Machinery of Government (MoG) changes

Summary

The terms ‘machinery of government changes’ (MoG changes) and ‘administrative re-arrangements’ are interchangeable and are used to describe a variety of organisational or functional changes affecting the Commonwealth.

Some common examples of MoG changes are:

  • changes to the Administrative Arrangements Order (AAO) following a Prime Ministerial decision to abolish or create a Commonwealth entity or to move functions/ responsibilities between Commonwealth entities
  • movement of functions into, or out of, the Australian Public Service.

The Australian Public Service Commission, in conjunction with Finance has developed Implementing Machinery of Government (MoG) changes Guide External link icon as a source of practical guidance to help entities implement MoG changes. The guide provides:

  • an overview of the MoG process
  • protocols for resolving the transfer of resources
  • principles and approaches for planning and implementing MoG changes, including a timeframe for key events
  • guidance on financial management and people management
  • advice on managing physical relocations, information, records, data and taxation
  • information on setting up a new entity.

The information below complements the Machinery of Government (MoG) changes Guide.

Delegations of Powers

Accountable authorities need to consider which delegable powers in the PGPA Act and PGPA Rule they may want to delegate and what limits will apply on a risk management basis immediately.  Accountable authorities of non-corporate Commonwealth entities (NCEs) can delegate the following powers, functions or duties under the PGPA Act to officials within the entity (in accordance with s110(1)(a)):

  • power to approve commitments, enter into, vary and administer arrangements (section 23 of the PGPA Act)
  • power to establish advisory boards (section 24 of the PGPA Act)
  • duty to prepare budget estimates for the entity (section 36 of the PGPA Act)
  • duty to establish an audit committee for the entity (section 45 of the PGPA Act)
  • duty to prepare the annual report for the entity (section 46 of the PGPA Act)
  • duty to prevent, detect and deal with fraud (section 10 of the PGPA Rule)
  • duty to recover debts (section 11 of the PGPA Rule).

Accountable authorities of NCEs can sub-delegate the following powers in the PGPA Act to officials that are delegated to them by the Finance Minister (in accordance with s110(1)(b), (5) and (6)):

  • power to use credit cards to borrow (section 56 of the PGPA Act)
  • power to grant certain indemnities, guarantees or warranties on behalf of the Commonwealth (section 60 of the PGPA Act)
  • power to modify terms and conditions for amounts owing to the Commonwealth (section 63 of the PGPA Act)
  • power to authorise a gift of relevant property (section 66 of the PGPA Act)
  • power to repay amounts paid to the Commonwealth (section 77 of the PGPA Act)
  • power to authorise payment of an amount owed to a person at time of death (section 25 of the PGPA Rule).

Officials (and officials in other entities who are assisting with the transfer of functions) need to familiarise themselves with the delegation of the Accountable Authorities’ powers under the PGPA Act and Rule.  This is important for officials, particularly those who are based outside of the ACT or at Australia’s international posts.

Also, if as a result of MoG changes, an entity gets a new responsible Minister or accountable authority or is gaining or transferring functions, then the Chief Financial Officers of the transferring and gaining entities review the internal delegations to ensure delegations and limits are provided to the appropriate officials.  Staff in an entity that is transferring functions need to have their delegations reviewed to ensure that they no longer deal with matters that have transferred to another entity.

For further information on the PGPA Act and the current PGPA Delegation from the Finance Minister, see www.finance.gov.au/resource-management/pgpa-legislation/.

Special Appropriations

NCEs can manage special appropriations because appropriations allow money to be spent that is within the Consolidated Revenue Fund (CRF). Given that corporate Commonwealth entities (CCEs) manage money outside the CRF, CCEs can manage a special appropriation on behalf of an NCE.

The Chief Executive of the gaining portfolio department will be responsible for the special appropriation, unless legislation allocates the special appropriation to a specific official or an entity other than the portfolio department.  A portfolio Minister may choose to allocate management of a special appropriation to any relevant entity in his or her portfolio and in such instances the portfolio Minister is recommended to write to advise the Minister for Finance.

