ACTPS Executive Induction

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Dear Executive

Congratulations on your new role and welcome to the ACT Public Service (ACTPS). I would like to thank you for choosing the ACTPS for the next stage in your career.

The ACTPS turned 21 in 2015 and is the youngest public service in Australia. I like to think this means we are young enough to be innovative in our thinking but mature enough to have established our own identity and have confidence to just get on and do it. We need to find 100 ways to achieve government objectives, not 100 reasons why not.

We are a small and unique public service, providing the full range of local, Territory and State functions and services to the ACT Community. In all of our areas of responsibility I am very proud of what we deliver. Being a small service enables us to operate flexibly and to be more responsive. It facilitates collaboration to provide more coordinated services, and enables us to take on new ideas and new ways of operating as the needs of our community change.

My vision is of a high performing service delivering innovative solutions for Canberra. We are always on top of the latest issues and opportunities and always applying our resources in the most up to date way to get the most out of them for our community.

My challenge to you as a new executive is to continue to build on our strength as a unique public service, to be one dynamic team – agile, responsive and innovative in delivering the Government’s priorities and in delivering excellent services to the people of Canberra on behalf of our Ministers.

Once again, welcome, and I look forward to meeting you at some time in the future.

Kathy Leigh
Head of Service

The ACT Government

With the introduction of self-government in 1988 the system of government in the ACT became its own parliamentary democracy, based on the Westminster system. Westminster is the name given to the system of parliamentary democracy used in countries such as Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand and is named after the Palace of Westminster, the home of the British Parliament.

The Westminster system is based on the principle of the separation of powers—three separate branches that exercise different powers and functions. The three branches in the ACT are the:

  • Parliament (Legislative Assembly – a unicameral or one parliamentary chamber);
  • Executive (Cabinet); and
  • Judiciary (Courts)

This ensures that no one branch of government holds all of the power. The Legislature makes the laws; the Executive puts the laws into operation; and the Judiciary interprets the laws.

The Legislative Assembly performs both state and municipal functions. This makes it a unique parliament within Australia, acting at a state level in some matters such as education and health as well as performing roles normally undertaken at the local council level such as waste management, roads and libraries. As a result the ACT is sometimes referred to as a city-state.

The Legislative Assembly is currently made up of 17 members (MLAs) who serve a fixed four-year term. In October 2016 this will increase to 25 members. Members are elected by the people of the ACT.

The Assembly has power to:

  • elect a Chief Minister and Speaker;
  • make laws;
  • scrutinise the Executive;
  • investigate and debate matters of public importance; and
  • oversee government finances and review the actions of the government

More information can be found on the ACT Legislative Assembly website.

The ACT Legislative Assembly sits for approximately 14 weeks each year, usually on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of scheduled sitting weeks. Sitting days operate from 10.00 am–12.30 pm and 2.30 pm–6.30 pm. Question time is 2.30 pm each sitting day.

View the Legislative Assembly Sitting Calendar.

Members of the legislative assembly can be found on the Functions and Services Directory.

Standing committees and select committees are an extension of the Legislative Assembly. They are responsible for examining and inquiring into particular matters that are associated with the governance of the Territory. In addition, the Assembly may refer a particular matter to a committee because the matter warrants detailed examination, because the Assembly wants more detailed information to be collected, or because it wants to hear other views on the matter, whether they be from experts or other interested parties.

Select committees are formed to examine a specific issue or set of issues which cannot be adequately considered by an existing standing committee. Once a select committee has completed its inquiry and provided a report, it ceases to operate. For example, select committees on estimates are established each year to consider the ACT budget and appropriations but are dissolved at the conclusion of the inquiry

Standing Committees are created at the commencement of an Assembly and remain in operation for the life of the Assembly, while select committees are created to consider specific matters, generally within specific time frames. The Standing Committees of the eighth Assembly were:

  • Standing Committee on Administration and Procedure;
  • Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs;
  • Standing Committee on Health, Aging, Community and Social Services;
  • Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety;
  • Standing Committee on Justice and Community Safety (Legislative Scrutiny role);
  • Standing Committee on Planning, Environment and Transport Canberra and City Services; and
  • Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

Additional information on the Standing Committees, including minutes, can be accessed on the Legislative Assembly website.

The primary function of any parliament (including the Legislative Assembly) is to inquire, debate and to legislate. Parliamentary privilege assists and protects these functions. As committees are an extension of the Assembly, parliamentary privilege also applies.

Parliamentary privilege provides an immunity from the ordinary law which is recognised by the law as a right of the Houses of Parliament (and the Assembly) and its members. The principal immunity is the freedom of parliamentary debates and proceedings from question and impeachment in the courts, the most significant effect of which is that members of Parliament cannot be sued for anything they say in debate in the chamber. The immunity also applies to committee proceedings, which come within the definition of 'proceedings in parliament' and not only applies to members, but to people making oral and written submissions to parliamentary committees.

Public sector employees are reminded that evidence to an Assembly committee attracts the protection of parliamentary privilege. With this privilege comes certain responsibilities and witnesses appearing before an Assembly committee are required to be honest and to tell the truth.

The Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 (Cwlth) applies to the Legislative Assembly through Part IV of the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cwlth) which empowers the Assembly to make laws.

Parliamentary privilege gives members almost unlimited scope to make comment on an issue. However, if a person's (or organisation's) rights are infringed or adverse or misleading comment which is disputed or is defamatory is made, there are processes which the Assembly has adopted to give to such persons and/or organisations a 'right of reply'.

In the Assembly there is a formal mechanism for a 'citizen's right of reply' to comments made about them in the Chamber. To be granted a right of reply, the citizen must demonstrate that they, as a 'person or corporation [have] been adversely affected in reputation or in respect of dealings or associations with others, or injured in occupation, trade, office or financial credit, or that the person's privacy has been unreasonably invaded, by reason of that reference to the person or corporation.

The Parliamentary Privileges Act 1987 (Cwlth) also provides protections to witnesses who appear before Parliamentary Committees. Section 12 creates criminal offences and provides for penalties in respect of interference with parliamentary (and Assembly) witnesses.  Public sector employees who become aware of information provided by witnesses which is contrary to the facts as they understand them, should approach the committee to seek an opportunity to respond to that evidence.  They should never directly approach a witness as that would be behaviour contrary to the Act.

More information can be found at: Powers of the Assembly

Audio

Assembly on Demand provides access to live and archived audio-visual replays of the Assembly's proceedings through the web streaming feature. These broadcasts are live and continuous and while in that complete and unaltered state, are protected by parliamentary privilege. Extracts or excerpts of the broadcast are protected if they constitute fair and accurate reports of proceedings.

Hansard

Hansard records and publishes proceedings of the Legislative Assembly and the evidence taken during hearings of the Legislative Assembly committees.

Cabinet is the peak decision-making body of the ACT Government consisting of the Chief Minister and all Ministers and is responsible for the day-to-day government of the ACT. The Chief Minister fulfils the roles equivalent to those performed by a state premier and allocates portfolios to each minister.

Cabinet usually meets weekly to discuss matters that have significant implications for the Territory, communities, business and individuals. It makes critical decisions on topics such as law reform, significant policy initiatives, release of discussion papers, and intergovernmental agreements, as well as important appointments to government boards and committees.

A summary of Cabinet outcomes can be found on the ACT Open Government website.

The Cabinet and Intergovernmental Relations Unit within Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD) provides coordination and secretariat services to the Director-General and the Chief Minister to support Cabinet, facilitates the passage of Government business in the Legislative Assembly, provides whole of government policy advice, coordination for the ACT’s intergovernmental relations and administers a number of associated ACT laws.

Each directorate has an identified Cabinet Liaison Officer (CLO). CLOs are nominated by Directors-general and:

  • provide a central contact point between the directorate, the Cabinet Secretariat and other directorates on Cabinet business;
  • coordinate Cabinet business for their directorate;
  • provide the Cabinet Secretariat with forecasts of Cabinet business for their directorate;
  • ensure procedures set out in the Cabinet Handbook and the Cabinet Paper Drafting Guide are followed in their directorate;
  • monitor the timely implementation of Cabinet decisions in their directorate; and
  • under the direction of directors-general, are accountable for managing and recording appropriate access to, and storage of, Cabinet papers for their directorate.
Cabinet Handbook

The Cabinet Handbook provides procedural guidance for the administration of the ACT Executive. The procedures have been designed to ensure that Cabinet decisions are based on timely, rigorous and comprehensive analysis of issues and possible responses, including their impact on the Canberra community, the environment and the economy of the Australian Capital Territory. It contains guidance for ACTPS staff on developing, handling, access and other requirements for Cabinet papers.

The Judiciary (Courts)

The ACT legal system is organised into three tiers:

  • the Supreme Court, this is the superior court in the ACT which hears and determines substantial criminal and civil matters;
  • the Magistrates' Court, which handles minor criminal matters and private disputes of up to $250,000; and
  • the ACT Civil Administrative Tribunal, which is usually less formal than courts and resolve a broad range of disputes, such as arguments between consumers and businesses, or between landlords and tenants up to an amount of $10,000.
Government Priorities

In March 2016 the Chief Minister released his Statement of Ambition for Canberra. The Statement articulates his vision of Canberra being one of the world’s most liveable and competitive cities—welcoming to all. The Statement provides a summary of future ambition, a recognition of current momentum, clarification of the challenges and drivers shaping Canberra and four future directions of travel. It articulates an integrated program of action which balances short-term delivery with long-term progress. The directions of travel are:

  1. We must attract and retain talented people that can help make our city great
  2. We must continue to open and diversify our local economy building on the strong position we have as one of Australian’s longest serving knowledge based cities
  3. We must deliver better metropolitan infrastructure that helps to renew our inner precincts strengthening our suburbs and providing new opportunities for all
  4. We must embrace the digital mindset and deliver integrated smart city initiatives

The Chief Minister has challenged the ACT Public Service (ACTPS) to find 100 ways to make things happen, not 100 ways to say no. With this in mind, this strategy focuses on building an agile, responsive and innovative ACTPS to deliver on the Statement.

