Recruiting digital senior leaders

Digital delegates will participate in the selection process for senior APS digital roles, as part of the strategy to recruit leaders with qualities to lead digital and cultural transformation in government.

The APS Digital Professional Stream Strategy recognises the need to make sure the APS recruits digital professionals with relevant credentials, skills, and qualities to lead digital and cultural transformation and to professionalise and uplift the digital dexterity and capability of the APS workforce. To support this, agencies are strongly encouraged to include a digital delegate in selection processes for digital SES roles.


Parameters for determining digital roles

For this guidance, digital roles may include:

  • Chief Information Officer, Chief Digital Officer, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Information Security Officer, and related roles
  • Senior executive ICT roles (for example Head of Architecture)
  • Senior executive roles with responsibility for the delivery of major digital policy and services
  • Senior executive roles with responsibility for business or digital transformation programs
  • Any other senior executive roles that the agency identifies would require digital leadership capabilities

Digital delegate role definition

Digital delegates are identified senior APS leaders that bring relevant digital knowledge, skills, experience, and an independent perspective to selection processes for senior leadership roles. As a member of a selection panel, the digital delegate will provide advice and guidance to support the selection of individuals with the right behaviours, digital capabilities, credentials, and expertise needed to guide and drive public sector digital transformation.

Those identified as a digital delegate must have a personal and professional interest in being an expert advisor and have a strong commitment to promoting professional standards and a culture of digital adoption in the APS. 

Individuals will be assessed and approved by the Head of the Digital Profession prior to participating in a recruitment exercise as a digital delegate.

They will also play a key role in making sure the process is free from any conflict of interest, perceived bias (negative or positive), patronage or favouritism.

Where an agency is recruiting for a senior leadership role that is highly specialised, the digital delegate may seek the assistance of an industry expert or leader in the discipline or field, from within the APS or external to the APS, to assist them in their assessment of the suitability of candidates. When seeking the assistance of an external expert, the digital delegate must have regard to privacy and confidentiality and must not disclose the identity of candidates to the external expert.

Recruiting agency responsibilities

Where an agency has identified the need to undertake recruitment to fill a digital role at the SES level (or equivalent), it is highly recommended the Head of the Digital Profession or a digital delegate approved by the Head of the Digital Profession be included as a participant in the selection process.

Where appropriate, the digital delegate and the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s representative may be the same person.

Prior to advertising a vacancy for a digital role at the SES Band level, the recruiting agency must first determine if the role is a digital role in accordance with the parameters for determining digital roles. The agency should follow Digital Delegate process workflow and contact the Digital Profession to:

  • discuss the needs of the agency and review the role description; and
  • identify an appropriate digital delegate to include as a member of the selection panel.

Digital Profession responsibilities

The Digital Profession will:

  • maintain a database of APS senior leaders who can be drawn upon to be digital delegates
  • identify an appropriate digital delegate, in consultation with the Head of the Digital Profession (where a required), to participate in each selection process 
  • provide timely advice to agencies to assist them in attracting and identifying the best candidates to fill their digital leadership roles – this may include identifying potential candidates from the Digital Profession membership, or industry digital leaders.

Digital delegate process workflow

  • Step 1: Recruiting agency identifies need, develops role description and undertakes SES Redeployment Register check.
  • Step 2: Recruiting agency completes relevant sections of the Proposal of Commissioner's Representative form and forwards to along with relevant recruitment details including timeline and role description.
  • Step 3: Digital Profession identifies a senior digital leader to participate as the digital delegate (and APS Commissioner's representative where appropriate).
  • Step 4: Digital Profession seeks the agreement of the proposed digital delegate to participate in the recruitment process as a digital delegate and APS Commissioner's representative.
  • Step 5: Digital Profession completes remaining sections of the Proposal of Commissioner's Representative form and sends to APSC with supporting information for approval.
  • Step 6: APSC undertakes the SES Redeployment Register check (if not already undertaken) and completes the check number on the Proposal of the Commissioner's Representative form (if a match is found, the APSC will liaise directly with the recruiting agency prior to proceeding).
  • Step 7: APSC advises the recruiting agency and the Digital Profession of their approval of the APS Commissioner's representative.
  • Step 8: APSC contacts the recruiting agency to provide advice on the obligations and requirements for the APS Commissioner's representative.
  • Step 9: Digital Profession provides the digital delegate with details of their obligations and requirements as a representative of the Head of the Digital Profession.
  • Step 10: Recruiting agency engages with the selected representative/s to progress their involvement in the recruitment process.
  • Step 11: Delegate/representative completes required documentation and submits to APSC and the Digital Profession, in line with advised requirements.

You can also view this as a workflow in Recruiting digital senior leaders (PDF, 145 KB). 

Digital delegate certification for SES recruitment

A copy of the compliance certificate that must be submitted to the APSC and the Digital Profession is available in Recruiting digital senior leaders (PDF, 145 KB).

Get in touch

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