Department of Premier and Cabinet
Department of Premier and Cabinet Circular

C2015-03 - Enhanced Ministerial Correspondence Handling


NSW Government departments have agreed to a set of reforms to improve and standardise how ministerial correspondence is handled. The reforms will provide the public with a clearer understanding of what can be expected when communicating with the NSW Government, including business rules regarding how correspondence will be dealt with, target response times and performance.

FunctionGovernanceSubjectPerformance and Accountability

Ministerial correspondence is an important avenue of communication between the public and government. Commonly, departments and other public sector agencies are required to reply to such correspondence on behalf of the Government and/or prepare draft responses for their Minister. The public has a reasonable expectation that their questions and comments will be dealt with as quickly as possible, and that the service they receive from ministers and government agencies are consistent and of high quality.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet has been leading an interagency working group on ministerial correspondence handling and management. A set of reforms has been developed to improve and standardise current policies, procedures and practices. These were considered and endorsed by the Secretaries Board.

Departments and related executive agencies are now implementing these reforms. Other agencies that may be involved in the handling of Ministerial correspondence (such as statutory bodies and state owned corporations) are also encouraged to consider applying these reforms where they are involved in handling ministerial correspondence.  These reforms include:

  • Encouraging all ministers to adopt a web contact form for receipt of electronic correspondence - the Department of Premier and Cabinet will facilitate this.
  • Adopting a correspondence style guide (if not already in place).
  • Implementing business rules that outline minimum standards for correspondence handling and processing, including that all routine correspondence is responded to within a maximum of 30 working days of receipt by the agency - noting that the Department of Premier and Cabinet is committed to a 20 working day response time.
  • Publication of a correspondence handling policy.
  • Introducing baseline performance reporting in relation to correspondence handling and processing.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet will work with members of the interagency working group to ensure that these reforms are implemented within the next six months.