ACT Public Service (ACTPS)

In 2010 the Hawke Review recommended that instead of a number of departments, the ACTPS should comprise a single department and have included directorates as part of a single enterprise led by the Head of Service. This means that regardless of which directorate or agency you work in, you are part of a single, unified organisation.

The ACTPS works collaboratively to achieve the Government’s priorities and to serve the community. As members of our community ourselves, it is easier to understand how much more effective the delivery of our services can be if we interact with the community as one public service.

The ACTPS is unique in the Australian context, with both state and municipal responsibilities ranging from public transport, emergency services, health, education and justice systems, to support for the most vulnerable people in our community.

Each of the directorates/agencies are responsible for these services and the supporting functions work collaboratively to meet the needs of our community in a responsive, timely and efficient way.

With a focus on excellent service provision there is a real opportunity to see the impact of the work you do, here in the community you work and live in.

Our small service makes us more agile and easier to get things done. There are less layers to work through and less silos with competing priorities. Being smaller makes it easier to collaborate. This means you get the most out of your resources because you don’t duplicate. It also means you are more likely to be innovative because people working together across areas see the links between objectives, see the big picture and are stimulated by what they see others doing to take new perspectives on issues.

In July 2014, the Chief Minister announced the ACT Public Service Government directorates would be arranged in clusters where particular opportunities to use synergies to further strengthen our performance as a service exist. The structure can be located at: (link)

The following clusters within the ACT Government emphasise key collaborative relationships:

  • Strengthening governance and promoting opportunities cluster: this comprises the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD) together with Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACSD);
  • Supporting our community cluster: comprising Community Services (CSD), Health and the Education Directorate (ED); and
  • Enhancing our city cluster: this includes Environment and Planning (EPD) with Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate (TCCSD).

The administrative arrangements in the ACTPS clearly identify the roles, responsibilities for government directorates.

The Chief Minister issues new administrative arrangements when there is a change in ACTPS structure, this can include the creation of a new directorate. They can be located on the ACT legislation register.

The administrative arrangement outlines the Minister responsible for the administrative unit, the functions and areas of responsibility, the Directorate-General and any relevant special legislation.

The administrative arrangements strengthen our ability to deliver the Government’s priorities and continue the focus of creating a one-government approach to the delivery of services.

Continue below for detailed information about each directorate/agency, including:

  • Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development
  • Justice & Community Safety
  • Community Services
  • Education
  • Health
  • Transport Canberra and City Services (Formerly Territory & Municipal Services and Capital Metro)
  • Environment & Planning

Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development

Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD) leads the ACTPS and provides strategic advice and support to the Chief Minister, Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development and the Cabinet on policy, financial and economic matters, service delivery and whole of government issues. The directorate facilitates the implementation of government priorities and drives many new initiatives.

The directorate is responsible for collecting and managing taxation revenue; managing the Government's financial assets and liabilities, including superannuation liabilities and investments; and providing advice to the Government and ACT agencies on the Territory's budget and financial management, economic and revenue policy, federal financial relations, and workers compensation policy. The directorate is also responsible for Shared Services which provides financial, ICT and HR support across Government.

Access Canberra, which is the main contact point for ACT Government information, services and payments, is also part of the directorate.

The Economic Development focus is on land release, facilitating business development, investment, sport and recreation, tourism and events, arts, and other government activity, often in coordination with the private sector, to increase the economic performance of the ACT.

More information can be found on the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate website.

Justice and Community Safety

The Justice and Community Safety Directorate (JACSD) serves the ACT community by providing a wide range of activities and services in the areas of justice, the law, emergency preparedness and response, regulation of a number of consumer and business activities and protection of rights and commercial practices.

More information can be found on the Justice and Community Safety website.

Community Services

The Community Services Directorate (CSD) ensures the most vulnerable members of our community have access to all they need to participate in society, lead full, productive and safe lives, and feel connected with each other and the place in which they live.

Some of the people they work with include:

  • children and young people, including those who are at risk of neglect or abuse;
  • families;
  • people with disabilities;
  • culturally and linguistically diverse groups;
  • young people in the youth justice system;
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, migrants and refugees;
  • those at risk of, or who are experiencing, homelessness; and
  • community groups and organisations.

More information can be found on the Community Services Directorate website.

Education

The Education Directorate (ED) delivers high quality education services through government schools and registers non government schools in the ACT.

More information can be found on the Education Directorate website.

Health

The ACT Health Directorate (HD) aims to deliver the best possible healthcare and health-related services in Australia, through its public hospitals—Calvary Hospital and The Canberra Hospital; Community Health; Mental Health ACT; Capital Region Cancer Service; Aged Care and Rehabilitation Service and Population Health, including the Health Protection Service.

More information can be found on the ACT Health website.

Transport Canberra and City Services

The Transport Canberra and City Services Directorate (TCCSD) deliver a wide range of services which Canberrans rely on every day. These include public transport, collecting recycling and rubbish, running public libraries and ensuring municipal infrastructure such as streetlights and public barbeques are in good working order.

