The AOFM chose to engage in the capability review process as an integral part of its current workforce plan. The purpose of the review from an AOFM perspective was to prompt structured and comprehensive external feedback on, and an assessment of, its approach to fulfilling core responsibilities together
with its readiness to deal with prospective challenges. Having an extensive network of stakeholders, whose support is important for the success of its operations, the AOFM is wise to maintain an awareness of its actual (rather than self-perceived) ability to build and maintain productive external relationships.
Internally, the AOFM faces similar (and in some respects greater) challenges to other public sector agencies in motivating highly skilled staff – largely because of its small size and relatively narrow mandate. While expecting positive reinforcement about many things the agency does, it was always
the case that there would be some areas highlighted for improvement. The outcome of the capability review indicates this.
The overall capability assessment is very positive with the agency being viewed as either well-placed or strong for seven of the 10 categories of consideration. It has been assessed as needing further development in the remaining three categories but with no serious concerns identified for any category.
The report indicates the AOFM as having highly capable staff that apply themselves in a manner that consistently delivers high quality (core) outcomes. In addition, it has established an appropriate network of external relationships that facilitates achieving its primary financing tasks. Room for improvement
has been identified in areas relating to its internal communication style, some aspects of management capability, and addressing staff expectations on career progression and development opportunities. The review also highlighted an opportunity for the AOFM to share its knowledge and expertise more widely
The AOFM response to the capability review will focus on: (1) developing 'products' and processes that create opportunities to share knowledge and expertise with other agencies (in particular Treasury and the Department of Finance); (2) practising a more engaging approach to internal communications; (3) clarifying some internal HR policies so that staff are clear as to the expectations that can be met and where the agency's constraints to providing development opportunities lie (including revised thinking on the use of graduates in AOFM); and (4) a tighter focus on use of the performance management system, together with some coaching for those with managerial responsibilities. Ways to improve the effectiveness of the role for the Executive Group will also be explored.
Some of these changes can be adopted with little effort and within the short-term and efforts to implement some of the supporting activities have commenced (eg internal communication changes). Others will require consideration and guidance from the agency's Executive Group. An action plan will be devised
and staff consulted on its content and direction prior to year end.