In 2005-06, 8 percent of the Federal Government workforce was staffed by non-APS employees at a cost to the taxpayer of $2.2 billion. This market is BIG - and growing fast. However, it is also a market that needs some serious management attention according to the the National Audit Office.
The ANAO recently tabled its report on the use of workers who are not full time public servants.
The ANAO reviewed the use of non-APS workers in all sectors, including casual employees, fixed-term employees, labour hire employees and contractors. The review excluded outsourced service providers, consultants, and workers covered under specific legislation.
The review did not look at ICT contractors specifically, but Intermedium's independent research reveals that during the same period, $430 million (about 20% of the total ANAO estimate) can be attributed to ICT contractors. In addition, the ICT contracting market is growing fast with 40% growth in contract value over the last three years.
The ANAO made the following conclusions:
- "The broader changes to the Australian workforce are beginning to have a significant impact on the makeup of the workforce of Australian Government Agencies.” It is likely that the engagement of non-APS workers, will be an ongoing feature for future public administration. This will be as an embedded element within the workforce rather than an adjunct.
- "Agency requirements for non-APS workers should be considered at both strategic and operational levels”. Some agencies indicated that even though the use of non-APS workers is a growing trend, they do not routinely gather or analyse data relevant to that area of their workforce. ANAO concluded “there is significant scope for agencies to integrate their use of non-APS workers into their workforce planning process”.
- While ANAO accepted that “there were certain practises that assisted achieving value for money”, there were numerous deviations from the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines. ANAO reported there were “significant opportunities” for agencies to review and amend procedures.