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Managing delegations, authorisations and administrative approvals procedure

Version number 5.0 | Version effective 15 June 2022

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Managing delegations, authorisations and administrative approvals procedure

Audience

Department-wide

Purpose

This procedure outlines responsibilities and the process for developing, maintaining and reviewing delegations, authorisations and administrative approvals for the department.

Overview

The Minister and Director-General have powers and functions to enable the administration of their portfolio and departmental responsibilities. It is not always practical for the Minister or Director-General to personally exercise all their administrative and decision-making functions.

Some of these powers and functions are ‘delegable’, that is, may be assigned to officers with appropriate qualifications, experience or standing to undertake this work on behalf of the Minister or Director-General, through:

  • delegations
  • authorisations; or
  • administrative approvals (for Director-General powers).

It is important that all powers and functions are managed effectively and that decisions are validly made by a lawfully appointed delegate or authorised officer.

Delegations, authorisations and administrative approvals remain in force when the person holding the office of the position who gives the delegation or authorisation ceases to hold that office. The person who occupies or acts in that office will be taken to be the person who gives the delegation or authorisation. For example, a delegation approved by the Director-General will not become invalid if the Director-General changes or someone temporarily acts in the Director-General's position.

Delegations and authorisations

The assignment of a power or function by statutory delegation or authorisation enables officers to exercise responsibilities and make decisions on behalf of the Minister or Director-General (usually referred to in legislation as the ‘Chief Executive’).

Officers with delegated powers (delegate) or authorised powers (authorised officer) exercise the power in their own right, as if they were the holder of the power under the Act or Regulation.

Statutory delegations and authorisations may be subject to limitations or conditions in the exercise of the powers or functions by the delegate or authorised officer. Limitations and conditions will be expressed in the Instrument of Delegation or Instrument of Authorisation relevant to that power.

All Instruments of Delegation and Instruments of Authorisation must be in writing, signed by the delegator or authoriser, i.e. Minister or Director-General.

Administrative approvals

The assignment of powers by administrative approval enables officers to undertake work on behalf of the Director-General. This means the work is deemed to be performed by the Director-General and is subject to the Director-General's control and direction, including limitations or conditions in the exercise of the powers by the holders.

All administrative approvals must be in writing and signed by the Director-General.

Responsibilities

Minister or Director-General

  • May delegate, direct and authorise the exercise of certain powers and functions conferred under legislation relevant to the department through Instruments of Delegation and Instruments of Authorisation
  • Remains responsible for ensuring the function or power delegated is properly performed or exercised.

Additional responsibilities for the Director-General

  • Approve administrative approvals for the efficient and proper management and functioning of the department.

Deputy Director-General

  • Endorse new or revised delegations and authorisations prior to approval by the Minister or Director-General.

Assistant Director-General, Finance and Chief Finance Officer

  • Endorse new or revised administrative approvals prior to approval by the Director-General.

Legal Services

  • Provide legal and drafting advice on new Instruments of delegation and authorisation
  • Provide legal advice on a new assignment of a legislative power.

Delegation coordinators (may also be delegation owners e.g. Human Resources (HR))

  • Develop and maintain delegations and authorisations for the department in liaison with delegation owners
  • Manage delegation and authorisation records and central registers
  • Consult Legal Services to obtain drafting and legal advice about delegations and authorisations
  • Seek approval from the Minister or Director-General on proposed new or revised Instruments of Delegation or Authorisation
  • Monitor review triggers (for example, machinery-of-government changes, substantive legislative changes), and consult delegation owners about initiating relevant reviews.

Delegation owners

  • Identify when new or revised delegations and authorisations are required for efficient management of operations
  • Ensure delegations and authorisations balance operational efficiency with sound risk management
  • Ensure delegates and authorised officers have the necessary qualifications, experience or standing to perform the function or exercise the power
  • Ensure delegates and authorised officers are aware of their responsibilities to exercise powers and functions in accordance with:
    • relevant legislative provisions that specify the power or function being exercised
    • any relevant whole-of-government and departmental policies and procedures
    • any limitations that apply to the exercise of the power and functions under the delegation or authorisation.
  • Ensure any necessary training for delegates and authorised officers is undertaken, either during on-boarding or at the point in time the power is delegated
  • Ensure new or revised delegations and authorisations are communicated appropriately
  • Ensure new or revised delegations and authorisations are embedded in systems (e.g. SAP, One School)
  • Initiate and conduct reviews of delegations and authorisations in consultation with the relevant delegation coordinator
  • Submit requests for proposed new or revised delegations and authorisations to delegation coordinators to manage the approval process.

Operational area (coordinators and owners of administrative approvals) 

  • Manage and maintain administrative approvals in the same manner as delegation coordinators and owners manage delegations and authorisations
  • Identify when new administrative approvals are required for efficient management of operations
  • Comply with the appropriate operational procedure/s as determined by the relevant operational area.

Legislative Services Unit

  • Provide advice to delegation coordinators and delegation owners on proposed and new portfolio legislation that may impact delegations or authorisations.

Process

Step 1: Identification of new or revised delegations, authorisations and administrative approvals

Delegation owners can identify the need for a new Instrument of Delegation or Instrument of Authorisation at any time in response to:

  • changes to legislation or Government/departmental policy
  • machinery-of-government changes
  • changes to business requirements.

