Senior Office Assistant (SOA)

Role Description EL.165

Role Details

Cluster/Agency: NSW Electoral Commission
Division/Branch/Unit: Elections Branch
Location: Various locations throughout NSW
Classification/Grade/Band: Various depending upon election
Senior Executive Work Level Standards: Not applicable
Kind of Employment: Casual under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1993 or Parliamentary Electorates and Elections Act 1912 as applicable
ANZSCO Code: 224911
Role Number: Not Applicable
PCAT Code: Not Applicable
Date of Approval: Not Applicable
Agency Website:


The NSW Electoral Commission conducts election and by-elections for the State of NSW, Local Government and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council. It also conducts statutory elections for registered clubs, statutory bodies and state registered industrial organisations.

Primary Purpose of the Role

SOAs will be responsible for managing key election activities under the direction of the Returning Officer (RO). The SOA will be required to supervise Office Assistants (OAs), where required, who will assist them in undertaking their tasks.

The Senior Office Assistant (SOA) role will vary depending upon the election event, duties may include:

  • Confirmation of election venues and facilities
  • Recruitment of election staff including monitoring of attendance and training
  • Co-ordination of election materials and managing return of materials on election night
  • Managing early voting venues
  • Managing the counting of votes in the RO office
  • Act as Substitute Returning Officer, if required.

Key Accountabilities

  • Undertake a wide range of administrative support services under the direction of the RO and in line with procedures and processes outlined by the NSWEC;
  • Plan and prioritise own work activities to pro-actively manage competing deadlines;
  • Monitor the progress of key election activities and escalate any concerns or anomalies to the RO for action;
  • Provide high quality customer service to a range of stakeholders, including scrutineers and the public, in a professional manner.

Key challenges

  • Supervise and support staff in the management of the election in a complex legislative environment.
  • Support the RO in responding to enquiries and sensitive issues tactfully, professionally and in a timely manner.
  • Assist the RO in managing the many tasks required, concurrently to a strict timetable, in a high volume work environment.
  • Operate with a high degree of accuracy whilst managing competing tasks with strict deadlines.

Key Relationships

Not applicable  
Returning Officer Escalate issues, keep informed, advise and receive instructions
Office Assistants Supervise Office Assistants in the management of staffing, venues and materials management leading up to and post the election
Polling Place Managers Support Polling Place Manager leading up to and on election day and provide sound management and leadership
Electors Provide quality customer service to electors to enable participation in the democratic process
Contractors Liaise without external contractors, where required, to ensure tasks are carried out efficiently and within agreed timelines
Scrutineers Provide quality customer service to scrutineers to assist in their understanding of the election process

Role Dimensions

Decision Making

Under the direction of the RO the SOA will assist in managing key election activities to a strict timetable and in accordance with legislative requirements and directions from the NSWEC.

Reporting Line

Returning Officer

Direct Reports

Office Assistants


Not applicable

Essential Requirements

  • Experience supervising a team of staff.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team environment.
  • Ability to identify and analyse situations and consider options for solutions.
  • Strong communication and customer service skills.

Capabilities for the Role

The NSW Public Sector Capability Framework applies to all NSW public sector employees. The Capability Framework is available at

Capability summary

Below is a list of capabilities and the level required for the role. The capabilities in bold are the focus capabilities for this role.

NSW Public Sector Capability Framework
Capability GroupCapability NameLevel
Personal AttributesDisplay resilience and courageIntermediate
Act with integrityAdept
Manage self Intermediate
Value diversityAdept
RelationshipsCommunicate effectivelyIntermediate
Commit to customer serviceIntermediate
Work collaborativelyIntermediate
Influence and negotiate Foundational
ResultsDeliver resultsIntermediate
Plan and prioritiseIntermediate
Think and solve problems Foundational
Demonstrate accountabilityIntermediate
Business Enablers Finance Intermediate
Technology Intermediate
Project Management Foundational
People ManagementManage and develop peopleFoundational
Inspire direction and purpose Foundational
Optimise business outcomes Foundational

Focus Capabilities

The focus capabilities for the role are the capabilities in which occupants must demonstrate immediate competence. The behavioural indicators provide examples of the types of behaviours that would be expected at that level and should be reviewed in conjunction with the role’s key accountabilities.

NSW Public Sector Capability Framework
Group and CapabilityLevelBehavioural Indicators

Personal Attributes
Display Resilience and Courage

  • Be flexible and adaptable and respond quickly when situations change
  • Offer own opinion and raise challenging issues
  • Listen when ideas are challenged and respond in a reasonable way
  • Work through challenges
  • Stay calm and focused in the face of challenging situations

Personal Attributes
Act with Integrity

  • Represent the organisation in an honest, ethical and professional way and encourage others to do so
  • Demonstrate professionalism to support a culture of integrity within the team/unit
  • Set an example for others to follow and identify and explain ethical issues
  • Ensure that others understand the legislation and policy framework within which they operate
  • Act to prevent and report misconduct, illegal and inappropriate behaviour

Personal Attributes
Value Diversity

  • Seek to promote the value of diversity for the organisation
  • Recognise and adapt to individual differences and working styles
  • Support initiatives that create an environment in which diversity is valued

Communicate Effectively

  • Focus on key points and speak in ‘Plain English’
  • Clearly explain and present ideas and arguments
  • Listen to others when they are speaking and ask appropriate, respectful questions
  • Monitor own and others’ non-verbal cues and adapt where necessary
  • Prepare written material that is well structured and easy to follow by the intended audience
  • Communicate routine technical information clearly

Commit to Customer Service

  • Support a culture of quality customer service in the organisation
  • Demonstrate a thorough knowledge of the services provided and relay to customers
  • Identify and respond quickly to customer needs
  • Consider customer service requirements and develop solutions to meet needs
  • Resolve complex customer issues and needs
  • Co-operate across work areas to improve outcomes for customers

Work Collaboratively

  • Build a supportive and co-operative team environment
  • Share information and learning across teams
  • Acknowledge outcomes which were achieved by effective collaboration
  • Engage other teams/units to share information and solve issues and problems jointly
  • Support others in challenging situations

Deliver Results

  • Complete work tasks to agreed budgets, timeframes and standards
  • Take the initiative to progress and deliver own and team/unit work
  • Contribute to allocation of responsibilities and resources to ensure achievement of team/unit goals
  • Seek and apply specialist advice when required

Plan and Prioritise

  • Understand the team/unit objectives and align operational activities accordingly
  • Initiate, and develop team goals and plans and use feedback to inform future planning
  • Respond proactively to changing circumstances and adjust plans and schedules when necessary
  • Consider the implications of immediate and longer term organisational issues and how these might impact on the achievement of team/unit goals
  • Accommodate and respond with initiative to changing priorities and operating environments

Demonstrate Accountability

  • Take responsibility and be accountable for own actions
  • Understand delegations and act within authority levels
  • Identify and follow safe work practices, and be vigilant about their application by self and others
  • Be alert to risks that might impact the completion of an activity and escalate these when identified
  • Use financial and other resources responsibly

People Management
Manage and Develop People

  • Take responsibility and be accountable for own actions
  • Understand delegations and act within authority levels
  • Identify and follow safe work practices, and be vigilant about their application by self and others
  • Be alert to risks that might impact the completion of an activity and escalate these when identified
  • Use financial and other resources responsibly