Senior Executive Service evaluation methodology - guidelines

Last updated: 01 Dec 2016

This page is: current

Background

Recommendation 6.2 from Ahead of the Game – Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration March 2010, tasked the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) with assessing the size and role of the Senior Executive Service (SES) before any new net growth in the SES could occur.

The Review was undertaken in 2011, with a former departmental secretary Mr Roger Beale AO, engaged to work with the APSC. The Review examined:

  • The rate, geographic location and causes of workforce growth;
  • The likelihood of classification creep;
  • Causes and consequences of pay dispersion among SES; and
  • The role of the SES in current classification structures.

As part of the review of APS roles and work level standards (Recommendation 6.1) the APSC would consult with Secretaries and relevant stakeholders to develop and articulate clear capability requirements and work level standards (WLS) for each level of the SES.

Following the Review of the SES in 2011[1], the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) developed an APS-wide SES evaluation methodology to assist agencies in measuring the work value of new and existing SES roles.

The methodology consists of two parts:

  • Work Level Standards – an official statement that provides a general description of the work performed at each of the three approved SES classification levels (Senior Executive Band 1, 2 and 3) and
  • A Role Analysis Tool – to assist agencies measure the work value of new and existing SES roles against the work level standards.

This was just one of the strengthened classification management arrangements coming from the SES Review. The SES Review made fourteen recommendations classified under four broad headings:

  • Classification
  • Strengthened classification management arrangements
  • Limiting the size of the SES and
  • Downsizing the SES.

In general, the Report's key aims were to ensure:

  • the flexible deployment of SES within agencies and across the APS as it is critical to the effective and efficient implementation of government priorities. The report provides strong evidence and recommendations on how the size of the SES and its classification structure could be managed more effectively to manage the APS more as a consolidated entity or as 'one APS' and
  • to ensure 'value for money' in that SES roles were classified appropriately and the roles were necessary for the implementation for key government policies.

APS Classification

All approved APS-wide classifications are specified in the Public Service Classification Rules 2000, a legislative instrument under the Public Service Act 1999 that provides the framework for classification management arrangements in the APS.

In addition to specifying the approved APS-wide classifications, the Classification Rules:

  • Allow employees and duties to be classified under a common APS-wide classification system, retaining work value as the basis; and
  • Provide the options for mobility within the APS and for the operation of merit-based promotions.

Under the Classification Rules agency heads must allocate an approved classification to each APS employee in their agency. The classification must be appropriate based on the work value requirements of the group of duties undertaken, and the APS Bargaining Framework requires that classification structures contained in agency agreements be consistent with the Rules.

Approved SES Classifications

There are three approved SES classifications – Senior Executive Band 1, 2 and 3 – with one being the lowest and three being the highest classification.

Some agencies assign local designations or titles, for example, Group Manager, Chief Operating Officer, Deputy Secretary. These are in addition to the approved APS classification and have no bearing on the actual SES classification.

In addition to the Public Service Classification Rules 2000, section 21 of the Australian Public Service Commissioner's Directions 2016 sets out additional requirements for SES engagement and promotion decisions.

SES Evaluation Methodology

In the past, agency heads have typically decided whether an SES job should be created or filled and the appropriate classification level. Few agency heads developed agency specific work level standards for SES roles, or sought expert advice to inform classification structures.

Following the SES Review Report recommendations, the APSC developed work level standards to:

  • Provide a common classification framework for all SES roles
  • Minimise inconsistencies in classification decisions, both within and between agencies, by providing common objective external standards and
  • Minimise the administrative burden on agencies by providing a streamlined process for classifying new SES roles or reviewing the classification of existing roles.

Work Level Standards

The APSC worked with a consulting firm to develop a set of work level standards (WLS) to describe the work level requirements of SES roles at each of the three classification levels. The development of the standards was overseen by a Reference Group chaired by Mr Beale and comprising the Deputy Public Service Commissioner and senior representatives from a number of APS agencies.

The WLS reflect the leadership capabilities set out in the Senior Executive Leadership Capability Framework (SELCF) and the broader Integrated Leadership System (ILS). The SELCF was developed to seek to establish a shared understanding of the critical success factors for performance in APS leadership roles. Following its implementation in 1999, the ILS was developed to provide an expanded common language for leadership development in the APS and included all APS levels from APS1 through to SES B3 roles.

The WLS distinguish SES roles at each level in terms of span of control, the degree of difficulty of stakeholder management responsibilities, the complexity and ambiguity of the job context and environment, the impact of judgements made and the independence with which roles operate. They are formative, rather than prescriptive. This means the WLS do not attempt to describe in detail all the possible components of SES roles at their different levels across the APS. Rather they focus on the core components that would need to be taken into account in any SES classification decision. This model requires agencies to exercise judgement in applying the WLS to individual roles, but gives greater flexibility in applying them across the APS including ones that are atypical.

The WLS describe the work value of SES by identifying four work streams:

  1. Delivery – outcome delivery, including development of delivery responses or resource management;
  2. Public Policy – provision of policy advice;
  3. Regulatory – compliance and enforcement functions; and
  4. Professional/Specialist – provision of technical, professional, specialist or strategic advice.