TCCSD is responsible for managing our roads and reserves and also runs a number of the ACT Government’s commercial operations, including ACT NOWaste, Capital Linen Service, Yarralumla Nursery and the ACT Public Cemeteries Authority. TCCSD is also responsible for Capital Metro which aims to boost Canberra’s sustainable development by changing the way Canberra grows and matures. It will do this by improving transport options, settlement patterns and employment opportunities.

For more information visit the Transport Canberra and City Services website.

Environment and Planning

The Environment and Planning Directorate (EPD) combines ACT Planning with environmental policy and protection, sustainability policy, the Government architect, heritage, transport planning and nature conservation.

The vision of the directorate is to make Canberra a sustainable and creative city and a community that is socially inclusive and a centre of economic growth and innovation.

More information can be found on the Environment and Planning Directorate Intranet.

Structure of the ACT Public Service

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Head of Service

The Head of Service is responsible for overarching management of the ACTPS. The position provides direction and coordination across the ACTPS on policy and strategy.

The Head of Service is also the Director-General of the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate and Chair of the Strategic Board. The numerous functions undertaken by this position are outlined in Section 23B of the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (PSM Act).

Public Sector Standards Commissioner

The Public Sector Standards Commissioner (the Commissioner) is responsible for promoting, upholding and providing advice about public sector values and principles. The work of the Commissioner primarily focuses on fostering a positive workplace culture and high standards of behaviour within the ACTPS.

The Commissioner is also responsible for investigating complaints relating to alleged misconduct or perceived failings of ACTPS systems across the service. When investigations are conducted, the Commissioner provides advice to the Chief Minister on any systemic issues that may arise.

Director-General

Each directorate has a Director-General who is appointed to manage the directorate under the relevant Minister. The Director-General is responsible for the management of administration and business of the directorate, provides advice to the relevant Minister on all matters, assists the Head of Service to implement the whole of government strategies and any other functions given.

Strategic Board

The Strategic Board provides whole of government leadership and strategic direction to the ACTPS through collaboration and is expected to drive ACTPS performance in delivering Government priorities.

The Strategic Board membership comprises Directors-General from all ACTPS directorates and agencies, the Commissioner for Public Administration and the Deputy Director-General, Policy and Cabinet CMTEDD as secretary.

ACT Public Service Strategic Board Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Subcommittee

The purpose of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Committee to the ACT Public Service Strategic Board is to enhance performance and accountability by ACT Government directorates in improving life outcomes for members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community by:

  • analysing data collected from service providers in the ACT and other relevant sources (both Indigenous specific and mainstream) with a view to achieving effective pathway solutions that involve integrated cross directorate effort that will lead to improved life outcomes for members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community;
  • monitoring ACT Government directorates’ effectiveness against performance indicators that have been developed to achieve the COAG targets;
  • examining the needs and levels of access by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to education and care services and similar initiatives in the ACT;
  • serving as a forum to meet with relevant senior Commonwealth officials to discuss ACT Government performance against the COAG targets as required by various Bi-lateral Agreements and National Partnership Agreements; and
  • identifying solutions that resolve more complex service delivery issues or that address systemic barriers to optimum service delivery by ACT Government directorates for members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community (see ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Service Delivery Framework 2010–2014).

The following diagram illustrates the Strategic Board structure. Note that the Councils and Committees, other than the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs Committee, under the Strategic Board are not formal councils or sub committees.

This chart illustrates the relationship between the Strategic board and the other councils and committees

The ACT Government requires accountability in making and implementing decisions.

As an executive it is essential that you understand the ethical and accountability obligations of yourself and your directorate or agency. It is important you prioritise good governance and provide leadership to enhance positive work cultures and foster integrity, and appropriately address wrongdoing if it occurs.

The framework of accountability in which the ACTPS operates includes legislation, policies, frameworks, tool kits and guides.

The ACTPS Code of Conduct sets out the Employee Values and Signature Behaviours that apply to every ACTPS employee. The ACTPS values of Respect, Integrity, Collaboration and Innovation and ten signature behaviours that all people employed under the PSM Act are expected to demonstrate. The ACTPS signature behaviours embody the principles of decency, courtesy, professionalism and fairness and exemplify ways of working and the workplace culture that the ACTPS strives to nurture.

Executives are urged to exhibit the highest standard of ethical conduct and to ensure that mechanisms for encouraging that conduct are embedded in the day-to-day operations of the directorate.

Section 9 of the Public Service Management Act 1994 sets out the general obligations of all public employees.

What is Public Interest Disclosure?

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 supports the reporting of wrongdoing in the public sector—it is in the public’s interest that these disclosures are made. The Act provides a method for any member of the public, including ACT public servants, to report wrongdoing in the ACT public sector—this is called making a public interest disclosure (also known as ‘whistle-blowing’).

When reporting unethical or corrupt behaviour appropriately you are not breaching confidentiality provisions and you are covered by the protections in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012.

What should be reported?

  • criminal offences;
  • disciplinary offences;
  • conduct adversely affecting impartial performance of official functions;
  • dishonest or partial conduct in official functions;
  • conduct on the part of current or past public officials or agencies amounting to a breach of public trust;
  • misuse of official information;
  • bias;
  • dishonesty at work;
  • negligent or improper management of government funds; and
  • influence of a public sector employee at act improperly.

