Ready to cut some red tape? Management shows how it can be done

So why would the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) try to tell staff how to drive a car? Why would the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) expect 8 forms to be filled out to put on an afternoon tea? Why would the Department of Finance (Finance)want 11 different steps taken to move a staff member from one office to another? Answer: no good reason at all – that’s unnecessary and badly designed regulation. It’s internal red tape and APS management agrees that it’s in the way of an innovative, flexible and streamlined APS and it has to go.
Internal red tape was in the frame at the Quit the Red Tape Habit event at the National Portrait Gallery recently where Brendan Sargeant (Associate Secretary , Department of Defence), Stein Helgeby (Deputy Secretary, Finance), Sue Sinclair (Deputy Commissioner, ATO), Louise Hand (First Assistant Secretary, DFAT) and Stephanie Foster (Deputy Secretary, Australian Public Service Commission) got together with red tape quitters from across the APS to share strategies and red tape stories. An inspiring panel discussion was facilitated by journalist Virginia Haussegger.
Sue and Louise were able to show that the ATO and DFAT have and are cutting through unnecessary, burdensome regulation. Stein explored the appropriate management of risk with arrangements that reflect whether what’s at risk is a packet of Tim Tams or a multinational contract. Stephanie called on us all to stop blaming the system and challenge rules that are patently silly.
Read the article about the event in The Mandarin article.


On Monday 11 April the Institute of Public Administration Australia held an event at the National Gallery to discuss the Shergold Report: Learning from Failure featuring Professor Peter Shergold, The panel and presentations facilitated some stimulating discussion about risk, the provision of robust advice and the role of the APS in supporting decision makers. if you have a moment the full video of the event is available online-