A review of existing delegations, authorisations and administrative approvals can also be conducted at any time by delegation owners (for delegations and authorisations) or the relevant operational area (for administrative approvals) in response to the above changes or:

  • changes to departmental structure
  • the person who made the delegation, authorisation, or administrative approval ceasing to hold office and appointment of a new person to that office
  • an annual review.

Changes to position titles only are not required to go through Step 2 or Step 3. The Process Flowchart provides an overview of the process.

Step 2: Assessment

Delegation owners (for delegations and authorisations) or the relevant operational area (for administrative approvals) should take the following into consideration:

  • what delegation, authorisation and/or administrative approval is needed to manage risk associated with business processes
  • what thresholds will balance business needs with risk management
  • the business impacts of any proposed changes and links to any applicable legislation or other delegation, authorisation and/or administrative approval
  • an assessment of the perceived risk of providing or not providing the delegation, authorisation and/or administrative approval
  • whether the power is able to be delegated or authorised (for new delegations and authorisations only).

Step 3: Analysis

Delegation owner (for delegations and authorisations) or the relevant operational area (for administrative approvals) will conduct an evidence-based analysis. This should include:

  • an assessment of how many times a delegation, authorisation or administrative approval has been exercised (volumetric analysis), or an alternative method of assessment, to determine if the limit or assignment of the delegation, authorisation and/or administrative approval is appropriate (not required for new delegations and authorisations)
  • identify what delegations, authorisations and/or administrative approvals may be required in the future by planning for possible scenarios
  • identify how the delegation, authorisation and/or administrative approval will be deployed (for example, through systems or processes) and how these can be managed through internal controls.

For delegations and authorisations (not including Human Resources):

Step 4: Approval and publishing

For delegations and authorisations

Delegation coordinators will:

  • review the request form from the delegation owner and:
    • draft new or revised Instruments of Delegation and Instruments of Authorisation
    • prepare a submission for approval
  • consult Legal Services if required to obtain drafting and legal advice on new Instruments of delegation and authorisation, and when a legal question arises about a new assignment of a legislative power, e.g. whether the power is able to be delegated or authorised, or whether the power should be expressed as a delegation or authorisation
  • coordinate the approval process through the relevant Deputy Director-General to the Director-General or Minister
  • request the new or revised Instrument of Delegation or Instrument of Authorisation be published on the Policy and Procedure Register and OnePortal
  • update central registers and directory
  • communicate the approved changes to the delegation owners
  • maintain associated records.

Delegation owners will:

  • communicate the approved changes to the affected business units and/or delegates and authorised officers
  • update systems and processes to reflect the new or revised delegation or authorisation where appropriate.

For administrative approvals

The relevant operational area will (in accordance with the appropriate operational procedure):

  • coordinate the approval process through the Chief Finance Officer to the Director-General
  • publish the new or revised administrative approvals on the departmental website or OnePortal
  • update central registers
  • communicate the approved changes to the affected business units and/or approved persons
  • maintain associated records
  • deploy administrative approvals in systems and forms where appropriate.

Definitions

Term

Definition

Administrative approvals

Administrative approvals mean written mandates and obligations that organisations establish to support good governance and maintain operational efficiency.

This procedure relates only to the following administrative approvals:

  • Finance administrative approvals
  • Purchasing and Procurement administrative approvals.

These are often referred to by work units as ‘delegations’ because they set requirements and grant authority to undertake day-to-day activities.

For the purpose of this procedure, they are referred to as administrative approvals to distinguish them from statutory delegations and authorisations, as they have different requirements for approvals and review.

All other administrative approvals are not subject to this procedure.

Authorisation

Authorisation means a statutory authorisation. A statutory authorisation operates in a similar way to statutory delegations. Legislation may expressly provide for the appointment of an ‘authorised officer’, or the authorisation of persons, to exercise specific statutory powers.

Delegation

Delegation means a statutory delegation. A statutory delegation is the assignment of a legislative power or function by the person occupying the position with the statutory authority, power or function, usually the Director-General (as the Chief Executive of the Department) or Minister, to a nominated position.

Delegation coordinators

Delegation coordinators means the unit responsible for drafting new or revised delegations and authorisations, and approval briefs, as well as the coordination of the approval processes. These units are:

  • External Relations and Services – for delegations and authorisations (other than HR);
  • Workforce Policy – for Human Resource delegations and authorisations. 

Delegation owners

Delegation owners means the branch, unit or team within the department that has the primary responsibility for ensuring compliance with legislation to which the delegation or authorisation relates.

Internal Controls

The methods, processes or procedures implemented to:

  • ensure compliance with prescribed requirements including legislation and regulation
  • safeguard assets
  • check the accuracy and reliability of accounting information.

Operational area

Operational area means the area responsible for managing and maintaining administrative approvals in accordance with operational procedures. The operational areas are:

  • Financial Business Policy – for financial and administrative approvals;
  • Procurement Services Branch – for purchasing and procurement approvals.

Power

Power means doing an act or making a decision for the purpose of performing a function.

Legislation

Delegations/Authorisations

  • Nil

Other resources

Superseded versions

Previous seven years shown. Minor version updates not included.

2.0 Developing and Managing Legislative Delegations and Authorisations

3.0 Developing and Managing Legislative Delegations and Authorisations

4.0 Managing delegations, authorisations and administrative approvals procedure

Review date

15 June 2025
Attribution CC BY
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