Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department

THE CHALLENGE

The Australian Government’s 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 government 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 budget optimization processes. Noetic was engaged by AGD to improve the Department’s capital budgeting process by implementing a number of our simple and proven budget optimizaton tools, namely a Benefits Classification Framework and Investment Prioritization Model.

WHAT NOETIC DID

Noetic initially conducted a review of AGD’s capital budgeting process, including an assessment of its strategic alignment, prioritization 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 prioritization 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. Noetic then developed a Prioritization Framework which provided criteria, relative weightings and scoring guidelines against which to rank investment proposals. Noetic also assisted the Department to socialize the updated process and provided guidance in the use of these new tools.

THE RESULT

An Investment Management-led approach to capital budgeting provided AGD with a robust, simple, clear process promoting improved organizational 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 realization over time, and allow for more robust portfolio-wide analysis. The Prioritization Model provides a framework against which AGD can now achieve sound, consistent investment decisions based on a structured prioritization process and agreed criteria to maximize investment value.