Disclosure Officers

Each Directorate has nominated Disclosure Officers (DO’s). The DO’s are responsible for dealing with complaints and Public Interest Disclosures. As you may receive a disclosure as an executive it is important that you are aware of the DO’s within your directorate. If you receive a disclosure, you are required to forward the disclosure to a DO.

Who to report to?

If you wish to use the protection offered by the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012 you may report the issue to:

  • any ACT Government agency;
  • the Ombudsman’s Office; and or
  • the Auditor-General.

Appointment and role of SERBIRs

In accordance with section 21 of the PSM Standards, Directors-General are required to appoint a senior executive to take responsibility for all integrity issues within their particular directorate (Senior Executive Responsible for Business Integrity and Risk).

Directors-General are required to provide details of all such appointments to the Director, Public Sector Management Group within CMTEDD.

The principle role of the SERBIR is to regularly report to the Director-General, and/or Board of Management as well as the Audit Committee on overall compliance with the Integrity Policy.

One important function of the SERBIR is to be a ‘champion’ of integrity in the Directorate and to promote awareness and acceptance of this policy at every opportunity.

The ACT Ombudsman's office was established in 1989 as part of the framework for ACT self-government. Under an arrangement between the ACT Government and the Australian Government, the Commonwealth Ombudsman is also the ACT Ombudsman. The ACT Ombudsman, Electoral Commissioner and the Auditor-General report to the Legislative Assembly.

ACT Ombudsman can:

  • investigate complaints about ACT Government agencies and make recommendations for resolving complaints;
  • foster good complaint handling in ACT Government agencies;
  • encourage and assist people to resolve problems directly with government agencies;
  • highlight problems in public administration through complaint handling, own motion investigations and reporting;
  • contribute to public discussion on administrative law and public administration;
  • focus attention on the adverse impact government administration can have on individuals;
  • promote open government; and
  • inspect the accuracy and comprehensiveness of law enforcement records, including telephone interceptions and controlled operations.

Since the inception of the ACT Ombudsman’s office in 1989, they have assisted in resolving many hundreds of individual complaints, and brought about significant improvements in the quality of government administration.

The ACT Ombudsman’s Office cannot override the decisions of the agencies they deal with, nor issue directions to their staff. Instead, they resolve disputes by consultation and negotiation, and if necessary, by making formal recommendations to the most senior levels of government.

The ACT Auditor-General is responsible for the audit of all ACT public sector agencies. The Auditor-General, ACT Ombudsman and the Electoral Commissioner report to the Legislative Assembly.

The main functions of the ACT Auditor-General's Office, as set out in the Auditor-General Act 1996 , are:

  • to promote public accountability in the public administration of the Territory;
  • to audit annual financial statements of the Territory, directorates and Territory authorities; and
  • to conduct performance audits.

The ACT Auditor-General also has responsibilities under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 2012, the Government Procurement Act 2001 and the Territory-Owned Corporations Act 1990.

The Office upholds the following values in the performance of its work:

  • Independence: its views are impartial and objective;
  • Integrity: it exhibits the highest standards of ethical behaviour;
  • Professionalism: its work reflects its commitment and is consistently of a high standard;
  • Respect: it is trustworthy, honest, and respectful in its dealings with stakeholders; and
  • Learning and innovation: it continually seeks improved ways of performing its work.
Key Legislation

There are a number of key legislative instruments and guidance documents that set the framework around decisions you may be required make. They are:

  • Public Sector Management Act 1994 (the PSM Act)

    Covers general provisions (i.e. values and principles) and primary employment issues including categories of employment, promotion, transfer, appeal and review mechanisms and discipline.

  • Financial Management Act 1996

    Provides for the financial management of the government of the Territory, to provide for the scrutiny of that management by the Legislative Assembly, to specify financial reporting requirements for the government of the Territory and for related purposes.

    The Auditor-General Act 1996 gives power to the ACT Auditor-General to ensure that monies are spent appropriately and in accordance with the Financial Management Act 1996. Representatives of the ACT Auditor-General’s Office perform annual audits of all agencies.

    The Commissioner for Public Administration advises the Chief Minister on the management of the service, implements administrative arrangements at the direction of the Chief Minister and exercises any other functions given to the Commissioner by the Act or any other law in accordance with the Financial Management Act 1996.

  • Auditor-General Act 1996

    Gives power to the ACT Auditor-General to ensure that monies are spent appropriately and in accordance with the Financial Management Act 1996. Representatives of the ACT Auditor-General’s Office perform annual audits of all agencies.

  • Government Procurement Act 2001 and Government Procurement Regulation 2007
  • Governs all procurement activities undertaken behalf of the Territory and establishes the Government Procurement Board.

  • Territory Records Act 2002

    ACT Government directorates are required to comply with a Records Management program. As an employee of the ACT Public Service you must maintain and keep accurate and full records; and identify, classify and capture records, while protecting and undertaking appropriate disposal of records.

  • Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act) and Work Health and Safety Regulations 2011 (WHS Regulations)
  • The WHS Act and WHS Regulations provide a framework to secure the health and safety of workers and workplaces by protecting workers and other persons against harm to their health, safety and welfare through the elimination of risks arising from work. The WHS Act and WHS Regulations promote continuous improvement and progressively higher standards of work health and safety.

  • Human Rights Records Act 2004
  • The ACT was first in Australia to directly incorporate international human rights standards into local law and governance. The Human Rights Act 2004 requires that all ACT laws be interpreted and applied consistently with those standards, and an understanding of it should inform the work of all public sector employees in the ACT. Further information about the law, including the Plain English Guide to the Human Rights Act is at www.justice.act.gov.au under Publications, or see the Human Rights Commission website at www.hrc.act.gov.au .

  • Freedom of Information Act 1989
  • Provides a legally enforceable right of access for every person, in particular citizens of the ACT, to information in the possession of the ACT Government. The object of the Act is to encourage the prompt release and disclosure of information.

  • Information Privacy Act 2014
  • Sets out rules for handling and managing personal information including collection, storage, use and disclosure.

  • Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cwlth)
  • The Chief Minister allocates powers to be administered by the ACT Executive (Ministers) under Section 43.

  • Administrative Arrangements 2011 (No 2)
  • Outlines the ministerial responsibilities. It also assigns responsibility for legislation and functions to directorates

  • ACT Government Legislation Handbook
  • The ACT Government Legislation Handbook provides a guide for executives to better understand the ACT legislative process. It provides details of legislative procedures and other practical considerations involved in making and amending legislation.

  • Cabinet Handbook
  • Directions on Cabinet Procedure – ACT Government Cabinet Handbook provides a policy context and procedural guidance for the administration of the ACT Executive.

The ACT Legislation Register is central to the making, notification, commencement, operation, interpretation, proof, republication, amendment and repeal of legislation and instruments made under legislation. The Legislation Act 2001 establishes the ACT Legislation Register.

What does the ACT Legislation Register do?

The register has the following functions:

  • to make authorised versions of new and up-to-date ACT legislation freely accessible;
  • to provide a mechanism for notifying new laws electronically; and
  • to make timely and comprehensive information about ACT legislation freely accessible.
What does the ACT Legislation Register contain?

The register contains the following:

  • authorised republications of laws currently in force;
  • Acts as made;
  • subordinate laws as made;
  • disallowable instruments as made;
  • notifiable instruments as made;
  • commencement notices as made;
  • resolutions by the Legislative Assembly to disallow or amend subordinate laws or disallowable instruments;
  • bills presented to the Legislative Assembly;
  • notifications of the making of Acts, subordinate laws, disallowable instruments, notifiable instruments and commencement notices; and
  • notifications of the disallowance or amendment of subordinate laws and disallowable instruments by the Legislative Assembly.

The register also includes other material to help legislation users, for example, explanatory statements for bills, subordinate laws and disallowable instruments and information about legislation.

The ACT Government Solicitor was established by the Government Solicitor Act 1989. They act as legal practitioners for the Australian Capital Territory, its Ministers, agencies, and officers.

Services Provided

The objective of the ACT Government Solicitor is to provide its clients with high quality and timely legal services in a professional and cost effective manner.

The ACT Government Solicitor provides legal service on a wide range of areas including:

  • preparing legal agreements and other legal documents and providing commercial legal advice designed to ensure that the Territory's interests are protected;
  • providing advice to ensure that the Territory and its agencies and officers are aware of their legal rights and obligations and act within the limits of their powers and in accordance with the law;
  • recovering money payable to the Territory including, where necessary, instituting legal proceedings on behalf of revenue collection authorities;
  • protecting the Territory from claims without legal merit and attempting to minimise amounts paid in satisfaction of claims against it in cases where liability exists; and
  • conducting litigation within the policy and that the Crown act as a model litigant

Legal Bulletins

ACT Government Solicitor publications are only available to clients and access is restricted to the ACTPS. If you are a member of the ACTPS, and you would like to receive copies of Legal Bulletins, please contact by phone on 6207 0655 or at actgso@act.gov.au.

Delegations

What are Delegations?

Most legislation that applies in the ACTPS,  for example, the PSM Act and PSM Standards, the Children and Young People Act 2008 and ACTPS Enterprise Agreements,  includes powers for decision making or functions. Under the legislation, the  powers rest with Ministers, the Head of Service or Directors-General.  Delegations are the mechanisms that permit the owner of a power to delegate (in  writing) the use of that power by others.

Why are delegations important?

If a function or power is exercised in the absence of a valid instrument  of delegation the resulting decision and/or action may be deemed invalid. This could have  serious consequences for yourself, other staff and your directorate in general.

It is important to remember that powers and functions may be delegated to classifications  or specific positions, not to individually named people. Before you exercise  any powers or functions under these Acts, it is essential that you check the  relevant delegations schedule to see if you have the authority to exercise that  power or function. You should also look for any limits or conditions relating  to that authority and recognise your accountability in exercising the power or  function.

