Working autonomously means to work independently as an individual with a degree of responsibility and accountability and with a minimum of supervision.

The NSW RFS expects that to work autonomously you will:

  • Be accountable
  • Accept the responsibility for determining and achieving personal outcomes
  • Be independent
  • Operate independently but towards  a common goal within broad guidelines in a range of situations
  • Accept personal responsibility for wider issues
  • Accept personal responsibility in relation to codes of conduct

Working autonomously is not the same as working within a team with limited supervision. The main difference is the level of individual responsibility. As part of a team, responsibility for achieving an objective is shared. If working autonomously, you are responsible for achieving the objective.

When you are required to work without direct supervision, you may be with a group of members who have less experience. Under these circumstances you will have been given tasks by your Crew Leader or Supervisor. Once you are clear on what your leader needs you to achieve (leader’s intent), you will be required to:

  • Set objectives towards achieving the task and report back to your leader on your progress
  • Consult with internal and external stakeholders who may be involved in your work
  • Liaise with personnel who have the skills or knowledge to assist you with your work
  • Communicate regularly through the chain of command

Acting Independently


Independence is the ability to operate by yourself or work autonomously within broad guidelines. It requires decision making, adaptability and assertiveness.

Decision-making skills are important because you will be required to identify problems as they arise and solve them in a timely manner by applying systems such as /wiki/spaces/LDDEV/pages/45649997.

Adaptability is critical because the work environment may change and require you to 'think outside the square' and adapt best practice for a specific situation.

Assertiveness is necessary when you are working independently because you may have to negotiate for resources, express opinions about procedures, raise questions and seek information from a variety of sources.

Roles and Responsibilities


To be effective when you work autonomously, you require various skills such as communication and planning skills. Factors which influence your capacity for working autonomously are:

  • Knowledge of the task – Your knowledge and ability to obtain knowledge and information relevant to your job
  • Understanding – Your ability to critically review, consolidate and apply knowledge and make decisions
  • Subject-specific skills – You must have the practical skills to do the job
  • Problem-solving/investigative skills – Your ability to quickly resolve small challenges