Regional science: the CSIRO scorecard

Save Regional Science The 2011 Regional Review produced ten key recommendations which were aimed at achieving vibrancy for CSIRO Regional Sites.

Members at CSIRO Regional Sites had high hopes for recommendations to be coordinated and implemented in 2012.

One year on, we ask – have the recommendations been implemented?

1. Develop and maintain a plan for each regional site with respect to place-based rationale, science directions, key internal and external partnerships, community engagement and pathways to impact (Site Leaders with nominated Chief / Group Executive for site)

FAIL – Although this has begun the process has not been completed. A clear failure as there has been no clear process for developing and implementing the plans, and no corporate leadership to make it happen. Site plans were not completed in time to be fed into divisional plans in 2012 which delayed the process of implementation for one year.

2. Ensure that planning for CSIRO’s ten year capital plan incorporates strategic consideration of changes to CSIRO’s regional footprint (Chief Finance Officer)

FAIL – Simply no evidence that this has happened.

3. CSIRO regional sites to make major contributions to organisational activity with respect to Indigenous engagement and employment (Capability Leaders responsible for site)

FAIL – Select sites – for example Armidale – has had an increase in the number of Indigenous staff. However efforts to date are still largely ad hoc. There is no implementation plan, or resourcing for this recommendation.

4. CSIRO to (i) communicate and implement agreed standard site leadership role statements, including associated accountabilities and responsibilities (GM HR Strategy) (ii) explore opportunities for building a community-of-practice amongst regional site leaders (Daniel Walker) ; and (iii) invest in developing our Site Leaders by enabling and encouraging participation in development opportunities (Chiefs)

FAIL – CSIRO completed part (i) of this recommendation in 2012. There is no evidence that parts (ii) and (iii) have begun.

5. Ensure that implementation of regional site plans developed under Recommendation 1 can fully utilise opportunities for access to enterprise capability funds (such as CDFs, TCPs and OCE Science Leader scheme) (Site Leaders with nominated EMC leads for the site)

FAIL – Simply no evidence that this has happened.

6. Implement a model of ‘regional transaction support staff’ at sites to interface with, and provide delivery points for, enterprise functions and consider the role of regional sites in developing enterprise-wide support(General Managers in Enterprise Support Services for HR, IM&T, HSE, Property Services and Finance)

FAIL– Simply no evidence that this has happened.

7. Initiate enterprise-wide communication to increase the internal and external understanding of our regional sites, highlighting what they deliver to the organisation and their local communities (General Manager Communication supported by Site Leaders)

FAIL – Simply no evidence that this has happened.

8. Ensure an integrated approach to decision-making by (i) assessing impact of project planning, workforce planning and enterprise resource allocation decisions on individual region sites and (ii) mitigating unforseen negative consequences for site vibrancy (EMC leader responsible for site)

FAIL – Simply no evidence that this has happened.

9. For each regional site, appoint a Chief or Group Executive to take overarching responsibility for the vibrancy of that site (Deputy Chief Executive, Science, Strategy and People)


10. As part of CSIRO’s Operational Planning Cycle (i) allocate specific responsibility for implementation of recommendations 1 to 9 and determine timelines for their completion; (ii) commission a review of progress against Regional Sites Working Group recommendations annually for the period of the 2011-15 Strategy and report outcomes to Executive Team (Deputy Chief Executive, Science, Strategy and People)

FAIL – Simply no evidence that this has happened.

Overall Verdict – FAIL 

It is clear from staff feedback and through Staff Association activities at regional sites, that ‘vibrancy’ has not been achieved. Generally, staff numbers remain at a standstill. While regional delegates and staff are pleased that sites have not been closed, more needs to be done to achieve ‘vibrancy’ and secure the future of our regional sites.

Time for Action

In the coming weeks Staff Association delegates and activists will be visibly campaigning in support of regional science and vibrant regional sites – Keep an eye out for the green postcards.

For more information contact


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