Investigation within the Australian federal public service: Competencies and training for a future-fit profession

Doctorate other than PhD

Dux, Troy. 2022. Investigation within the Australian federal public service: Competencies and training for a future-fit profession. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Professional Studies. University of Southern Queensland.

Investigation within the Australian federal public service: Competencies and training for a future-fit profession

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorsDux, Troy
1. FirstDr Lee Fergusson
2. SecondDr Shayne Baker
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Professional Studies
Number of Pages253
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Investigators are an essential component of regulatory bodies, however, there is little evidence to suggest that a journey to professionalisation has begun. Using an exploratory, mixed-method research design, this study seeks to understand where investigation is placed within that journey, what professionalism means to its practitioners, and how professionalisation might be achieved. To aid in this understanding, various models of competence are considered along with training structures which contribute to the discussion of professional evolution. Eleven investigation practitioners were interviewed utilizing a semi-structured approach, and the resultant transcripts thematically analysed. The qualitative data obtained from the interview phase were utilised to construct a quantitative survey instrument, which was administered online by way of networking and social media contacts to 156 potential respondents working in both Federal and State Government investigative roles with 55 completed responses received. The interviews and survey provided corroborative data indicating that investigators in both Australian State and Federal Government agencies possessed a diverse variety of skills, from basic report writing and statement taking to more advanced conceptual skills, such as empathy and cognitive interviewing. While pre-existing skills brought with them from previous training environments were described favourably, the training investigators received in their agency was described at best as adequate and at worst misdirected and ad-hoc. Investigators’ perceptions of professionalism were founded on a misconception of how their investigative functions could be self-described rather than any evidence of actual professional traits. Consequently, this study proposes a set of recommendations that may contribute to the professionalisation of Australian Federal Public Service investigators and illustrates the deficiencies of professional development within this sphere of investigation along with development opportunities. Further research is necessary to explore these opportunities and to identify and qualify fit-for-purpose investigation training to establish a viable future for investigators and the profession.

KeywordsInvestigation; Public Service; Competency; Training; Professionalisation
Contains Sensitive ContentDoes not contain sensitive content
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020440708. Public administration
390114. Vocational education and training curriculum and pedagogy
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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Education
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