The Agency Capability Program has three capability streams: improving outward focus, strengthening people and enhancing systems and processes.

 

What will the program achieve?

The ACP will strengthen Communities’ capability so it can better deliver services to, and restore the trust and confidence of, the Western Australian community.

Our people, our partners and our community will all continue to be critical in this endeavour.

The ACP has three capability streams: improving outward focus, strengthening people and enhancing systems and processes.

  • Improving our Outward Focus: An outward focus is intrinsic to the work of the agency and incredibly important right now as we drive the social recovery work for WA following COVID-19. Communities’ purpose ‘to collaborate to create pathways to enable individual, family and community wellbeing’, especially in this recovery phase, can only be realised through engaging and working with our partners effectively.
  • Strengthening our People: Communities’ outcomes and relationships are delivered by its workforce. Well-managed, supported and developed staff are critical to the delivery of our services.
  • Enhancing our Systems and Processes: An organisation as large as Communities cannot function effectively without adequate systems and processes that support leaders and teams to make robust, evidence-based decisions, and ensure the consistent delivery of services.

How we will work

We are supporting our staff to:

  1.  Commit to different and diverse ways of working that deliver results; agile project teams that are iterative, responsive and with a continuous improvement focus.
  2.  Demonstrate continued growth in cultural competence.
  3.  Exemplify ethics and values, acting with integrity at all times.
  4. Celebrate and recognise diversity and inclusiveness, to better reflect the community we serve.
  5. Undertake a strengths-based approach that celebrates and builds on our agency’s and partners’ expertise and collective strengths.
  6. Work in collaboration and partnership with internal and external stakeholders and experts; overcoming silos and valuing diversity of knowledge and experience and the benefits of inclusive practice.

The Key ACP Actions to date

Improving our Outward Focus

The Department has:

  • Sought feedback from stakeholders on the potential roles and functions of a Specialist Child Protection Unit, with ongoing external engagement via a reference group.
  • Established an Aboriginal Cultural Council, formed in October last year, to strengthen the Department's commitment to Aboriginal outcomes and improve cultural understanding through an enhanced program of cultural competency training. Recent meetings in July have enabled the Department’s staff working in key projects and business areas to engage with the Council to seek their perspective and advice. New Terms of Reference are being progressed for this advisory group to the Department.
  • Used the COVID-19 response to trial new partnership mechanisms with the community services sector and our government colleagues, with the focus on building this further in the social recovery planning and delivery. Communities is working with peak bodies to prioritise the establishment of a community and human services strategic group and improve our engagement approach.
  • Been running a fortnightly leadership forum to ensure the Department’s leaders receive up to date information on the changing external context in which we operate and can benefit from a range of external guest speakers who can provide insight and advice.

Strengthening our People

The Department has:

  • Implemented a new senior leadership structure with new Chief Financial Officer, Chief People Officer and Deputy Director General Governance, Integrity and Reform roles at the leadership table. Communities has signaled our focus on our partners with new Divisions established to lead Aboriginal Outcomes, and Strategy and Partnerships.
  • Created two new leadership positions focusing on improved asset management and integrated service delivery in the Department: a new Deputy Director General Community Services position, and Assistant Director General Assets.
  • Built a new leadership structure which focusses all leaders on enhancing our controls, governance and oversight while ensuring every part of the organisation is focused on improving our services and effectively implementing social recovery plans within the COVID environment in order to deliver better outcomes to the people we serve.
  • Trained more than 60 per cent of our staff in Aboriginal Cultural Appreciation through online learning and specific face to face workshops.
  • Established an intranet Rainbow Hub with resources and delivered training to improve inclusion for our LBGTIQ+ staff, and participated in our first Perth Pride March
  • Been working to progress our status as a future Disability Confident Recruiter through our membership in the Australian Network on Disability
  • Finalised Communities’ Integrity Governance Framework and updated Conduct and Integrity policies to align with the Public Sector Commission’s Integrity Strategy for WA Public Authorities 2020–2023, including revised conflict of interest forms, secondary employment forms and related declaration forms.
  • Established a new Communities’ Integrity Advisory Committee (CIAC), to assist the DDG, Governance Integrity and Reform, to steward the prevention and management of integrity, fraud and corruption risks across Communities.
  • The benefit of a 6 month placement of Corruption and Crime Commission (CCC) Director Operations David Robinson from late August within the Governance, Integrity and Reform Division’s leadership team to support education and corruption and fraud prevention activities within the ACP.
  • Prioritised staff understanding of responsibilities and accountabilities to enhance high integrity behaviours and culture through
    • more regular quality communication
    • an enhanced and comprehensive Accountable and Ethical Decision-Making training package already completed by one third of our staff
    • clearer options for reporting potential misconduct.

Enhancing our Systems and Processes

The Department has:

  • Implemented improved governance including:
    • In 2019 appointed an Independent Chair and Independent member of the Audit and Risk Committee.
    • In June 2020 established a new Finance and Investment Committee with an Independent Chair (John Langoulant AO) and Independent members to provide significantly stronger governance over Communities’ finances and funding. The Committee has met a number of times and is tasked with ensuring Communities’ finances and funding is effectively and transparently managed in accordance with legislative requirements, appropriate accounting standards, policies and procedures.
    • Established an improved governance framework and reviewed all internal governance committees.
    • In July completed the new Communities Delegations policy to ensure governance reform and a refreshed Delegation Framework continues.
  • In December 2019 commissioned our own internal forensic financial audit to quickly identify learnings from the corruption incident and rectify control weaknesses.
  • Finalised and commenced a “Better Financial Management Roadmap” program to strengthen internal financial controls, including:
    • improved vendor management
    • a single financial management manual and improved policies and guidelines
    • accounts payable remediation
    • a program of ongoing fraud risk analytics monitoring
    • improved single Communities Purchasing Card Policy and system
    • progressing delivery of a single Finance system.
  • Appointed a Chief Risk Officer who has led the Risk Branch to deliver improved risk management across the Department, strengthened the Communities Risk Management Framework and associated policies and standards, and overseen improved emergency management, business continuity planning and risk workshops to support effective implementation of the Government’s COVID recovery program.
  • Built new and enhanced data capabilities for the Department’s COVID-19 response and Government’s decisions regarding social recovery. This project will use the opportunities presented by the COVID-19 efforts to identify and improve governance and capability to deliver better insights to Communities.
  • Already completed 29 of the 56 recommendations in the recently tabled Public Sector Commission Review of the Housing Authority and the Department of Communities with the remaining 27 progressing well.

The ACP is not intended to be a time-limited program, but rather, a continuous cycle of reviewing, monitoring and improving Communities’ capability.

Feedback

Feedback and engagement with our ACP team is welcome via agencycapabilityprogram@communities.wa.gov.au.