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  • 04 Capability

    We undertake a broad range of activities, and our people collectively have a vast range of skills, experience and expertise (from customer service, accounting, and information technology to auditing, marketing and law), helping us to deliver for the government and the community.


    Leaders in the ATO are committed to developing capability and leading by example. We are accountable for our performance and we empower staff to reach their potential. Our Leadership strategy outlines how we will make changes in our leadership approach, defining our new culture and transforming the workforce.

    In 2016, two senior executive positions were created to give greater strategic oversight and integration of our information technology, corporate and enabling services:

    • The Chief Information Officer (CIO) role drives the implementation and promotion of a services engagement model involving change in practices, approach and culture. Strategic focus areas include end-to-end digital service delivery and working environment; insight and intelligence; and anticipating and responding to the expectations of business and community.
    • The Chief Operating Officer (COO) role gives strength and integration in our corporate positioning, governance, stakeholder management, whole-of-government representation, emerging shared service provider requirements, and culture, people and resource management. All of these support our ability to deliver an improved client and staff experience.

    The four Commissioners, along with the COO and CIO, form the core ATO Executive team. Details on our organisational structure are available on


    Our Workforce plan and Culture strategy outline how we are managing our workforce and desired future culture, and systematically achieving change in the ATO. We must focus on providing an easier, contemporary, and more responsive way of doing business. We encourage staff to be inclusive, and we support this through our Diversity and inclusion plan 2015–17 and Reconciliation action plan 2014–17.

    Staff will require a base level of digital skills in order to adapt to new and emerging technologies. We are commissioning research into staff digital competency models and best practices, and to create a digital capability baseline to help shape organisation-wide strategies and plans.

    To ensure we are capable of meeting future challenges, we will critically assess our recruitment practices to ensure employees meet current needs and equip us with a professional capability ready to meet future requirements. The future ATO employee will:

    • be technologically savvy, taking a whole-of-systems approach and capable of working across multiple functions
    • be committed to high performance and able to coach other employees
    • maintain a commitment to lifelong learning, innovation and embracing change.

    To achieve greater workforce efficiencies, we are:

    • exploring opportunities to use different workforce types and mixes to ensure we adapt to changing or emerging priorities
    • leveraging technology and innovative practices
    • using data and intelligence to anticipate customer requirements
    • integrating our workforce supply, technology and property so we can meet both immediate and longer-term workforce requirements.


    Demographics. Around 20,750 employees, 85% ongoing, 12% casual, 3% non-ongoing, 77% full-time, 11% part-time, 12% casual, 1.7% Indigenous Australians, 22% from a non-English speaking background, 3.1% with disability


    We have offices across all six states and the ACT. Our staff are also collocated in DHS and myGov shopfronts across Australia.

    Map of Australia. QLD 16%, NSW 31%, ACT 12%, TAS 3%, VIC 24%, SA 9%, WA 5%.

    Systems and data

    We continue to transform and simplify our ICT environment to support streamlined and seamless services. We are driving the development of a more agile and skilled workforce, capable of delivering applications to support the community and the organisation.

    Smarter use of data and information is one of the foundation elements of our ongoing Reinventing the ATO program. Our data, analytics and intelligence capabilities are helping us better use large data holdings to improve the quality of decision making and deliver to clients a more personalised experience of the tax and superannuation systems.

    We have a highly skilled workforce using increasingly advanced data and analytical tools. The Reinventing the ATO program aims to create the right environment to attract and retain the right people, providing a contemporary workforce capable of meeting clients' increasing service expectations and identifying risks as they emerge. Our new information technology workforce and people strategy will enable a more focused approach, ensuring we have the right people in the right place with the right skills, while predicting future talent demands to support our business.

    Shared and common services

    The government is continuing to implement targeted initiatives that challenge the way the public sector undertakes its policy and service delivery roles.

    The Shared and Common Services Programme is aligned with the push towards smaller government and the Efficiency Through Contestability Programme. In a landscape of constrained budgets and an increasingly dynamic and complex policy environment, the target is to cut waste and duplication, streamline delivery models, reduce operating costs, and make government more efficient and business-like.

    The ATO has been selected as a provider of corporate services and is working to establish a shared services hub. We will take care in balancing our shared services offering and ensure we are adding value at a whole-of-government level while protecting our core business outcomes. 

      Last modified: 22 Aug 2016QC 49917