Agencies on notice

SOME government departments and agencies need to lift their game and rise to the challenge of being more transparent in the face of increased public scrutiny.

This was the advice given by WA Auditor-General and newly appointed Institute of Public Administration Australia WA president Des Pearson at a recent IPAA function.

“If you are doing the right thing its very easy to be accountable for what you are doing,” Mr Pearson said.

“The community has very high expectations of us. It also is the most informed of all time. Our community has a lot more ‘nous’ now.

“You’ve got to learn to do the right thing and to do it the right way,” he said.

Mr Pearson said one way to tackle the concerns of the public head on was to “lay all the cards on the table”.

“We’ve got to demonstrate and let it be seen that we are more responsible,” he said.

“I feel there is scope for us to demonstrate more leadership.

“We’re good at picking up an issue and developing it but we’re got to apply it to the real world.”

He said government needed to be pre-emptive rather than reactionary.

Mr Pearson also called for greater acceptance from the public sector for the need for regulations which made it more transparent.

“I see the frameworks and process as tools rather than limiting devices,” he said.

Mr Pearson also pointed out the need for agencies to communicate more with each other.

He said the biggest problem within the public service was that often “the left arm doesn’t know what the right arm is doing”.

Integration between the various agencies was needed to ensure a unified approach to issues, Mr Pearson said.

This needed to be coupled with a change in mindset from the traditional to one in line with evolving trends in governance.

It’s about pushing the parameters and looking outside the square to explore what the future might be, to anticipate it and act on it, he said.

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