Commissioner

Bronwen Overton-Clarke - Commissioner for Public Administration

Phone: +61 2 620 50358

About the Commissioner

The office of the Commissioner for Public Administration (Commissioner) is established under section 18 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 img-icn-extlink (the PSM Act). The Chief Minister has responsibility for appointing a Commissioner.

Historically, the office of the Commissioner has been characterised as a part-time office, with the Commissioner concurrently holding the position of Deputy Director-General, Workforce Capability and Governance Division, Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate. This concurrent arrangement has been in place since February 2006 and replicates the model used between 1995 and 1999 where a senior executive with directorate responsibilities also held the office of Commissioner.

The office of the Commissioner does not have staff with discrete responsibility for supporting the office. Instead the Commissioner relies on the capacity of the staff of the Workforce Capability and Governance Division, and in particular the Public Sector Management Group, to support the office.

Roles and Functions

Division 3.2 of the PSM Act outlines the central functions of the Commissioner, which are to:

  • advise the Chief Minister on the management of the service as a whole (section 20);
  • exercise any other functions given to the commissioner by this Act or any other law (section 20);
  • authorise management reviews in relation to the service or functions of the service, in whole or in part (section 21) and
  • conduct inspections, or make inquiries, or investigations into the operations of government agencies, for the
    purpose of carrying out the Commissioner's functions.

To assist in the management of the service as a whole, the Commissioner holds other powers and functions under the PSM Act and Public Sector Management Standards img-icn-extlink (PSM Standards). These powers and functions relate to the operation of the public service. Amongst other things, these include the power to:

  • prepare statements on equal opportunity, access and equity and industrial democracy programs for the service;
  • identify an office and redeploy an officer, in certain circumstances;
  • make PSM Standards; and
  • declare any day to be observed as a public holiday by employees of the ACTPS.

The PSM Act also requires the Head of Service and/or the head of a territory instrumentality to consult with the Commissioner on a number of matters before the Head of Service or the head of a territory instrumentality may exercise his/her powers in relation to these matters, including:

  • the reappointment of a person whose employment was previously ended during probation;
  • the engagement of certain former officers;
  • the engagement of certain former retired officers; and
  • the engagement of certain former officers, executives and Directors-General within a specific period.


In addition to the powers of the Commissioner under the PSM Act and Standards, the Commissioner has functions under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012img-icn-extlink, the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 (Cth)img-icn-extlink, the Commissioner for the Environment Act 1993img-icn-extlink, the Freedom of Information Act 1989img-icn-extlink, and the Legal Aid Act 1977img-icn-extlink. The Commissioner also has powers under ACTPS Enterprise Agreements made under the Commonwealth's Fair Work Act 2009img-icn-extlink. The powers of the Commissioner under such Agreements include the power to:

  • issue guidelines on salary packaging for the ACTPS;
  • establish and approve a panel of providers to undertake internal reviews or to chair appeal panels ARIP Matrix final (Word 27KB). The current panel operates from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2020. For further information on the panel please contact Workforce Capability and Governance, CMTEDD; and
  • approve enhanced rates of pay, through a Special Employment Arrangement, in excess of 50% of the officers
    existing annual salary.

As Enterprise Agreements, Australian Workplace Agreements and Awards are made under Commonwealth legislation, their terms and conditions prevail over ACT legislation to the extent of any inconsistency. This means that in some instances, they impact on the powers of the Commissioner provided under the PSM Act and PSM Standards.

Commissioner's Responsibilities

Employment responsibilities

The Commissioner is responsible for maintaining the core employment rules for the ACTPS through the PSM Act and PSM Standards. The Commissioner is authorised to make PSM Standards under Section 251 of the PSM Act, subject to the agreement of the Chief Minister.

While general employment terms and conditions are regulated by the PSM Act and Standards, Enterprise Agreements and Awards made under the Fair Work Act 2009img-icn-extlink may also provide for terms and conditions of employment. Such Agreements override the PSM Act and PSM Standards to the extent of any inconsistency.

Public Interest Disclosures

The Commissioner is defined as a government agency under thePublic Interest Disclosure Act 2012 (PID Act)img-icn-extlink and is therefore authorised to receive Public Interest Disclosures.

The PID Act, a general Guide to the Public Interest Disclosure Act and a Procedural Guide to actioning Public Interest Disclosures are available on our Publications page.

Territory Owned Residential Properties

Historically and for a variety of reasons the Territory has owned a number of residential properties. Over time the Territory's needs to have these residences tenanted by public servants has changed. To ensure transparency and fairness in the rental process, a number of these properties are now required to be subject to an open rental process. The Territory Owned Residential Properties Policy came into effect in August 2015.

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Statistical information about the ACT Public Service


2010-11 ACTPS Workforce Profile [icn_pdf PDF 1.3MB]

2009-10 ACTPS Workforce Profile [icn_pdf PDF 1.3MB]
2009-10 ACTPS Workforce Profile [icn_word WORD 2.1MB]

2008-09 ACTPS Workforce Profile (Supplementary Gender Analysis) [icn_pdf PDF 631KB]
2008-09 ACTPS Workforce Profile (Supplementary Gender Analysis) [icn_word WORD 1.5MB]
2008-09 ACTPS Workforce Profile [icn_pdf PDF 690KB]2008-09 ACTPS Workforce Profile [icn_word WORD 1.7MB]

Commissioner's Annual Reports

The Commissioner is also required to prepare an Annual Report in accordance with the

Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Act 2004img-icn-extlink

Instrument revoking all Commissioner Powers and Functions [icn_pdf PDF 54 KB]
Schedule of Commissioner Power and Functions [icn_pdf PDF 127 KB]


Annual Reports

2010-11 Commissioner for Public Administration Annual Report [icn_pdf PDF 1,237KB]

2009-10 Commissioner for Public Administration Annual Report [icn_pdf PDF 563KB]

2008-09 Commissioner for Public Administration Annual Report [icn_pdf PDF 1290KB]


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