It is useful when classifying a role, to consider if the role has a stronger fit with one of these four streams first up, and then consider secondary contribution areas if none of these fit well. Most SES roles will incorporate one or more of these elements but will have been established on the basis of more significant contribution in one of these areas. This is particularly true for SES Band 1 and 2 roles with the five criteria and distinguishing characteristics also used to identify fundamental differences between the classification levels.

Roles at the SES Band 3 level are broader based in terms of functions and accountabilities and therefore the work streams are not included.

The WLS go onto describe the work value of SES roles through five key criteria split into:

  1. Leadership
    1. Knowledge
    2. Accountability
  2. Diversity/Span
  3. Stakeholder Management
  4. Job Context and Environment
  5. Judgement and Independence

APSC Work Level Standards Criteria

Criterion Definition
Leadership
Knowledge

Measures the depth and scope of knowledge essential to the role. Includes management and environment knowledge, professional knowledge and or qualifications

Accountability

Impact of role on agency outcomes using 2 judgements, scale [within or beyond agency] and nature [action to be taken] of impact.

Diversity/Span Resource management of role, size of management and diversity/complexity of those responsibilities.
Stakeholder Management The nature of interaction and degree of authority to enter into arrangements with critical stakeholders.
Job Context and Environment The complexity and diversity of the operating environment.
Judgement and Independence The degree of guidance provided by operating frameworks (policy, statutory etc.) and the scope for judgement and discretion to act, approve or make decisions.

Describing the work from each of these perspectives ensures a complete understanding of all the work and allows differences between levels be more clearly identified.

The WLS are flexible enough to encompass both the broad management responsibilities of the SES as well as the more technical and specialist SES roles.

Finally to further assist classification decision making, the work level standards also identify distinguishing characteristics that capture the fundamental differences between the three SES classification levels.

Role analysis tool

Role analysis is an evidenced based methodology that gathers information about a role and its work flows in a structured and systematic way. In other words you become a job analyst when trying to classify a work role.

It is very important when analysing a role, that you evaluate the position and not the person. Regardless of an incumbent's strengths or the perspectives they bring to the role, when they leave the position remains the same and the classification of the work should therefore remain the same.

Differentiating between the person and the job

The role analysis tool breaks SES roles into their main activities around the five WLS criteria and evidence about the role are analysed against a set of factors producing a points score.

Remember that the role analysis tool factors are not exclusive and there may be other factors that are relevant to scoring the role.

Each evaluation factor is assigned a score and the combined scores indicate the appropriate SES classification. The scores for each SES classification are set out below.

Classification Score
SES B1 34 – 44 points
SES B2 45 – 53 points
SES B3 54 – 60 points

Roles may score anywhere within the range for a classification, reflecting the broad range of work value within each classification level. It is unlikely that all roles within an agency would consistently score at the high levels.

Roles may score low against one or more elements and high against other elements reflecting the diversity of the role being assessed. For example:

  • A professional/specialist role may score highly against the Leadership-Knowledge factor, but less against the Diversity/Span factor.
  • A policy role may score highly against the Leadership-Accountability factor, but less highly against the Diversity/Span factor.

Where it is difficult to distinguish between the appropriate level, half points can be awarded. For example the rates are 4, 6, 8 and 10. When analysing the role a score of 3, 5, 7, or 9 might be appropriate.

Evaluation/Classification Principles

  1. At all times score the role not the person.
  2. Avoid duplication. Ensure that credit for the same input is not awarded under another factor as well.
  3. The classification should be determined according to the highest[2] function, provided that function comprises a substantial component of the work being performed. Typically however, most roles involve a range of duties of greater or lesser work value. As a general rule, the work being performed would consist of between 70% or 80% of the level, with the other 30% or 20% either above the Band or below the Band.
  4. Ignore the existing classification.
  5. When assessing the role, take into account both the importance and the frequency of tasks undertaken.
  6. Take into account all existing or planned immediate future responsibilities.
  7. Do not classify jobs on the basis of the workload or how busy it is.

Evaluating the Role

Role evaluation is a two part process. Firstly you gather evidence to understand the role. Secondly you assess the role against the WLS using the role analysis tool.

Under the strengthened classification management arrangements agency heads must reach an agreement with the APS Commissioner to assess all established SES roles within a three year time frame yet to be determined.

However, agencies should evaluate a role when a role is created, or substantially changes due to circumstances such as machinery of government changes, a restructure or reorganisation of an agency, a new policy or an incremental change over time.

There are a number of myths around role evaluation:

Myth Description
1 New roles can't be analysed because the role has never been performed and there is no one in the role.
2 You only need to talk to the manager when analysing the job
3 You only need to talk to the incumbent when analysing the job
4 The analysis is completely objective and you don't need to make any subjective judgements

Step 1 – Understand the Role

Understanding the role is critical to ensure an accurate basis on which to conduct the role analysis. It is recommended that a minimum of three accurate and current information sources are used, one of which should be the role description. It is preferable to use more sources than less and interviews are a good source of information. It is also preferable to interview at least the incumbent and manager, where possible. Refer to the interview protocol later on in these guidelines as a good source of possible questions.

