The federal public service plans to build a reserve of staff available for redeployment to agencies in need of support for critical tasks as the government responds to the COVID-19 crisis.
Bureaucracy leaders want federal agencies to keep moving staff to areas of need after thousands of public servants were seconded to help Services Australia process a surge of welfare claims early in the pandemic.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Phil Gaetjens and Australian Public Service commissioner Peter Woolcott flagged in an open letter to federal bureaucrats on Friday that more staff redeployments could be ahead.
"Building on the successful mobilisation of staff to meet crisis needs over the last few months, we are developing a proposal for an APS 'surge reserve' that will enable APS volunteers to be deployed to a range of critical functions as required," they wrote.
The two senior federal bureaucrats released the letter after the board of Commonwealth public service secretaries met to discuss the next stage of the APS reform agenda announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison in December.
The Secretaries Board, which is steering the reforms, agreed to prioritise initiatives that built on the best of the public service's work during the coronavirus crisis and that delivered high impact changes announced last year.
"This reform in practice will ensure that we keep supporting Australia's response to and recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, while building long-term APS capability," Mr Gaetjens and Mr Woolcott said.
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The letter said the public service's first priority was to keep supporting Australia's COVID-19 response and recovery.
"To be most effective, we must work together and act as an APS enterprise," it said.
"No single agency can drive recovery or deliver major government priorities alone. We must continue to share data, flexibly move people where they are most needed, and collaborate early on policy or implementation challenges."
Mr Gaetjens and Mr Woolcott said a committee of chief operating officers would oversee the mobilisation of public servants to areas of critical need.
The senior bureaucrats said an upcoming workforce strategy would outline the capabilities needed to support the government's focus on economic recovery and other priorities.
The letter said there would be a public service-wide approach to IT reforms and investment, informed by a targeted review of the bureaucracy's digital needs and risks.
"We will support sensible prioritisation of new investments, where possible building and reusing common digital platforms that support APS interoperability while providing effective and efficient solutions," it said.
The plan to establish a "surge reserve" of staff follows the redeployment of thousands of public servants from across the bureaucracy to Services Australia and other agencies responding to the pandemic.