Cabinet handbook

Assists ministers and government agencies in Western Australia to navigate the Cabinet process and prepare submissions.

The Cabinet of Western Australia consists of the Premier and all the Ministers meeting together under the chairmanship of the Premier. Cabinet is an informal association of Ministers and its decisions have no legal force except to the extent that those decisions are put into effect by the individual Ministers concerned. However, there are established conventions which give substance to the institution of Cabinet and which relate to its formal operation. The Cabinet Handbook is designed to assist Ministers and agency officers in understanding the Cabinet process and the preparation of papers for submission to Cabinet.

It is important that high standards are maintained. Submissions that do not comply with the required standards outlined in the Handbook will not be accepted.

For more information regarding the Cabinet process or specific submissions, please contact the email or phone number at the bottom of the page.

1.1 Organisation and functions

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Ministers are appointed by the Governor to administer particular areas of responsibility in the Government. The Cabinet of Western Australia consists of the Premier and all the Ministers meeting together under the chairmanship of the Premier. Also in attendance are the Parliamentary Secretary of the Cabinet and a Note Taker, who records the minutes of the formal Cabinet meetings, including a record of attendance, Cabinet decisions and any declarations of interest made by Ministers.

Cabinet is an informal association of Ministers and its decisions have no legal force except to the extent that those decisions are put into effect by the individual Ministers concerned. However, there are established conventions which give substance to the institution of Cabinet and which relate to its formal operation.

Convention requires that Cabinet members be Members of Parliament, Ministers and Members of the Executive Council. Convention also establishes that Cabinet is collectively responsible for the conduct and operations of the Government and that all Ministers must give their support in public debate to decisions determined by Cabinet.

The confidentiality of Cabinet documents, discussions and decisions is a long established principle and has been regarded as essential for the maintenance of Cabinet collective responsibility and frankness between Ministers and officials. However, this principle needs to be tempered by the requirement for prior advice and consultation, and the need to disseminate Cabinet decisions and background information to ensure effective implementation. To fulfil these aims, the guidelines in this handbook have been established.

As it has no executive power, Cabinet operates essentially as a deliberative body to determine legislative and executive policy of the Government. Cabinet approval is required for all legislative proposals before Bills can be drafted and printed. Cabinet also decides questions of policy or administrative importance and determines how the Government will deal with issues.

1.2 Cabinet meetings

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Generally, Cabinet meets each Monday, except on public holidays, when the meeting is held on the Tuesday. Special meetings may be called if necessary. Cabinet commences at 9.30 am. There is time at each meeting to discuss matters Ministers wish to raise informally.

Regional Cabinet meetings are held throughout the year, and generally focus on issues relevant to that region.

There is usually a three-week break at Christmas, with the last Cabinet meeting for the year held on the last Monday before Christmas in December and the first meeting for the new year held on the third Monday in January.

1.3 Ministers' attendance at Cabinet

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All Ministers are required to attend every Cabinet meeting unless, for reasons previously conveyed to the Premier, they have been formally excused from attending a particular meeting.

If a Minister is unable to attend Cabinet a letter seeking leave from Cabinet should be sent to the Premier, via Cabinet Services, for approval. The letter should state the time of leave and reason for the request to be approved. If a Minister will be absent from Cabinet they may request that their submissions be considered at a later meeting, when they will be present.

1.4 Ministers declaring an interest

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Under the Ministerial Code of Conduct, Ministers are required to provide the Premier with a copy of each return that they lodge under the Members of Parliament (Financial Interests) Act 1992 as well as details of all pecuniary or other interests held under a private company or other entity or arrangement that operates a family farm, family business or family investment or trust. Ministers are also required to disclose all pecuniary and other interests of his/her spouse and dependent family to the Director General who records and retains this information.

In the event of real or perceived conflicts of interest for a Minister in relation to a matter before Cabinet, arising out of the disclosed information, the Minister is to draw that conflict of interest to the attention of the Premier in Cabinet. The Premier may require that the Minister absent him/herself from Cabinet discussions about the issue on the basis of the disclosed interest and the Note Taker shall record in the Cabinet minutes that the Minister declared his/her or family pecuniary interest, conflict of interest, or potential conflict and withdrew from the Cabinet room.

1.5 Matters that should be referred to Cabinet

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Ministers have considerable scope to make decisions within their portfolios. In many instances, however, matters require discussion and consultation with other Ministers, departments/agencies and/or non-government organisations. It is important that proper and adequate consultation precedes the submission of a proposal to Cabinet.

Prior to bringing an item to Cabinet, Ministers should examine the issue in terms of the criteria below and decide whether consultation with interested colleagues could resolve the issue without reference to Cabinet. The volume of Cabinet business needs to be monitored and contained because of the demands on Ministers' time. This consideration needs to be balanced, however, against the need to refer to Cabinet major issues of policy and other matters requiring collective consideration.

The following issues usually require Cabinet approval:

  • Politically sensitive and policy issues with significant financial implications, particularly new policy themes and variations to existing policies.

  • Matters with a significant impact on employment in the public or private sector.

  • Matters which cross the boundaries of Ministerial responsibilities but which cannot be resolved outside Cabinet. (Joint submissions should be considered).

  • Authority to draft legislation and final approval for the printing of Bills.

  • Action in respect of Parliamentary Committees or Cabinet Committees.

  • Matters likely to have a considerable impact on relations with Commonwealth, Local or other State Governments, the union movement, employer groups, significant lobby groups, the lay Party and the general community.

  • Creation and abolition of Government boards and committees.

  • Appointments and reappointments to Government boards and committees and the appointment of statutory office bearers, judicial and quasi-judicial office bearers, and ‘senior officers’ in the Public Sector or their equivalent in statutory authorities. Some appointments that do not require Cabinet approval should be submitted to Cabinet for noting (e.g. appointments to non-statutory bodies created by Cabinet, a Minister or agency and reporting to the Minister).

Ministers may also submit items that do not require a Cabinet decision, but are to advise or inform other Ministers of issues ('Items for discussion').

Where there is uncertainty about whether a proposal should be submitted to Cabinet, a Minister may wish to discuss the issue with the Premier.

1.6 Submissions to Cabinet

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Matters for Cabinet consideration are normally brought forward as Cabinet submissions. A Cabinet submission comprises the following documents assembled in the following order, working from the top down:

  • Summary Sheet 

    or E of the Cabinet Handbook)

  • Minute Paper (Appendix B or F of the Cabinet Handbook)

  • Consultation Summary (not required for appointments) (Appendix C of the Cabinet Handbook)

  • Attachments to be numbered (reports, maps, CVs etc.)

  • Drafting Instructions (for submission seeking approval to draft legislation)

  • Final draft copy of the Bill (for submission seeking approval to print legislation)

Details on how to prepare these documents are in sections 10 to 14.

Ministers may wish to raise matters in Cabinet without lodging a formal submission ('Items for Discussion'). This is for matters to be noted or discussed informally and for dealing with issues sufficiently straightforward not to require prior consultation.

Ministers seeking approval to list an ‘Item for Discussion’ on the agenda should notify Cabinet Services before 12 noon on the Thursday prior to the Cabinet meeting and provide sufficient information on the issue to form a basis for Cabinet discussion.

1.7 Cabinet submissions with financial implications

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Proposals with financial implications should only be considered during the annual budget process. The only exception should be when issues of critical importance arise, and it has been demonstrated to the Treasurer’s satisfaction that such matters cannot be funded from existing allocations.

Ministers have the option of submitting submissions with financial implications either directly to Cabinet or the Expenditure Review Committee (ERC) in the first instance.

