EP#1:  COVID 19 response accelerating reform of the Australian Public Service – with Peter Woolcott AO and Katherine Jones PSM.


The Covid 19 pandemic is forcing the Australian Public Service to move quickly in support of the Australian government agenda.

In our first episode of Work with Purpose contentgroup founder and CEO David Pembroke sits down with Peter Woolcott AO and Katherine Jones.

Peter is the current Australian Public Service Commissioner. Having a highly distinguished career prior to this role, serving as Australia’s High Commissioner to New Zealand (2016–2017), Ambassador for the Environment (2014–16), Permanent Representative to the UN in Geneva and Ambassador for Disarmament (2010–2014), Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues (2009), and Ambassador to Italy (2004–2007). Most recently he served as Chief of Staff to the former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Katherine is the Deputy Secretary of Business Services at the Department of Finance since October 2017. Prior to commencing this role Katherine leads corporate and ICT services in the Department where her responsibities are for the provision of facilities and onlines services for Ministers Members of Parliament and across government as well as business services for government departments through the Service Delivery Office.

Katherine is also the Chair of the Whole of Government Chief Operating Officer committee that was set up to deliver the Australian Government’s reform of the Public service following the recent Thodey review.

Discussed in this episode:

  • When COVID-19 was first on their radar
  • Where their focus has been the last month
  • Managing personal experiences whilst delivering and working from home
  • The secretaries board being a key communication system 
  • Issues APSC are dealing with during this time
  • How this pandemic is driving reforms