The table below lists a range of potential information sources for new and existing roles.

Source Existing Role New Role
Budget or cabinet papers   Yes
Delegations held by role Yes  
Performance Agreement Yes  
Annual Report Yes Yes
Business Plans Yes  
Role Description Yes  
Performance Agreement Yes  
Government or Ministerial Statements Yes Yes
Press Releases Yes  
New Policy Proposal Documentation   Yes
Organisational Chart – existing or proposed Yes Yes
Structured interviews with
  • Incumbent
  • Manager
  • Stakeholders/Peers
Yes Yes

Accuracy of Sources

Ensure your sources are accurate. Consider the impact of

  • changes in government/government policy, Administrative Arrangement Orders and machinery of government changes
  • new or revised policies and/or legislation
  • any internal restructure or reorganisation, including the impact of any new roles in the agency or group.

The Purpose of the Role

Establish why the role exists and describe the role focus.

  • Is there a government policy directive that summarises why the role exists?
  • Is there anything else to tell you why the role exists?

Identify key responsibility areas. If this is unclear, determine the major or significant activities of the role.

  • What are the key challenges for the role now, and into the future?
  • What does the role have to achieve? Are these prescribed or determined by government policy, internal agency business requirements?

Determine the primary contribution stream.

Delivery – outcome delivery, including development of delivery responses or resource management;

Public Policy – provision of policy advice;

Regulatory – compliance and enforcement functions; and

Professional/Specialist – provision of technical, professional, specialist or strategic advice.

Consider if the role should be an EL2 role. According to an APSC 2010 survey agencies stated that the three most important reasons a new role was classified as an SES role were:

  • complexity of the tasks
  • level of specialised expertise required and
  • level of stakeholder management (including Ministers and their offices).

Step 2 – Assess the Role Using the Work Level Standards with the Role Analysis Tool

If you have already determined the primary contribution stream (SES B1 or B2 roles), now look at the WLS and the Role Analysis Tool.

The tool contains definitions and descriptions closely related to the WLS in order for you to make an assessment of the role against the WLS.

The tool also contains an evaluation record template and this template (or something similar), along with a role description should be used as your source of reference to be reviewed and updated for future evaluations. It is very important to document the rationale behind your evaluation.

1. Assess the role against the leadership/knowledge factor

This factor measures the requirement for knowledge essential to the role, both managerial and environmental knowledge or professional knowledge using specific professional qualifications, or a combination of these.

If a role requires mandatory qualifications these must be complemented by significant and relevant work experience for the role.

2. Assess the role against the leadership/accountability factor

This factor measures the effect of a role on agency outcomes. It is measured by making two judgements in tandem – the scale, and the nature of impact.

Scale defines the area of the agency or beyond that is most clearly affected by the role activities

Nature of impact defines the nature of the action the role undertakes – it can be direct or indirect, for example direct through the deployment of resources to achieve an outcome.

3. Assess the role against the Diversity/Span factor

This factor measures two dimensions of a role's resource management responsibilities. The size of the management role measured quantitatively in terms of the number of staff and size of budget; and the diversity and complexity of the resource management responsibilities including the complexity and diversity of functions and geographic locations.

4. Assess the role against the Stakeholder Management factor

This factor measures the role's responsibilities to deliver results through persuasion, negotiation and leadership of people – both those who are directly accountable to the role, and those who are not.

5. Assess the role against the Job Context and Environment factor

The job context and environment factor measures the discretionary element of a role, i.e. the complexity and variety of situations, coupled with the lack of accessible advice or protocols.

6. Assess the role against the Judgement and Independence factor

This factor measures the degree of guidance provided by operating frameworks, policy, statutory and such like. It measures the scope for judgement and the discretion to act, approve or to make decisions for the agency.

Borderline roles

A borderline role is a role that achieves a score just below or just over the minimum for a particular SES classification. If this happens, it is necessary to revisit the evaluation and obtain supplementary information. Consult more broadly and talk to other experts, colleagues or communities of practice. Undertake a second assessment perhaps by another person, and establish if there are compelling environmental or other considerations for an SES classification. This could be where the role has a high political profile or is responsible for extremely sensitive issues. If two analysts have conducted the original interviews/evidence gathering it is preferable that they score the role separately and then come together to discuss the results.

A workbook follows this section, used in the evaluation methodology training containing additional information to these guidelines.

The Work Level Standards should be used in conjunction with the Role Analysis Tool.

Workbook and Tool for Assessing SES Roles

The rest of this document sets out a step-by-step workbook as part of the SES Evaluation Methodology training.

Dealing with Potential Sensitivities

For the incumbent and manager of the role being evaluated, the process of evaluation can be somewhat daunting. It is therefore important to be aware of this and have some potential solutions or answers to help alleviate any mis-understanding.

