The Australian Public Service Commission's Delivering for Tomorrow: APS Workforce Strategy 2025 states that the Australian Public Service (APS) will continue to deploy a flexible approach to resourcing that strikes a balance between a core workforce of permanent public servants and the selective use of external expertise. This will mean a continuing mixed workforce approach, where APS employees and non-APS workers are used to deliver outcomes within agencies. In this context, the strategy highlights the value of ensuring that agencies take a structured approach to the use of non-APS employees.

In a series of three performance audits, the ANAO has examined the arrangements established by Services Australia, the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Department of Defence for the use, engagement and management of contractors against the same audit objective and criteria.

High-level observations made in this audit series — and key messages for all APS agencies — focus on: data availability and transparency issues relating to the contractor workforce; and the application of ethical and personnel security requirements to the contractor workforce.

These high-level observations and key messages have been outlined in chapter five of each report: