Attorney-General’s Department

THE CHALLENGE

The Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) has a diverse remit, ranging from issues of national security, emergency management and international crime to the promotion and protection of the arts and cultural heritage. AGD is also one of the smaller Commonwealth departments in terms of staff and budget. This creates a number of challenges for managing its capital budget. With the need to deliver such a broad array of outcomes, AGD wanted a mechanism to better manage the allocation of its capital budget based on measurable and comparable benefits. All of this in an environment with an overarching need for robust and well governed, but not over-engineered or complex investment management processes. Noetic was engaged by AGD to improve the Department’s capital budgeting process by implementing a number of our simple and proven investment management tools, namely a Benefits Classification Framework and Investment Prioritisation Model.

WHAT NOETIC DID

Noetic initially conducted a review of AGD’s capital budgeting process, including an assessment of its strategic alignment, prioritisation inputs and governance arrangements against best practice principles. The report recommended a future process which strengthened strategic inputs to investment decisions, improved the identification of measurable benefits, promoted common investment prioritisation criteria to assist decision-making, and enhanced its portfolio management capability. Noetic then developed a Benefits Classification Framework articulating common benefit categories and types across the Department’s key activities. We then developed a Prioritisation Framework which provided criteria, relative weightings and scoring guidelines against which to rank investment proposals. We also assisted the Department to socialise the updated process and provided guidance in the use of these new tools.

THE OUTCOME

An Investment Management-led approach to capital budgeting provided AGD with a robust, simple, clear process promoting improved organisational accountability and value for money. Specifically, the Benefits Classification Framework will improve the identification of measurable benefits, provide the basis for comparison across diverse outcomes, enable benefits tracking and realisation over time, and allow for more robust portfolio-wide analysis. The Prioritisation Model provides a framework against which AGD can now achieve sound, consistent investment decisions based on a structured prioritisation process and agreed criteria to maximise investment value.