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Using SFIA Levels of responsibility to analyse what tasks/responsibilities to assign to AI

Autonomy, influence, complexity levels and AI tasks

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1. Summary of SFIA Levels of Responsibility

SFIA defines seven levels of responsibility, each with varying degrees of autonomy, influence, complexity, and business Skills/behavioural factors required:

Level 1 - Follow

  • Autonomy: Works under close direction with minimal discretion.
  • Influence: Minimal influence; works within immediate colleagues.
  • Complexity: Performs routine activities in a structured environment.
  • Business Skills/Behavioural factors: Basic communication and digital skills.

Level 2 - Assist

  • Autonomy: Works under routine direction with limited discretion.
  • Influence: Interacts with immediate colleagues and may have external contact.
  • Complexity: Performs a range of work activities in varied environments.
  • Business Skills/Behavioural factors: Sufficient communication and digital skills for role.

Level 3 - Apply

  • Autonomy: Works under general direction; uses discretion in identifying and responding to complex issues.
  • Influence: Interacts with and influences colleagues; may oversee others.
  • Complexity: Performs a range of complex and non-routine work.
  • Business Skills/Behavioural factors: Effective communication and application of methods and tools.

Level 4 - Enable

  • Autonomy: Works under general direction within a clear framework of accountability.
  • Influence: Influences customers, suppliers, and partners at the account level.
  • Complexity: Broad range of complex technical or professional activities.
  • Business Skills/Behavioural factors: Fluent communication, risk awareness, and analytical approach.

Level 5 - Ensure, advise

  • Autonomy: Works under broad direction; self-initiated work.
  • Influence: Significant influence over resources and collaborative work.
  • Complexity: Extensive range of complex technical and professional activities.
  • Business Skills/Behavioural factors: Leadership, risk assessment, and strategic application of knowledge.

Level 6 - Initiate, influence

  • Autonomy: Authority and accountability for a significant area of work.
  • Influence: Influences policy and strategy formation; initiates influential relationships.
  • Complexity: Highly complex work activities covering technical, financial, and quality aspects.
  • Business Skills/Behavioural factors: Organisational leadership, risk management, and strategic innovation.

Level 7 - Set strategy, inspire, mobilise

  • Autonomy: Authority over all aspects of a significant area of work.
  • Influence: Influences industry developments and long-term strategic relationships.
  • Complexity: Applies highest level of leadership to strategy and governance.
  • Business Skills/Behavioural factors: Strategic management, innovation, and industry leadership.

2. How employers decide what tasks/responsibilities to assign to AI without SFIA

Without a structured framework like SFIA, employers typically rely on:

  • Experience and intuition: Decisions are often based on the employer's or team's past experiences with similar technologies.
  • Ad hoc analysis: Tasks may be assigned based on immediate needs or perceived benefits without a systematic approach.
  • Trial and error: Employers may experiment with AI for various tasks to see what works, leading to inconsistent application.
  • External advice: Consultants and industry experts may guide decisions, which can vary greatly depending on who is consulted.

3. How employers decide what tasks/responsibilities to assign to AI using SFIA

Using SFIA as a guide, employers can make more informed and structured decisions:

  • Role matching: Employers can match AI tasks with the appropriate SFIA levels of responsibility, ensuring tasks are suitable for the level of expertise required.
  • Skill assessment: By assessing the skills required at each SFIA level, employers can determine if AI can perform certain tasks or if human oversight is necessary.
  • Task complexity: SFIA helps identify the complexity of tasks and match them with AI capabilities, ensuring AI is used where it can be most effective.
  • Risk management: Employers can use SFIA to evaluate risks and ensure AI applications comply with organisational standards and ethics.

4. Guidelines for employers using SFIA to assign AI tasks/responsibilities

  • Identify task complexity: Use SFIA as a reference point to assess the complexity of tasks. Assign routine, structured tasks to AI (SFIA Level 1-2) and complex, unstructured tasks to higher levels (SFIA Level 4-7).
  • Match skills to AI capabilities: Evaluate the AI's capabilities against SFIA skill requirements. Assign tasks that match the AI's technical proficiency and ability to handle data securely.
  • Evaluate autonomy requirements: Determine the level of autonomy required for each task. AI should handle tasks requiring minimal discretion and close direction, while tasks needing significant discretion should remain under human oversight.
  • Consider ethical and security implications: Ensure AI tasks align with SFIA's focus on security, privacy, and ethics. Assign AI to tasks where these factors are well-managed.
  • Use incremental implementation: Start with lower-level tasks (SFIA Level 1-2) and gradually move to more complex tasks (SFIA Level 3-4) as the AI system proves reliable.
  • Regularly review and adjust: Continuously monitor AI performance and reassign tasks as needed, based on evolving SFIA levels and organisational needs.