Work With Purpose

Sunday September 17, 2023

Exploring capability uplift in the Australian Public Service part 2

In 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’s large and diverse workforce.

In part two of this special episode of Work with Purpose, we continue our conversation with Dr Rachel Bacon, deputy secretary at the APS Reform Office, and Dr Subho Banerjee, head of APS Academy and Capability. We explore some of the mechanisms that are supporting capability uplift – the Capability Reinvestment Fund, new in-house consulting model, and the APS Academy. Rachel and Subho also discuss some of their top tips on how to drive capability uplift as a leader in the APS, including being prepared to have meaningful and hard conversations, approaching each task with curiosity, and being a role model that others can look up.

Discussed in this episode:

  • Initiatives driving capability uplift in public service, including Capability Reinvestment Fund and regular capability reviews.
  • Role of APS Academy in fostering academic partnerships and skill development.
  • Strategies for future-proofing public service capabilities, including in-house consulting and systems approach.




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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