Following this week's announcements across the Victorian Public Sector, we have compiled a quick reference guide to some key matters that you may need to consider in the coming weeks and months.

 

Do you need new delegations/authorisations?

Changes in government, Ministerial reshuffles and changes within the public service all impinge on the administration of government. How do such changes affect delegations by the person who formerly held office? Are delegations by a former office holder valid once that person leaves office?

A word about delegations

No public servant wants to be challenged as to the legal validity of decisions they have made, or actions they have taken.  The risk in relation to a defective delegation is that a statutory power may be wrongly exercised by a recipient of a defective delegation, and, consequentially, any decisions made by the recipient of a defective delegation may be ineffective.

In most instances, a delegation will not become ineffective where the delegator ceases to hold office.  However, the delegation provision in each relevant Act should be reviewed to consider whether it expressly states that a delegation will become ineffective when the delegator ceases to hold office.  In any event, it is best practice for a new officer holder to review and, if necessary, re-issue delegations in relation to powers, duties and functions delegated by a previous office holder.

Authorisations

In contrast to the legal position concerning delegations, where an office holder authorises staff to perform functions or carry our duties as an agent of the office holder, such authorisation ceases when the office holder leaves office. In the case of an implied authorisation, however, it is likely that decisions of an administrative nature can continue to be made in the name of the officer vested with the power, despite the change in the identity of the officer.

VGSO can advise you on your particular delegations and authorisations.  

Please contact Julie Freeman or Alison O'Brien for assistance. 

Information Sharing following MOG changes

Machinery of government changes may have consequences for information handling.  This may raise both legal and operational issues.  Information flows affected by the change should be identified and mapped.  Where new requirements for sharing information emerge, the authorising environment should be considered.  Routine information sharing arrangements should be documented to ensure that agencies are clear on their responsibilities for managing the impact on people's privacy and their data protection obligations. 

Processes for managing existing FOI requests and other records transfer issues should also be considered. 

VGSO can assist with advice, the preparation of privacy impact assessments, MOUs (including supporting protocols and policies) and scenario-based training to ensure staff have a practical understanding of the information handling framework in which they operate as a result of a machinery of government change.  Please contact Julie Freeman or Rebecca Radford for assistance.

New Legislative Programs

With a new government often comes  new legislative ideas.  As part of our role as custodians of the State's legal memory, our office often has valuable insight into challenges within existing legislative schemes.  Our staff  can assist you with:

  • reviewing existing legislative schemes and advising on options for amendment and improvement to address deficiencies, changed priorities or to facilitate projects or other government objectives;
  • advising on the options to achieve policy objectives, including through legislation, regulations and contractual arrangements;
  • implementing new policies;
  • preparing drafting instructions, explanatory memoranda and Charter statements for parliamentary Bills, and related work in the preparation of new legislation;
  • drafting regulations, Orders in Council, proclamations, Ministerial Orders, and other legislative instruments such as Codes of Practice, guidelines, policies and directions;
  • negotiating inter-agency arrangements for service delivery, regulation and other functions; and
  • establishing new governance or regulatory structures and contractual arrangements to underpin the implementation of new policies.

Please contact Leveasque PetersonAlison O'Brien or Julie Freeman for assistance.

Workplace and Industrial Relations Assistance 

For questions related to workforce planning, employment matters and Executive contracts, please contact Frances Anderson.

Royal Commissions and Inquiries

Please contact Matthew Hocking or Alison O'Brien

Training and Continuing Professional Development

VGSO are able to provide bespoke training services for your staff on specific areas of law and legal process regarding the issues outlined above and others including Employment issues in the Public Sector, the Charter of Human Rights and responsibilities and statutory interpretation.

To enquire about our training program, please contact ebaT ylimE