The costing of all proposals considered by Cabinet or ERC must be evaluated by the Department of Treasury (Treasury) before they are submitted to Cabinet or ERC. Details of this consultation should be included in the consultation section of submission (refer to section 12.4(c)).

Cabinet Services will not normally accept submissions unless the financial implications of the proposal have been evaluated by the Treasury. Please note that the Treasury evaluation of a proposal’s financial implications does not indicate that Treasury supports the proposal.

For submissions with financial implications first considered by Cabinet, the Treasurer will advise Cabinet during its deliberations if he believes a submission should be subsequently referred to ERC.

The ERC is a Standing Committee of Cabinet. Its main functions are overseeing the annual budget process, ongoing monitoring of the approved budget estimates and examining other matters including major policy proposals with implications for State finances and the economy.

The deliberations of ERC meetings will be reported back to Cabinet by way of submissions, under the signature of the Treasurer, requesting that Cabinet simply “note” the minutes of the ERC meeting.

Ministers' submissions considered by ERC that impact the Government financial position will need to be brought back to Cabinet separately by the Minister, incorporating the outcome of the ERC meeting (if the proposal is to be progressed).

Other ERC recommendations requiring Cabinet decisions will be contained in separate submissions, under the signature of the Treasurer, seeking Cabinet endorsement of the proposals contained within (these will typically be Treasury initiated items on budget management matters).

Ministerially endorsed submissions need to be received by Cabinet Services at least 15 working-days prior to the meeting at which the matter is scheduled for consideration.

Some proposals have financial implications, but are not matters that Ministers need to bring to Cabinet (refer to section 1.5). In such cases a Cabinet submission should not be prepared. Instead, an ERC submission should be prepared and provided to ERC.

Requests for information about ERC or copies of the ERC Handbook should be directed to Cabinet Services.

Flow chart of the process for Cabinet submissions with financial implications.

1.8 Cabinet submissions with regulatory implications

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Proposals with regulatory implications are to be assessed under the Government’s Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) program prior to being considered by Cabinet or the ERC.

Cabinet Services will not normally accept submissions with regulatory proposals unless the implications of the proposal have been evaluated by the Better Regulation Unit (BRU) and an exclusion, exemption or compliance status attained. Please note advice of compliance by the BRU does not indicate that the BRU or Department of Treasury supports the proposal.

RIA is a multi-step program involving liaison with the BRU and ensuring best regulatory practice and good regulatory design. It commenced on 1 December 2009 and is administered by the BRU.

Every regulatory proposal submitted to Cabinet that does not fall under one of the RIA exclusion categories or has not received a Treasurer's Exemption, should first be subject to a Preliminary Impact Assessment (PIA), to determine whether the proposal has a significant impact on business, consumers or the economy. If no significant impact is identified, the proposal may proceed to Cabinet. For those regulatory proposals identified as having a significant impact, a Consultation Regulatory Impact Assessment should be completed followed by a Decision Regulatory Impact Statement.

More information is set out below, in the RIA Guidelines and additional guidance materials, all of which can be found on the Department of Treasury website. The BRU is also available to assist agencies and provide more general or targeted training depending on the needs of the agency. Potential impacts to small business should be discussed with the Small Business Development Corporation.

Exclusions

The RIA Guidelines include a number of exclusion categories. These categories acknowledge that some types of regulatory change may not benefit from formal RIA assessment and seek to allow a regulatory matter to progress without a PIA being undertaken. If an agency feels that an exclusion may apply to their proposal, the following procedure should be followed:

  • Email BRU at:      better.regulation@treasury.wa.gov.au.
  • The email should provide a short overview of the proposal, and identify the problem being addressed.
  • BRU will respond to the email – either, by agreeing to the application for an exclusion, requesting further information, or advising the agency that an exclusion is not appropriate in this instance.

Treasurer's Exemption

An agency may request an exemption from RIA from the Treasurer if the proposal is in response to an emergency situation requiring immediate action through legislation or regulations. In this case, an ex-post review (a Post Implementation Review) will need to be undertaken after implementation. Further information about Treasurer's Exemptions can be found at the Better Regulation Unit’s website page.

Preliminary Impact Assessment

If RIA applies, agencies must document their preliminary assessment of the regulatory proposals, using the template provided by the BRU. On receipt of the PIA document, the BRU will generate a unique identification number for the proposal. This number is provided upon assessment of the PIA and should be quoted on all documents relating to the proposal including the Cabinet Minute Summary Sheet and/or Executive Council Explanatory Note.

Information provided in the PIA document assists the BRU to determine whether or not the proposal is likely to have a significant adverse impact on business, consumers and/or the economy, and provides assurance that options have been considered and an assessment of these supports the proposed regulation. If the proposal is not expected to have significant adverse impacts, then the agency will be notified via a Compliance Assessment Notice (CAN) and the proposal may proceed to Cabinet.

Regulatory proposals likely to have significant adverse impacts for at least some parties will require further assessment.

Regulatory Impact Statements

Regulatory proposals with a potential for significant adverse impacts require a:

  1. Consultation RIS (CRIS) - The purpose of a CRIS is to identify options, provide an early assessment of their impacts and seek comment from affected stakeholders. A draft CRIS should be provided to the BRU. Once the BRU are satisfied that the CRIS is appropriate, a Compliance Assessment Notice will be provided to the agency, and the document may be released for consultation. A CRIS can take the form of an Issues Paper or Discussion Paper.
  2. Decision RIS (DRIS) - The DRIS builds on the CRIS and provides the decision maker with a complete examination of the problem, including the outcome of consultation, and an assessment of the costs and benefits of each option. The DRIS provides an evidence-based recommendation for regulatory change, and should include an implementation and evaluation plan.

    Once the BRU has found the DRIS to be adequate, a Compliance Assessment Notice will be issued. The DRIS and Compliance Assessment Notice must be included with any Cabinet submission to Cabinet Services.

Flow chart of the RIA program

The flow chart below sets outs the multi-step nature of the RIA program. It should be noted that where a proposal requires a Decision RIS to be undertaken, this Decision RIS must be released publically following either an announcement by Government or the implementation of the program. Confidential information may be removed as necessary.

Flow chart of the Regulatory Impact Assessment program

2.1 Consultation while developing a proposal

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Consultation ensures that all relevant information and views relating to a proposal are provided for Cabinet to make informed decisions and that as far as possible differences are identified and resolved prior to Cabinet consideration. Effective consultation between the originating agency and other relevant or affected Government departments/agencies is essential to ensure that a whole of government approach is taken in the development of matters to be considered by Cabinet.

The consultation process should involve more than just the circulation of the draft Cabinet submission. It should be an integral part of the development of the proposal and begin prior to the preparation of the submission and continued through officer and ministerial levels. To facilitate the process, an officer from the originating department/agency should be designated to act as co-ordinator for consultation on the submission.

It is for departments to establish with Ministers the extent to which Ministers are to be involved in the consultation process and at what stage. Ministerial offices and departments/agencies are responsible for ensuring that procedures are in place that allows time for proper consultation, including input from Ministers, the resolution of differences and the timeframe for lodgement of Cabinet submissions.

At all times the principles of Cabinet confidentiality should be adhered to and consultation with non-government organisations or the public generally should not involve the unauthorised disclosure of previous or proposed deliberations by Cabinet, or the circulation of copies of Cabinet documents.

