Check list: working on machinery of government

77 Advisors working on machinery of government matters, especially proposals that could lead to change in any of the areas mentioned in paragraph 3 , as well as managers responsible for implementing change, should check to ensure the following steps.

   

Policy development phase

Commissioning the work

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Who requested/directed the work to be done e.g. the Minister, chief executive, board chairperson? Clarify that person's expectations regarding the ToR, including sign-off

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Ensure there is agreement on the situation/issue/problem to be addressed. Depending on the review, the 'problem statement' may be explicit in the ToR, or clarified as part of the review process

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Who will carry out the analysis and write the report(s) e.g. will the work be done in-house, or does an inter-agency working group need to be convened, or will a third party be contracted to carry out the review (with in-house support)? For any contracted work, ensure the process complies with applicable procurement rules and guidelines

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Departments must consult SSC and should involve SSC and Treasury early in the development phase. Consider who else will need to be consulted during the review

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Clarify with the project sponsor the reporting milestones and timeframe

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Finalise ToR. Ensure it covers at least all the elements in paragraph 9

Analysis phase

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Adhere to what is in scope, and be conscious of what is out of scope, as per ToR

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In line with the project objective and problem definition, consider the full range of potential solutions i.e. do not leap straight to structural change as a universal or sole remedy

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Ensure genuine consultation i.e. listen seriously and objectively to the views expressed, with an open mind to changing one's initial position as a result. But this does not create an obligation to satisfy all views expressed by modifying the report and recommendations in an attempt to please all submitters

Reporting phase

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Be aware of realistic timeframes, especially if papers are to go through the Cabinet process and legislative change would be required to implement the recommendations

Implementation phase

Change management plan

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The change leader should prepare a change management plan for every machinery of government change. The plan should include: context for the change process; key organisational issues; workstreams, phases and milestones; governance for the change process; risk analysis; monitoring of progress; evaluation

Statutory requirements

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The State Sector Act provides for the transfer of functions between departments and for the merger of departments. Sections 30A to 30L provide for such things as the transfer of staff, the disestablishment of existing departments, consequential amendments to other legislation, and the continuity of legal proceedings

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Specific legislation is likely to be required when a Crown entity is disestablished and when the transfer of functions is from a department to a Crown entity

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Records must not be disposed of without the Chief Archivist's authorisation. Records relating to a function which has been transferred to another government agency may be transferred: the Chief Archivist must be notified within 3 months of the transfer

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Check all applicable employment agreements, both individual and collective, and be aware of their implications. The Employment Relations Act now requires all agreements to have clauses relating to transfer of employees

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Legislation is required to preserve Crown appointments and statutory officers where these are affected by machinery of government change

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Be aware of any statutory functions to be affected by machinery of government change - especially if proposed legislation has not been enacted. This means having a transitional plan to ensure the appropriate discharge of functions continues

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If a new agency should be subject to the Ombudsmen Act 1975 and the Official Information Act 1982, it needs to be listed in the respective schedules in these Acts

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Ensure that responsibilities and accountabilities are maintained with the appropriate person/agency as requirements fall due, and that there is a formal point or points for the handover of responsibility e.g. for the Annual Report, Statement of Intent, etc

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