Organisational structure and accountability Report 17: 2016–17

A clearly articulated strategy drives an organisation's direction and contributes to a strong governance structure. The Queensland Government outlines the state’s objectives, and public sector agencies must develop strategies that support the delivery of these government objectives. Agencies should then consider their strategy when developing their organisational structure, or they run the risk that their strategy will not be realised.

This audit assessed whether the structure within Queensland Government departments supports the achievement of individual agency strategic objectives as well as government priorities, and whether there is clear accountability for delivering these objectives. 

We reviewed the strategic plan and organisational structure of 18 departments. We also considered the government's overarching strategic direction, and assessed whether each department's strategic plan referenced these objectives and clearly demonstrated how the department planned to contribute towards them.

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Recommendations

We recommend that the Public Service Commission:

1. 

monitors and provides regular advice to agencies on the workforce profile required to meet future demands, and considers if current structures and classifications remain appropriate. (Chapter 2)

2.

supports agencies in their development of strategic workforce plans, providing guidance on how best to anticipate the changing nature of work, workers and workplaces. (Chapter 2).

We recommend that all government departments:

3. 

enhance strategic planning approaches by

  • integrating a review of their organisational structure and strategic workforce plan, to ensure they have the right structure and the right people to deliver their strategic objectives, now and over the period of the strategy
  • linking their strategic plan to operational plans, and cascading its strategic direction into the activities required across divisions
  • clearly aligning activities, projects, programs and strategic initiatives to Queensland Government objectives, and better explain how the department plans to deliver or contribute to these
  • better demonstrating alignment of strategic objectives with the risks that may impact their achievements. (Chapter 2)

4.

establish clear alignment between accountability and strategic objectives by

  • formally assigning strategic and operational objectives to individual accountable departmental officers with appropriate authority
  • agreeing specific performance measures and targets for each objective
  • measuring performance against specific targets and better incorporating performance monitoring into governance frameworks. (Chapter 3).

5.

review delegations of authority in relation to organisational structure design by

  • obtaining and documenting appropriate approval for all decisions regarding staffing structures. This should document staffing needs, including how they link to the delivery of operational and strategic objectives, in the department's operational plan, or in individual divisional business plans

  • ensuring that there is appropriate justification and documentation to demonstrate a link between strategy and organisational structure. (Chapter 3)

6.

calculate and review staffing structures and workforce profiles to ensure that the department allocates its employees efficiently and effectively to deliver the department's strategic objectives.

Agency workforce planning should effectively consider and anticipate the changing nature of work and future demands. (Chapter 2)