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From the beginning of the

partnership between Jawun and

the Australian Public Service

(APS), the APS was looking at

the big picture. ‘We were thinking

about what it was that we, as a

public service, could contribute

to Jawun and what benefit we

could receive in return,’ said

Katherine Power, Director of

Talent Strategies, Australian Public

Service Commission (APSC).

In 2011, the APS piloted the Jawun

program with 11 high-performing,

relatively senior Australian

public servants participating in

secondments. The pilot was

designed to achieve three


• positive outcomes for

Indigenous communities

• increased cultural

awareness and personal

development for APS


• increased cultural

awareness and broader

awareness of Indigenous

matters for APS agencies.

‘We saw it as a two-way program

from the time we piloted,’

Katherine explained. ‘The first

objective was around making

a contribution to Indigenous

organisations. But it was also

important to us that we could

offer employees personal and

professional development,

and then experience those

ongoing, APS-wide benefits from

increased cultural awareness.

We always felt the program

enabled us both to give and to

get some benefits back.’

Immediately following the pilot,

the APSC conducted an evaluation,

consisting of surveys sent to

secondees and their managers,

to measure whether the three

objectives had been met. ‘We

wanted to check that the program

would, in fact, deliver the benefits

that we expected,’ said Katherine.

‘As a public service, we believe

it’s really important that any

investment in development is

delivering benefits. We spend

public money so every dollar spent

counts. It’s our strong philosophy

that we need to evaluate to make

sure our programs are being

delivered as expected.’

The pilot evaluation confirmed

positive outcomes from the

Jawun program against all three

objectives, and the APS committed

to a five-year partnership. Since

2011, the APSC has conducted two

further evaluations: one at the two-

year mark, and one the following

year. Going forward, evaluations

will be conducted annually. ‘We

check in with secondees and their

managers up to six months after

their secondment ends,’ explained

Katherine. ‘And then all the data is

pulled together on an annual basis.

This year we also surveyed agency

coordinators to understand

the value for agencies, so we’ll

effectively get a 360-degree view.’

The evaluation findings are shared

at senior levels of the public

service. ‘Agencies and senior

leaders have a genuine interest in

understanding the results from the

program,’ Katherine said. ‘It also

keeps us focused on making sure

the learning is translating from the

secondment to the workplace.’

‘You can see the value [of the

program] for secondees and the

APS is increasing over time,’ said

Naomi Jeacle, Jawun Program

Manager at the APSC. ‘Around

16 new agencies came on board

this year, and more are looking

to come on board in 2016.’ The

APSC believes the increasing

interest in the program is mainly

due to word of mouth. ‘Secondees

are coming back and spreading

the word about these amazing

experiences they’re having on the

program. And managers are seeing

the value for their employees and

pushing it internally,’ said Naomi.

Katherine agreed: ‘We know that

the Jawun program offers really

powerful, in many instances quite

transformational learning for

individuals and that translates

back into the workplace.’

How the APS evaluates capability

growth through secondments


Finn Pratt AO PSM (Secretary

of the Department of

Social Services and

Jawun Board member)

with Desree Simon at the

Werlemen Girls Program,

East Kimberley, 2011.

Photo: Daniel Linnet,

Linnet Foto