Once you identify the type of agency required, consider if the objectives can be achieved by allocating the functions and powers to an existing agency or if a new agency needs to be created.

New agency?

A compelling case must be made to justify the establishment of a new agency.  It should only be considered if all of these apply:

  • a proposed role or function is incompatible with any existing agency, for example there are strategic or operational reasons why no existing agency should carry out the proposed role and associated functions
  • it would not be feasible or appropriate to expand the role or functions of an existing agency
  • ministers are willing to commit to providing the necessary capability and financial support at least for a 4-year Budget period
  • the establishment of a new agency can be justified in cost-benefit terms.

If an existing agency, which one?

If it is determined that an existing agency should be charged with a particular role, whether it is a new role or an existing role, it is important to consider, as a minimum, issues of alignment and ‘fit’ both with the proposed existing agency and the wider system, as well as capability and cost-effectiveness.

The headings below set out a range of criteria that could be used to inform the choice of existing agency.

The analysis should take into account the impact on the existing agencies to which the function may be allocated, and what existing resourcing can be transferred to support the function in its location.

  • Strategic fit

    • Proposed functions and objectives are compatible with and fit within the outcome framework of the agency (now and for the foreseeable future).  
    • Is the timing right for the receiving agency?  Is it undergoing other changes/ responding to other pressures that make it inappropriate to take on the proposed role/functions 
  • Compatibility of functions

    • Compatibility of proposed functions and activities with the agency’s functions/outputs. 
    • Does the addition/removal of functions put existing service delivery functions at risk in terms of critical mass/resilience/overall purpose? 
    • Would there be any conflict of interest between the functions or their objectives? If so, how manageable are the potential difficulties. 
  • Compatibility of powers

    • Compatibility of any powers required to perform proposed functions with the agency’s role and mandate. 
  • Special characteristics

    • Ability of agency to preserve/maintain any special characteristics associated with proposed functions and objectives (for example, fit with purpose, nature, membership and needs of particular groups). Includes an ‘empathy’ with the nature of the function and stakeholders. 
  • People 

    • Skills, knowledge, experience required to perform proposed functions and achieve desired outcomes. 
  • Culture 

    • Fit with existing organisational culture. 
  • Reputation, relationships and responsiveness 

    • Trust and credibility in the particular field strong relationships with relevant agencies, groups and individuals; responsiveness to stakeholder needs and expectations. 
  • Processes and technology 

    • Systems and processes which support the functions and objectives; capability to ensure systems are kept up to date in relation to changes, and to ensure best practice. 
  • Physical assets 

    • Availability and maintenance of resources for people to do the job required.