris and I take to the floor at Governance Institute’s Public Sector Governance Forum at the Parmelia Hilton in Perth on 18 October we will focus on business transformation and change in WA’s public sector. 

As you will be aware the sector faces challenges that could be true of public sectors in any jurisdiction including:

  • rising community expectations for responsive service delivery
  • clear expectations by ministers for high quality policy advice
  • high levels of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity in the operational and political environments 
  • accelerating social and technological change 
  • expectations in the contemporary workforce for greater flexibility, mobility and a forward looking culture in the workplace.

These challenges have been clearly articulated in the recently released Service Priority Review interim report which focuses on four directions for reform:

  1. building a public sector focused on community needs
  2. reshaping and strengthening the public sector workforce
  3. enabling the public sector to do its job better
  4. introducing stewardship in the public interest.

However, these reforms can only be realised with a sector-wide business transformation that is focused on innovation and collaboration. Not only must we design a public sector that meets community expectation today it must also be able to adjust and respond to future needs.

We need to focus on critical community targets not specific departments. Rather than having departments operating in silos, the public sector in WA needs widespread collaboration, organisational change and a culture that will drive new thinking, new ideas.

No one could argue with the need for all encompassing transformation of the sector and it cannot be successfully achieved by simply implementing a different organisational structure. To be successful transformational change requires:

  • visible and actively involved leadership
  • a clear vision and strategy
  • outcomes to be aligned with the strategy
  • new thinking and innovation to be rewarded.

Alan will provide the context on why this transformation is necessary and I will provide a way in which you can start to think innovatively about the transformation and services.

Also sharing the platform at the forum with Alan and myself will be Colin Murphy, WA Auditor General; Marion Burchell, Executive Director Policy and Governance, Office of the WA Government Chief Information Officer and Professor Margaret Seares AO, Consultant, State Government Service Priority Review.

The forum will address such topics as:

  • innovation, culture and change management
  • risk management
  • cyber security
  • a look inside local government
  • state government service priority review
  • conflicts of interest.

Don’t miss this opportunity to join the discussion on these important topics and network with your peers. You will walk away with practical tips and tools that you can implement in your role. I look forward to meeting you at the Public Sector Governance Forum on Wednesday, 18 October.

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