APS preparation questioned
A new survey has found senior public servants believe the APS is unprepared for tech advances.
A survey of senior public servants has found perceived unpreparedness for technological advances like artificial intelligence, robotics and automation.
It is also not ready for the workforce to shift to new skillsets and tackle an increasing distrust of government.
The survey of 2,756 EL2 to SES workers in 82 departments and agencies was conducted by Boston Consulting Group as part of an ongoing independent review of the APS.
Senior public servants were asked to rate the potential impacts of “mega-trends” on the public service in coming years.
Those ‘trends’ include financial pressure to do more with less, cybersecurity risks, operating in a data-driven world, increased citizen expectations and demands for digital government.
“Most of the advancement of technology mega-trends were seen to have a great impact whilst being what the APS were least prepared for,” the report said.
“Cybersecurity risks means that the work and reputation of the APS can be threatened too readily,” one EL2 told the survey.
“Failures by agencies to protect public data could see withdrawal of public support for increased automated services,” an SES band 1 said.
“It will be the pace of the impacts and our inability to respond in a timely way that is our greatest challenge,” another EL2 said.
Senior respondents tended to warn of higher impacts than their more junior colleagues, while the looming impacts were seen more clearly by those working in the areas more associated with those trends.
“Non-ACT respondents are more likely to be in roles that are related to service delivery and will be obviously impacted by advances in technology,” the report said.
The report calls for a “detailed gap analysis” to understand the most urgent places to deal with issues faced in the future.
The APS review will report back to government in mid-2019.