The making of a modern auditor-general

Integrity has guided the way in which for Margaret Crawford PSM, the primary girl in NSW to move the company answerable for public sector accountability all through the state.

Throughout her profession, she has excelled in a vary of numerous businesses and departments, and throughout all three ranges of authorities. Here, the general public sector chief shares the story of her skilled journey and the issues she realized alongside the way in which.

Crawford can nonetheless recall her induction as a junior public servant working within the grand establishment that’s the State Library of Victoria within the coronary heart of Melbourne.

“I began, completely, on the backside,” Crawford informed The Mandarin.

“I cherished it from the day I walked in, and proceed to like the general public service right this moment.”

As a graduate-entry VPS, Crawford was answerable for working the library’s administrative companies. She continued finding out whereas in that job, acquiring a graduate diploma that led her on to her subsequent position at what was then referred to as the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation.

An avid hockey participant with a ardour for all sports activities, Crawford stated she very practically turned a bodily training trainer however was persuaded by her mother and father to go to school and as a substitute pursue a profession in public service.

Her ardour for sport influenced a lot of her early profession choices within the VPS however when Crawford didn’t land a senior place in that division, the skilled disappointment turned a catalyst for extra thrilling issues.

“I spent a little bit of time in regional Victoria, in Shepparton, as a recreation marketing consultant, after which I went again to town and headed up the health and wholesome life-style unit in Sport & Rec,” the now auditor common for NSW stated.

“Then I missed out on a job that I actually needed, which was to be the top of sport in Victoria. It was fortunate I missed out on that job as a result of it meant that I moved sideways into the Department of Premier & Cabinet in Victoria, and that basically opened up my eyes and my alternatives simply began to broaden out from there.”

In 1991, Crawford helped to ascertain a model new playing regulator, which was then referred to as the Victorian Casino and Gaming Authority. She continued to check whereas there, ever dedicated to a development mindset and labored in direction of her MBA, which she earned in two years.

“After my MBA, I used to be prepared for my subsequent transfer and, once more, I missed out on a job in Victoria with VicRoads,” she stated.

“There was a job marketed on the RTA in Sydney — very comparable — so I assumed, ‘Oh, nicely, if Victoria doesn’t need me, possibly I ought to go to NSW’. So I moved into the previous RTA and ran their driver licensing registration system, and likewise there the regulation of heavy autos.”

Crawford displays her profession trajectory would in all probability make way more sense in hindsight than it did on the time. And she will level to a number of moments the place a missed alternative she had her sights set on, really noticed her discover higher jobs that stretched her abilities and challenged her in the way in which she wanted.

At the RTA, for instance, Crawford says she spent 4 years captivated with vans and heavy car regulation till she was headhunted by the Brisbane City Council to manage its mammoth customer-facing companies.

“Even although the content material space in each [different public service role] was completely new to me, the actual set of capabilities or abilities wanted to do the job was the commonality,” Crawford stated.

“Things like understanding massive programs, having the ability to work with a massive workforce, having the ability to assess and deal straight with prospects, being empathetic and perceive their wants, and clearly understanding authorities having the ability to present clear, authoritative recommendation to ministers, have been the type of abilities that have been frequent all through all of these roles.”

In Queensland, Crawford’s position reported to the CEO and was answerable for the working of a division. She labored for the Brisbane Council for 5 and a half years, overseeing 32 libraries, a main name centre, parking inspectors, canine catchers, in addition to park and gardens personnel.

After some self-interrogation, Crawford realised regardless of loving the work and her crew, it was time to strive one thing new. She couldn’t afford to attend within the wings for a promotion to materialise and so went in search of a position with simply as a lot operational breadth however in Canberra.

That’s how she ended up working because the chief working officer of the federal company which has led the way in which in customer-centric companies — the ATO.

“Then I used to be approached to return to Victoria to move up the general public housing division — that was type of housing, social housing and homelessness,” Crawford stated.

“It was simply the topic space, or the content material, that was completely different in every position. That [has been] the thrilling factor [about my career] — studying about new actions of authorities or service supply, and changing into captivated with new subjects.”

Such a distinctive breadth of numerous company and division experiences throughout jurisdictions can also be what makes Crawford so nicely positioned to discharge the duties of her present position auditing state our bodies in NSW.

“Each transition stretches you,” she stated.

“As it has turned out, my position now could be to scrutinise how authorities does issues, and I discover that just about the whole lot that I’m , I’ve had some expertise with over time which I deliver now to this position.”

Crawford was a recipient of the Public Service Medal (PSM) on this yr’s Australia Day honours. She was recognised for her excellent public service as NSW auditor common and her work guaranteeing the integrity of the state’s public sector.

The auditor common has 16 months earlier than the top of her mounted eight-year time period, which involves a shut subsequent April. Crawford stated having spent her whole profession working within the forms, she has monumental respect for the general public service. But a balanced democracy additionally required an workplace holder with a perform like hers’ to shine a gentle on issues once they “weren’t fairly proper”.

“I understand how exhausting individuals work, how dedicated they’re — and so to now should criticise [the work of public servants], I do discover that fairly difficult. But in terms of issues of integrity, the audit perform is a component of the fantastic system of authorities that we have now right here on this nation that does present a stability,” Crawford stated.

“When I name out, which I’ve needed to do, weaknesses within the system, I do it as a result of I believe that it’s in everybody’s curiosity to make it possible for we proceed to have a system that’s of excessive standing and integrity and that the neighborhood can belief in,” she stated.

Commenting on the significance of fostering a robust integrity tradition within the public service, the auditor common added it was vital for the general public service to be goal and non-partisan in advising their political masters.

“I do fear that typically we grow to be so conscious of governments of the day that maybe we’ve misplaced sight of the necessity for public servants to remain completely nonpartisan, goal, clear and comply with good processes and programs.

“That’s what I’m nonetheless striving to instil,” she stated.

Related Posts