Reforming executive structures

Major reforms to the executive structures of the NSW Public Service have been introduced under the GSE Act. The Chief Executive Service, the eight-level Senior Executive Service, and the award-based three-level Senior Officers, – and equivalent positions – have been replaced by a single executive structure, with common employment arrangements, including standard employment contracts.

The title of Secretary has replaced Director-General for heads of departments, and the executive structure has just four levels:

  • Band 4 – Department Secretaries
  • Band 3 – Deputy Secretaries
  • Band 2 – Executive Directors
  • Band 1 – Directors.

The titles for the bands will be appropriate for almost all senior executive roles in the NSW Public Service.

Under the GSE Act, a Secretary is the employer of senior executives in their department and in the executive agencies related to the department. The head of a separate public service agency is the employer of the senior executives in their agency.

Public service agencies are to apply consistent design principles in developing their new senior executive structures. The principles include reducing executive management layers, minimising intra-band reporting (executives reporting to the same band) and having appropriate executive spans of control (number of staff reporting directly to the executive).

Implementation of the reforms is directed at optimising executive structures in the NSW Public Service. For example, consistent classification of and remuneration for common roles across the Public Service should facilitate greater mobility of executives. Fewer reporting layers and broader spans of control are expected to encourage streamlined decision making and make accountabilities clear.

Almost all agencies have supplied their required initial implementation plan for effective transition and are on track to transition to the new arrangements by February 2017 at the latest. Table 6 shows the number of executives engaged under the new structure by June 2014.

Table 6: Number of executives transitioning to the new structure

Table 6 shows that as at June 2014 49 executives transitioned to the new structure, with 2,327 to transition in future. This brings the total number of executives at June 2014 to 2,376.

With new executive structures in place, secretaries and the heads of separate agencies will be able to manage their structures, roles and workforce within the new legislative framework without any requirement to seek agreement from the Public Service Commissioner on matters such as the number of executive roles or the structures within which those roles are located.

It is also intended that the Health Executive Service, Police Senior Executive Service and Transport Senior Service align with the GSE Act and transition to these arrangements, ensuring a consistent approach across the whole government sector.

Details of the new structure are included earlier in this report, in NSW public sector at a glance.

The Public Service Commission acknowledges the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which our office stands.