This RMG provides tools and case studies to support officials of Commonwealth entities to work cooperatively with others to achieve common objectives.
Why work with others
- In a time of increasing complexity and public policy challenges, a Commonwealth public sector that works together effectively and readily with other levels of government, and the private and not-for-profit sectors, provides opportunities for streamlining and minimising duplication. It offers potential economies to the wider community and improved service to citizens.
- Access to diverse views and perspectives during policy development and implementation allows for a broad consideration of issues. It can also help identify a wider range of potential solutions, including underutilised and untapped delivery channels and multiple pathways that are beyond the capacity of a single entity to provide. Ultimately this results in a qualitatively enhanced approach which improves outcomes for government and citizens.
- “Working with others” considered in its broadest sense includes collaboration, co‑design, multiple implementation partners and “joined up” government. The key characteristic is the involvement of multiple participants with a shared outcome as their objective.
- Red tape can stifle innovation and affect the productivity and profitability of the partners. Therefore, when cooperating with others, officials of Commonwealth entities are encouraged to impose the minimum compliance and reporting requirements needed to support the proper use and management of public resources for which their accountable authority is responsible under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2014 (PGPA Act).
- An object of the PGPA Act is to require Commonwealth entities to work cooperatively with others to achieve common objectives, where practical (section 5(c)(iv) of the PGPA Act). The duties of accountable authorities go beyond financial management and ethics to include issues of culture and behaviour (section 17 and section 18 of the PGPA Act). These duties require an accountable authority to establish values in the entity that consider the use of public resources beyond entity borders.
- The participants in a cooperative arrangement can come from different sectors in the community, different bodies within the same sector, different levels of government, different private organisations and different non-profit bodies. Cooperating with others can involve anyone who has a stake in the outcomes under a government policy, or can help develop and or implement a policy in the most efficient, effective and economical manner. Useful forms of cooperation can range from:
- participants simply consulting one another to share the benefit of expertise, for example, a community of practice established to discuss approaches to entity treasury functions
- through integrated partnerships, for example sharing resources, staff, management, joint planning in pursuit of a shared approach to the market for entity transactional banking services)
- to shared services.
- The following diagram illustrates that there is no single approach to cooperation. The nature and extent of cooperation will be determined by the practicality of cooperating, the objectives to be achieved and the operating context of the prospective participants.
Systems of internal controls
- Your accountable authority is required to establish systems of risk amangement and internal controls for your entity that promote a culture of cooperation and operationalise cooperation at a transactional level. This can include:
- developing and promoting a positive risk culture in the entity
- establishing instructions for officials
- delegating powers and functions to appropriate levels within the entity.