The PSA recently wrote to the Public Service Commissioner, highlighting our concerns about performance management systems. We feel that when agencies implement systems aligned to the Performance Development Framework, employees may find themselves held to expectations or levels of performance that might not have been explicitly established previously.
Anecdotal evidence from delegates and members suggests performance management processes are not being consistently administered across the sector.
As performance management systems are mandated for all agencies (see HERE) the PSA is keen to see all of our members get a fair go and work on an even playing field.
The PSA’s letter to the Commissioner on 21 May 2015 proposed that, where existing positions are reassessed by agencies embedding the Capability Framework, and the employee in the position is subsequently assessed as not meeting the required capabilities, no formal performance management processes should be initiated on the basis of the established ‘role description’. This is valid for a period of six months from the date of conversion from the employee’s previous ‘statement of duties’ or ‘position description’.
The PSA believes the six-month lead time will give our members sufficient opportunity to appreciate and meet the capability requirements of their roles, and to complete any necessary training.
PSA bulletin: The Capability Framework and the Performance Development Framework
The Public Service Commission (PSC) is introducing a series of reforms, including the Capability Framework and the Performance Development Framework, which are aimed at producing a high-performance culture in the NSW public sector.
The PSA is keen to empower members and make sure that the reforms are carried out in a way that is consistent and equitable.
What is the Capability Framework?
The Capability Framework is defined in the Public Service Commission’s Circular (PSCC) 2013-09 which is available HERE.
Capabilities are the knowledge, skills, and abilities that need to be demonstrated by public sector employees to perform their roles effectively.
The Capability Framework provides a common foundation tool to support the full range of workforce management and development activities.
PSCC 2013-09 states that Agencies are expected to embed the Capability Framework in workforce management practices as soon as possible but no later than the end of the three year period beginning 9 August 2013.
The compliance level is “strongly encouraged”.
What is a role description under the Capability Framework?
A Role Description is a document that replaces a position description (see page 3 of the PSC’s “Role Description Development Guideline”, which is available HERE.
A role description contains the capabilities (and level descriptors) required of an employee and serves a range of workforce management purposes, including:
- the basis for job evaluation;
- a source of information for job applicants (both internal and external to the public sector);
- the basis for deciding the capability levels to be assessed in recruiting to a role;
- a reference point for performance agreements and reviews;
- a starting point for identification of learning and development activities; and
- a basis for staff to assess potential next career steps, through comparison of requirements.
The PSC has provided the following tools and resources for analysing your role description:
When will the Capability Framework commence in your agency?
While each agency is required to transition to the Capability Framework by 9 August 2016, this will not happen concurrently for all agencies.
With guidance from the Public Service Commission, each agency will work independently to develop Capability Framework-based role descriptions.
If you don’t currently have a role description in your agency, you and your manager will base your Performance Agreement (explained later in this document) on your position description or statement of duties, as well as other relevant organisational plans (or in the case of School and Administrative Support Staff, your School Plan).
How will the Capability Framework affect your job security?
The Government Sector Employment Act (the GSE) shifts the focus to employees no longer holding positions but having “roles”.
The Capability Framework is the foundation Framework which creates a mechanism for NSW public sector agencies to assess your capabilities and govern how mobile and flexible you can be in your “ongoing role”.
An employee under the former Public Sector Employment and Management Act 2002 held a “permanent position”, whereas the same employee under the terms of the Government Sector Employment Act 2013, holds an “ongoing role”.
While the Capability Framework could be seen as a neutral and benign way of describing the capabilities you need in your role, it is a new mechanism which allows your agency to move you from one role to another.
What is the Performance Development Framework?
Please refer to page 2 of the Public Service Commission’s “Performance Development Framework”, available HERE.
According to legislation, all public sector agencies must have a performance management system that meets essential elements and guidelines set by the Public Service Commissioner.
The Performance Development Framework contains these guidelines and sets the approach for managing all aspects of employee performance in the NSW public sector.
The Framework consists of six components that develop employee capabilities and link individual and team efforts and performance with the objectives and performance of their organisations.
Why are NSW public sector agencies introducing Performance Management Systems?
Under Section 67 of the GSE, agency heads are required to implement a Performance management system.
Further instruction from the Public Service Commission provides a deadline of 1 July 2015.
Compliance level is “mandatory”. This information is provided in the Public Service Commission’s Circular (PSCC) 2013-06
What are Performance Agreements and Reviews?
The Public Service Commission’s “Managing for Performance: Guide for Managers” (available HERE) advises that “Performance agreements are likely to vary in title and structure from agency to agency.They are developed collaboratively between the employee and their manager, and are used to record the performance objectives for the upcoming period and results of the formal performance review” (page 32).
Formal performance reviews are usually held once or twice yearly, in addition to the regular monitoring and ongoing feedback to employees that is given on a daily basis.
Performance Reviews should be based on Performance Agreements.
How does your agency’s Performance Management System relate to the Capability Framework?
In order for you and your manager to negotiate a “Performance Agreement”, you will need to understand what capabilities you need in your role and how you can demonstrate them.
The Capability Framework contains 16 core capabilities on which all roles in the NSW are based. Your updated “role description” contains the focus capabilities (and level of capabilities) you need to demonstrate.
If some agencies have position descriptions and statement of duties, while others have updated to “role descriptions”, does this create a level playing field for all NSW public sector employees?
The PSA is closely monitoring developments to ensure that you and all employees are treated in a fair, consistent and equitable way. We are keeping in touch with delegates and asking questions of agencies at Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) meetings.
For more information about the Capability Framework and the Performance Development Framework, please go to the Public Service Commission’s (PSC’s) Employment Portal.
All PSA members are encouraged to read the Public Service Commission’s information about the Capability Framework and the Performance Development Framework through the PSC’s Employment Portal.