Work With Purpose

Sunday September 10, 2023

Exploring capability uplift in the Australian Public Service part 1

n 2019, the Thodey Review highlighted capability challenges and untapped potential within the Australian Public Service (APS). Two years have passed, and the APS Reform Agenda is providing a once-in-a-generation opportunity to build capability and improve public service. With growing awareness of APS Reform across the service and 270 specialist capabilities within various agencies and departments, we explore the challenges and opportunities of building and sustaining capability across the APS’ large and diverse workforce.

In part one of this special episode of Work with Purpose, we sit down with Dr Rachel Bacon, deputy secretary at the APS Reform Office, and Dr Subho Banerjee, deputy commissioner and head of the APS Academy and Capability, to explore the nuances of capability within the public service. They discuss the role of the Secretaries’ Board and the capability committee in setting strategic priorities, including attracting talent, embracing technological advancements, and fortifying leadership integrity. Tune in to discover how the APS is taking a decentralised, outward-facing approach to drive continuous improvement in public service.

Discussed in this episode:

  • The meaning of ’building capability’ in a workforce context
  • Challenges relating to the APS Workforce Strategy’s three focus areas for capability uplift
  • Role of the Reform Office in building capability
  • Collaboration between the Reform Office and Australian Public Service Commission.





Produced in partnership between

Supported by


  • Subho Banerjee image
    Subho Banerjee

    Deputy CEO, Research and Advisory at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG)

  • Dr Rachel Bacon image
    Dr Rachel Bacon

    IPAA ACT Councillor
    Deputy Secretary
    Public Sector Reform
    Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

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