All tied up: Red Tape Submission

The Chief Executive Officer Working Group for Public Sector Efficiency is conducting a review into the potential Red Tape Reduction in the public sector. The group are due to report in October and invited submissions from stakeholders and the public to inform this work.

With the input of members, the CPSU/CSA made a submission to the Working Group which highlighted the benefits of appropriate regulation and identified potential solutions in the areas of recruitment and procurement.

The submission canvassed: a uniform Code of Conduct, leadership, disciplinary processes, information and communication technology, duplication, silos, information sharing, employee engagement, annual reports, recruitment and procurement processes, principles for regulation and reducing red tape over time.

One of the key issues we canvassed was the ‘seven layers of sign-off’ that members often report as a frustration.

Administrative decision making processes within the public sector are perhaps the most burdensome to members who continue to be frustrated by the inertia and significant delays within agencies due to the regulatory burden of overly complicated delegation schedules.

A source of continual frustration for CPSU/CSA membership as well as members of the public, are the lengthy delays which are caused in part by the many layers of responsibility which are prescribed in each agency’s Delegations Schedule.  Referred to colloquially as the “seven layers of sign-off”, employees whose Job Descriptions Forms expect and allow them to exercise the degree of knowledge, skill and care required for certain decisions are prevented from working to their capability due to these overly prescriptive and risk-averse Delegations Schedules.  The practical result is that completed work tends to reach a roadblock while waiting for approval and when this approval is provided, it is often a case of the relevant decision-maker having to approve multiple bodies of work at once and giving only cursory attention to what is before them.  

We proposed a re-assessment of delegations schedules of each agency to see if the chain of approvals can be reduced or simplified.

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