The gaining entity will need a new CBMS item created for the special appropriation before it can request cash from the Official Public Account.  To create the CBMS item, the gaining agency can obtain a CBMS request form (available from the Knowledge Management section of CBMS and submit the form to the relevant AAU in Finance.

Once the CBMS item is created for the gaining entity by Finance, the gaining entity will need to enter Budget estimates against that item in BEAM and request the relevant AAU to agree the estimates. Once the estimates are agreed by the AAU, the AAU will request the OPA Administration and Banking Policy team in Finance (OPAAdmin@finance.gov.au) to enter the available cash amount in ACM. Finance will ensure that the CBMS adjustments entered net off across the transferring and gaining entities.

Special Accounts

A NCE can be the accountable authority for a special account.  This is on the basis that a special account provides access to an appropriation which enables the spending of money that is within the CRF. Given that CCEs manage money outside of the CRF, CCEs can manage a special account on behalf of an NCE.

When an AAO transfers ‘matters dealt with by the Department’ and those matters are supported by a special account, the relevant special account is transferred effective of the date of the AAO. This applies to special accounts established either by a legislative instrument or by an Act.

The Chief Executive of the relevant gaining portfolio department will be responsible for the special account, unless legislation allocates the special account to a specific official or an entity other than the portfolio department. The portfolio Minister may choose to allocate management of a special account to any relevant entity in his or her portfolio and in such instances the portfolio Minister is advised to write to advise the Minister for Finance.

If the establishing instrument or Act for a transferring special account needs to be amended or extinguished, the portfolio Minister is advised to write to the Minister for Finance to seek agreement to the amendment.

  • For a legislative instrument established special account (consistent section 78 of the PGPA Act), the process is a new legislative instrument made by the Minister for Finance.
  • For an Act established special account (consistent with section 80 of the PGPA Act), the process is an amendment Bill introduced by the portfolio Minister.
  • In such instances, the managing entity is encouraged to liaise with Finance as soon as possible and before preparing ministerial correspondence (Special.Appropriations@finance.gov.au).

The gaining entity will need a new CBMS item created for the special account before it can request cash from the Official Public Account.  To create the CBMS item, the gaining agency can obtain a CBMS request form (available from the Knowledge Management section of CBMS) and submit the form to the relevant AAU in Finance.

Once the CBMS item is created for the gaining entity by Finance, the gaining entity will need to enter Budget estimates against that item in BEAM and request the relevant AAU to agree the estimates. Once the estimates are agreed by the AAU, the AAU will request the OPA Administration and Banking Policy team in Finance (OPAAdmin@finance.gov.au) to enter the available cash amount in ACM. Finance will ensure that the CBMS adjustments entered net off across the transferring and gaining entities.

Information Technology

Take a principled approach

The principles from Part 2 of the APSC Guide underpin and guide the management of ICT during MoG changes and are to be applied consistently across entities.  This means that entities need to:

  • Ensure discussions and actions around ICT changes are guided by the APS Values and the APS Code of Conduct
  • Engage relevant stakeholders in decision making, recognising the full range of additional functions being added to or leaving entities
  • Keep staff informed of ICT decisions regarding MoG changes, being sure to use common messages for staff
  • Conduct options analysis in a manner consistent with current whole-of-government ICT policies, such as COTS/GOTS policies, and seek to facilitate the adoption of agreed whole-of-government solutions. See www.finance.gov.au/agict/
  • Aim to identify and adopt better practices and higher maturity processes and technology across government where cost effective
  • Ensure ICT changes are forward looking and informed by considerations of the current and emerging strategic directions for entities, the Government and technology
  • Identify and take opportunities to deliver more value to the business and improve service delivery
  • Manage ICT risks to minimise business impact and maintain business continuity.

Governance

What is common to MoG arrangements is the immediate need for strong, agile and fit for purpose governance to implement the new ICT arrangements.  The governance model ideally will focus (initially) on the strategic alignment of ICT with new business and the management of new risks.  Quickly it will be expected to:

  • ensure new investment in ICT delivers value to the business
  • provide oversight to ICT resource management; and
  • once past the initial MoG implementation, provide oversight of the performance measurement of ICT.

