Professor John Wanna, School of Politics & International RelationsANU College of Arts & Social Sciences.

Professor John Wanna, School of Politics & International RelationsANU College of Arts & Social Sciences.

Labor's leadership spill has done nothing to provide certainty to the public sector, which has been left in a state of flux over the government's inability to instil confidence in the people who work for it.

The Australian Public Service has been operating in a quasi shutdown mode for some time as the government lurches from one crisis to another.

Reaffirming Julia Gillard's position as Prime Minister will not change the mood in the public service, according to those experts close to the sector.

Australian National University politics professor John Wanna said he believed the Commonwealth public service has been confused for too long.

''I think they've been all at sea since the end of 2009 because of the dysfunction inside the federal Labor Party,'' Professor Wanna said.

''There are only a few ministers doing a competent job and the rest are going from crisis to crisis and that is not an easy place for the public service to be in.

''There is a lack of strategic thinking within government and that has filtered down to the public service. There is almost day-to-day uncertainty at not knowing what's coming next.''

Fellow ANU politics professor John Uhr said a return to Kevin Rudd as prime minister would have provided no more security for the public service.

''We don't know what the Rudd team would look like and so the public service has no idea what to expect,'' Professor Uhr said.

''There would hopefully have been a bit of opportunity for deep learning on both sides, because the public service has experience with Kevin as prime minister and maybe he has had time to reconsider his forcefulness with how he dealt with it.''

The Canberra Times has learnt that federal government departments are being tasked with producing case studies to back up Labor's policies as the election draws nearer.

A survey of contacts across five Commonwealth departments has revealed case studies have become a priority for public servants, even to the detriment of other policy work normally deemed more important.

"Case studies are often part of our work and always in an election year before it goes into caretaker mode,'' one source said. ''But this year is different because we know the election date yet we're not in caretaker mode.

"That means we're doing case studies that are likely to be used as ammunition for the government when the campaign officially starts."

But ANU political lecturer Andrew Hughes said that case studies were ''really bipartisan kind of work and they get dragged out when the public service is in shut-down mode''.

''No one will lose heads over case studies,'' Mr Hughes said.

Professor Uhr said the government of the day was always good at using public servants to back up its arguments.

''The public service is the biggest public asset the government has and it would be sensible to use it as creatively as possible,'' he said.

''On the other hand the public service has a code and duty not to be partisan. It can be a fine line in the execution.''

In January, Ms Gillard made the unusual move of announcing an election date eight months in advance.

She said Australians would go to the polls on September 14, with Parliament to be dissolved and election writs issued on August 12.

While she insisted the move was not meant to "start the nation's longest election campaign" it is clear that both sides of politics have ramped up their electioneering.

Another senior public servant said other work had been pushed aside to increase the number and types of case studies being commissioned. "We've been reduced to case studies," he said, "when there is a lot of policy work we could be getting on with."

According to other sources, the Parliamentary Library is currently "experiencing a massive increase" in approaches from government ministers' offices seeking information.

"That's because the government is at the point of trusting the public service less and less," one said.

"Ministers don't trust their departments not to leak against them, so whenever they can they are going directly to the Parliamentary Library for information and research."

All MPs can use the library but ministers generally use their departments more.