In 2016, Ambulance Victoria (AV) commissioned VPSC to undertake an organisational capability review.

AV commissioned the review as part of its organisation wide examination of future context, challenges and opportunities, and to enable adoption of a forward focused approach to improving organisational capability.

The review was undertaken by VPSC and led by two independent expert Lead Reviewers, Mr David Butler and Mr Michael Kinnane ESM, who have specific experience and expertise in the areas of organisational capability reviews, and emergency management, respectively.

The review included consultations with a range of staff from AV, as well as key stakeholders, to hear about the organisation’s strengths, weaknesses and opportunities now and into the future.

Across the ten areas of organisational capability, VPSC’s review rated AV as well placed in four capability areas and as requiring development in the remaining six.

While the review identified a number of areas for development, it is important to note that AV sought this review. This demonstrates a commitment by the Board and Chief Executive Officer, to examine AV’s strengths, challenges and opportunities in their efforts to continue to improve the organisation and ensure it is well placed into the future.

At the request of Ambulance Victoria, their organisational capability review report is being made publicly available. Due to the nature of the document, and the use of images and tables, it is being provided in its original format. If you have any questions about our publications or require an alternate format, please contact us.

Read the full Ambulance Victoria Capability Review (PDF, 1.1 MB, 64pages)

What is a capability review?

A capability review is a forward looking examination of an organisation’s capability to deliver against future objectives.

It provides a “big picture” assessment of how an organisation’s people, processes and systems enable outcomes, and identifies opportunities for that organisation to better position itself to meet future challenges.

VPSC takes a collaborative approach to conducting capability reviews by working with the organisation throughout the process. Reviews are often requested by the organisation. They are typically undertaken with the support of Lead Reviewers with extensive experience and expertise leading complex organisations.

VPSC uses a capability review model developed by the Australian Public Service Commission and based on models that have been successfully implemented in countries including the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

The capability review model guides the review team and ensures a consistent approach to assessing organisational capability in three priority areas: leadership, strategy and delivery. The review process involves the collection of evidence and the assessment of evidence against the ten elements of the model to identify both the organisation’s strengths and areas for improvement.

At the end of the review, VPSC provides the organisation with a report which details their findings. Organisations use these findings to inform the development of action plans for lifting capability.

Capability review ratings

The organisational capability review model used by VPSC includes four ratings:


  • Outstanding capability for future delivery in line with the model of capability
  • Clear approach to monitoring and sustaining future capability with supporting evidence and metrics
  • Evidence of learning and benchmarking against peers and other comparators

Well placed

  • Capability gaps are identified and defined
  • Is already making improvements in capability for current and future delivery, and is well placed to do so
  • Is expected to improve further in the short term through practical actions that are planned or already underway

Development area

  • Has weaknesses in capability for current and future delivery and/or has not identified all weaknesses and has no clear mechanism for doing so.
  • More action is required to close current capability gaps and deliver improvement over the medium term.

Serious Concerns

  • Significant weaknesses in capability for current and future delivery that require urgent action
  • Not well placed to address weaknesses in the short or medium term and needs additional action and support to secure effective delivery

High benchmarks are set for organisational capability reviews, and it is common for organisations to receive few ‘strong’ ratings. The rating ‘strong’ is given in instances where the organisation demonstrates outstanding capability for future delivery. A strong rating indicates an organisation that is considered as exemplary and a leader in this area of organisational capability both within and outside its sector.

Most organisations will have a number of areas for development. The key factor is that an organisation uses the review process, and the ratings, to reflect on areas of focus to improve organisational capability into the future.