The governance body can draw on relevant subject matter expertise as required, have clear traceability of decisions that are taken and include a reasonable dispute resolution process.  To be effective, the governance body must have empowered and informed representatives from each entity who are able to quickly make operational decisions and escalate relevant strategic and business related decisions to the entity executive as required to facilitate a smooth MoG change.  The body is recommended to meet regularly and have outcomes and decisions minuted for reference.

One such model is to have a MoG ICT Coordination Group that reports to the entity executive.

Planning

The implementation of a MoG change will require ICT initiatives that span short, medium and longer term timeframes.  The governance group will need agree on a process for scoping, prioritising and endorsing ICT investments and initiatives.

The extent and timing of the required ICT initiatives are informed by the business value of the proposed initiative prioritised by:

  1. the presentation of the department to internal and external stakeholders, e.g. public facing services and the Ministers’ offices
  2. communication and collaboration enablers within the department, e.g. ICT network, email, and intranet portals; and
  3. internal administrative business processes.

Existing ICT projects may need to be reviewed for relevance and re-prioritised.  It may be necessary to suspend, close or amalgamate existing projects.

During the course of the MoG change implementation, disaster recovery and business continuity plans will need to be reviewed and updated.


Entity experience — Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (DCCEE):

With the abolition of DCCEE it was the case that many projects underway were no longer viable.  The early review of those projects and the deferral or halting of them minimised the possibility of wasted expenditure. DCCEE also recommends that consideration be given to partially constructed assets to lessen any chance of impairment.

ICT Checklist items for consideration

The items listed below are listed alphabetically for ease of reference.  Unless otherwise specified the items listed below cover the abolition and/or establishment of an entity, and the major transfer of functions as a result of a MoG change.  Where available, contact details for further information have been provided.

Assets

Entity asset registers will be an important tool in managing the transfer of portable assets such as laptops, desktops, mobile devices, printers, servers and software licenses, particularly once staff are identified and start to depart to their gaining entity.

  • Entities need to give consideration to:
    • Providing staff with clear direction of which assets may be transferred and how that transfer will take place.
    • Undertaking a stocktake and registering the items allocated to staff identified for transfer and those assets allocated for retention and/or disposal.
    • Assessing the need to acquire new software licences.
    • Document the transfer and/or disposal of these assets for audit purposes.

Entity experience — Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR):

DEEWR found that when identifying the cost of the applications it was important to state whether the funding provided is for the cost of the licenses and the software maintenance or is it just the maintenance.

Having an updated list of the costs of the software and whether the licenses are yearly renewals or if they are perpetual licenses is vital as this will change the calculation basis. It will also determine if you are giving enough funding for the cost of the licenses and the software assurance or if it is just the software assurance and if the license can be transferred.

Entity experience — DCCEE:

DCCEE found that the expertise and assistance of a software assurance provider was an advantage

Business and corporate systems

Similar to asset splits, entities must determine the most effective arrangements for IT systems that support business programmes and areas such as financial management, human resources, and information/records management.

Be clear on systems to be transferred and kept, particularly for software licences, databases and support infrastructure.

Consider current whole-of-government policy and services as discussed above.

When the transferring entity is leaving behind applications development then it is important that the two departments are able to agree on what is to be capitalised.

Consider where scripts may need to be developed to transfer data between systems.

Consider training requirements for staff that will be using new systems.

Entity experience — DCCEE:

Corporate systems become commodities that are needed by both departments and each department is likely to seek quite quickly to a) take over the system for their proportion of the department, and b) preserve the information the system contains to enable a record of actions taken etc.

Consideration is given as to system ownership and copying of the instances may be necessary to enable each entity to access the relevant pre-MoG data and then determine how each respective entity wishes to proceed.

In RET’s case a read only copy was taken of the Slipstream Instance and TechnologyOne instance and access was granted for users that required it.  New RET staff were then added to the existing RET production instances.

The infrastructure that each instance resides on is also likely to need resolving for overall ownership.

Contracts and procurement

Contractual arrangements that are in place in the former department need a number of activities undertaken fairly quickly: 

  • Where the contract needs to continue then a novation to one of the departments (even as an interim arrangement) needs to occur to enable continued service provision.
  • Identification of which department can best continue with each individual contract and novation/notification then occurs.
  • Identification of contracts that are no longer required and termination/decoupling processes commenced with legal advice where necessary.

For the following coordinated procurement arrangements contact Finance’s ICT Procurement or ICT Strategic Sourcing at ICTProcurement@finance.gov.au or (02) 6215 1597 for assistance:

  • Microsoft Volume Sourcing Arrangements
  • Data Centre Facilities and Migration Services Panels
  • ICT Hardware and Associated Services Panel
  • Internet Based Network Connection Services Panel
  • Telecommunications Management  Panel
  • Telecommunications Mobile Panel
  • Telecommunications Invoice Reconciliation Services Panel
  • Australian Government Telecommunications Arrangement
  • Cloud Services Panel
  • Australian Government Internet Gateway Reduction Program

For any entity master contract changes related to major office machines (MOMs), contact the MOMs Help Desk at MOMContract@finance.gov.au or (02) 6215 2264 for assistance.

Directory services/email arrangements

Arranging the transfer of directory information and creating new logins will be a high priority area for access to most business and corporate systems.

The transfer will be dependent on the availability of the new organisational structure.

Clear guidelines are required on email export, outlining what entities must deliver and what data format is expected for imports/exports.

It’s important to confirm a list of affected staff, and the historical data to be provided in relation to electronic email and archives.

Where necessary divert electronic mail, subject to a review of potential security issues. 


Entity experience — DEEWR:

For the Innovation MoG, DEEWR provided mailbox PSTs and Enterprise Vault archives. Innovation then imported their email data. DEEWR also provided RAS access for some staff who continued to work on joint projects, as they still required access to DEEWR mailboxes and applications to perform their duties.

DEEWR continued to divert electronic mail once staff had moved for a period of six months.

Websites, Services and Domain names

Entities will need to make timely changes to public-facing websites and domain names to reflect organisational changes, new programmes and policies, and to provide redirection for any programmes or functions that have moved.

If the MoG change results in a new or redesigned public-facing service the Digital Service Standard External link icon must be applied.

If new hosting services are required, the Australian Government Cloud Computing Policy requires entities to consider adopting public cloud services where they are fit for purpose and provide value for money. Also see the Shared services/hosting arrangements section below.

Entities affected by MoG changes need to consider the registration of new domain names or transfer of existing domain names if: 

  • the entity is being established or renamed — if a gov.au domain name is required to support entity website and/or email functions, an application for the registration of a new domain name needs to be submitted
  • the entity is being abolished — existing domain name/s supporting entity website and/or email functions will need to be transferred or deleted. The gaining entity needs to submit an application to manage an existing domain name
  • a major function (initiative/programme etc) is being transferred — existing domain name/s supporting the initiative website and/or email functions will need to be transferred. Consideration as to how the content is to be divided and re-hosted or removed needs to be given. Once agreed by entities involved, the gaining entity needs to submit an application to manage an existing domain name. 

For further information refer to the Government Domain Names website: domainname.gov.au or contact dna@dto.gov.au.

Government online services

To update your entity information and contacts for online services you use, please refer to the following:

  • australia.gov.au — email web.team@digital.gov.au to update any pages on australia.gov.au External link icon that relate to your entity.
  • AusGovBoards — contact info@ausgovboards.gov.au or (02) 6215 1529 to update Australian Government board data for portfolios.
  • directory.gov.au — portfolio updaters email updater@finance.gov.au with a list of MoG changes required for the Australian Government online directory.
  • GovDex — please coordinate with your GovDex community administrator(s) for any communities relevant to your entity to add, remove or change membership.
  • govspace.gov.au blog sites — email govspace@finance.gov.au with details of the govspace website including URL to have the MOU updated to reflect the MoG change.

GovCMS — please contact govcms@finance.gov.au to update MOU’s, contact details and technical contacts.

Network services

Entities need to assess the ICT infrastructure requirements associated with the MoG change. It may be necessary to install communications cabling in new accommodation. New or changed requirements for long-haul communication links have a lead time and so need to be arranged early in the process to facilitate data transfer.

