Commonwealth of Australia 2013

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© Commonwealth of Australia 2013

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Contents 4

Introduction 5

Part One – Classification Framework 7

APS classification principles 7

Classification structure 8

Legislative framework 9

APS classification system 9

Part Two – Classification Management 14

Why is classification management important? 14

Classification responsibilities 14

Classification decisions – classifying jobs 16

Documenting classification decisions 19

Flexibility within approved classifications 20

Better Practice Case Study - ATO 21

Part Three – Work Level Standards 22

What are work level standards? 22

Key concepts 23

APS work level standards for the APS Level and Executive Level classifications 24

APS Role evaluation tool and guidance 30

APS work level standards for the SES classifications 30

Agency work level standards 31

Busting Myths 31

Part Four – Classification Management in Practice 32

Role evaluation 32

Role evaluation principles 34

Job analysis 34

Assessing a role 37

APS role evaluation tools 38

Dealing with potential sensitivities 38

Documentation 39

Busting myths 40

Part Five – Broadbanding 41

Objectives of broadbanding 41

Broadbanding and the APS classification system 41

Advantages and disadvantages of broadbanding 43

Different broadbands for different needs 44

Establishing and managing broadband arrangements 47

Documentation 50

Busting myths 52

Better Practice Case Study - DHS 53

Better Practice Case Study - FWO 55

Part Six – Training classifications 57

Benefits of using training classifications 57

Training classifications and the APS classification system 57

Different training classifications for different needs 58

Establishing and managing training classifications 60

Better Practice Case Study - ABS 63

Better Practice Case Study - BoM 64

Part Seven – Managing “Specialists” 65

The single APS classification structure 65

Managing specialist occupations 65

Better Practice Case Study - DEEWR 69


The Australian Public Service (APS) classification guide has been developed by the Australian Public Service Commission (the Commission) and provides policy guidance on determining and managing classification arrangements in the APS. This guide is current as at 1 December 2014.

How to use this guide

This guide provides general advice on workforce classification within the APS and replaces the 1992 publication Handbook of Australian Public Service Classification Management. It outlines the broad framework and principles underlying the system of classification management, and provides guidance and advice on techniques that agencies can use when putting these principles into practice.

While many of the principles and practices identified in this guide are relevant across all APS classification levels, this guide is aimed primarily at the classifications APS Levels 1-6 and Executive Levels 1-2. Information relevant to Senior Executive Service (SES) classification levels has been incorporated where appropriate.

Why have this guide?

The reform work stemming from Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for Reform of Australian Government Administration (2010) sought to clarify and align employment conditions across the APS, and in particular to ensure that non-SES classification arrangements and work level standards continued to meet the needs of APS agencies and employees. The report on the APS classification review, published in November 2012, made a series of recommendations to strengthen the integrity of the classification system and to achieve greater consistency in classification decision-making across the APS.

This guide has been developed in response to recommendations made in the APS classification review. It presents a common approach to classification management across the APS and builds on good practice already in place in many APS agencies. The opportunity is taken in this guide to share these good practice examples within a classification framework that is common to all.


This guide was prepared by the Commission’s Workforce Classification team. Major contributors were Ms. Erin Selmes, Ms. Elyse Allan, Mr. Izaac White, Ms. Louise Memmolo, and Mr. Owen Livermore.

We thank and acknowledge the contribution of agencies that participated in the APS classification review working group, and of agencies that contributed case studies for publication. Without the assistance of these agencies, the guide would not have been possible.

Further advice

Further information on classification management is available on the Commission’s website or by contacting the workforce classification team via

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