Machinery of Government (MoG) changes: A guide
Financial management - first 72 hours
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.
Delegation of powers
- The accountable authority of an NCE agency can delegate their powers under the PGPA Act and the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) to officials in their entity, and officials of other NCEs, so that they can undertake resource management activities on behalf of the agency.
- Entities should review their delegation instruments and AAIs to ensure appropriate arrangements are in place and that they cover all relevant matters and legislation to be administered by that 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. Similarly, staff in an agency that is losing functions should review their delegations to ensure that they no longer deal with matters that have transferred to another agency.
- New instruments of delegation and authorisations should be made as soon as possible.
- In addition, if, because of MoG changes, an agency gets a new Minister or accountable authority, it is good practice to provide new office-holders with the opportunity to reconsider arrangements for delegated decision-making and issue new instruments of delegation.
- Officials (and officials in other entities who are assisting with the transfer of functions) should be advised of relevant delegations of powers. This is important for officials, particularly those who are based outside of the Australian Capital Territory or at Australia’s international posts.
- There can be delays between the date of a MoG decision and the date of transfer of staff and appropriations. Depending on the timing of transfers of agency functions and appropriations, agencies may need to put in place interim arrangements under the PGPA Act to make adequate provision for transferring functions. For example:
- The accountable authority of the gaining agency may provide delegations to officials in the losing agency to enable them to continue to administer functions, until officials in the gaining agency are ready to take over that role
- The losing agency may seek delegations from the accountable authority of the gaining agency to enable staff to continue to administer functions transferred until appropriations and staff are transferred from the losing agency.
- Agencies may agree that staff in losing agencies continue to undertake transferred activities, using their own delegations and AAIs, until appropriations and officials are transferred.
- It is prudent where a gaining agency is relying on a losing agency to continue to undertake transferred functions they do so 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.
- There may be value in a gaining agency picking up relevant parts of the AAIs of an agency in relation to functions that are transferred.
- Accountable authorities may choose to apply the AAIs of an existing agency until the accountable authority is able to issue AAIs specifically for the transferred functions for the agency.
- For information on delegations and AAIs under the PGPA Act and the current PGPA Delegation from the Minister for Finance to accountable authorities of NCEs, see http://www.finance.gov.au/resource-management/ or contact pmra [at] finance.gov.au.
- 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
- Finance will organise a meeting with MoG affected agencies’ CFOs to discuss critical timelines and financial management issues. Topic experts from Finance will attend to address agencies’ queries and/or concerns.
- Finance will contact the affected agencies’ CFOs once the MoG changes are announced.
Download of Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS)
- 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 and associated corporate functions.
- For those MoG changes that transfer functions that are not entire outcomes or programs, it may be difficult for the losing entity to identify transactions relating to the function and associated corporate functions. While it may be difficult, losing agencies should provide as much information, as soon as possible, caveated to say that further analysis is required, prior to providing final information.