2.2 Ministers' responsibilities

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Ministers are responsible for ensuring that, prior to submitting a submission for Cabinet’s consideration, consultation has been undertaken with:

  • The Premier's Office.
  • Other Ministers:
    • where more than one portfolio interest is involved;
    • where a submission covers a matter of joint responsibility, it should be presented jointly by the Ministers involved;
    • when a submission recommends action by Ministers who are not signatories; or
    • when it raises matters directly affecting another Minister’s portfolio.
  • The Better Regulation Unit where the proposal is regulatory in nature.
  • Other agencies that may be affected by the proposal or involved in the implementation.
  • The Department of Treasury on the costings of all proposals, whether implicit or explicit. Such consultation with Treasury is initially to be directed through the Under Treasurer, or Senior Treasury Officer. The details of this consultation are to be included in the consultation section of the Cabinet minute (refer to section 12.4(c)). Cabinet submissions will not be accepted for lodgment if this requirement is not met.
  • Business, other stakeholders and the community in general, where appropriate, in compliance with the Regulatory Impact Assessment requirements.
  • The Public Sector Commission on proposals affecting the operations of the Western Australian public sector, including the efficiency and effectiveness of the sector.
  • The State Solicitor's Office on matters that may have legal implications. The Office should also be consulted in the development of legislative proposals, preferably before finalisation of the drafting instructions.
  • The Department of Housing on development and infrastructure proposals that may have a significant impact on housing requirements or demand.
  • The Agency Support Division of the Public Sector Commission, on the fees and allowances payable to appointees to Boards and Committees.
  • Non-government organisations (including employers, unions, industry, professional, community and special interest groups) where the proposal is likely to have significant impact on their operations.

Before Cabinet submissions are brought to Cabinet every effort should be made to resolve issues and differences identified in the consultation process.

2.3 Detailing consultation processes in Cabinet submissions

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Cabinet submissions must accurately reflect and record the results of consultation and must include a reference on the summary sheet (refer to section 11), and in the minute (refer to section 12.4(f)) and an attachment (Consultation Summary – Appendix C of the Cabinet Handbook).

Where issues remain unresolved, the differing views from departments, agencies or organisations that either do not support the proposal or support it with reservations, and the efforts that have been made to reach a resolution should be detailed in the minute. This includes comments made by the Department of Treasury regarding the financial implications of the proposal, and any comments from the BRU on compliance with the Regulatory Impact Assessment requirements.

Cabinet Services examines all submissions received and refers submissions to the Ministers whose portfolios appear to be affected by the proposal, Department of Treasury, Cabinet and Policy Division, Department of the Premier and Cabinet (DPC) and the Better Regulation Unit, Department of Treasury where matters are regulatory in nature. This ensures that the results of the consultation process as recorded in the submission are accurate and up-to-date and that all relevant information is available when Cabinet is considering the submission.

Cabinet Services has a strong quality assurance role, with the authority to monitor Cabinet documents and return submissions if it is considered that consultation has been inadequate.

3. Confidentiality and security

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The confidentiality of Cabinet documents, discussions and decisions is a long established principle and has been regarded as essential for the maintenance of Cabinet collective responsibility. However, this principle needs to be tempered by the requirement for prior advice and consultation, and to disseminate Cabinet decisions and background information to ensure effective implementation. To fulfil these aims, the following guidelines have been adopted:

  • Access to all Cabinet documents should be guided by the ‘need to know’ principle. Access should only be granted if it is required for an officer to perform his/her duties.

  • Ministers have primary responsibility for maintaining satisfactory security systems for Cabinet documents in their areas of responsibility, including the extent to which others have access to them. Departments and Ministers' offices requiring information in relation to particular Cabinet submissions should obtain approval from the appropriate Minister's office, which may ask Cabinet Services to supply the information.

  • All Cabinet documents are stamped ‘Not to be copied’ to reinforce confidentiality. The Minister’s office should contact Cabinet Services to obtain additional copies if required.

  • While all Cabinet documents are confidential, care should be taken with documents not yet submitted to Cabinet. The distribution of Cabinet submissions for comment (refer to section 9.2) should be on the understanding that the documents are not copied and are returned to the source. Additional copies of a submission may be obtained from Cabinet Services.

  • The faxing and emailing of Cabinet documents is discouraged. However sometimes because of time constraints or distance, there is no alternative. When documents are faxed or emailed, the responsibility for security remains with the Minister’s office to ensure that the designated recipient of the document is notified in advance, is aware of the confidentiality, and confirms destruction of the fax or email.

  • Officers who receive copies of Cabinet documents, including decision sheets, or who are aware of information contained in such documents, must observe the confidentiality of that information. Cabinet documents and the information they contain must not be revealed except for purposes authorised by the relevant Minister and chief executive officer, in accordance with these guidelines.

  • Agencies should ensure that any documents considered confidential by the Minister or CEO are not placed on an open file.

4. The Cabinet agenda

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The Cabinet agenda is compiled by Cabinet Services from the submissions which have been received from Ministers. Items appearing on the agenda should be received by Cabinet Services at least 10 days prior to the scheduled Cabinet meeting (the '10 working day rule').

4.1 Sections of the agenda

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Cabinet Business

Election Commitments

Strategic / High Priority

Cabinet Sub-Committee Reports

Legislation and Parliamentary Business

General Policy Items

Appointments

4.2 Deferred items

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These items have been submitted to Cabinet at a previous meeting, but deferred for further consideration. Items deferred from one meeting will automatically be placed on the agenda for the next meeting, or the meeting designated by Cabinet.

4.3 Withdrawal of Cabinet submissions

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A submission can be withdrawn by the Minister prior to being listed on the agenda. This can be done verbally to Cabinet Services but must be confirmed in writing.

Once an item is circulated with the agenda it can be only be withdrawn by Cabinet. This requires the Minister to request withdrawal of the submission during the Cabinet meeting.

The Premier is the only member of Cabinet who can withdraw another Minister’s submission.

4.4 Replacement submissions

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A submission may need to be amended after it has been circulated with the agenda. In this case, a new submission should be submitted to Cabinet Services with an explanatory memo addressed to the Director. The replacement submission will be listed on the agenda, with the notation ‘replacement submission for item XXXX’. The original submission will still be listed so that it can be formally withdrawn by Cabinet.

4.5 Walk-ins

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'Walk-ins' describe submissions tabled by Ministers at the Cabinet meeting without prior notice. The Minister must still seek the Premier’s approval to have the item considered. This should occur only in urgent cases where the need for immediate consideration is clear and unavoidable.

4.6 Change of portfolios/Cabinet changes

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Cabinet submissions affected by a change to the composition of Cabinet or a change in portfolios will be forwarded to the new Minister for countersigning, if s/he is happy for the matter to proceed.

The typed decision related to these submissions will include the name of the original Minister as well as the name of the new Minister.

5.1 Preparation

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Cabinet decision sheets are prepared by Cabinet Services (see Appendix K of the Cabinet Handbook). The decision sheet includes the:

  • title of the Cabinet submission
  • date of submission
  • Minister(s) sponsoring the submission
  • decision
  • date of decision
  • recipients of copies of the submission

5.2 Signing of Cabinet decisions

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To effectively certify that it is a true and correct record of Cabinet’s decision, each decision sheet is signed by the Premier, or the Minister who chaired the meeting. The decisions of Cabinet are not official until the decision sheet has been signed.

5.3 Copy and distribution of the Cabinet decision

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A certified copy of the original signed decision sheet and the submission that was considered by Cabinet is sent to the Minister who submitted the matter to Cabinet. The Minister’s Office generally takes a working copy and forwards the certified copy to their agency. The original Cabinet documents are retained by Cabinet Services and form the official Cabinet record.

Cabinet Services endeavours to have the decisions distributed by hand under confidential cover on the Tuesday following the meeting.

