A strong partnership between the APS and ministerial offices is essential for effective government, and is underpinned by a strong understanding of the respective roles, responsibilities and operating environments of the APS and ministerial offices.
Here you will find guidance papers and a directory of links to essential public administration resources to support the partnership between the APS and Ministerial offices.
Informed by an expert panel, these have been developed to help every APS employee understand their role and the role of their Minister and Ministerial advisers. In addition, an Strengthening Partnerships SES Learning Program is available through the APS Academy.
To complement this program, guidance and training is also under development for staff employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984. It aims to strengthen their understanding of the role of the APS, and ensure Ministers and their staff are accessing the depth of APS expertise available to them.
Strengthening Partnerships resources
|Document Name||Relevant Content||Document Owner||Publication Date||Location|
|Cabinet Handbook, 14th Edition||Cabinet Handbook||Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||2020||www.pmc.gov.au|
|Government Guidelines for Official Witnesses Before Parliamentary Committees and Related Matters||General information on Parliamentary Committees, making submissions (including clearance of submissions by a minister), consultations with ministers ahead of hearings, parliamentary privilege requests for information during caretaker periods and public interest immunity claims.||Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||2015||www.pmc.gov.au|
|Guidance on Caretaker Conventions||General guidance on caretaker conventions, specific to PM&C's processes. Includes information on policy decisions, international negotiations and visits, avoiding APS involvement in election activities (specifically, DLOs) and internal agency matters.||Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||2018||www.pmc.gov.au|
|Learning from Failure: Why large government policy initiatives have gone so badly wrong in the past and how the chances of success in the future can be improved||Independent Review of Government processes which provided 28 proposals. Of relevance, the proposals relate to providing advice and supporting decision making.||Australian Public Service Commission||2015||www.apsc.gov.au|
|Statement of Standards for Ministerial Staff||Standards that Ministerial staff are expected to meet in the performance of their duties.||Special Minister of State||Undated||www.smos.gov.au|
|Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines 2017||Information on Ministers' roles and responsibilities under the Commonwealth Grants Rules and Guidelines 2017.||Department of Finance||2017||www.finance.gov.au|
|Australian Constitution||The Constitution of Australia||Parliament of Australia||1901||www.aph.gov.au|
|Public Service Act 1999||Public Service Act 1999||Federal Register of Legislation||1999||www.legislation.gov.au|
|Social Media Guidance||Social media: Guidance for Australian Public Service Employees and Agencies||Australian Public Service Commission||2020||www.apsc.gov.au|
|Ahead of the Game||Blueprint For The Reform Of Australian Government Administration||Terry Moran and Advisory Group on Reform of Australian Government Administration||2010||www.apsreview.gov.au|
|Our Public Service, Our Future: Independent Review of the Australian Public Service||Independent Review of the Australian Public Service||David Thodey AO and independent review panel||2019||www.pmc.gov.au|
|Delivering for Australians||A world-class Australian Public Service: The Government’s APS reform agenda, and the Australian Government's response to Our Public Service, Our Future||Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||2019||www.pmc.gov.au|
|Legislation Handbook||Describes the procedures involved in making Commonwealth Acts, especially the procedures coordinated by PM&C.||Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||2017||www.pmc.gov.au|
|Overview of the Federal Budget||Overview of the Budget Process||Department of Finance||2021||www.finance.gov.au|
|Ministry List||Current Ministry List||Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||2021||www.pmc.gov.au|
|Shadow Ministry List||Current Shadow Ministry List||Parliament of Australia||2021||www.aph.gov.au|
|Parliamentary Handbook||Detailed information about Parliament including the parliamentary service and political careers of Senators and Members, details of elections, and historical information on the Parliament.||Parliament of Australia||2020||www.aph.gov.au|
|Ministerial and Parliamentary Services - Department of Finance||Ministerial and Parliamentary Services (MaPS) administers the provision of non-travel related work expenses and services to parliamentarians and their respective employees. MaPS administers the employment framework for staff of parliamentarians and provides a number of HR and support services.||Department of Finance||2021||www.finance.gov.au|
|Administrative Arrangements Order||Ministerial responsibilities||Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet||2021||www.pmc.gov.au|
|Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984||Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984||Federal Register of Legislation||1984||www.legislation.gov.au|
Ministerial Liaison Reference Panel
The Ministerial Liaison Reference Panel was first formed in September 2020, in response to recommendations arising from the 2019 Independent Review of the Australian Public Service. On 23 May 2022 the Strengthening Partnerships Final Report of the inaugural Panel was released.
In 2022, its membership was renewed to encompass new members from ministerial offices.
- Peter Woolcott AO, Australian Public Service Commissioner (Chair)
- Wayne Eagleson, former Chief of Staff to NZ Prime Ministers John Keys and Bill English
- Stephanie Foster PSM, Associate Secretary, Immigration, Department of Home Affairs
- Ben Hubbard, former Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Julia Gillard
- Mat Jose, Chief of Staff to the Hon Mark Dreyfus QC MP, Attorney-General
- Julie Ligeti, Chief of Staff to the Hon Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training
- Jenny Mason, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Prime Minister of Australia
- Tony Nutt AO, former Principal Adviser to Prime Minister John Howard
This Panel first met in November 2022, to take forward the development of a learning program for staff employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984.
For more information about the partnership between the APS and Ministerial offices, please contact the Partnerships Team at the APSC by email to StrengtheningPartnerships@apsc.gov.au.