10 Criteria should be developed as part of the review process. Sometimes, it is appropriate to include the criteria in the ToR. The criteria should:

  • take account of the sectoral context
  • address the particular issues or problem
  • encapsulate the desired state or level of performance (NB this does not mean pre-empting the outcome of the review).

11 For example, relevant factors may include:

  • with regard to context, whether the government has modified its objectives for an activity; whether other players have emerged with substantially similar roles; whether international agreements or other developments call for a change in the way a certain activity is carried out
  • with regard to the desired state or level of performance, whether structural change or a reallocation of functions would better achieve the government's desired outcomes through, for example, improved capability, efficiency, coordination; improved clarity of roles and responsibilities and better governance; improved responsiveness to government policy; better information flows; improved risk management; reduced compliance costs; and so on.

12 A strategic review of a government agency should be undertaken at regular intervals, for example, when preparing the position description for a new departmental chief executive or new chairperson of a Crown entity board. The review should consider, among other things, whether all of the existing agency's functions should continue to be provided by the agency (e.g. whether there is a statutory or government policy imperative that they continue). This includes assessing:

  • what functions are 'must do', 'should do', 'could do', 'could cease doing'?
  • what would happen if a particular function were to cease?
  • what other agencies might be more suitable for taking on a particular function?
  • is there something different that the agency should take on?

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