Case study: Taskforce coordination support
Taskforces have become a dynamic method of achieving outcomes across the APS enterprise, particularly in PM&C. Taskforces are regularly established within PM&C to meet emerging or high-profile Government priorities. Some are short term (3–6 months) and some longer term (1–3 years), but all require dedicated focus and varying timescales, set-up and delivery resourcing and effort from many parts of PM&C and more broadly across the APS enterprise.
Taskforce Coordination Support (TCS) was established in early 2021 following endorsement from the Executive Board to provide support to taskforces by:
- providing a ‘one stop shop’ for new taskforces and PM&C enabling services to support incoming taskforce executive and team members for seamless start-up and wind-up of taskforces
- facilitating good governance practice in line with PM&C policies promoting compliance with legislative obligations.
Since its establishment TCS has provided assistance and advice to a number of taskforces in varying stages of start-up and wind-up of operations. A central taskforce coordination hub is in its early stages of development to assist taskforces with collaboration across enabling services and to improve record-keeping. The team has been integral in leveraging digital solutions to further refine and simplify taskforce establishment and wind-up.
The TCS function mitigates several strategic and operational risks to PM&C and is in line with Australian National Audit Office and internal audit health check recommendations that good governance of taskforces is a key requirement for accountability.
Consultation across PM&C enabling service teams has indicated strong support for this central coordination function, as it is anticipated to ease pressure and workload in relation to new taskforce requests.
Taskforces that have received assistance from TCS have provided favourable feedback in relation to the benefits of the function and have offered support to give weight to further development of the function. Established checklists, templates and tailored/facilitated guidance through known ‘sticking points’, facilitating connections between key PM&C and taskforce stakeholders, and efficiencies gained through use of a central coordination hub are all benefits that have received positive feedback to date.
Informal feedback from stakeholders has been consistently positive, with recognition that this is a much-needed initiative. A recent review showed that identified issues were being addressed by TCS. As this function is in its first year, the team is in the process of developing tools to establish measurable performance targets with methods to capture data in relation to tracking wind-up activities such as staff off-boarding, contract closure and complete handover documentation, including accessible wind-up briefing about measurable activities.
Ongoing implementation of the TCS will provide increased efficiencies and risk mitigation through coordinated communications guidance, assistance through established checklists and processes, and reduction of duplication across PM&C enabling services. The TCS will develop specialised skills and resources for a range of scenarios relating to establishment of taskforces delivering key Government priorities.