Enhancing the health, safety and wellbeing of the Victorian public sector workforce is critical to our work, ensuring the public sector is strong and prepared to deliver for the Victorian community.

The Leading the Way strategy seeks to develop the public service’s health and safety capability.  As a result of the strategy:

  • The Victorian Public Service integrates health and safety into strategic priorities, leveraging shared opportunities and actions for change.
  • Departments, unions, WorkSafe and the Commission collaborate to drive improvements to safety culture and OHS performance by ensuring accountability for continuous improvement at all levels across the service, with particular emphasis on senior management commitment.
  • Governance arrangements support a standardised approach to the design, implementation and review of service wide systems, processes, and initiatives that influence organisational safety.

Central to the Leading the Way strategy commitment is appreciation for the far-reaching and secondary benefits of providing a healthy and safe workplace. A thriving Victorian public sector is productive, engaged and high performing, improving outcomes for the Victorian community.

Strategic priorities

The Victorian Public Service has 4 strategic priorities under the Leading the Way strategy to support our goal of a healthy and thriving public sector workforce:

1. Defining and evaluating shared issues

Coming together to identify what our workforces have in common and how we can better understand our own workforce through the experience of other Departments.

2. Building and promoting leadership

Active and visible commitment to systematic OHS management at the most senior leadership levels is critical to success because senior management:

  • have a powerful influence on the development of a positive safety culture where the health, safety, and wellbeing of employees is the key priority;
  • carry key accountabilities for the delivery of OHS improvement initiatives.
3. Building and promoting ownership and accountability

Ensuring that parties at all levels understand their OHS obligations and feel empowered to drive a positive culture across their workplace

4. Defining and promoting shared levers for change

Providing each other with the benefits of our individual learnings and maximising investment in OHS across the sector

These strategic priorities support collaboration and sharing learnings for collective benefit, to support healthy and safe Victorian public sector workplaces.


The objectives of Leading the Way are to:

  • provide a governance framework to set the strategic priorities, agree Leading the Way approach and monitor and promote improvement through performance reporting
  • provide a means for assessing current and future levels of maturity in the Leading the Way maturity model
  • assist government departments to design and implement practical strategies to improve OHS performance
  • assist government departments to set clear accountabilities for OHS at all levels of the organisation
  • establish performance indicators that measure improvement in the focus areas of senior management commitment safety culture, OHS systems and accountability
  • analyse data to identify and develop a more systematic and proactive approach to managing safety
  • provide an approach to performance reporting to hold government departments accountable for improving performance according to an agreed set of outcome (lag) metrics and use process (lead) indicators to identify where government departments are Leading the Way in OHS management and safety culture
  • provide an opportunity to share information, data, case studies and ideas to promote innovation and continuous improvement in health and safety across the Victorian public sector.


The VPS governance model includes:

  • OHS Leadership Group – a senior leader group to set the future direction of work
  • OHS Project Review Board – an executive subject matter experts’ group who provide practical insights to support delivery of the strategic priorities.

Formal and informal governance arrangements exist to:

  • provide a forum for understanding and identifying key trends, issues, barriers and innovations affecting public sector OHS culture and performance
  • dispense information from and provide feedback to WorkSafe
  • share information on initiatives that improve OHS culture and performance, supporting collaboration on OHS culture and performance improvement initiatives
  • align strategies and work programs with relevant legislative and VPS policy frameworks.

Data collection and reporting

Data collection and reporting activities are in place to facilitate and support departments to monitor their OHS performance and share learnings through key metrics that can support strategic decision making to improving OHS outcomes across the Victorian public sector.

Departments engage in regular sharing of targeted strategies in place to address areas for improvement as identified through employee experience data.

Evaluation and review

The strategic priorities, objectives and resources under Leading the way strategy are subject to review and can be reset by the authorising governance groups.

The Commission has a program of work in partnership with WorkSafe, to support governance arrangements, the collection and analysis of data and development of targeted initiatives. This partnership is outlined in the Victoria Public Sector Commissions Memorandum of Understanding.

Resources provided on this page have been created through Leading the Way governance arrangements in a shared effort between Departments, unions, WorkSafe and the VPSC. The Public Sector Leadership Group is the content owner.

Questions about the work of the Commission in supporting the Leading the Way strategy can be sent to workforcehealthandsafety@vpsc.vic.gov.au.

Resources for publication: