Trust, Service

& Accountability

Behaving Ethically

Good Practices for engagement with Ministers’ offices

Issue: Apparent lack of progress on agency recommendations

Agency advice is apparently not acted upon within the expected timeframe.

Westminster Principle:

Ministers and Cabinet decide policy under the Westminster System.

Ministers are under no obligation to accept, or advance, agency recommendations.

Good Practice:

Department/Agency to provide well researched, professional, apolitical advice to Ministers which is in the public interest, transparent and is supported by evidence.

Department/Agency to draw Ministers’ attention to the implications, if any, of a delayed decision.

Employees to:

  • Confirm and document receipt of advice in the Minister’s office
  • Discuss the matter with their manager
  • Provide supporting material to their manager, if required.

Managers to:

  • Review advice provided to the Minister and discuss with employee
  • Consider the matter in the light of agency programs and priorities
  • Consider making a supplementary submission to the Minister
  • Remind employees that the decision to proceed with an initiative or recommendation rests with the Minister and Cabinet
  • Reassure employees that they have provided professional and appropriate advice and their efforts are appreciated
  • Raise issue with senior management
  • Update employees on the progress of the matter, if possible.

Senior management to:

  • Discuss with Minister or Minister’s Chief of Staff clarifying potential implications
  • Initiate improvements for engagement with the Minister’s office, if required
  • Reassess agency programs and policies, if required.