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Role descriptions for senior executives

Role descriptions for senior executive roles

Role descriptions for NSW Public Service senior executive roles should be based on the NSW Public Service Senior Executive Work Level Standards (WLS)

WLS indicate, in broad terms, the expected work to be performed at each of the senior executive bands across the NSW Public Service (except for the Department Secretaries Band). The NSW Public Sector Capability Framework works in conjunction with the WLS. 

The NSW Public Service Senior Executive is comprised of roles which are significantly diverse. Therefore, the WLS are considered in the context of the following five work contribution streams: 

  • service/operational delivery roles
  • policy roles
  • regulatory/compliance roles
  • professional/technical/specialist roles
  • agency head. 

When drafting a senior executive role description, the language used in the ‘Primary purpose’, ‘Key accountabilities’, ‘Key challenges’ and ‘Key relationships’ sections should reflect the size, scope and impact of the role as described in the identified WLS band. 


The following example shows how the WLS can be reflected in the role description. It uses the language in the ‘Accountability’ factor of the WLS Band 1 distinguishing characteristics, in a Director (Senior Executive Band 1) role description: 

Work Level Standard 

Role description 

WLS Band 1 (accountability factor) 

Director, Band 1 role description (Key accountability) 

Effective leadership and management of a clearly defined area of organisational activity. 

Lead and direct strategic policy, legislation and program development for the department, to 
ensure that policy and legislative objectives are achieved. 

The next example uses the language in the ‘Key relationships’ factor of the WLS Band 2 distinguishing characteristics, in an Executive Director (Senior Executive Band 2) role description: 

Work Level Standard 

Role Description 

WLS Band 2 (key relationships factor) 

Executive Director Band 2 role description (key relationships) 

They may act as a principal representative of the organisation and government and an 
advocate of key positions and strategies, at peak council level. 

Represent NSW Government at cross-government, cross-jurisdictional and outside of government meetings, state and national committees, working parties and related forums, advocating and articulating NSW Government’s position and interests. 

The NSW Public Sector Capability Framework does not align capabilities to classifications or executive levels. The capabilities and levels required for a role should be determined with reference to the context of the role, key accountabilities, the job environment and organisational requirements. 

The NSW Public Service Senior Executive Work Level Standards Guideline is available at www.psc.nsw.gov.au/wls