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Capability review: Department of Immigration and Citizenship


The 2010 report Ahead of the Game: Blueprint for the Reform of Australian Government Administration recommended that the Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) undertake regular and systemic reviews to promote improved capability in the key agencies and to assess the institutional capability of the service as a whole.

The methodology used by the APSC to conduct these reviews drew significantly on the United Kingdom Capability Review Programme. Through the knowledge gained from the first tranche of reviews (the three pilots), the United Kingdom methodology has been gradually refined to more closely reflect the Australian context. This is the second report of the second tranche of capability reviews.

I thank the department for its wholehearted participation in this review. All interview participants were generous with their time and displayed great passion in their work, in particular the Acting Secretary, Martin Bowles PSM, and the senior management team. We recognise the challenges the department faces on a daily basis successfully discharging a substantial volume of routine visa processing activity, for example, while also managing a significant and highly variable workload occasioned by irregular maritime arrivals, amongst other things. I believe that this report provides the basis on which the department can construct a practical and pragmatic approach to building departmental capabilities needed to meet its future challenges.

I would like to thank Ken Matthews AO, the chair of the review team, and the other senior members of the team, Akiko Jackson and Kerri Hartland. The depth and diversity of their experience has significantly added to the outcomes of this report.

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 Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). It highlights the department's internal management strengths and weaknesses 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 sharp and to take a high-level view of the strategic operations of the agency. They draw on documentation provided by the department and on interviews with staff at National Office and in regional and international offices.

External stakeholders are also interviewed, including private sector companies, peak bodies, interest groups and central agencies.

Figure 1 – Model of capability

Last reviewed: 
17 May 2018