Calibrating Public Sector Governance: A survey of arm's-length agencies in the Australian Commonwealth Public Sector

Amanda Smullen, Paul Fawcett

    Research output: Working paper


    This report presents the Australian findings from the Calibrating Public Sector Governance (CPSG) survey. The study is timely given the Government announcement of an independent review of the Australian Public Service. The CPSG survey is an international collaboration between leading researchers in the fields of public administration and accountability from different Western countries (Australia, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom). Australia's participation is led by Dr Amanda Smullen at the Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University, and Associate Professor Paul Fawcett at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis, University of Canberra. The international project is led by Professor Thomas Schillemans at the School of Governance, Utrecht University, and has been funded by a NWO-VIDI grant (Dutch Research Council). The CPSG survey examines the public management, governance and accountability of public sector agencies in the Commonwealth Public Sector. For the purposes of this comparative research project, Australian public sector agencies are defined as distinct from portfolio departments, though they can also sometimes be located as separate organisational identities and units within departments. On this basis, we surveyed Corporate Commonwealth Entities (CCE) and Non-Corporate Commonwealth Entities (NCE) as defined by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act). These agencies often have semi-autonomous status and operate at "arm's-length" both within or from portfolio departments. Public sector agencies typically vary in their degree and type of formal autonomy—from financial autonomy through to distinct statutory responsibilities. Internationally, more than 1000 top-level managers of agencies responded to the CPSG survey.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationCanberra, Australia
    PublisherCrawford School of Public Policy
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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