The following suggestions may assist in managing potential sensitivities:

  • Establish what will be done before undertaking the role analysis, if the classification outcome differs from the anticipated classification e.g. reclassifying the job or redesigning the job
  • Explain the possible classification outcomes to incumbents and managers and be clear about what these will mean for the incumbent
  • Be aware that managers and/or incumbents may try to influence the outcome by 'talking up the role'
  • Focus on obtaining very specific, detailed and current information to ensure that an independent and accurate assessment can be made of the appropriate classification

In all cases it is important to run the evaluation with empathy and be as neutral as possible.

Step 1: Understand the role

Understanding the role is critical to ensure an accurate basis on which to conduct the role analysis. It is recommended that a minimum of three accurate and current information sources are used, one of which should be the role description. It is preferable to use more sources than less and interviews are a good source of information. If possible interview the incumbent and their manager, and it is preferable to have two role analysts at the interview, but this may not always be possible.

The interview protocol below gives you some questions to ask. However, you will need to ask clarifying questions and delve deeper to elicit the information you require.

Interview Protocol – An Example

Outline the purpose of the job analysis activity. Then using a series of open ended questions, try to get a good understanding of the role itself. The following are useful prompts:

  1. How long have you worked in this role?  Establish substantive or acting.
  2. Does the role have managerial or supervisory responsibilities? How many staff? At what levels? Second line management?
  3. What level/title position do you report directly to?
  4. Do you have responsibility for managing a budget?
  5. What would you describe as the key responsibilities of the role?
  6. What types of impacts does the role have and on what sort of scale (agency-specific, sector-specific, national, international)?
  7. How diverse or different are the range of functions that the role is responsible for?
  8. What are the typical challenges faced in the role?
  9. What kinds of problems have to be solved? Can you give an example to illustrate the complexity of these problems?
  10. What kind of planning has to be undertaken in the role? What is it in relation to?
  11. What are the timeframes that are involved in planning? (e.g. planning for the next month or the next 5 years)
  12. What are the kinds of decisions or judgments that the role has to make and what are the consequences of these decisions?
  13. How much autonomy or independence does the role have in making decisions?
  14. Does the role have to follow established procedures? Are required tasks clear or ambiguous?
  15. Does the role have to undertake any negotiation or exert any influence? With whom and what is it in relation to?
  16. Does the role require any innovation and what this is in relation to?
  17. What kind of risks does the role help to manage or prevent? What would be the consequences if the role did not manage these risks?
  18. What are the main job context factors that relate to the role?
    • Any/extent of travel involved?
    • Type of physical environment – office, lab, outside?
    • Variation in work pace?
    • Any particular workplace health and safety issues?
  19. Who are your key clients and stakeholders (internal and external)?
    • How many?
    • At what levels?
    • From private or public sector?
    • What level of involvement – type of communication (e.g. face to face, email, phone)?
  20. Does the role have to represent the organisation in any way?
  21. Do you sit on any key committees? If so, in what capacities (Chair, Member etc)? 
  22. What are the key skills you use in your role?
  23. What specific job or technical knowledge do you require?
    • To what level are these skills required? Ask for examples to illustrate the required skill level/s
  24. How are these skills or areas of knowledge learned?
    • Where can these skills be learned? (Can they be learned on the job?)
    • Do they improve with experience?

Gather Documentation about the Role

The table below lists a range of potential information sources for new and existing roles.

Source Existing Role New Role
Budget or cabinet papers   Yes
Delegations held by role Yes  
Performance Agreement Yes  
Annual Report Yes Yes
Business Plans Yes  
Role Description Yes  
Performance Agreement Yes  
Government or Ministerial Statements Yes Yes
Press Releases Yes  
New Policy Proposal Documentation   Yes
Organisational Chart – existing or proposed Yes Yes
Structured interviews with
  • Incumbent
  • Manager
  • Stakeholders/Peers
Yes Yes

Accuracy of Sources

Ensure your sources are accurate. Consider the impact of:

  • changes in government, Administrative Arrangement Orders and machinery of government changes
  • new or revised policies and/or legislation
  • any internal restructure or reorganisation, including the impact of any new roles in the agency or group.
What is the Purpose of the Role?

Establish why the role exists and describe the role focus.

  • Is there a government policy directive that summarises why the role exists?
  • Is there anything else to tell you why the role exists?

Identify key responsibility areas. If this is unclear, determine the major or significant activities of the role.

  • What are the key challenges for the role now, and into the future?
  • What does the role have to achieve? Are these prescribed or determined by government policy, internal agency business requirements?

Step 2 – Assess the Role Using the Work Level Standards with the Role Analysis Tool

Determine the primary contribution stream from the four listed below. There may be some overlap or a combination of streams.

Delivery

The most significant contribution of the role is outcome delivery and/or effective resource management. This could include the development of delivery responses for policy objectives. This may include development of delivery responses for policy objectives. Roles are accountable for a measurable impact on the agency or APS as a whole (e.g. achievement of objectives through the management of financial, human and physical resources). This may be directed to an ongoing delivery program, integration of multiple programs for delivery or to a finite government initiative

Public Policy

The most significant contribution of roles relates to the provision of policy advice, reflecting research and analysis of financial and other implications and stakeholder views obtained through consultations, and articulation of policy in policy statements, regulatory or financial measures and legislation.

