In 2010 the Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate (then known as the Chief Minister's Department) and unions covering clerical, professional, technical and general staff reached an agreement to conduct a review of ACTPS classification structures and salaries.
The aims of the Review are:
a) Achieve greater consistency across the ACT Public Service (ACTPS) in classifying positions and to improve wage equity between positions having equivalent work level standards and work value requirements;
b) Facilitate recruitment to the ACTPS by making the competencies, qualifications and remuneration levels for ACTPS vacancies more accessible, and intelligible, to potential applicants;
c) Improve mobility within the ACTPS by removing structural barriers;
d) Accommodate the changing needs of a modern public sector workforce, including the consideration of the most effective way of moving to a single salary spine; and
e) Rationalise and simplify the classification structure for the ACTPS, which currently includes 236 classifications, in order to improve administrative efficiency.
Consistent with the agreement with the unions, the work of the project will initially focus on trades, technical/professional, and health professional and legal professional fields. However the full scope of the project extends to cover other key employment groups, including Administrative Services Officers, Information Technology Officers, Correctional Officers, Public Affairs Officers, and Disability Services Officers, and many others as well.
The following classifications are excluded from the review:
• Statutory Office Holders, Directors-General, Executives, Bus Drivers, Transport Officers, Teachers, Ambulance
Officers, Fire Brigade Officers, Medical Officers and Nursing Staff.
There are five elements of the Review which will be completed in the order listed.
• Element 1 - Recommend the most effective way of creating a new vocational stream structure
• Element 2 - Recommend appropriate market based salary levels for each proposed vocational stream
• Element 3 - Consider the most effective way of moving to a single salary spine for the ACTPS
• Element 4 - Simplify and reduce current classifications wherever possible
• Element 5 - Recommend an implementation process and related transitional arrangements
Independent consultants have been engaged to carry forward major aspects of the project.
Tim O’Shea and Ann Smith of Black Circle Pty Ltd started full-time work on the project on 27 April 2011.
The consultants’ Interim Report on Element 1 was finalised on 20 July 2011.
The consultants issued a draft Element 2 report on 15 December 2011, and sought feedback from the Advisory Panel. A revised report that takes into account this feedback has now been issued.
In their Element 2 report, the consultants have:
• recommended that the ACTPS retain a two-tiered approach to wage determination –
• recommended changes to attraction and retention incentive arrangements (SEAs);
• assessed the current level of wages in comparable labour markets including the APS, the ACT private sector for the building and construction industry, professional engineers, ICT professionals, hospital pharmacists, professional scientists, allied health professionals, medical imaging professionals, etc;
• proposed benchmarks against which the adequacy of current pay rates for employment categories connected to the Canberra public sector labour market, and suggested what would constitute fair market rates for these and other employment categories;
• highlighted key segments of the labour market with which the ACTPS must maintain competitiveness, and proposed related salary benchmarks to be adopted as part of a future remuneration policy;
• on the basis of market data, recommended that the shared salary spine extend from $38,010 to approximately $128,335.
In an initial exposure draft of their Element 3 report, issued on 23 December 2011, the consultants:
• examined UK and Australian experiences of building and using shared salary spines;
• examined overseas and Australian experience with job evaluation systems;
• distilled from this research useful parameters for creating a shared salary spine;
• identified the most reliable kinds of job evaluation systems;
• proposed several compensable factors upon which a new ACTPS job evaluation system should be based;
• proposed a common 11-band classification structure spanning all four career clusters;
• proposed a shared salary scale of 55 points – five pay points for each of the 11 classification levels – that takes into account benchmarks proposed in Element 2;
• proposed indicative translation points, based on meeting the benchmarks proposed in Element 2;
• made particular recommendations in connexion with the specific cases of: trainees, apprentices and cadets; beginning professionals; and the competencies required for work in the administrative and senior officer employment categories.
One of the consultants and an officer form Chief Minister and Cabinet Directorate held a series of small group meetings with union and agency representatives:
7 February - CEPU – Electrical, CEPU – Plumbing, CFMEU – jointly
8 February - HSU; CPSU
9 February - AWU, APESMA – jointly; ACT Health, TAMS, JACS
22 February - AMWU
The meetings provided an initial opportunity for the consultant to explain the material covered by the report, its connexion to Elements 1 and 2, to answer questions from stakeholders, and to hear preliminary feedback.
Written feedback has been received from APESMA, CEPU (Plumbing), HSU East, CPSU, CMCD, ACT Health, JACS and TAMS. The issues raised in written submissions and in the Advisory Panel meeting held on 23 February will be addressed in the final version of the Element 3 report.
Finalisation of the Review
The consultancy phase of the project is expected to conclude in mid March 2012.