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Machinery of Government changes: A guide

Key message

Actions for agencies within the first 72 hours of the MoG changes being announced:

  • funding (new department);
  • contact with the Department of Finance (Finance);
  • delegations of powers;
  • outcome statements; and
  • special appropriations and special accounts.

1. Agencies are expected to implement change in a way that is consistent with the principles outlined in the Executive Summary.

Inter-entity Delegations

2. Agencies may need to put in place interim inter-entity delegations under the PGPA Act, depending on the timing of transfers of agency functions and appropriations. For example, an agency may want to consider:

  • gaining agencies providing delegations to staff (at the accountable authority level in the losing agency to enable them to continue to administer functions, until staff in the gaining agency are ready to take over that role;
  • losing agencies to seek delegations from the gaining agency (at the accountable authority level) to enable staff to continue to administer functions transferred until appropriations and staff are transferred from the agency;
  • if an agency is created, consideration should be given to what delegations, if any, will be required to be in place at the time of establishment. In determining to delegate certain powers, functions or duties the accountable authority should ensure that appropriate systems of risk management and internal controls are implemented; and
  • agreeing between agencies (at the accountable authority level) that staff in losing agencies continue to undertake transferred activities, using their own delegations and accountable authority instructions, until appropriations and staff are transferred.

3. It is prudent where a gaining agency is relying on a losing agency to continue to undertake transferred functions to be made with the authority of the gaining agency for future payments. This could be done via email using words similar to below:

I [name] as Accountable Authority of [agency] authorise, to the extent that such authority is necessary, including from XX XXXX 201X (date of MoG announcement), the relevant officials of the Department of XXX to continue to make payments, consistent with program obligations and other relevant policy decisions on behalf of the [program or function description] until the transfer of functions between our agencies is completed.

Outcome statements

4. Affected agencies need to review their outcome statements within the first 72 hours of the MoG being announced to determine if changes are required (see Financial Management – other issues page for more information).

Contact with Finance

5. Finance will organise a meeting with MoG affected agencies' Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) to discuss critical timelines and financial management issues.  Topic experts from Finance will be in attendance to address agencies' queries and/or concerns.

6. Once the MoG changes are announced, Finance will contact the affected agencies' CFOs.

Delegations of powers

7. The Accountable Authority of a non-corporate Commonwealth entity with new functions will need to delegate his or her powers under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) to other appropriate officials (such as the CFO officials) so that they can undertake financial activities on behalf of the entity.

8. Accountable Authorities should consider which powers in the PGPA Act and Rule they may want to delegate immediately.

9. Officials (and officials in other agencies who are assisting with the transfer of functions) should be advised of the delegation of the Accountable Authorities' powers under the PGPA Act and Rule. This is important for officials, particularly those who are based outside of the ACT or at Australia's international posts.

10. Also, if, as a result of MoG changes, an agency gets a new Minister or Accountable Authority or is gaining or transferring functions, then the CFOs of the losing and gaining agencies should review the internal delegations to ensure delegations and limits are provided to the appropriate officials. Staff in an agency that is transferring functions should have their delegations reviewed to ensure that they no longer deal with matters that have transferred to another agency.

11. For further information on the PGPA Act and the current PGPA Delegation from the Finance Minister see the Department of Finance website.

Download of Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS)

12. The day after the MoG changes are announced or as soon as practical, losing entities will be required to provide a download of their FMIS to gaining entities for the specific function they are losing.

13. For those MoG changes that transfer functions that are not entire outcomes or programs it may be difficult for the losing entity to quickly identify transactions relating to the function.  In such cases, Finance will consult with losing entities on the timeframe to provide a download of their FMIS.