Regulatory

The most significant contribution of roles relates to information gathering and risk assessment, and the design and implementation of compliance and enforcement programs within a governance framework.

Professional/Specialist

The most significant contribution of roles is the provision of technical, professional, specialist, or strategic advice. This advice has a primary influence on adopted strategies, plans and targets and outcomes in terms of effectiveness or efficiency.

Using the Evaluation Tool now make assessments using the five evaluation criteria. The tool contains definitions and descriptions closely related to the WLS in order for you to make an assessment of the role against the WLS. The tool also contains an evaluation record template and this template is your source of reference for future evaluations or reviews.

Role Analysis Tool

Assess the role against the leadership/knowledge factor

This is the first of two leadership evaluation factors. This factor measures the depth and scope of knowledge required by roles. This knowledge includes management and environmental knowledge but may also include scientific, professional and/or technical knowledge which has been acquired through both formal learning and work experience. At the higher levels it has been developed and consolidated through extensive and varied work experience. For professional roles in particular, deep knowledge in a specialised area and experience may determine credibility and authority. If a role requires mandatory qualifications these must be complemented by significant and relevant work experience for the role.

Description Points

Advanced specialist, professional and/or management knowledge and commensurate understanding of related principles and practices. Roles also require detailed knowledge of statutory, regulatory and policy frameworks relevant to the area of responsibility.

4

Comprehensive knowledge and skills developed as a result of professional and/or management experience in a generalist, technical, scientific or specialised field. A thorough knowledge and understanding of the relevant social, political, environmental and economic contexts and legislative frameworks relevant to the area of responsibility is also required.

Roles at this level are an influential source of advice related to specific area of knowledge or practice that are key inputs to agency decision making processes.

Roles must understand a range of external factors, and regularly monitor and respond to a changing operating environment.

6

Broad and/or deep knowledge and skills, and advanced professional/specialist/public administration expertise acquired through significant professional and/or management experience—in some cases combined with an academic/professional qualification. Specialised skills and/or knowledge are supplemented by substantial, relevant work experience in a complex field.

Roles at this level have a strategic understanding of the organisation's role and require a strong understanding of relevant environmental factors affecting the agency, and the relationships between complex issues.

Roles may be the principal and authoritative source of advice related to specific area of knowledge or practice for agency and Minister(s).

8

Diverse, cumulative knowledge and/or fundamental understanding of relevant concepts, principles and practices acquired through extensive and advanced professional and/or executive management experience in government or other sectors. Required knowledge encompasses specialist expertise (e.g. financial, technical and legal) essential to activities of government and/or deep knowledge of government decision-making processes (e.g. Cabinet, budget and legislative processes).

Roles require a highly developed understanding of contemporary and emerging cross-jurisdictional and international issues relevant to the agency and the APS.

Roles are the principal and authoritative source of advice for one or more agency outcomes or issues of very high risk and complexity for agency and Minister(s).

10

Assess the role against the leadership/accountability factor

This is the second Leadership factor. Accountability is the measured effect of a role on agency outcomes. It can be measured by making two judgements in tandem. Scale defines the area of the agency or beyond that is most clearly affected by the activities of the role. Nature of impact defines the nature of the action taken by the role. It can be direct—through the deployment of resources to achieve an outcome, or it can be indirect—where the role supports others to deliver outcomes.

Scale

Nature of Impact

Internal to an agency (impacts on one or more parts of an agency) Agency-wide (impacts on all agency outcomes) Sector-wide or APS-wide Government-wide, community-wide, national or international impact
Indirect Develops processes, policy and/or strategy over a 12 month timeframe for an organisational unit or contributes to an outcome through internal or external partners. 4 5 6 7
Develops strategic direction over 2-3 year time frames for an organisational unit including integration of activities and working through external or internal partners to achieve policy or program outcomes. 5 6 7 8
Direct Directly contributes to the development of 3-5 year organisational strategies to achieve agency outcomes, or shapes policy development and program delivery. 6 7 8 9
Shapes organisational strategies with 5-10 year time frames and is fundamental to the agency's performance in delivering policy or program outcomes. 7 8 9 10

Assess the role against the Diversity/Span factor

This factor measures the resource management responsibilities of a role along two dimensions. On the horizontal scale, the size of a management role is measured quantitatively in terms of the number of staff it is responsible for managing and/or the size of its budget. On the vertical scale, the management role is evaluated in terms of its diversity and complexity, which could be related to functional and/or geographic diversity and/or task complexity.

Span of Control

Diversity

Less than 20 staff and/or expenditure under $10m pa 20 to 100 staff and/or expenditure between $10m and $100m pa 100 to 1,000 staff and/or expenditure between $100m and $1b pa More than 1,000 staff and/or expenditure above $1b pa
Manages a single or small number of related or complementary activities undertaken by a workforce with similar skills and knowledge. 4 5 6 7
Manages several related or complementary activities undertaken by a workforce with similar skills and knowledge. 5 6 7 8
Manages a function encompassing a range of activities and initiatives or issues with high complexity and risk at whole of agency level delivered by a workforce with related high level and varied skill sets and knowledge. 6 7 8 9
Manages the integration of a number of diverse and complex functions at whole of agency level delivered by a workforce with multiple high level and varied skill sets and knowledge. 7 8 9 10

Assess the role against the Stakeholder Management factor

This factor measures the requirement to communicate with and influence individuals and/or groups both within and outside the agency through technical/content based argument and, at higher levels, through leadership and motivation.

