APS Capability Reinvestment Fund 2024-25


The Fund

The Australian Public Service Capability Reinvestment Fund (the Fund) is an innovative approach to investing in the organisational capability of the APS.

The Fund supports our APS Reform priority to be an APS with the capability to do its job well. It focuses on the genuine systemic challenges the APS faces. It invests in initiatives to help strengthen the APS to deliver for the Australian community, now and into the future.

The Fund recognises that individual agencies cannot address common capability gaps alone. Implementing scalable activities will support all agencies to better prepare for current and future challenges.

The allocation of the Fund in 2024-25 is the second of two years of funding provided through the Capability Reinvestment Fund.

Should there be future iterations of the Capability Reinvestment Fund, these will be announced publically.

Round 2 outcomes

Nine projects involving 24 agencies will be funded as part of Round 2. Agencies are working together to design and deliver these projects over the 2024-25 financial year.

Successful Round 2 projects:

Project NameOutcomesAgencies
AI for integration and inclusion

Deliver two integrated capabilities:

  1. Co-design and testing of AI-powered tools to enhance policy development, inclusive design, and community engagement across the Australian Public Service (APS).
  2. Build foundational knowledge in using data and AI effectively, including for policy analysis and evaluation through e-learning and related resources.
DISR (lead), Treasury, ONI, PM&C, ABS, Finance, Home Affairs, DTA, Defence, DEWR, DoHAC, DSS, APSC
APS integrity data frameworkDevelop a prototype framework to better harness data to measure and monitor the effectiveness of the integrity system and the impact of reforms. The development of a framework will assist the APS in harnessing and utilising integrity data and in identifying options for further investment.AGD (lead), APSC
Uplifting APS capability to work effectively with First Nations data and evidenceDeliver workshops, collaborations and development of learning materials to enhance APS data and policy officer capabilities to understand and engage with First Nations data, knowledge and evidence.PM&C (lead), DEWR, NIAA, DoHAC, DSS, Education, DVA, AIHW, ABS
Building APS capability to draw strong policy insights through an integrated data toolRaise cross-portfolio capabilities by piloting a digital integrated map of human service delivery that will integrate multi- disciplinary data and information from a range of jurisdictions. It will better inform policy and improve decisions on which communities need interventions and support.PM&C (lead), APSC, NSW Cabinet Office, Treasury
Building safety and integrity capability across the APSBuild and strengthen integrity and psychological safety within the APS through improved understanding of psychological safety and how it can be established and maintained through behaviour and good work design. The project will target leaders to lift APS capability to improve the quality of work and work environments that support.Comcare (lead), DCCEEW, DoHAC, Defence, Education, NEMA, NIAA, Commonwealth Ombudsman, APSC
APS integrated unconscious bias training program Deliver an APS Integrated Unconscious Bias training program for an APS wide approach to mitigate the adverse impact of unconscious bias on the workplace experience of employees. Going beyond conventional approaches to unconscious bias training, this proposal seeks to embed institutional change in the APS in order to support a culturally competent and inclusive APS.NIAA (lead), PM&C, DEWR, DSS, APSC
Greening government microcredentials Develop and trial nationally focused, internationally aligned Greening Government microcredentials. This will initially be developed as a statement of attainment, building the foundation to create a nationally recognised certification.Finance(lead), DCCEEW, PM&C
Narratives of the lived experience

This project will capture the lived experience and stories of APS CALD and non-CALD employees. These de-identified stories will build our understanding of cultural diversity, communities and languages. The stories will form a suite of resources that will be shared across the APS to inform, educate and build empathy.

This project offers the prospect of long-term, iterative change. Collecting, curating and publishing the stories of our CALD and non-CALD employees within an APS Storybook will address systemic barriers to CALD employees when navigating APS workplaces and processes.

APSC (lead), Home Affairs, 
Futures exercises for developing Asia and the Pacific expertise Develop three scenario/futures exercises based on a proposed mix of in-person and virtual workshops to enhance the understanding of Asia and the Pacific, integrating domestic policy agencies into the national security conversation and developing whole-of-government responses to future challenges in the Indo-Pacific.PM&C (lead), DFAT, DCCEEW, DISR, DEWR, Home Affairs, Defence, Treasury, Finance

Department list:

Attorney General’s Department
Australian Bureau of Statistics
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare
Australian Public Service Commission
Commonwealth Ombudsman
Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water
Department of Defence
Department of Education
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations
Department of Finance
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Department of Health and Aged Care
Department of Home Affairs
Department of Industry, Science and Resources
Department of Social Services
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Department of the Treasury
Department of Veterans’ Affairs
Digital Transformation Agency
National Emergency Management Agency
National Indigenous Australians Agency
NSW Cabinet Office
Office of National Intelligence

APS capability priorities for Round 2 (2024-25)

The following areas were identified as priority areas to build APS capability for Round 2 funding. They were determined on the basis of sources such as:

  • the Audit of Employment
  • changes to the Workforce Health and Safety Regulations
  • early insights from APS Capability Reviews
  • feedback through the digital and data professions
  • the APSC Workforce Strategy Labour Insights report.

