The need to have a change savvy and resilient workforce is even more relevant today in 2021 than ever before. The context and challenges of the public sector are changing at a rapid pace, the shifting technological landscape and citizen’s expectations means that organisations – either public or private – need to recalibrate the way they work, think and respond to change.
The Portfolio Change Stewardship Office in the Department of Home Affairs, operates as a Centre of Excellence for Change Management in the Federal Government. The Centre aims to promote best practice principles through access to easy to use tools, frameworks, methodologies and services. Ultimately the Centre aims to support better outcomes through improved reporting and informed decision making, by providing expert advice, coaching and support services across government.
The Centre has implemented an innovative approach to managing change by investing in the APS workforce through a Change Management Capability Building Program developed in house. This program is the first of its kind in federal government and includes a comprehensive seven month Change Management Internship and a six-week Change Management Intensive course focused on best practice change management methodologies and approaches. These initiatives are open to staff from across the Federal Public Service at a very low cost, with support from their agencies.
While it is generally well understood that Change Management is the application of proven methodologies and approaches to manage the impact of change on people, processes and systems; the term ‘Change Stewardship’ is relatively new. Change Stewardship is the broader ethos of how the public service takes responsibility for managing change now and into the future, through capability building, reporting and integration. Good Change Stewardship supports benefits realisation and return on investment by insuring that the public service is change savvy now and into the future.
The Home Affairs Portfolio is one of the largest in government. It brings together functions relating to multicultural affairs, emergency management, transport security, transnational serious and organised crime, criminal justice policy, national security and counter-terrorism coordination, cyber policy and countering foreign interference.
It provides a wide range of critical tasks in a high-stakes, 24/7 operating environment. To realise the Portfolio’s purpose – to ensure a prosperous, secure and united Australia – the department has a wide range of complex, bi-modal change initiatives that include systems, cultural, business process and policy changes, many of which have a significant impact on people.
The pandemic has also tested the entire public sector’s ability to respond effectively with agility and speed, to deliver services to Australians in times of national crisis. The post-pandemic recovery will continue to test the ability of organisations across the globe to navigate ongoing challenges.
Demand for Change Managers across both public and private sectors, is stronger now than ever before. The Change Management Centre of Excellence in Home Affairs is working towards ensuring there is stewardship of the service, so that public servants now and into the future have the skills they need to serve Australian’s well by responding to change with resilience and agility.