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An Overview of Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions for APS Performance Management

The Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions were updated in late July 2019. The amendments ‘seek to achieve optimal performance management across the Australian Public Service (APS) through extending the responsibility for achieving effective performance to supervisors and employees and requiring agencies to proactively engage in performance management practices.’ Further, the circular announcing the changes suggest that ‘Agencies should review existing performance management frameworks to assess whether the amendments impact on current performance management practices’.

HBA Consulting has reviewed the changes and has set out our initial thoughts about some key areas for consideration by Agencies as they plan their next steps to align their current policies, procedures and support for supervisors and employees with the Directions.

The three key areas where we suggest that Agencies thinking initially focus are:

  • Testing that the assumption inherent in the Directions that the requisite links to ensure that good individual performance management can rely on a robust and well communicated ‘whole of organization’ performance framework (i.e. strategic and business planning) being in place, understood, actively managed, analysed and reported on do currently exist.
  • That any changes to the implementation and operations of performance management must clearly separate the processes for performance management and feedback from the underperformance process. Putting them together is not optimal in our opinion
  • That Probation programs need to be taken very seriously and actively managed right from day one. From our experience this isn’t typically the ‘norm’. To assist, HR has a vital coaching, mentoring and advising role for supervisors during this time.

Our thought piece on Performance Management and the new APS Commissioner’s Directions can be found at
You can get more detailed information of the new Australian Public Service Commissioner's directions and our key considerations for agencies, in the following PPT.



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