This Memorandum sets out the procedures and approval process for NSW Government submissions and responses to inquiries. Relevant inquiries (those that affect the interests of the NSW Government) are held by NSW Parliamentary Committees and statutory agencies, Royal Commissions and Special Commissions of Inquiry and the Commonwealth Parliament and agencies. This Memorandum guides Ministers and agencies on whether a submission should be made and the pathway for review and approval.
The NSW Government receives many requests to contribute submissions to inquiries or reviews or to respond to reports arising from inquiries or reviews. Most requests or invitations are from:
NSW Parliamentary committees;
NSW statutory agencies (for example the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal);
Royal Commissions and Special Commissions of Inquiry;
Commonwealth Government agencies and the Commonwealth Parliament; or
non-government organisations or international bodies.
The organisation holding the inquiry may make a request for a submission or response directly to the Premier, Ministers or agencies - or may provide a general invitation to the public.
Invitations may be made to different Ministers and agencies regarding the same inquiry. It is important there is a systematic approach to assessing the benefit of any submission, with coordination across Government.
Response to a request
The Government may respond to requests in different ways, depending on the nature of the inquiry. In some cases, there may be little or no value in the preparation of a submission. In other cases, a submission offers an important opportunity to influence policies or strategies in areas of significance to NSW via an evidence-based submission.
These are the required steps:
Agencies should first confirm their Minister supports a submission being made.
If the Minister agrees a submission should be made, the relevant agency should inform the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) immediately. The agency should advise whether the proposed submission includes a new policy position, advocates an existing policy position, or is factual or technical in nature. The agency should also indicate to DPC whether other portfolios will be affected by the submission.
DPC will seek approval from the Premier or her delegate for the proposed approach to the submission (that is, whether one should be made and the type of submission it should be). DPC will advise the agency of the approach approved by the Premier.
Generally, where an inquiry raises issues that primarily relate to a particular portfolio area, the relevant agency will be responsible for drafting the submission. The relevant agency may consult other agencies affected by the inquiry in preparing the submission. However, DPC may assume this responsibility in certain instances, for example, where the inquiry raises complex issues affecting several portfolios, or there is no clear lead agency.
In all cases, a draft submission must be provided to DPC for review and clearance by the Premier or her delegate a minimum of 20 working days before the due date. If Cabinet approval is required for proposed policy positions in the submission, additional time should be allowed, and a Cabinet Submission should be prepared, with the proposed inquiry submission attached. Where the inquiry or review has a condensed submission timeframe (i.e. less than 20 working days), the Minister should contact the Office of the Premier regarding the draft submission.
Only in exceptional circumstances will the Government seek an extension to a due date for a submission, and only with the agreement of the Premier or her delegate.
Clearance processes may vary, depending on the nature of the submission. These decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Premier or her delegate. However, the attached table provides guidance for different scenarios.
From time to time, Ministers and agency employees may be called as witnesses to appear before inquiries. Guidance for witnesses before the Legislative Council's Portfolio Committees is provided in Memoranda M2017-01 and M2017-02.
Issuing Terms of Reference for Parliamentary Inquiries, including the Public Accounts Committee
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) was established to exercise the Parliament's review powers over the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability of the public sector. It has a key role in monitoring Government implementation of recommendations from reports of the NSW Auditor General.
Ministers may issue terms of reference for PAC inquiries under section 57(1)(f) of the Public Finance and Audit Act 1983 (NSW). To ensure these inquiries reflect Government priorities and there is no duplication, Ministers are required to obtain Cabinet's approval before referring any matter to a Parliamentary Committee, including the PAC (see M2004-09).
Who does this Memorandum apply to?
The requirements in this Memorandum apply to all NSW Government agencies subject to Ministerial direction and control.
Independent integrity agencies and other bodies not subject to Ministerial direction and control (e.g. the Independent Commission Against Corruption, Ombudsman, Information and Privacy Commission, Auditor General and the Law Enforcement Conduct Commission) are not required to seek Ministerial approval before lodging a submission.
Gladys Berejiklian MP
Who needs to know and/or comply with this?
- Executive agencies related to Departments
- Statutory Authorities/Bodies
- Advisory Entities (including Boards and Committees)
- Separate agencies
- Date Issued
- Mar 3, 2021
- Review Date
- Mar 1, 2023
- Replaced By
- Contact us
- 02 9228 5555
- Publishing Entity
- Department of Premier and Cabinet
- Issuing Entity