5.4 Legislation (drafting) items

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Following Cabinet approval to draft, the Minister’s office must advise the relevant Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Cabinet’s decision. The Legislation Standing Committee of Cabinet will automatically list the item for consideration at its next meeting and assign a drafting priority (the Parliamentary Procedures Guide provides further information in regard to this process and other related parliamentary procedures).

6.1 Cabinet records

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The Director General, DPC is the official custodian of the Cabinet Record. Cabinet Services is responsible for maintaining Cabinet records and retains the original hard copy of all Cabinet agendas, submissions, attachments to submissions, comment sheets and decisions. The Branch also creates an electronic record of all Cabinet documents and maintains a database of all Cabinet submissions and decisions.

Cabinet records, listing Cabinet decisions, date back to 1903. From 1 July 1914 these records have been bound in leather and constitute the ‘Cabinet Record Books’. Cabinet Services prepares the books on an ongoing basis and two copies are bound annually.

On a change of government, the Director General presents the leader of the outgoing government with a set of Record Books detailing the Cabinet decisions made by that government during its term of office. In the case of a coalition government, a copy is also presented to the leader of the coalition partner.

The DPC retains a set of books as part of the official record, to be accessible by the department for ongoing administrative purposes only.

6.2 Access to Cabinet records

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Cabinet records are classified as "confidential" and contain highly sensitive information. Access to Cabinet records is restricted 30 years and should be retained in access controlled storage areas with access recorded in a register. Cabinet submissions and decisions should be placed on restricted departmental files and available with CEO approval with access rights based on the "need to know" principle.

(a) Current Government

Copies of Cabinet submissions and decisions are distributed after each Cabinet meeting, as detailed in section 5.3. Requests for further copies of a Cabinet submission must be made through the originating Minister’s office. Copies, if provided, will be supplied on ‘not to be copied’ paper. Cabinet Services maintains a record of recipients of all copies.

(b) Previous Governments

Under long standing convention it is understood that Cabinet documents are considered confidential to the government that created them. Where ongoing administration requires access to the Cabinet documents of a previous government, it is generally subject to the consent of the current leader of the party that created the records whilst in office.

Material covered by this convention includes all documentation submitted to and considered by Cabinet e.g. summary sheets, minutes, agency and Ministerial comments on proposals and decision sheets.

While this convention is long standing, it does not prevent access through FOI or legal compulsion e.g. subpoena issued by Courts of Law, Royal Commissions.

Requests for access to previous government Cabinet documents are to be directed in writing to the Director General, DPC. The request should outline the date and subject of the submission and why access is required. The Director General, DPC, will refer the request to the leader of the party that created the record.

Ministers and departments should not directly approach the leader of the party that created the record in office.

Protocols for Auditor General access

The Auditor General will write to the Director General, DPC specifying the Cabinet records required and outlining the reasons for his/her request.

The Director General will write to the Minister responsible for the required records outlining the Auditor General's request and informing the Minister that s/he must obtain a Cabinet decision on whether Cabinet agrees to waive privilege and make the records available.

The Minister will prepare a one-page Item for Discussion at Cabinet, outlining the Auditor General’s request and providing a recommendation on whether Cabinet should allow the Auditor General to view the documents.

The Director General will inform the Auditor General of Cabinet's decision and, where Cabinet has agreed to waive privilege and make the records available, provide contact details for a DPC officer to arrange Auditor General access to the documents.

The Auditor General and/or his/her staff may make notes from the documents, but may not take any copies.

The Auditor General will also direct any requests for access to Cabinet documents from previous governments in writing to the Director General, DPC. The request will outline the date and subject of the submission/s and decision/s and detail the reasons why access is required. The Director General will then refer the request to the leader of the party that created the record and advise the Auditor General of the leader's decision.

Freedom of Information Act

All Cabinet documents falling within the ambit of a Freedom of Information (FOI) application, that are not over ten years old, are exempt matter in accordance with clause 1(1), schedule 1, to the Freedom of Information Act 1992 (WA) and must not be released.

Cabinet documents or copies of Cabinet documents that have been tabled in Cabinet (signed) can be transferred to DPC for processing. For more information, contact the Manager, Freedom of Information, DPC, on 6552 5591.

7. Government boards and committees

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For the purposes of this document 'board(s)' is used to refer to boards and committees.

7.1 Establishment of board

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In circumstances where a board is being established by legislation, a Minister or an agency, the matter should be addressed in a submission to Cabinet detailing the function, purposes, aims, reporting mechanism and establishment and ongoing costs of the board. The appointments would be addressed in a separate submission using the Appointment Summary Sheet (Appendix E).

7.2 Change of name of board

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Where the structure, function or name of a board changes or requires change the matter should be submitted to Cabinet identifying any cost implications.

7.3 Termination of board

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A proposal to abolish a board should be submitted to Cabinet detailing the background, the achievements (if any), the reasons why the board is to be abolished, any savings envisaged and any likely negative impacts.

7.4 Appointments to boards

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Appointments and reappointments to boards which are established by statutes which specify that appointments are to be made by the Minister or the Governor in Executive Council must be brought to Cabinet.

While appointments to committees set up by the Minister or the CEO of an agency are not usually subject to the Cabinet process, where the purpose or function of the board may have a major impact on government policy or cross over Ministerial responsibilities, or when members are paid a sitting fee, the matter should be brought to Cabinet.

All board appointments are added to the Government Boards and Committees database and published on the Department's Boards and committees page following Cabinet's decision or the Executive Council meeting (if applicable).

7.5 Boards and Committees Register (BCR)

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Cabinet Services maintains a database containing a Register of Government Boards and Committees. Information on the database includes:

  • the title, purpose and establishment details of the Board
  • the names, gender and appointment details of members

7.6 OnBoardWA Register

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Cabinet Services maintains a register of persons interested in serving on Government boards and committees (the OnBoardWA Register).

Ministers, Members of Parliament and the general public can submit names for inclusion to the OnBoardWA Register. Interested persons can register their interest at the Western Australian Government JobsWA website at http://jobs.wa.gov.au/ under the Target group tab.

Details recorded include name, gender, age, cultural background, qualifications, referees and areas of government activity in which a person is interested. This data can be cross-referenced by Cabinet Services with the existing data on boards to match suitable applicants with impending vacancies. Ministers are encouraged to nominate individuals from the Register where possible.

Nominations are valid for one year when an email will be generated offering the opportunity to reapply.

8.1 Address

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The original submission should be placed in an envelope and be addressed to Cabinet Services, Level 3 Dumas House, 2 Havelock Street, West Perth, marked "strictly confidential" and hand delivered.

8.2 10 working day rule

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Cabinet submissions must be received by Cabinet Services before 10.00am on Monday to be listed for consideration at the Cabinet meeting on the second Monday following (10 working days later). This is known as the '10 working day rule'.

The rule is designed to allow sufficient time, prior to the Cabinet meeting, for consultation with Ministers whose portfolio responsibilities may be affected by the Cabinet item and to circulate all Cabinet submissions to Ministers. Departments generally need at least three working days to comment on a Cabinet submission.

If a Minister would like Cabinet to consider a submission that does not comply with the rule, a letter addressed to the Premier seeking late inclusion on the agenda must be sent to Cabinet Services. This is known as a '10 day waiver letter'. The letter must state the reason for non-compliance with the rule.