Description Points

Roles negotiate with senior staff in the agency, respond well and quickly to other agency staff, and may also present and explain the agency's views to external organisations and other agencies.

These roles may also negotiate complex customer service issues, and/or represent the agency in the context of contentious and high profile issues at cross-agency meetings.

4

Roles are actively involved in influencing and convincing internal and external stakeholders in relation to specific and set objectives and represent the Government and agency authoritatively.

These roles actively build relationships with a range of internal and external stakeholders, e.g. within an agency, with other APS agencies, with Ministers' offices, and external parties.

Where roles lead an organisational unit they manage interactions and influence processes and outcomes though others.

6

Roles lead and oversee engagement with internal and external stakeholders and influence outcomes, including through leading and motivating others.

Roles proactively develop productive relationships across the broader APS on complex issues.

Key features are anticipating the needs of stakeholders and providing persuasive advice to resolve divergent views and conflicting priorities.

8

Roles have significant interaction with stakeholders at all levels within and outside the agency.

The role is likely to be the principal government representative with authority to negotiate and/or resolve conflict with critical stakeholder leadership.

The focus is largely on long-term outcomes and/or particularly sensitive/contentious matters usually with whole-of-government significance.

10

Assess the role against the Job Context and Environment Factor

This factor measures the degree to which the role's operating environment is complex and involves multiple factors that impinge on decision-making. This factor also concerns the complexity and scale of issues faced in the role, and of the complexity and scope of plans and outcomes that derive from decisions made in the role.

Description Points

Roles operate with reference to organisational objectives that are clear although specific guidelines, strategies or tactics are sometimes ill-defined or incomplete.

4

Roles are required to understand and monitor a range of external factors affecting the agency, including an understanding of cross-jurisdictional and international issues.

Work is characterised by the regular requirement to improve or revise established techniques, methods, systems or policies, or the relating of precedent to new situations to propose solutions that usually have enduring effects and risks that extend beyond the immediate work environment.

Professional and policy roles operate within a framework of broad policy parameters and service delivery roles are governed by clear objectives and/or budgets. The focus of the role may be national and/or international, representing the organisation or government.

6

Roles identify long-term opportunities, consider emerging trends and the whole-of-government agenda. Roles operate in an environment characterised by the frequent emergence of complex and novel problems and issues that require innovative solutions. The issues faced may involve high risk and be characterised by a lack of available source of advice or guidance.

Roles must consider multiple options to resolve complex issues and develop contingency plans to mitigate risks to the achievement of government objectives.

8

Roles are required to identify and define corporate issues or emerging issues of major community, professional or Government concern. Roles manage strategic change with government-wide, community-wide, whole-of-sector, national or international impact.

Existing policy responses may be inadequate in dealing with frequent complex or unusual problems and it is likely that the lack of precedent is a significant feature in the majority of activities pursued, thereby requiring the management of risk and innovation.

Issues often involve very high political and reputational risk and complexity.

10

Assess the Role against the Judgement and Independence Factor

This factor relates to the extent to which a role makes decisions, or issues opinions or rulings on the basis of clear, established guidelines and objectives. This factor also concerns the degree of independence required when making decisions as well as the degree of authority that the role has to make determinations that affect the agency or the outcomes that it oversees.

Description Points

Judgement is required to solve problems (including through leadership of a work team) by analysing and discriminating amongst a broadly defined and understood set of alternatives. Problem solving usually involves the application of established techniques, methods, systems or policies, or the relating of precedent to new issues and risks that are usually localised.

4

Role objectives are broadly defined with established methods, procedures and processes. For many roles there will be a requirement to interpret and apply complex legislative frameworks and standards.

Judgement is required to address challenges that are noticeably different from what has been encountered previously.

Challenges may present a variety of problems which require analysis and consideration of alternatives before making a decision. Complete information may not always be available, requiring roles to make effective judgements under pressure.

6

Roles have considerable freedom to determine how to achieve results—by adaptation or development of solutions through analytical, interpretive, evaluative, creative and innovative thinking.

Roles work with a large degree of independence within a framework of broadly established policies, priorities and goals.

Roles initiate new developments in either policy and program delivery, or professional practice, which establish precedent for the agency and allocate resources in the short term, and make medium to long-term resource commitments where there are defined precedents.

8

Roles enjoy significant independence within broad policy, operational and commercial constraints, budgets and practices. Roles may exercise statutory or substantial independence in committing the resources of a significant professional office or organisational unit which accounts for a substantial proportion of agency operations.

Roles are often required to develop strategies and policies to supplement and reinforce existing policy direction and frameworks. Roles may be responsible for the integrity of overall legislative and regulatory frameworks. Roles would regularly advise and brief at Ministerial level.

Policy experts would give guidance on, and make judgements about, new standards and new areas of policy. Professional roles would challenge, establish or alter standard concepts, theories, objectives or previously formulated requirements.