The Fund sought proposals to address these APS-wide challenges:

Capability ThemeExamples of Capabilities
Enhancing data analytic and policy integration capabilitiesApplication of data analytic capabilities and improving cross-disciplinary integration in policy analysis
Ensuring cultural and psychological safety in physical and virtual workspacesInclusive leadership | Culturally Safe Workplaces | Mental Health and Wellbeing
Adapting to a green economy workforceSustainable procurement | Green reporting | Partnering with specialists | On-boarding new specialist(s) capabilities into the APS workforce
Building APS understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) application in the public sectorLiteracy in artificial intelligence (AIQ) including, foundational understanding of benefits and limitations, prompts, maintaining awareness of the evolution of the technology and its application, (such as connections of its use across other jurisdictions), risks, ethics and quality assurance in a government administration, program or policy context.
Enhancing APS capabilities for working in Asia and the PacificContinuing to develop deeper expertise and understanding of working in the Asia and the Pacific across a range of policy areas

The APS Academy assisted agencies to align their approach with the Fund’s requirements, ensuring their proposals met project criteria and addressed identified capability needs.

Project requirements

Capability project proposals must meet all the following criteria:

  1. Be aligned to one or more of the APS Reform priorities – an APS that:
    1. embodies integrity in everything it does;
    2. puts people and business at the centre of policy and services;
    3. is a model employer; and
    4. has the capability to do its job well.
  2. Be a genuine reform activity, a novel or new piece of work or a new way of doing things. The Fund will not invest in business as usual projects or activities ordinarily undertaken by an agency.
  3. Deliver a significant capability shift to help the APS realise real benefits.
  4. Benefit from an initial funding injection to help deliver long-term, cross-agency sustainable change. The Fund will only provide a one-off funding injection.
  5. Be designed and delivered through genuine partnership. This requires engagement with other APS agencies to design and deliver the project. It also requires seeking expertise from outside the APS to bring new perspectives and/or approaches. Identify all participating parties in the project bid. Funds will be appropriated to the lead agency to manage any sub-contracting arrangements.
  6. Demonstrate project delivery and ensure agency resources are available within the stated timeframe to ensure milestones are met. The agency’s Chief Financial Officer must sign-off on the proposal.
  7. Include an evaluation plan that sets out how capability uplift will be measured and/or what success will look like at the end of the project. Iterative evaluation throughout the project is key. Early lessons will inform other agencies’ efforts.
  8. Include transparent reporting of project outcomes and publication of findings.
  9. Provide a risk and impact analysis statement (similar to an NPP).

Eligibility and funding

In 2024-25, a total of $6.5 million was made available in the Fund. There was no limit on the number of projects funded or the amount allocated to individual projects.

Projects were designed to be implemented in 2024-25.

Funding for projects was allocated to agencies during the 2024-25 Budget process, with funding available from 1 July 2024.

Projects could be delivered in partnership with other APS agencies or non-government entities. A lead agency was required to oversee project funding and reporting.

Agencies could seek funding for additional ASL in their project proposals. Funding was permitted for consultants and as long as it aligns with Government’s commitment to reduce reliance on contractors, consultants and labour hire firms.

Evaluation and Fund allocation

Applications for the Fund commenced on 1 November 2023 and closed at 5pm on 9 February 2024.

Applications were considered by an Evaluation Committee comprising of:

  • Deputy Commissioner, Australian Public Service Commission
  • General Manager, Digital Transformation Agency
  • A/g Deputy Secretary, Department of Finance
  • Chief People Officer, National Indigenous Australians Agency
  • Chief Executive Officer, Climate Change Authority
  • Director, Australian National University as a representative from an external non-government agency
  • Director, University of New South Wales as a representative from an external non-government agency.

The Evaluation Committee considered the following criteria in assessing proposals:

  1. Degree to which the project meets the selection criteria specified in these Guidelines
  2. Degree to which the project addresses the identified capability priority
  3. Value for money
  4. Degree to which the project has whole-of-service applicability
  5. Perceived capacity for the project, with its one-off funding, to make a meaningful shift in capability on the identified priority
  6. Risk of non-delivery of the project.

The Secretariat prepared advice to the Minister for the Public Service based on the outcome of the Evaluation Committee.

Successful agencies were notified in May 2024, and projects were announced as part of the 2024-25 Budget.

Successful agencies must report on project milestones to the APS Academy. The APS Academy will track delivery and consolidate reports for the executive such as the Minister/Government, Secretaries Board and APS Reform reporting as required.

Fund secretariat support

The APS Academy will provide oversight to ensure projects support service-wide capability improvement. It will monitor project delivery and provide updates to the Minister on project progress. Projects deemed to be off track may be assessed and redesigned. Funds may be repurposed in agreement with the Minister and Secretaries Board.

Under Round 1, ten projects totalling $8.4 million were funded in 2023-24, with projects commencing 1 July 2023. For more information, visit the APS Reform website.