8.3 Listing on the agenda

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Submissions are not automatically listed on the Cabinet agenda and may be excluded for the following reasons:

  • non-compliance with the 10 working day rule
  • errors or omissions in the submission
  • financial implications have not been evaluated by the Treasury
  • the Minister may not be attending the relevant meeting
  • insufficient consultation has taken place
  • non-compliance with the Regulatory Impact Assessment process
  • approval to draft does not have drafting instructions attached
  • approval to print does not have a copy of the Bill attached
  • appointment submission does not contain CVs of nominated persons

Submissions are generally exempt from the provisions of the 10 working day rule if they are deferred from the previous week's Cabinet meeting, or submitted by the Premier.

9.1 Circulation of Cabinet submissions to Ministers

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Cabinet submissions are circulated to Ministers in the following manner:

  • In Cabinet files distributed on Wednesday of each week, 3 working days prior to the Cabinet meeting.

  • 'Late items' are circulated on Friday each week, with a revised agenda and Cabinet comments.

  • Submissions submitted for consideration by the Premier for waiver of the 10 working day rule but not approved prior to distribution of 'Late Items' on Friday are circulated at Cabinet on Monday, if a waiver is granted.

9.2 Referral of Cabinet submissions to Ministers' offices

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The referral system provides an avenue for the full range of advice on a submission to be made available to Cabinet before it makes its final decision.

Cabinet Services examines all submissions received and refers submissions to the Ministers whose portfolios appear to be affected by the proposal, the Treasury and the Cabinet and Policy Division, DPC.

The timeframe for the referral process accommodates the '10 working day rule'. Referral copies will be delivered to Ministerial offices on Tuesday (day 2) and the deadline for lodging comments is 10.00am on the following Monday (day 6).

A referral sheet (Appendix I) and copies of the Cabinet submission, stamped 'Referral copy' and 'Not to be copied', are forwarded to the relevant Ministers' offices for comment. These documents are placed in a sealed envelope and hand delivered to a person appointed by the Minister to receive Cabinet documents.

The Minister or delegated officer should examine the submission and refer it to the appropriate department/agency on a ‘need to know’ basis. The details of every person who has access to the document must be entered on the referral sheet's transmittal log.

The document (consisting of the referral sheet and the submission(s)) should be conveyed in a sealed envelope marked 'confidential' and 'CEO him/herself'. The CEO (or delegated officer) must complete the transmittal log and determine the appropriate person to provide a comment from his/her department.

9.3 Comment sheets

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A comment sheet (Appendix J) prepared for the Minister is checked by the CEO and forwarded to the Minister's office, together with the referral sheet and submission(s), in a sealed envelope.

Referral copies of submissions are not to be copied, placed on departmental files or retained by individual officers. A copy of the comment sheet is the only document to be retained by the agency or ministerial office.

Comments are to be prepared for signature by the Minister or delegated officer.

The signed comment sheet, together with all copies of the submission and the Referral Sheet, are to be hand delivered to Cabinet Services in a sealed envelope marked 'Confidential'. Cabinet Services staff will destroy all referral copies of Cabinet submissions. Referral sheets will form part of the Cabinet record.

Late comments are to be emailed to Cabinet Services. The original comment sheet should be forwarded to Cabinet Services as soon as possible, to become part of the Cabinet Record.

Cabinet Services emails a copy of the comment sheet to the office of the originating Minister for the submission.

9.4 Deadline for comments

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If a submission is complex and there is insufficient time to provide a comment, the following options are available to Ministers or agencies:

  • liaise with the office of the originating Minister to resolve or seek to defer the matter
  • request that Cabinet Services extends the deadline
  • submit a comment sheet outlining the concern and requesting that Cabinet defer the matter until a more detailed examination can take place.

10. Presentation and assembly of documents

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It is important that quality of presentation is maintained in Cabinet submissions and that all submissions are consistent with the following guidelines.

10.1 Paper

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  • Submissions must be single sided and printed on white A4 size paper.

  • The minute must be accompanied by the relevant Summary sheet (Appendix A for general submissions; and Appendix E for Appointments).

  • The layout of the Summary sheets must not be altered in any way. Templates are available from Cabinet Services.

10.2 Number of copies

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Only the original copy of the Cabinet submission should be lodged with Cabinet Services. The document(s) should be clipped together, not stapled. See separate details on supplying attachments.

10.3 Assembly of documents

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Submissions should be assembled in the following order, working from the top down:

  • Summary sheet (eg, Appendix A or E of the Cabinet Handbook)
  • Minute (eg, Appendix B or F of the Cabinet Handbook)
  • Attachments

These documents together comprise a Cabinet submission.

It is not necessary to send a covering memo with the submission, unless it is a late item (see Section 8) or provides additional information relating to the lodgment of the submission. Submissions should not be sent in plastic covers.

10.4 Print size and spacing

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Except in pre-printed attachments, print size should not be smaller than 10 or larger than 12 point and line spacing should be single on both the summary sheet and minute paper.

Colour must not be used in either the summary sheet or the minute. Any colour diagrams, graphs, pictures, etc. should be included as an attachment and referred to in the minute.

10.5 Margins and page numbering

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A 2cm margin should be allowed on the left hand side of each page. This is essential for the collation of papers.

The page number should be shown at the bottom right hand corner of the page and be indicated as page 1 of 4 etc. Pages of the minute should be numbered consecutively; the Cabinet Summary Sheet is not to be included in the page numbering. Attachments should be numbered separately.

10.6 Attachments

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Supporting papers (maps, attachments, tables etc) should be on A4 paper whenever possible.

The set of attachments accompanying the original submission should be single sided, unstapled and should not be imprinted with watermarks such as ‘Confidential’ or ‘Draft’. This does not apply to any extra copies provided (for large, coloured or bound documents).

Thirty extra copies are to be submitted if the attachments:

  • are in colour;

  • are in bound form; or

  • cannot be reproduced easily on a photocopier.

All attachments should be clearly identified by number at the top right hand corner of the first page of the attachment. Attachments should also be paginated.

The attachments must be identified in the body of the submission if they are to form part of the official record of Cabinet.

Curriculum Vitae(s) must be attached for all appointments including reappointments and appointment of CEOs and other senior appointments in the Public Sector. CVs should be no more than two pages long and contain the information in the CV pro forma (Appendix H of the Cabinet Handbook).

Submissions should not be folded or stapled.

11. Summary sheet preparation

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A template for the summary sheet is at Appendix A of the Cabinet Handbook.

All areas on the summary sheet must be completed and where not applicable 'N/A' should be inserted. The summary sheet is a summary of the contents of the minute and must not contain any additional information. It is to be limited to one page only so that all details are covered by the Minister's signature.

Title of minute: This is to be identical to the title on the minute.

Minister responsible: Complete with the Minister’s full name, but only the portfolio area relevant to the submission.

Purpose: Provide a summary of the purpose of the proposal, or proposed legislation. This is to be identical to the purpose in the minute.

Financial: Appendix D of the Cabinet Handbook provides guidance on how to complete this section.

Is this a regulatory proposal?: Regulatory submissions arriving at Cabinet Services should bear an BRU ID# allocated by the BRU (unless the agency has obtained an exclusion, or is accompanied by a Treasurer's Exemption letter.

Date of previous Cabinet decision(s): This particularly applies when approval to print is being sought, to identify the date of the drafting approval. Note: the date of the previous decision is the date at the bottom of the Cabinet decision sheet.

Relation to Government policy: Indicate if the matter relates to a specific policy commitment of the Government.

Urgency and supporting reasons: Outline the urgency of the matter, particularly where legislation is involved.

Who has been consulted/extent of agreement reached: Identify who has been consulted and their degree of acceptance.

Recommendation: The recommendations in the minute and summary sheet should be numbered (i.e. not in point form) and be identical. If the recommendation is lengthy, the following wording can be used to limit the summary sheet to one page: 'Cabinet approves the recommendations as outlined in the minute'.

