Capability review: Australian Taxation Office

Last updated: 25 Jun 2014

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Foreword

The 2010 report Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration recommended that the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) undertake reviews to assess capability in key agencies and to identify opportunities to raise the institutional capability of the service as a whole.

The methodology used by the APSC to conduct these reviews has been gradually refined to more closely reflect the Australian context in which the review program is being conducted.

On the occasion of this review, I would like to thank the Australian Taxation Office staff at all levels for the enthusiasm and openness in which they engaged with the review process.

I would also like to thank Dr Michael Keating AC, the chair of the review team, other senior members of the team, Ms Rachel Hunter and Mr Robert Griew, and my own team from the APSC who support and advise them. Once again, this review has shown the merits of bringing together a team of such high calibre and diversity of experience.

Steve Sedgwick AO
Australian Public Service Commission

1 About the review

A capability review is a forward-looking, whole-of-agency review that assesses an agency's ability to meet future objectives and challenges.

This review focuses on leadership, strategy and delivery capabilities in the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). It highlights the agency's internal management strengths and improvement opportunities using the model set out in Figure 1. A set of 39 questions is used to guide the assessment of each of the 10 elements of the model. Those assessments are included in Section 4 of this report.

Capability reviews are designed to be relatively short and take a high-level view of the operations of an agency. They focus primarily on its senior leadership, but are informed by the views of its staff who attend a series of workshops.

External stakeholders are also interviewed, including relevant ministers, private sector companies, state delivery organisations, peak bodies, interest groups, clients and central agencies.

The fieldwork for the capability review of ATO was undertaken between 28 January 2013 and 3 May 2013.

Chart: The relationships between the elements of capability - leadership, strategy and delivery

Figure 1 – Model of capability