10

Borderline Roles

Some roles will be clear cut and will score within the range for a proposed classification level. However some may be borderline whereby the role achieves a score just below the maximum or just above the minimum score for a particular SES classification.

In these instances make sure all relevant information has been gathered, and obtain supplementary information where possible, consult with other experts such as colleagues, a community of practice and other sources. Also undertake a second assessment, perhaps by another person.

Remember that all agencies are being offered training in this methodology and the Commission is encouraging cross agency support, so another option could be to have two role analysts at the outset, and maybe one from another agency.

In addition establish whether there is a compelling environmental or other reason for an SES classification e.g. will the role have a high political profile or be responsible for sensitive issues?

In all cases it is important to run the evaluation with empathy and to be as objective as possible.

If the role continues to be at the bottom of a scale there is a case for making recommendations around job re-design and in these cases be specific. Job evaluation rarely looks at roles in isolation, and if there appears to be some 'dilution' of a role a recommendation could be made that certain tasks are allocated to other roles at this or a different classification.

If the role continues to be at the top of a scale the same principle applies. Role analysis should look broadly at the role being analysed and job re-design across a couple or more roles may be the better outcome for the agency as a means to balancing classification and a more efficient use of resources.

Additional Information on the WLS and Criteria

Leadership – Knowledge

  • What qualifications and experience are considered essential to perform the work?
  • What depth or breadth of knowledge is required and what field(s) or discipline(s)?
    • Does the role require specialist knowledge?
    • Does the role require mandatory qualifications?
  • Indicate the length and type of experience the work normally requires

The factor (or score) will DECREASE where:

  • Knowledge and understanding relates to a specific area that contributes to agency decision making process
  • The role is an influential source of advice related to a specific are of knowledge or practice.

The factor (or score) will INCREASE where:

  • The greater the creative and originality of thinking required, because previous experience gives little guidance
  • Where a highly developed understanding of contemporary and emerging cross-jurisdictional issues relevant to the role's fundamental purpose is necessary
  • Where the role is the principle and authoritative source of advice for one or more agency outcomes or issues that are highly complex.

Leadership – Accountability

The Leadership—Accountability Factor is the measured effect of a role on agency outcomes. It is measured by making two judgements in tandem.

Scale defines the area of the agency or beyond that is most clearly affected by the activities of the role.

Nature of impact defines the nature of the action taken by the role. It can be direct—through the deployment of resources to achieve an outcome, or it can be indirect—where the role supports others to deliver outcomes.

Some of the information gathered to gain an understanding of the role will be useful for determining the role's accountability—i.e. key responsibility areas and key challenges.

  • What accountabilities (apart from resource management) attach to the role?
  • If unclear establish a time horizon and key results for which the role is accountable.
  • Specify the matters on which the role is expected to provide advice /recommendations.
  • Who does the role principally provide advice to?
  • Is the role the sole or principle source of advice?

The factor (or score) will DECREASE:

  • According to the degree of difficulty and challenge of the combination of factors listed above;
  • As more responsibilities are held by others, either up or down the management hierarchy.

The factor (or score) will INCREASE the greater the:

  • Requirement to actively align functions and resources and direct and co-ordinate people, and deliver results
  • Impact of the role and the more an agency relies on the decisions and advice by the occupant
  • Ambiguity of the responsibilities
  • Requirement to build capability, take the difficult decisions or directions for current and future challenges.

Diversity/Span

The Diversity/Span Factor measures two dimensions of a role's resource management responsibilities:

  • The size of the management role—this is measured quantitatively in terms of the number of staff and/or the size of the budget.
  • The diversity and complexity of the resource management responsibilities—including the complexity and diversity of functions and geographical locations.

Determine the diversity and complexity of the resource management responsibilities:

  • Where does the role fit within the agency?
  • Who does the role report to?
  • What other roles report there?

Determine the size and nature of the role's resource management accountabilities:

  • Establish the classification and number of direct reports.
  • the total number of staff or FTE of the organisational unit managed by the role
  • the budget—departmental and administered funding
  • geographic location of organisational unit managed by the role
    • single location—Australian based or overseas
    • multiple locations—Australian based only
    • multiple locations—overseas only
    • multiple locations—Australian based and overseas.

The factor (or score) will DECREASE where:

  • one or a small number of functions are managed;
  • the fewer the variety of job types and skills managed;
  • the span of control is limited; and
  • the less dispersed and remote people are from their manager.

The factor (or score) will INCREASE:

  • the greater the number, diversity and complexity of functions managed;
  • the greater the variety of job types and skills managed;
  • the more demanding the people issues; and
  • the more dispersed and remote employees are from their manager.

Stakeholder Management

This factor measures the role's responsibilities to deliver results through persuasion, negotiation and leadership of people—both those who are directly accountable to the role and those who are not.

Assess the role's stakeholder management responsibilities

  • Other than formal reporting relationships, who does the role work with inside the agency?
  • Who does the role work with outside of the agency?
  • What is the level of the external stakeholder(s)? (e.g. Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Deputy CEO etc)
  • What is the criticality of the stakeholder(s) to agency outcomes?

