Alignment of team roles and competencies


A diverse range of individuals with a various skills, qualifications and experience will be required for the successful implementation of a National Water Safety Plan. Choosing the right individuals for specific roles will save time, money and increase the likelihood that tasks associated with plan implementation are completed efficiently and to a high standard, with minimal support required.  

There are three steps to effectively assigning individuals to roles which align with their competencies:

Step 1: Identify project roles

The purpose and scope of various roles and responsibilities associated with water safety plan implementation should be clearly defined. Determine what skills and experience would be most beneficial to fill each role. The roles identified should align with the plans overall strategy.  

Step 2: Assess competencies

Assess the knowledge, skills, qualifications, unique talents and experience of individuals willing to be involved in water safety plan implementation. It may also be beneficial to consider personal characteristics such as personality traits or professional background. In order to simplify or objectify the process, consider placing individuals and their attributes in a table or framework.  

There are four major types of competencies: 

  • Leadership skills to guide and oversee all components of plan implementation  
  • Technical skills to perform analytical tasks, such as data collection/analysis or intervention implementation/evaluation 
  • Administrative skills to organise practical aspects of plan implementation such as staffing and budgets  
  • Relational skills to lead communication, working closely with partners and external stakeholders  

Individuals may be competent in more than one area and it is important to keep track of people who have multiple competencies as they can temporarily fill other roles if required. 

Step 3: Assign responsibilities

Review roles which required to be filled and identify individuals who best fill each. A decision matrix may be useful here, particularly if individuals have multiple competencies, or if certain roles require a number of skills to fill effectively.  


  • Existing skills and experience are effectively utilized to meet the goals of a National Water Safety Plan. 
  • May lead to less training and upskilling being required. 
  • Assists in identifying skill-gaps during early stages of plan implementation. 
  • Individuals will feel confident in completing the tasks allocated to them.  


  • If an individual decides to no longer be involved with the water safety plan, roles and competencies will need to be re-assigned and processes will be disrupted.  
  • Competency requirements may change over the course of plan implementation: emerging roles and responsibilities need to be competently filled and it may be time to recruit additional expertise. 


This process is best performed during the development phase of a National Water Safety Plan. This process may need to be repeated, particularly if individuals chose to no longer be involved or if plan objectives change.