Capability review; Department of Veterans' Affairs

Last updated: 05 Dec 2014

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In 2011, the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) commenced a program of systematic reviews to assess capability in key agencies and 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 department for its professional and enthusiastic participation. Staff who participated in interviews and workshops were generous with their time and displayed great passion for their work.

I would also like to thank Ms Akiko Jackson, the chair of the review team, other senior members of the team, Ms Penny Armytage and Mr David Kalisch and my own team from the APSC who supported and advised them. Once again, this review has demonstrated the advantages of bringing together a team of this calibre.

Stephen Sedgwick AO
Australian Public Service Commissioner

Chart: The Model of capability used in these reviews

Figure 1: Model of capability

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. It is conducted in accordance with the Australian Public Service Commissioner’s statutory function to review any matter relating to the Australian Public Service under paragraph 41(2)(j) of the Public Service Act 1999.

This review focuses on leadership, strategy and delivery capabilities in the Department of Veterans’ Affairs (DVA). It highlights the department’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 covered by this report.

Capability reviews are designed to be relatively short and to take a high-level view of the operations of the department. They focus primarily on its senior leadership, but are informed by the views of its middle management, 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.

During this review, over 300 documents were reviewed, four site visits were undertaken, over 80 interviews were conducted and nine workshops were held with agency staff.