Implementation requirements:

Executive Council: If Executive Council (Ex-Co) approval is required following Cabinet approval, the Ex-Co papers must accompany the Cabinet submission.

Regulatory proposals requiring Ex-Co approval are also subject to RIA. Refer to the document “Getting Legislation Drafted and Enacted Guidelines and Procedures” available via the Department of the Attorney General website. This document is designed to explain the process by which legislation gets drafted and enacted and sets out the roles and responsibilities that PCO and officers of departments and organisations have in this process.

Legislation required: Cabinet approval must be obtained for all proposals involving new or amending legislation. A submission may seek approval to draft or print, but should not seek approval for both. When the proposal may result in subsequent legislation this is addressed in a separate submission at a later date. In these cases the 'yes' box should not be ticked but the strategy should be outlined in the minute.

Action required before announcement: If an announcement is to be made on a Cabinet decision, state who is to make the announcement.

Timing of announcement: State if specific interest groups (e.g. industry/unions) are to be advised before a public announcement. If the Cabinet decision requires Executive Council approval, an announcement should not be made until after the Executive Council meeting.

Signature and date: The responsible Minister is to sign and date the summary sheet. An unsigned or undated submission will not be processed. Copied signatures will not be accepted under any circumstances.

12. Minute paper

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A template for the minute paper is at Appendix B of the Cabinet Handbook.

12.1 Address

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The minute paper must be addressed in bold UPPER-CASE as follows:

MINISTER FOR...

SUBMITS TO

PREMIER (IN CABINET)

The Minister's name is not to be used here. Do not use the title 'Hon'.

12.2 Title of minute

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The title of the minute paper must be clearly stated in bold UPPER-CASE. It must be identical to the title on the summary sheet (Appendix A of the Cabinet Handbook).

12.3 Length of minute

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The minute should not exceed eight pages in length. If necessary attachments should be used to provide additional detail. These should be identified in the minute.

12.4 Content of minute

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A standard format is applied to the structure of minute papers. All Cabinet minutes must include the following headings:

(a) Purpose
(b) Background
(c) Costing/Financial Implications
(d) Relation to Government Policy
(e) Urgency
(f) Consultation
(g) Regulatory Impact Assessment
(h) Regional Impact Statement
(i) Media/Communications Strategy
(j) Recommendation

Where these headings are not applicable, the heading must remain and 'not applicable' inserted.

The following must be addressed when preparing the minute paper:

(a) Purpose

This states the purpose of the proposal. For submissions dealing with legislation, this section should detail the purpose of the legislation.

(b) Background

The background should outline any previous Cabinet decisions, the rationale for the proposal and its development. Where the recommendation is to change or clarify an earlier decision, a copy of the previous submission and decision should be attached. Where relevant, comparisons and statistics from other jurisdictions should be provided under this section.

(c) Costing/Financial Implications

This section needs to address, in detail, the information in the Cabinet Summary Sheet. Discussion must be provided on:

  • the impact of the recommendations on the:
    • affected agency's approved expense limit;
    • general government sector's operating balance; and
    • total public sector's net debt;
  • whether there is provision (and the extent of that provision) for this impact in the forward estimates; and
  • how the recommendations are to be funded (if not already fully funded) i.e. via an increase in appropriation, a planned reduction in cash balances, an increase in retained revenues, from Royalties for Regions or a reprioritisation of already funded projects. Detail should be provided on any funding approved for the proposal to date.

In some cases, for example:

  • the impact of a funding request will be the same as the impact on the general government sector's operating balance;

  • there may be no impact on the operating balance but an increase in the implementing agency's expenses (e.g. where a proposal involving additional expenses is matched by revenue retained by the agency); or

  • there is no net impact on either the operating balance or the implementing agency's expense limit (e.g. where the agency has identified offsetting reductions in expenses).

The following table must be completed summarising the additional financial and staffing impacts of the proposal. For proposals which have not, or have only partially, been funded in the budget or as part of the Mid-Year Review, only that impact which has not been funded (i.e. the additional impact) should be reflected in the table below -

 

Additional Impact on Existing/Approved Forward Estimates

[Current year]
$'000

[Forward estimate year 1]
$'000

[Forward estimate year 2]
$'000

[Forward estimate year 3]
$'000

Expense Limit
Net Operating Balance
Asset Investment Program
Net Debt
Salary Expense Limit
Full Time Equivalent staff

       

Footnote: Above information verified by [name, title, agency]

Assistance with the financial information required in Cabinet submissions should be sought from (and verified by) agencies' Chief Finance Officers (or equivalent) and policy analysts in the Department of Treasury.

In addressing the costing/financial implications of Cabinet proposals, consideration should be given to the following:

(i) The submission should be supported by evidence demonstrating that rigorous assessments of the proposal(s), and the priorities of existing programs and services, has been undertaken. This analysis should include an assessment of the implications of not proceeding with the proposal.

(ii) Cabinet submissions should not contain requests for additional funding or extra staff until attempts have been made to meet requirements from within existing allocations. This needs to be demonstrated in the submission.

(iii) Requests for additional resources to support new initiatives commencing in future years should be made as part of the annual budget process only (unless issues of critical importance arise, and when it has been demonstrated to the Treasurer’s satisfaction that such matters cannot be funded from existing allocations).

(iv) Details of the financial implications of the proposal should be consistent with the Treasury guidelines: 'Costing and Pricing Government Services - Guidelines for Use by Agencies in the Western Australian Public Sector'.

(v) The information on the financial/budget implications of a proposal should cover the current and four out-years (i.e. forward estimates period).

(vi) The financial implications of Cabinet proposals must be evaluated by the Treasury prior to the submission being lodged for Cabinet consideration. If the submission includes an asset investment proposal, Treasury must be consulted as to whether the proposal complies with the Strategic Asset Management Framework (SAMF). Cabinet Services will not accept Cabinet submissions without this verification.

(vii) The financial implications of the proposal must be verified by the implementing agencies' Chief Finance Officer (CFO) (or equivalent). Details of the CFO providing verification (i.e. name, title and agency) must be included as a footnote to the table on 'Additional Impact on Existing/Approved Forward Estimates'.

(viii) The proposed impact of the proposals on performance indicators should be included, as well as a planned evaluation of the proposal, indicating how and when evaluation will be made of the initiative's effectiveness and efficiency (should it be accepted).

(d) Relation to Government policy

The submission should link the objective(s) of the proposed policy/initiative and the overall relevance to government policy, and refer to Ministerial statements, public comments by Premier/Minister or previous Cabinet decisions, if relevant.

(e) Urgency

State specific time frames or deadlines that must be met and why.

(f) Consultation

Consultation is the key to ensuring a submission progresses through Cabinet in a timely manner. By the time a submission comes to Cabinet it is essential to have agreement on factual matters and have any contentious or unresolved issues defined.

This section of the minute should include a summary and outcomes of the consultation process undertaken with the public sector, non-government stakeholders and the community. If agreement is not reached the differing views should be set out accurately and concisely, detailing:

  • the department/agency/organisation(s) concerned;
  • the issues/reservations raised;
  • the efforts made to resolve the differences, including any alternative options considered; and
  • potential criticisms or conflicts for the government.

Consultation on financial matters with the Treasury is essential. Treasury must evaluate the financial implications of proposals, and where relevant compliance with SAMF, before they are considered by Cabinet or ERC. Cabinet Services will not accept submissions without this consultation.

The consultation section of the Cabinet submission should reflect details of consultation with the Treasury, i.e. the name (and details, such as title and area) of the Treasury officer from whom evaluation was obtained and comments made by the Treasury in regard to the implications of the proposal.

