[Originally published on the Australian Government Public Sector Innovation Network under a Creative Commons 3.0 BY AU licence]
There is a lot of innovation that happens in the public sector, but sometimes it can be very difficult to know or hear about it. To help address this, the APS Innovation Action Plan noted that awards to celebrate and share innovations from Australia’s public sector are important. They help others to see how innovation can be introduced and provide models for others to adopt.
The Action Plan noted that, beginning in 2011, innovative public sector projects, initiatives or change processes would be assessed for recognition as part of the annual Prime Minister’s Awards for Excellence in Public Sector Management.
On 1 December the awards, including the inaugural innovation awards, were presented at an event hosted by the Institute of Public Administration of Australia (IPAA) ACT Division.
In the words of the IPAA ACT President, Secretary Andrew Metcalfe “These are Australia’s most prestigious awards for the efforts of public servants. They are supported by the Prime Minister, and in past years the awards have been presented by senior ministers or the head of the Prime Minister’s department. Nominations are received from all tiers of government, and the judging is rigorous and intense. The judging panel for the awards include former departmental Secretaries and leading academics and business figures. The award winners represent the very best of Australia’s public services”. 1
The winners of the Inaugural Innovation Awards were:
- Department of Human Services: Small Business Superannuation Clearing House – For a program that was technically difficult, managed within a short timeframe, and demonstrated thinking outside the square with robust learning opportunities
- Australian Taxation Office: The Community Programs Project – For a program that will have wider Service application outside of this agency – and creating potential for across government – building of social inclusion.
You can find information about the other winners and nominees for the awards in the Awards booklet. So have a look at these examples of excellence in the public sector and join us in congratulating those involved.