Thursday December 7, 2023

IPAA ACT reveals 2023 Spirit of Service Awards winners

  • IPAA ACT reveals 2023 Spirit of Service Awards winners image

On 8 November, the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) ACT announced the five winners of this year’s 2023 Spirit of Service Awards, celebrating outstanding public service initiatives that make a positive difference for Australia’s communities.

Katherine Jones, Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Department and IPAA ACT President, presented the winners with the trophies across four categories: Collaboration, Community Engagement, Breakthrough, and Learning.

The Collaboration award – celebrating cross-agency and/or cross-jurisdiction initiatives – went to the 2022 Federal Election Secure Telephone Voting Service by the Australian Electoral Commission.

Following legislation change to allow people who had become infected with COVID-19 in the final days before the 2022 election, the AEC significantly expanded the capacity of its existing telephone voting service which was previously limited to voters who are blind or have low vision and those in Antarctica.

Community Engagement at Fitzroy Crossing Service Centre by Services Australia took the Community Engagement award, recognising initiatives where communities have been deliberately engaged in novel ways.

Services Australia staff visited Fitzroy Crossing, a very remote Kimberley region, in July 2022 to meet stakeholders and customers to discuss the design and development of a new service experience. The agency incorporated a respectful engagement approach, a key component to develop a culturally sensitive face-to-face customer experience.

In the Breakthrough category – recognising novel and ingenious approaches – European Wasp Control by the ACT Public Service took home the trophy.

Responding to the high level of wasp incursions in the ACT, the team proactively used data to identify hot spots to bait and trap European Wasps before incursions arise. Together with CoreEnviro Solutions they have trapped 1,551 European Wasps queens, preventing an estimated 6.2million wasps impacting the community in 2022.

The Learning award – celebrating initiatives that deliberately engage with risk – went to Compassionate Foundations, spearheaded by the Australian Public Service Commission and Department of Defence.

This program is the first-of-its-kind public sector suicide prevention eLearning suite that teaches staff about suicide and suicide prevention skills framed around relationships and connection, not risk assessment.

Lastly, this year’s Kerry Kennedy Award went to the Indigenous Development and Employment Program by the National Indigenous Australians Agency.

The Kerry Kennedy Award, honours Kerry’s commitment to celebrating agencies who exceed expectations, through creative use of resources and collaboration with others.

The IDEP is a 3-year program for future First Nations leaders in the APS, tailormade to individual needs of participants based on their experience and capability.

“This year’s winners – and finalists more broadly – represent some of the most notable public service initiatives making a difference for Australia’s communities,” Secretary Jones said.

“As public servants, we need to remember to celebrate and be proud of the important work that we do.

“The Spirit of Service Awards are a unique opportunity to do so, and to support and connect with your colleagues.”

Acting CEO of IPAA ACT Wendy Cohen said that the team looked forward to continuously highlighting the spirit of service in the public sector in the years to come.

“For IPAA ACT, the Spirit of Service is a program that runs throughout the whole year. More than just managing the awards process, we work to highlight the great work of public servants all across Australia through our program.”




Media contact: Julia Ahrens, E:, M:0402 190 656


IPAA is the professional body focused on the promotion of excellence and professionalism in public administration. We are a non-profit and non-partisan organisation that works in partnership with the public sector, the private sector, academia and other institutions, to provide a platform for debate and discussion about improving and striving for excellence in public administration in Australia.

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