The Department of Housing should be consulted on development and infrastructure proposals that may have a significant impact on housing requirements or demand.

Where regulatory proposals are concerned, refer to the RIA Guidelines for consultation requirements; evidence of appropriate consultation should also be provided. This is to ensure that stakeholders have an opportunity to contribute to the comment and analysis on the issue and its proposed resolution.

(g) Regulatory Impact Assessment

This section provides information on whether Regulatory Impact Assessment has been required, what level of assessment and consultation has occurred and whether the BRU has confirmed compliance. If a proposal required a RIS due to its significance, then this section also provides a summary of the justification for the preferred option as well as the main impacts of the proposal.

Where agencies have been granted an Exclusion, a Treasurer's Exemption or have been found to be Compliant at the PIA stage (that is, no further assessment is sought), the agencies should:

  • Note that a RIS was not required, and that a PIA has been undertaken and found Compliant (or that an Exclusion or Treasurer's Exemption has been provided).
  • If small business impacts are anticipated, note whether the Small Business Development Corporation has been consulted.

Where a proposal is likely to result in a significant adverse impact on consumers, business and/or the economy and the BRU has requested further assessment in the form of a RIS, then the agency should confirm the relevant CRIS and DRIS have been prepared, and provide summary information in the following table (that is, the table is only for regulatory proposals for which a RIS was requested).

The table includes justification for the preferred option, the estimated impact of the proposal (including estimated regulatory burden and any red tape reduction offsets identified) and a proposed implementation and review framework (or timeline). Its purpose is to provide decision makers with an easily accessible summary of the likely impacts of new and amending regulation for significant matters only, which is often not covered elsewhere in the body of the Cabinet Minute.

Justification for the preferred option (briefly outline how this option is better than alternatives)
Estimated impact of the proposal
Impacted parties (briefly describe the main beneficiaries and those adversely impacted)
Regulatory Burden Estimate(include estimated $ from the Regulatory Burden Measure if possible)

Red Tape Reduction Offset (Voluntary) Yes No

If yes, please provide a brief explanation of the offset. Identification of a regulatory offset is voluntary

Proposed Implementation and Review timeline (briefly identify when the regulations will be implemented and reviewed)

In completing this table (for RIS proposals only), the following guidance is provided:

  • Regulatory burden estimate
    • The Regulatory Burden Measurement tool available on the Department of Treasury website provides step-by-step guidance on how to calculate a measure of regulatory burden, although other estimates can be used.
  • Voluntary red tape reduction identified (including value of offset).
    • Red tape reduction offsets are voluntary and do not need to be like-for-like. They are, however, encouraged as even the best designed regulation can have a cumulative impact on stakeholders and opportunities to ease burdens in other areas should at least be considered.
    • Red tape reduction offsets should be measurable and practical, and may include changes to the way regulation is administered.
    • Where your red tape reduction offset involves another department or agency, you must have the agreement of that department before including it.

The BRU is available to answer any questions and provide further information and training to support agencies in their regulatory assessments.

(h) Regional impact

This section must be completed for any submission that has a regional impact. For example, policy proposals in the following areas may have a regional impact:

  • Social infrastructure e.g. schools, hospitals and prisons

  • Service infrastructure e.g. power, water, sewerage, drainage, rail, roads, ports, airports and telecommunications

  • Pricing of services e.g. water, power, sewerage and drainage

  • Natural resource management matters e.g. salinity and coastal planning

  • Resource development projects and other major projects

  • Federal/State matters e.g. defence, taxation, funding arrangements for social programs

The level of detail required must be sufficient to inform Cabinet of the extent of the impacts, but does not need to be extensive.

This section should:

  • Describe the regional communities affected (geographically e.g. the Kimberley, Geraldton residents; demographically e.g. seniors, people on low incomes; and service related e.g. public housing clients).

  • Identify issues that will affect regional communities as a result of the proposal and summarise short and long-term impacts, positive and negative.

  • Outline the consultation that was undertaken in formulating the proposal including any implementation process.

  • Outline how the proposal will manage negative regional impacts and/or maximise benefits to regional communities.

(i) Media/communications strategy

This section is to be completed for any proposal that requires media involvement. It should include:

  • The possible timing of an announcement.

  • The Minister responsible for the announcement.

  • A brief proposal on how the Cabinet item would be best communicated.

  • How the news is likely to be received and how a negative reaction will be managed.

(j) Recommendation

The recommendation must be clear and concise in stating what Cabinet is being asked to approve, note or support. Matters raised in the submission or attachments, not addressed specifically in the recommendation, will not be considered to be part of a Cabinet approval.

A recommendation may commence with 'Cabinet approves' or 'Cabinet notes' or 'Cabinet supports' or 'Cabinet endorses'.

The recommendations should be numbered (i.e. not in dot point form).

The recommendation in the minute must be identical to that in the summary sheet.

(k) Legislation

Drafting: Unless there are exceptional circumstances, detailed drafting instructions should always accompany any Cabinet submission seeking approval to draft legislation.

Drafting instructions should not be finalised until appropriate consultations have been conducted with persons and bodies likely to be affected by the proposal (inside and outside Government). The Better Regulation Unit within the Department of Treasury should also be consulted.

The Cabinet submission should not include in the recommendation any reference to a suggested priority for the Bill (use the Urgency section to explain urgency) as priorities are allocated by the Legislation Standing Committee of Cabinet (LSCC) (refer to the Parliamentary Procedures Guide).

In addition, also refer to Parliamentary Counsel's Office (PCO) document titled 'Getting Legislation Drafted and Enacted Guidelines and Procedures', available via the Department of Justice website. This document is designed to explain the process by which legislation gets drafted and enacted and sets out the roles and responsibilities that PCO and officers of departments and organisations have in this process.

Instructing Agency

When Cabinet has approved the drafting of a Bill, the instructing agency should immediately forward to PCO all relevant drafting instructions and associated material, including the date of the Cabinet Decision. This contact with PCO should begin as soon as possible, regardless of whether the Legislation Standing Committee of Cabinet has allocated a drafting priority.

In many cases, in addition to the drafting instructions, these instructions to PCO can include -

  • background material that will assist the drafter to understand the subject matter involved;
  • copies of legislation from other places, or other WA legislation, that may assist in the drafting;
  • legal opinions or decisions of courts that may assist the drafter.

The instructing agency must also nominate an instructing officer. The instructing officer will be a very senior officer of the department, who is totally conversant with the legislative proposal and its background and who is able to make or readily obtain decisions on policy.

Parliamentary Counsel's Office (PCO)

The Parliamentary Counsel's Office (PCO) prepares Bills in the Government’s legislative program in accordance with priorities fixed by the Government. Another important function is the preparation for the Government of -

  • regulations, rules, by-laws and other instruments of a legislative nature; and
  • various Executive Council minutes, proclamations, orders, commissions, warrants, appointments etc.

Parliamentary Counsel’s Office is a division of the Department of the Attorney General and can be contacted at:

Parliamentary Counsel's Office
David Malcolm Justice Centre
28 Barrack Street
PERTH WA 6000
Phone: (08) 9264 1444
Fax: (08) 9321 2410
Email: pco@pco.wa.gov.au

Printing: Printing approval is a separate process to drafting approval and it requires a separate submission to Cabinet. The date of the Cabinet decision giving approval to draft must be referred to in the summary sheet and in the minute. A copy of the Bill must accompany the submission. The draft number of the Bill is listed on the agenda.

Introduction: Approval to introduce the Bill to Parliament is not included in the recommendation, as this is determined by the Legislation Standing Committee of Cabinet and subject to consideration by the Party Room.