Where do I check to see if I have delegations?

Check your directorate's intranet for all legislative delegations.

Example of the Use of Delegated Powers

The Director-General of the Community Services Directorate has delegated  their powers under Chapter 11 of the Children and Young People Act 2008 to case  managers (amongst others) in Children and Youth Protection Services. Case managers  are now able to use these delegated powers and functions in relation to the  reporting and assessing of suspected abuse and neglect of children and young  people.

Case managers have the power to undertake an  initial assessment of matters raised in child concern reports to assess whether  the child or young person may be in need of care and protection. If the case  manager decides that a child concern report constitutes a child protection  report, subject to the conditions set out in the legislation, they can take the  following action:

  • seek information  from anyone to decide the most appropriate response;
  • enter into a  voluntary care agreement;
  • carry out a care and  protection appraisal;
  • take emergency  action; or
  • apply to the Childrens  Court for a care and protection order.

Commonly used Delegations

Financial Management

In the ACTPS, each directorate maintains their own financial delegations. In addition, Executives should be aware of their directorate's Director-General Financial Instructions.

Director-General Financial Instructions provides the framework and guidance to relevant officers and outlines their responsibilities and accountabilities. This includes payment of accounts, cash management, ACTPS Vehicles, salary packaging, hospitality and asset management.

Financial Delegations and the Director-General's Financial Instructions can be located on your directorate's intranet site.

Human Resources

The HR Delegations are derived from the Public Sector Management Act 1994, Public Sector Management Standards 2006 and ACTPS Enterprise Agreements. They may empower people in certain positions to appoint, transfer and promote staff, approve leave and approve second jobs.

Executives are responsible for delivering outputs within the budget allocated to them. Their financial decision‑making powers are limited to those budgets.

Executives are responsible for:

  • operation within budget limits for areas of control;
  • monthly review of discretionary expenditure against budget;
  • ensuring that their business unit meets its reporting responsibilities; and
  • maintaining auditable information relevant to their areas of control to substantiate all financial amounts.

Information Security

Information Security (INFOSEC) is part of a security framework established to protect the ACT Government’s information and information assets. Although we are one government, different areas face different risks arising from the loss of information. ACT has adopted a principles based risk framework. Appropriate risk based security measures should be developed to protect information from accidental or unauthorised loss, release or damage.

The mandatory conditions are based on the three principles of information security:

  • confidentiality – ensuring that information is accessible only to those authorised to have access, the ‘need to know’;
  • integrity – safeguarding the accuracy and completeness of information and processing methods; and
  • availability – ensuring that authorised users have access to information and associated assets when required.

Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF)

The ACT Government Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF) information security mandatory conditions provide directorates across the ACT Government the requirements and guidelines to implement sound information security practices to ensure information security requirements are met.

All personnel are responsible for:

  • being aware of the importance of their role in, and responsibility for, ensuring the maintenance of good information security practices;
  • reporting issues of information security concern to their manager;
  • classifying information appropriately in accordance with this education guide; and
  • complying with government-wide and agency-specific standards for the protection of ACT Government Information.

What is Official ACT Government Information?

Official Information is information owned, produced, stored or manipulated by any ACT Government:

  • Minister in their appointed capacity;
  • Employee in the course of their employment; or
  • Directorate or organisation.

Official ACT Government Information is likely to be subject to the ACT Territory Records Act (2002).

The vast majority of information held, collected and processed by the ACT Government is considered UNCLASSIFIED. That does not mean that UNCLASSIFIED information is available for public release.

In the ACT Government, it has been identified that for the majority of SENSITIVE information, the use of Dissemination Limiting Markers (DLMs) are most appropriate.

The DLMs approved for use by the ACT Government are:

  • FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY (FOUO);
  • SENSITIVE;
  • SENSITIVE: PERSONAL;
  • SENSITIVE: LEGAL;
  • SENSITIVE: AUDITOR-General; and
  • SENSITIVE: CABINET.

The ACTPS procures a wide range of goods, services and works from the private sector. The ACTPS seeks to engage with businesses of all sizes, whether they are locally, nationally or internationally based, to help deliver services to the community. To compete effectively for government business, it is important to understand how the ACTPS undertakes procurement activities, how to stay informed of government procurement opportunities and how to compete effectively for government business.

Procurement and Capital Works is a part of CMTEDD. It is comprised of six branches: three Infrastructure Procurement branches and Goods and Services Procurement branch, as well as Executive Support and Procurement Projects and Finance. The Infrastructure Procurement and Goods and Services Procurement branches are responsible for delivering procurement and tender services on behalf of the ACT Government. Infrastructure Procurement also advises on and implements procurement and related construction industry policy, and Goods and Services Procurement is responsible for the development and implementation of the ACT Government's Procurement Policy.

Procurement of Goods, Services and Works with a total estimated value

ValueRequirement

Under $25,000

A Territory entity must seek at least 1 oral quotation from a supplier.

$25,000 – under $200,000

A Territory entity must seek at least 3 written quotations from suppliers.

