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SA public sector bosses chastised on performance management


South Australia’s Commissioner for Public Sector Employment has put public service bosses on notice over a failure to complete annual performance reviews of staff.

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Commissioner Erma Ranieri’s annual state of the public sector report found an inconsistency in performance reviews across the public sector.

It found that 58 per cent of employees reported they did not have a performance review in the past 12 months, despite a directive from Premier Jay Weatherill in March this year that all agencies institute twice-yearly performance reviews.

While Ranieri said there were some mitigating factors, including changeovers to new systems and potential employee misunderstanding about what constituted a review, the figure was still too high.

“Chief executives need to make significant improvements on performance management and development within their agencies over the next year, as performance management starts from the top,” she said.

“Chief executives will be accountable for having 100 per cent employee participation in performance reviews from within their agencies, and this has been included in chief executive’s own performance appraisals.”

Chief executives are also set to be under tighter scrutiny themselves.

She said she had worked with the Department of the Premier and Cabinet to set up a panel to annually review the performance of chief executives, in addition to biannual ministerial reviews.

One area that will be under scrutiny is enforcement of the public service code of ethics, introduced in 2014.

Ranieri’s report found 27 per cent of continuing investigations into breaches of the code had been underway for more than six months, mostly due to a desire to make sure the investigation was thorough and fair.

Overall, 34 of 91 internal investigations into code breaches were unresolved at the end of the 2016 reporting period.

Ranieri said it was time for agencies to “get serious” about implementing the code.

“The public sector agencies need to get serious about implementing the code of ethics into every workplace,” she said. “I am looking to chief executives to take leadership in this area and be accountable for their agencies contribution to this.

“I expect chief executives to take responsibility for all their employees understanding and operating within the code of ethics.”

Only 56 per cent of agencies made it compulsory for employees to complete a code of ethics awareness program.

On the plus side, 100 per cent of agencies had evaluated their level of efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery, all agencies recognised employee successes and achievements, and 97 per cent had in place an employee management and development system.



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