Assess the role's authority with external stakeholders

  • Liaison to exchange information, or
  • Authority to represent agency/government view, or
  • Authority to negotiate outcomes on behalf of the organisational unit, whole of agency, or whole of government, etc.

The stakeholder management factor will normally DECREASE where the role is to advise, communicate, consult, represent or liaise rather than to persuade, negotiate or motivate.

The stakeholder management factor will normally INCREASE:

  • the more the role must co-ordinate a range of stakeholder interests;
  • the more the interests are inherently conflicting; and
  • the more the role is required to convince key stakeholders about courses of action—particularly with regard to changes in policy, business delivery and cultures.

Job Context and Environment

This factor measures the discretionary effort of the role.

To determine the level of guidance provided by legislative and policy frameworks etc. ask the following questions:

  • Does the role operate by creating new frameworks?
  • Does the role operate within clearly defined frameworks?
  • Consider the nature and scale of the risk to be managed
  • What are the consequences of making the wrong decision?

The factor (or score) will DECREASE where:

  • the smaller the discretionary element;
  • the less complex and varied the situations are; and
  • where the incumbent can draw on personal professional knowledge.

The factor (or score) will INCREASE:

  • the more inherently complex and varied the situations are; and
  • the less the incumbent can seek advice from peers and colleagues.

Judgement and Independence

This factor measures the degree of guidance provided by operating frameworks (policy, statutory, etc.) and the scope for judgement and discretion to act, to approve or make decisions.

Determine a role's authority by asking:

  • What critical judgements (apart from resource management) are required by the role?
  • What authority does the role have?

Determining a role's decision-making responsibility:

  • What types of decisions does the role deal with?
  • Are decisions handled on the role's own authority?
  • Does the role refer decisions to a more senior role in the agency?
  • How complex are these decisions?

The factor (or score) will DECREASE:

  • the smaller the discretionary element—that is the role operates within established policy and statutory frameworks; and
  • where the risk management factor is not significant; and
  • where the impact of decisions taken by the role are contained.

The factor (or score) will INCREASE the greater the:

  • discretion required due to the absence of established policies and procedures;
  • risk management; and
  • impact of decisions taken by a role.

Evaluation Checklist – Critical Job Evaluation Steps

1. Understand the role

Use at least three detailed and accurate information sources

  • Role description
  • Organisation chart
  • Plus at least one other source (or interview)

Ensure accuracy of sources

  • Has there been major organisational change since the role description was created/last reviewed?
  • If yes have these changes impacted on the role?
  • If no have any other changes occurred in the work being performed by the employee?

Role purpose

Establish the role's:

  • focus—i.e. why the job exists
  • primary stream
    • Service delivery
    • Policy
    • Regulatory
    • Professional/specialist

Key responsibility areas

  • key challenges now, and in the future
  • main area(s) of responsibility
  • major or significant activities

2. Assess the role against the SES work level standards and job evaluation tool

A. Leadership: Knowledge

  • Areas of knowledge and/or skill essential to the role
  • Specialised knowledge?
  • Mandatory qualifications?

B. Leadership: Accountability

  • The accountabilities (apart from resource management) attached to the role
  • Scale and impact of the role determined

C. Diversity/Span

  • Who does the role report to?
  • What other roles report there?
  • How diverse are these reporting roles?
Size and nature of resource management accountabilities
  • Establish the classification and no of direct reports
  • Establish the total number of staff and FTE of the organisational unit managed by the role
  • Establish the budget—departmental and administered funding
  • Establish geographic location of organisational unit managed by the role
    • single location—Australian based or overseas
    • multiple locations—Australian based
    • multiple locations—Australian based and overseas

D. Stakeholder Management

  • Other than formal reporting relationships, who does the role work with inside the agency?
  • What meetings does the role attend?
    • Inside the agency?
    • With external stakeholders?
  • Determine the role's authority e.g.
    • liaison to exchange information or
    • authority to negotiate outcomes on behalf of the organisational unit, whole of agency, or whole of government, etc

E. Job Context and Environment

  • Does the role operate within clearly defined frameworks?
  • Does the role operate by creating new frameworks?
  • What is the nature and scale of the risk to be managed?
  • What are the consequences of making the wrong decision?

F. Judgement and Independence

Authority
  • What critical judgements (apart from resource management) are required by the role?
  • What authority does the job have?
Decision-making
  • What types of decisions does the role deal with?
  • Are decisions handled on the role's own authority?
  • How complex are these decisions?
  • Does the role refer decisions to a more senior role within the agency?

Role Evaluation Template

Job title: Evaluation date:
Agency: Evaluated by:
Primary purpose of the job:
Sources of information used:
Factor Score Rationale / Evidence
Leadership: Knowledge   
Leadership: Accountability   
Diversity/Span   
Stakeholder Management   
Job context and environment   
Judgement and Independence   
Total score: Band:
Approximate time taken:

[1] Review of the Senior Executive Service , February 2011

[2] Highest function means the work of the highest value to be performed by the role – based on responsibility, complexity or other factors relevant to the role.