Capability review: Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigeneous Affairs

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 department for its professional and enthusiastic participation. All 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 Robyn Kruk AM, the chair of the senior review team, other senior members of the team, Mr Geoff Applebee and Mr Brendan Sargeant, and my own team from the APSC who supported and advised them. This review has demonstrated the advantages of bringing together a team of this calibre.

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 Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA). 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. 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 the agency. They focus primarily on its senior leadership, but are informed by the views of staff who attend a series of workshops.

External stakeholders including ministers, Australian Government central agencies, non-government organisations, private sector providers, interest groups and clients are also interviewed. It should be noted that this review coincided with the announcement of the 2013 Australian Government election and the government being in caretaker mode. The minister, therefore, was not interviewed.

The fieldwork for the capability review of FaHCSIA was undertaken between 17 June 2013 and 23 August 2013.

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

Figure 1 – Model of capability