In 2014 The NSW Government Sector Employment Act included “Capabilities” into its recruitment and assessment framework, a huge landmark in the NSW application process.
Capabilities are “the knowledge, skills and abilities that public sector employees must demonstrate to perform their roles effectively” and their inclusion in the Act shows the government is moving from a focus on ‘what’ happens in the job to ‘how’ best to do it. Essentially a shift from Little Britain’s “compu’a says no” to helpful and engaged public servants.
The capability framework will affect recruitment processes
Government agencies have less than two years to embed the Capability Framework into their recruitment and performance policies. This is a huge task. Every job description (and there are thousands) has to be rethought and rewritten to include the capabilities the job needs. There are also other related requirements. Recruitment must now include not just an application and interview, but other factors such as psychometric tests, work tests (writing a brief or a report) giving a presentation or participating in a role-play. The ability to write a long winded application, addressing numerous and overlapping selection criteria, then perform well at interview will no longer be enough to win the job.
It is already transforming government organisations
Already we are seeing the effects of the capability framework with Service First, formerly the Motor Registry. Compared to the Motor Registry, Service First? offers a variety of services. As anyone who has waited in line for a license will understand, this move sounds like an invitation to wait in line longer, and yet the results are incredible! A public servant greets you on arrival and hands you a ticket depending on your query. Then you sit in comfortable chairs for a short length of time before being promptly and efficiently served.
This change came about when all of the employees at the motor registry had to reapply for their jobs with broader requirements than the previous ‘skills, knowledge and experience’. Now personal qualities are included into the framework and employees must show a range of capabilities. These capabilities include:
- Helping customers understand the services available
- Taking responsibility to deliver services which meet customer requirements
- Keep customers informed of progress and seek feedback to ensure their needs are met
- Communicate clearly, actively listen to others and respond with respect
The Capability Framework should prevent the likes of Little Britain’s Carol and Yes Minister’s Sir Humphrey from entering public service as well as give HR authority to challenge the existing public servants’ performance.
Create a happier more engaged workforce:
One of the unsung results of the Framework is that it formally recognises qualities that many public servants have in abundance. It is essentially a recruitment tool for finding better-suited employees. The result: a generally happier more engaged workforce, with fewer Carols dragging government’s reputation through the dirt.
How to use the Capability Framework to your advantage
The NSW capability framework is a positive change for both the NSW government and prospective employees. At INS we offer HR and Career Transition services that help governments and public organisations navigate the latest legislation changes and use them to their advantage. To find out more about the Capability Framework have a look at the NSW Public Sector Capability Framework Official Website.
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