Grounded in extensive research, and an approach based on appreciative inquiry and positive organisational theory, the Positive Organisation Review Tool (PORT) is designed to help build accountable, resilient and reflexive organisations.


Positive Organisational Review Tool (Word version)

Download the 10 key elements of organisational cultural competence (Word version)

In this section, you will find information about the purpose of the Positive Organisational Review Tool (PORT), including the 10 key elements of organisational cultural competence, and ways to use the tool to help your organisation with improving its cultural competence.

1. Purpose of the PORT

The PORT is part of the Cultural Diversity Competency Framework (CDCF) and is about assessing where you are, where you could be, and how to get there. The outcome will be a personalised profile of your organisation, its strengths and weaknesses in relation to cultural diversity issues, and more importantly insights into how to increase your responsiveness to clients – and staff, of all backgrounds.

The PORT provides organisations with a self-assessment process to start the thinking about: 

  1. Planning for a diverse client base
  2. Creating mechanisms for ongoing, sustained, community and consumer engagement
  3. Building organisational and service capacity including, but beyond champions
  4. Creating supportive management strategy including goals, plans, policies, procedures and quality control
  5. Promoting and supporting attitudes, behaviours, knowledge and skills necessary for staff to work effectively with clients and each other
  6. Creating active recruitment and retention strategies for skilled staff

2. How to use the tool

Self-assessment against 10 key elements in cultural competence

This tool will lead you through a self-assessment of 10 key elements in cultural competence (see image below): population, place, personal, philosophy, policy, planning, personnel, practice, programs and products. There is a brief description of each element, followed by five basic questions.

There are no right or wrong answers. The scoring process is subjective – but given the purpose of this tool is self rather than independent review, the very process of reflection and review is intended to assist disability services to come to an understanding not only of what they currently do well, but also areas for improvement.

Ways to use the tool

You can download the Positive Organisational Review Tool and use it in a variety of ways:

  • It can used as a straightforward questionnaire. 
  • It can be used as prompt questions for stakeholder focus groups, in formal or informal discussions.
  • Sections of the tool, for example the questions associated with practice, could be used as Key Performance Indicators or as part of staff review.

Gathering varied and different opinions is important

In whatever way you choose to use the tool, one central element should apply. In research there is a concept known as ‘triangulation’. This principle means what is sounds like – that different sources (often three, but even two are fine) are compared. So while this assessment tool is intended to be a positive experience, it is also intended to be an honest one. This means that the more stakeholders and different opinions you gather, the more robust the results.


In practice, whether you receive a score of 15 rather than a 16 might be a matter of pride, but the real value lies in whether your staff’s self-assessment score is 17 compared to your clients’ score of eight. The value and the truth of this tool lies in comparison: between stakeholders, and over time.

At the end of the tool you will see a spider graph on which to plot your overall scores, and some feedback based on your score. These will provide you with some direction and advice on how to address the areas which need additional development. If you feel that you have substantial areas for development, then consider asking a specialist facilitator to come in and assist you both in the assessment and in the response process.

The value and the truth of this tool lies in comparison: between stakeholders, and over time.


Review and planning

Consider the questions in light of your current strategic and operational plans. Consider building into your next planning cycle. Feel free to change the format, simplify the language, put it in the first person (“our organisation”) and most of all, given the intent of this project as a whole, to have the information translated and given to clients from a variety of backgrounds.

Consider this tool and its associated principles as a starting point. Whatever your scores, there is always the opportunity to reach out to new or different communities, to engage new stakeholders, to develop and broaden the skills of your staff and to engage them more fully, to take an individual and organisational leadership role, and most of all to ensure that your service ensures the best possible outcomes for all your clients.