12.5 Signature and date

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The responsible Minister is to sign and date the summary sheet. An unsigned or undated submission will not be processed. Copied signatures will not be accepted under any circumstances.

13. Appointments summary sheet preparation

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A template for the appointments summary sheet is at Appendix E of the Cabinet Handbook.

All sections must be completed and where not applicable 'N/A' is to be inserted.

Title of board/committee: State the full and correct title of the board.

Minister responsible: State the Minister's full name and the relevant portfolio.

Proposed appointees: The details must be identical to those in the minute.

  • Title: Specify correct title e.g. Ms/Mrs/Mr/Dr

  • Name: Full given name

  • Gender: Male or female

  • Eligible for Remuneration (External): This is determined by the person's occupation and if employed in the public or private sector (Premier's Circular 2017/08)

  • Term of appointment: The proposed timeframe of the nominee's term

Relevant Act and sections of Act under which board members are appointed: Identify where members are appointed under different sections.

Composition of board: Information provided will be included on the Boards and Committees Register.

Executive Council: Executive Council approval is specified in the relevant legislation. In such cases the Executive Council paper should accompany the Cabinet Submission (see Executive Council Guidelines). If Executive Council approval is required a public announcement should not be made until the Governor has approved the decision.

OnBoardWA Register: Advise if the Department of the Premier and Cabinet been consulted about suitable nominees from the Register.

Establishment/Abolition/Appointing Members: Identify whether the submission is simply appointing or reappointing members, or whether it is establishing or abolishing a Board.

Fees and allowances: These must be listed for the chairperson and members, either ‘per year’ or ‘per meeting’. Allowances include travel and other approved costs. The level of remuneration should be checked with the Agency Support Division of the Public Sector Commission prior to submission agencysupport@psc.wa.gov.au.

Tenure of board: Most boards are ongoing. However, some are created for a specific time frame which needs to be indicated in this section. Cabinet approval to exceed the specified time frame is required in advance of the expiry.

Frequency of meetings: Failure to meet may require examination by the Minister to assess the ongoing viability of the board.

Signature and date: The responsible Minister is to sign and date the summary sheet. An unsigned or undated submission will not be processed. Copied signatures will not be accepted under any circumstances.

14.1 Address

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The minute paper must be addressed in bold UPPER CASE as follows:

MINISTER FOR...

SUBMITS TO

PREMIER (IN CABINET)

The Minister's name is not to be used here, do not to use the title 'Hon'.

14.2 Title of minute

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The title of the minute must be stated in bold UPPER CASE.

The title on the summary sheet is to be the full title of the board and this is to be the title on the minute. The words 'appointment to' or 'reappoint' should not be used.

The minute paper should be structured as outlined below.

14.3 Purpose

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The opening paragraph should briefly state the:

  • purpose of the board;
  • creation and appointment authority of the board; and
  • purpose of the minute, i.e. to appoint to or make reappointments or both.

14.4 Current membership

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Under this section the current membership of the board is to be listed including any vacancies:

  • title, and full given name/s (lowercase) the surname (in bold upper-case)
  • position on board: Chairperson, Deputy Chairperson, Member, Deputy Member, etc; and
  • the nominator e.g. industry representative, union representative, and the section of the Act under which the appointment is made.

14.5 Changes to board

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This section details who is being appointed to and who is being replaced on the board and the proposed term of appointment e.g. 1 year (from date to date). If a member resigns before the expiry of his/her term the replacement can only be appointed for the remainder of the original term.

An explanation will be required for any positions that remain vacant with an indication as to when each position is expected to be filled. For those being reappointed, the number of years they have already served must be shown.

14.6 Fees and allowances

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Payment of fees to board members must be detailed under this section. The payment of fees varies from board to board. List those entitled to receive or receiving a sitting fee and any allowances paid. Any queries on the payment of fees should be directed to the Agency Support Division of the Public Sector Commission: agencysupport@psc.wa.gov.au.

14.7 Recommendation

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For appointments, the following must be included:

  • the full name(s) of the person(s) being appointed
  • the title(s) of the position(s)
  • the name of the Committee
  • the authority to appoint (ie the Act and section)
  • the term of appointment.

Where Executive Council approval is required the following wording must be used for the recommendation:

Cabinet supports the appointment by Her Excellency the Governor, in Executive Council, of ... as …to the … Committee, in accordance with Section … of the …Act, for a term of … years expiring on...(or for a term commencing on… and expiring on …).

If a specific commencement date is recommended it cannot be a date prior to the Governor's approval.

If Executive Council approval is not required, the following wording would be:

Cabinet endorses the appointment by the Minister for xxx of ... to the ... Committee, (all names to be listed and terms of appointments included).

If more than one person is being appointed, they must be listed in number form.

14.8 Signature

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The Minister must sign the minute, with the Minister's full name and the portfolio area relevant to the submission to be included. Rubber stamp signatures or other facsimile signatures will not be accepted under any circumstances.

14.9 Board details

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A pro forma has been developed to capture data required for the State Government Boards and Committees database. All details should be included to ensure the Register published on the public website is kept up to date.

14.10 Curriculum Vitae

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A current curriculum vitae must be attached for all appointments including reappointments. One to two pages is sufficient (see Appendix H for information required).

Contents

1. Cabinet

1.1 Organisation and functions
1.2 Cabinet meetings
1.3 Ministers' attendance at Cabinet
1.4 Ministers declaring an interest
1.5 Matters that should be referred to Cabinet
1.6 Submissions to Cabinet
1.7 Cabinet submissions with financial implications
1.8 Cabinet submissions with regulatory implications

2. Consultation

2.1 Consultation while developing a proposal
2.2 Ministers' responsibilities
2.3 Detailing consultation processes in Cabinet submissions

3. Confidentiality and security

4. The Cabinet agenda


4.1 Sections of the agenda
4.2 Deferred items
4.3 Withdrawal of Cabinet submissions
4.4 Replacement submissions
4.5 Walk-ins
4.6 Change of portfolios/Cabinet changes

5. Recording and distribution of Cabinet decisions

5.1 Preparation
5.2 Signing of Cabinet decisions
5.3 Copy and distribution of the Cabinet decision
5.4 Legislation (drafting) items

6. The Cabinet record

6.1 Cabinet records
6.2 Access to Cabinet Records

7. Government boards and committees

7.1 Establishment of board
7.2 Change of name of board
7.3 Termination of board
7.4 Appointments to boards
7.5 Boards and Committees Register (BCR)
7.6 OnBoardWA Register

8. Lodgement of submissions

8.1 Address
8.2 10 working day rule
8.3 Listing on the agenda

9. Circulation and referral of Cabinet submissions

9.1 Circulation of Cabinet submissions to Ministers
9.2 Referral of Cabinet submissions to Ministers' offices
9.3 Comment sheets
9.4 Deadline for comments

10. Presentation and assembly of documents

10.1 Paper
10.2 Number of copies
10.3 Assembly of documents
10.4 Print size and spacing
10.5 Margins and page numbering
10.6 Attachments

11. Summary sheet preparation

12. Minute paper

12.1 Address
12.2 Title of minute
12.3 Length of minute
12.4 Content of minute
12.5 Signature and date

13. Appointments summary sheet preparation

14. Minute paper for appointments

14.1 Address
14.2 Title of minute
14.3 Purpose
14.4 Current membership
14.5 Changes to board
14.6 Fees and allowances
14.7 Recommendation
14.8 Signature
14.9 Board details
14.10 Curriculum Vitae

Contact

Telephone:
61 8 6552 5666
Page reviewed 9 October 2019