Briefings for incoming Ministers

After Ministers have been formally appointed, departmental chief executives must ensure that, as soon as possible, the Minister receives a Briefing for the Incoming Minister (BIM) for each of their portfolios. The BIM provides information about:

  • the entity
  • major outstanding policy issues
  • current programmes
  • recommendations for draft legislation
  • significant appointments or other decisions that are likely to be required in the six months immediately after the election.

The BIM gives a new Minister enough information to meet their initial requirements but is not intended to be a detailed analysis of the portfolio or policy issues. Ministers can call for a fuller briefing on issues of interest and importance to them. This allows the BIM to be wide ranging and cover the breadth of the portfolio, while still being concise.

The BIM is confidential

The BIM is confidential to the Minister and it is up to the Minister to decide if, and when, the BIM is released, subject to the provisions of the Official Information Act 1982 (OIA). The portfolio or lead Minister may authorise the agency to provide copies to Associate Ministers.

Agencies can expect to receive instruction from their Minister’s office when and if the Minister decides to release the BIM.

Agencies may seek advice from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet as they plan and draft their briefings.

Usually, a BIM is drafted before the outcome of a general election is known. Draft BIMs can be reviewed and adjusted once the outcome of the general election is known, taking into account the incoming government’s priorities, including coalition or support agreements and the incoming Minister’s knowledge of the portfolio and their preferred communication.

Generally, the BIM is provided to Ministers following their appointment ceremony. However, in some circumstances Ministers can be briefed in advance.

Read about briefings for incoming Ministers in the Cabinet Manual.

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