$200,000 or more

A Territory entity must invite public tenders

The easiest and simplest way to buy Goods and Services is from a contracting arrangement that has already been set up. These are contracts that have been through a procurement process that has assessed the quality and ability of suppliers. These contracts are available for you to use at any time regardless of the value of your requirement.

These arrangements come in many types and forms but the most commonly known ones are referred to as 'Whole of Government' arrangements. Shared Services Procurement has developed a suite of whole of Government contracts. Many of these are panel arrangements and usually consist of a number of suppliers. Those available to you together with details on how to use them can be found on the Shared Services Procurement portal.

Regulatory Framework

The regulatory frameworks for the Territory's procurement processes are:

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The ACT Government is committed to ensuring that all of its workers perform their jobs in safe workplaces without risk of injury and if injured, are supported to ensure that they are able to achieve an early, safe and durable return to work.

Senior management commitment and participation is recognised as essential in achieving effective outcomes in Workplace Health and Safety and injury management. Without genuine commitment at the Executive level, even the best of strategies can struggle to have lasting impact.

The Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations Division within Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate is responsible for whole-of-government policy and guidance on workplace health and safety matters, as well as the delivery of return to work case management services. The Division also delivers safety support services across the Service to assist directorates and agencies to establish and maintain safe workplaces.

All workers in the ACT are covered under the Work Health and Safety Act 2011 (WHS Act), this includes all ACTPS employees. Under the WHS Act executives are personally responsible for the health and safety of their workers. This legislative framework was developed in line with the national harmonisation of workplace safety laws and can be accessed on the Leglislation Register.

The Work Health and Safety Regulation 2011 provides additional details on the safety requirements around specific issues such as workplace arrangements, facilities, high risk work, contracting and performing manual tasks at work and can be accessed accessed on the Leglislation Register.

The ACT Public Sector Workplace Health and Safety Policy Statement, POL 2012/01’ articulates the ongoing commitment to the health, safety and well-being of all ACT Government workers.

The ACT Public Service Whole of Government Work Safety and Injury Management policies are approved by the Commissioner for Public Administration and provide information and guidance to assist ACT Public Service Directorates and other entities in meeting their workplace safety responsibilities. One of these policies includes the Whole of Government Workplace Health and Wellbeing Policy.

The ACT Government is committed to creating healthy workplaces and investing in initiatives to support the health and wellbeing of ACTPS employees.

Under the ACTPS Whole of Government Workplace Health and Wellbeing Policy, each Directorate is responsible for developing and implementing a health and wellbeing program that consists of targeted initiatives and broader organisational based strategies aimed at improving the health and wellbeing of employees.  Executives are responsible for developing and introducing a health and wellbeing program into their workplaces in accordance with the principles and guidelines set out in this policy.

In addition to Directorate specific health and wellbeing programs, ACTPS employees have access to range of whole of government health and wellbeing activities and services including:

  • ACT Government Gym Register – A register to help employees compare gym membership costs and services, including discounts offered to ACTPS employees.
  • Next Step – Capital Health Network – Next Step is a free and confidential support service to help people tackle day to day pressures. The service is delivered by the Capital Health Network and provides a range of evidence-based  services to people over 18 years of age who reside, work, or study in the ACT and are not accessing other mental health services.
  • Healthy Food and Drink Choices Initiative – developed as part of the Government’s Healthy Weight Initiative to increase the availability of healthy food and drink choices within ACT Government workplaces, facilities and activities.
  • ACT Employee Online Health and Wellbeing Survey – an online survey to assess your health and wellbeing and receive individual feedback, including ideas on how to address areas of risk.

Further information can be located on the Workplace Safety and Injury Management page.

The ACTPS Director-General and Executive Handbook (handbook) provides an overview of executive employment arrangements and covers the following topics:

  • General obligations
  • Contract of employment
  • General Conditions of Service
  • Executive Development and Mobility
  • Executive Capabilities and Performance Management

Executives have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with their Directorate’s policies and procedures, such as the gifts and benefits policy. These documents are generally available on the Directorate’s intranet.

The ACTPS Employment Portal (the portal) is a centralised source for the policies, guidance material and employment information for the ACTPS staff. The portal holds a number of key pieces of information such as:

Respect, Equity and Diversity (RED) Framework

The RED Framework supports the ACTPS to meet its obligations under the PSM Act and supports ACTPS employees to understand expectations regarding their own and others' behaviour in the workplace. In particular, the RED Framework is aligned with the ACTPS Code of Conduct (2013) to fully integrate the ACTPS Values and Signature Behaviours into everyday work practice.

Manager’s Toolkit

The Manager’s Toolkit has been developed to provide managers, supervisors and staff with easy access to key resources and policies to assist them understand performance and behaviour principles and expectations in the ACT Public Service.

Resolving Workplace Issues Resources

The Resolving Workplace Issues resources embed positive work cultures across the ACTPS. These resources focus on the identification and management of inappropriate behaviour at the local level through to more serious allegations of misconduct that are managed under ACTPS Enterprise Agreements.

Recruitment Guidelines

These guidelines outline and describe better practice recruitment methods and principles intended to support the ACTPS in managing recruitment activity.

Enterprise Agreements

HR Policies