01 August 2022

An agency has a legislative mandate to require other agencies to adhere to processes, standards and rules that it sets.

The basics

  • When to use this tool

    • Adherence to a set of rules/standards is required to uphold public trust and confidence (fiduciary responsibility as opposed to improving system performance)
    • Legislative framework exists (or is considered appropriate/necessary given the importance of the problem)
  • How to agree goals/outcomes

    • Set out in legislative framework (for example, Public Service Act 2020, Public Finance Act 1989)
  • Governance model required

    • Independent agency form with direct line of accountability to responsible minister (should be department or departmental agency — may be central agency or stand-alone department independent of sector interests)
  • Ministerial relationships required

    • Responsible minister for agency
  • Incentives required

    • Legislative authority to issue instructions to departments or departmental agencies (for example, data and reporting standards, accounting practices and so on.)
    • Ministerial direction (that is, responsible minister issues instructions to agencies under legislative authority)
    • Regulations (Governor-General on advice from responsible minister)
  • How to manage the funding

    • Individual agency appropriation

Case Study: The Treasury

The Treasury monitors and manages the financial affairs of the Government and provides economic and fiscal policy advice. It acts as an internal regulator in a number of areas, including a number of areas including Budget process, where the Treasury is responsible for: 

  • preparing Budget documents, including the Appropriation Bills, Estimates and Imprest Supply Bills
  • monitoring the need for and the use of imprest supply
  • preparing the monthly monitoring report on appropriations for the Auditor-General, and
  • obtaining assurance that there is an adequate system of internal control designed to provide reasonable assurance that transactions are within statutory authority and reporting on that to Parliament.

This role includes setting of timelines and templates for financial information and budget proposals. Furthermore, any Cabinet paper with financial implications must have Treasury sign-off, which involves presenting the financial information in specified formats.