Australia's top public servant says he expects the APS to maintain the "quantum leap" it has made during the COVID-19 pandemic to improve service into the future.
Speaking on the Institute of Public Administration Australia Work with Purpose podcast, Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Philip Gaetjens said the public service would need to continue to be "more agile and nimble" to be able to respond to Australia's needs.
Asked to reflect on how the public service was living up to Prime Minister Scott Morrison's six guideposts he announced last year for the APS to live by, Mr Gaetjens said the pandemic had demonstrated the way public servants were delivering for Australians.
The pandemic had created a situation like nothing Mr Gaetjens had ever seen in his 40 year public service career, he said, with large scale redeployments and the delivery of programs such as JobKeeper.
"There has been a commitment by APS members, whether they're working at home or at work, or in fact, if they've been redeployed to do other things, there's a commitment to actually provide the output," Mr Gaetjens said, referencing data that some public service areas had increased productivity working from home.
Mr Gaetjens said the public service, having made a "quantum leap" in how it operated, would not return to business as usual after the pandemic.
"I think one of the ways we're going to do that is because we're going to follow what's happening in the rest of the country," he said.
"I think the pandemic has actually changed social, business and work life forever. We don't have to hop on a plane every day. We can transfer things electronically so that we can see written material. We can see each other over videos.
"It's not just been one area or one section doing it. Everyone's had to do it and they will recall their own experiences."
Mr Gaetjens said the APS would continue to be driven by data when establishing and implementing new policies.
He said the pandemic had highlighted the need for efficient sharing of data between governments and foreshadowed the Data Availability and Transparency Bill, if passed, would assist in this outcome.