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5 The agency's response

IP Australia welcomes the report of our Agency Capability Review and is appreciative of the considerable consultation, information gathering and analysis that has gone into preparing it. The insight and experience provided by Dale Boucher, Heather Miles and Geoff Leeper in shaping the review and the diligence and skill of the APSC support team have created a constructive and useful report.  We believe it provides a good platform to build on and extend the capabilities of our agency.

The capability review program is designed to provide an independent, high-level, forward-looking review of the leadership, strategy and delivery capability of public sector agencies. IP Australia was not included in the list of agencies mandated for a review, but rather is the first agency to volunteer for such a review. We are an organisation with a 110 year history, operating in a dynamic and global environment which has seen strong recent growth in demand for IP rights and an increased focus on intellectual property as a driver of trade, business and economic growth.

We therefore saw value in the opportunity of an external perspective on our organisational health and how well positioned we are to meet future challenges. The review provides us with a roadmap for building on our strengths and addressing capability gaps. We see it as an opportunity for renewal, a chance to refresh our approach and enhance our effectiveness as our business continues to grow.

The report reflects many positive features of the agency, notably that we are delivering well on our core business of IP rights management, are effectively managing our resources, have a capable and committed workforce and offer a flexible, family-friendly workplace.  The report highlights our opportunity to build on these fundamental strengths so that we also become recognised for strong strategic leadership, a vibrant and productive engagement with our workforce, effective external focus and engagement and a broader economic and policy contribution in partnership with the wider APS.  IP Australia is keen to capitalise on these opportunities, while not losing sight of the importance and centrality of our core function of effective and customer-focused management of IP rights.

The Review also highlighted the importance of IP Australia clarifying our purpose and our value proposition, to mobilise support from both staff and stakeholders.  We are reviewing our vision to achieve a statement which clearly defines our public value and unifies our workforce in support of that vision.

Our key area of opportunity to achieve better performance, relates to leadership and people management.  We recognise the need to modify our approach and increase our focus in this area. Our aim moving forward is to ensure that the Executive team is more visible to the wider organisation and works as (and is perceived as) a coherent, high performing team working collaboratively to provide strategic leadership to the organisation. We will seek to build greater trust, confidence and respect among our workforce and to model these behaviours.

The characteristics and dimensions of our agency mean that the EL2 cohort plays a critical role in the leadership and management of the organisation.  To achieve strong staff engagement and cultural change our EL2s need to play an effective leadership role in the process.  To engender greater trust and work satisfaction we will devolve responsibility and listen and respond to their views and ideas.  Overall our aim is to communicate better with our staff, more effectively utilise their skills and better manage their performance.

The establishment of a new People and Communications branch is indicative of a stronger focus and a new approach.

Governance of the agency, particularly around our ICT functions, is too complex and cumbersome.  There is significant scope for streamlining to improve transparency and efficiency and achieve more strategic and effective decision-making.

The review also emphasises a need for the organisation to be more externally focussed: To engage more broadly with our stakeholders on the one hand, and to play a stronger role in policy development and advice through collaboration with other APS agencies, on the other.

The Capability Review found that IP Australia is regarded positively by its stakeholders and is well regarded internationally.  We are therefore well placed to seek to build on that stakeholder goodwill to more effectively engage, collaborate and utilise their ideas and experience in our work going forward.  We have a significant opportunity to enhance our capacity to capture and use broader knowledge and expertise

Recent initiatives to employ a Chief Economist and establish an economics capability, to enhance our research agenda and to upgrade our capacity for data collection and analysis, position us well to both provide a stronger contribution to policy and to better manage our performance.

Information and Communications Technology plays a pivotal role in our ability to efficiently carry out our core functions and serve and interact with our customers.  We are embarked on a large and long-term program of change and renewal of our critical ICT systems.  Managing this so that we capture benefits as early as possible and achieve the best balance between investment in the new system and investment to maintain the effectiveness of existing systems in the medium term will continue to be a key challenge over coming years.

All this adds up to an exciting program to build our capabilities and strengths, and one which will require us to lift our ability to successfully manage change.  In many areas work is already underway to act on the findings and recommendations of the Review.

Overall I think the organisation that I lead has fundamental strengths and is well placed to capitalise on the opportunities highlighted by the Capability Review.  I am looking forward to working with the IP Australia leadership team and all IP Australia staff in delivering on those opportunities and creating a truly effective and high performing organisation.

 

Patricia Kelly

Director-General

IP Australia