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The Client

The Fleet Command of the Royal Australian Navy is the fighting force of the Navy with a long and proud history of delivering capability. One of the cornerstones of generating and sustaining effective Fleet capability is having justified confidence in its Seaworthiness. The Fleet Commander recognised the need to standardise governance and management across Fleet Command to generate this confidence and demonstrate compliance to new regulatory obligations.


The restructuring of Fleet Command in recent years without corresponding updates to governance and management had resulted in blurred lines of accountability and responsibility and disjointed relationships between the Fleet Headquarters and the various Force Commands and Branches. Combined with amended regulatory obligations, the Fleet Commander had reduced confidence in achieving required outcomes while demonstrating evidence of performance, risk and assurance.

The Challenge

The Navy has served Australia with a “can do” culture for decades; a culture which has extended beyond the ships, boats and aircraft to the organisations supporting and serving Navy from shore. This has resulted in organisations resorting to reactive behaviours and crisis management too often. Senior staff in key executive roles were unsure about the scope of their responsibilities and accountabilities; knowledge transfer was generally by word of mouth rather than through an effective quality management system.

Recognising this challenge and the risk it incurs, Defence developed a regulatory system called the Defence Seaworthiness Management System (DSwMS) which consisted of goal-oriented governance and management obligations. Fleet Command was required to develop a compliance strategy and assurance plan to meet these obligations.

The design and development of the Fleet Command Management System (FCMS) was tailored to encourage consistent application of governance elements and systems of management across Fleet Command. This was required to clarify accountabilities, responsibility and functions, ensure alignment to strategic direction, risk controls and performance goals, and meet compliance requirements.

Our Engagement

As part of a collaborative consultancy team with Beca and Abbott Risk Consulting, Coras was responsible for the design of the governance and management framework and requirements that formed the new Fleet Command Management System (FCMS). We documented high-level policy for governance and management using contemporary business models tailored for Fleet Command’s unique outcomes and structures. We also provided a team of subject matter experts to develop Systems of Management in the domains of materiel, logistics, workforce and performance. Our GM, Brett Rylance, worked closely with the Executive team in Fleet Headquarters to develop Strategic and Business Plans, along with establishing new business review forums through performance, assurance and risk perspectives. During the implementation of the FCMS, we led an assisted assurance program to all Fleet Command organisations to indicate current compliance to the FCMS, and develop subsequent plans for remediation.

The Results

Through the consistent efforts of some of our most experienced consultants, Coras has delivered superior services and quality deliverables in Fleet Command. We have been recognised as providing the necessary leadership, guidance and advice to chart a course towards a headmark of an organisationally mature and compliant Fleet Command. This has been done using contemporary, yet practical business models that are already yielding beneficial results.

Fleet Command now has much-improved clarity around the accountability, responsibilities, organisational structures, functions and relationships across the various Forces and Branches. They have a Business Plan and clearly defined performance targets and key success factors providing guidance for alignment to each of the Forces and Branches.

Coras engagement with a broad range of senior staff in Fleet Command has resulted in increased awareness and knowledge of the required elements of governance and systems of management. This has resulted in executive team buy-in and ownership, the introduction of a targeted governance forum to enable more informed decision-making at an appropriate level and, therefore, improved advice to the Fleet Commander.

As a direct result of our work, Fleet Command has been recognised as not only being the leading Defence maritime organisation in meeting the new compliance requirements in Defence, but also having a practical governance and management framework that improves operational effectiveness, delivers justified confidence to make informed decisions, and imbues continual improvement.

Fleet Command sought the provision of governance and assurance specialist services to support Fleet Command in designing, developing and implementing an integrated framework of governance and management to measure and achieve operational effectiveness, enable informed decision making, and meet Seaworthiness compliance requirements.

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