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Part 5: The department's response

The Department of Finance and Deregulation welcomes this review and the opportunity to validate our assumptions on our strategic priorities and the initiatives we have put in place to-achieve them. We are pleased with the recognition and acknowledgement by the reviewers of our capabilities and the areas in which we are well-placed; having put considerable effort over the past few years into developing our strategies, our people and our systems. The department is particularly pleased with the recognition given to the skills, commitment and professionalism of our staff – which we agree is our major strength.

We note that our self-assessment and that provided by the reviewers is largely similar – indicating a high organisational self-awareness of where we need to focus our efforts and further position ourselves as an important central agency.

We agree with the key areas flagged by the reviewers as having the potential to benefit from further development. The Executive Board is committed to putting in place an action plan, developed with the input of our staff, to complete the work we have started and ensure our systems and business processes support our staff and our business to the greatest extent possible and focus on our priorities.

The department acknowledges the challenge of articulating a clear purpose statement – which we have been referring to as the Philosophy of Finance – which unifies the department, further engages our stakeholders and defines the value we bring as a central APS agency. The department agrees with the need to expedite the work it has been doing on strategic workforce planning. This will be a priority in the action plan.

The Executive Board also acknowledges the findings on its performance to date – its modus operandi and its perceived level of collaboration and collegiality – and has committed to defining a renewed purpose and role for itself. The Board has already implemented, for example, the suggestion to shift the current focus of matters for its consideration from the group-level to the divisional level. This approach takes effect from our December 2012 Board meeting.

Over the coming months, the department will build upon the success of our Strategic Plan; ensuring a clear understanding of our business – shared by our staff, our clients and stakeholders – captured in a concise positioning statement; reflected in the way we collaborate and share information to deliver better policy and service outcomes; and demonstrated in how we manage and monitor the performance of our systems and processes. We agree with the review finding that further development of our systems and processes, particularly to enhance the leveraging of information within the department for whole-of-government benefit, is a major opportunity to add value and better utilise the department's comparative advantage in this area. The review has facilitated highly engaged and constructive discussions across our leadership cohort and we are confident the findings reflect a strong and shared commitment to building a stronger, more influential and effective department.

This review gives us the confidence to pursue key areas for development and to recognise our strengths. It also provides a solid platform on which to develop and deliver an achievable action plan in early 2013.I thank the reviewers for their diligence and frankness, and my staff who engaged so constructively and positively in this exercise.

David Tune
Secretary
Department of Finance and Deregulation