For the following government network services please contact Finance’s GNSB Service Desk to update your entity details on (02) 6215 1800 or servicedesk-GNSB@finance.gov.au

  • Government Administrative Voice Network (GAVN) — enables cost free telephone calls between government entities within Canberra via ICON infrastructure
  • Intra Government Communications Network (ICON) — provides secure point-to-point fibre connection between buildings in Canberra
  • Parliamentary Television (Parl TV) — provides entity access to Department of Parliamentary Services  television content via ICON infrastructure
  • Ministerial Communications Network (MCN) — supports over 200 sites nation-wide providing data carriage, secure voice, video and fax services to ministers, parliamentary secretaries and their host departments
  • TelePresence — provides secure, high definition, digital video conferencing across a range of Australian locations, including Parliament House, Commonwealth Parliament Offices located in each state and territory, departments of premiers and first ministers in the states and territories as well as numerous entity sites around Canberra
  • Data Carriage Service — utilises the MCN to enable transmission of data to connect geographically diverse locations across Australia. GNSB offers a straight-forward service for unsecured data carriage and a managed service to carry data up to PROTECTED level
  • FedLink — enables secure communications between Australian Government entities across the public infrastructure for data classified up to the PROTECTED level.
Outward facing contracts

Call centres, public telephone numbers, switchboard numbers and all publicly published email addresses will require your determination as to their continued need.

Agreed messaging and scripts need to be provided to switchboard operators as soon as is viable.

Parliamentary workflow

By June 2016, 40 NCEs will transition to the whole-of-government Parliamentary Workflow Solution (PWS) hosted by the Department of Education and Training (DET) External link icon. Other non-corporate Commonwealth entities who wish to implement a parliamentary workflow solution are required to implement the WOAG PWS, or seek to opt-out via submission through the Secretaries’ ICT Governance Board.  The 40 entities due to transition have been provided with a timetable for their transition.

As functions are transferred during a MoG change, there will be a need to re-evaluate the size of both the losing and gaining entities to determine the correct charging (or fee for service) regime — this will be negotiated with Finance.

Affected entities will work with DET to facilitate the transfer of entity data, at a cost to the entity.

Records management and archiving

Entities will need to consider the archiving of existing websites if: 

  • the entity is being abolished — the existing website may need to be archived with the National Archives of Australia; or
  • a major function (initiative/programme etc) is being transferred — the existing website may be considered for online archive by the developing entity and/or archiving with the National Archives of Australia (NAA)External link icon

For website archiving information, see the Recordkeeping section of the Web Guide at www.webguide.gov.au/recordkeeping/External link icon or contact the NAA at recordkeeping@naa.gov.au.

Security

The physical security around information systems must be in compliance with the Protective Security Policy FrameworkExternal link icon and the Information Security ManualExternal link icon. Areas to consider include: 

  • Updating access control lists for rooms/buildings for staff moving in both the gaining and transferring entities
  • Recovering staff passes by the transferring entity and issuing new ones by the gaining entity
  • If necessary updating security clearance information by gaining and transferring entities and advising the Australian Government Security Vetting Agency (AGSVA) — note that such information is normally part of an entities HR or business IT systems
  • Consider any additional requirements in relation to higher security clearances and where compartment briefings are involved.
Service desks

Thought must be given to final service desk arrangements and arrangements while entities are in transition.

Service desk software, processes and procedures will need to be reviewed and updated to reflect changes to IT systems and software.  Clear communication to staff will assist in minimising any confusion about which service desk to contact.

Shared drives

Shared drives are likely to be a primary information repository used by each entity in different ways.  If the parts of the former entity reside on the same network there is likely to be dual requirements from each entity for access of different levels.

Shared services/hosting arrangements

Where there is a need to establish an ongoing arrangement for the provision of services between entities, managing expectations around the nature of the relationship is critical.

In particular, there is a need to establish a common understanding and agreement that the relationship is one of collaboration and cooperation between entities, as distinct from a commercial contractual arrangement.

Decisions on product and service delivery need to be based on a sound evaluation of a supporting business case rather than the preference by an individual entity to exercise direct control over the product or service delivery.

Establish an understanding or agreement of the cost recovery mechanism up front early in the MoG process.

Investing in the development of internal ICT costing models and a better understanding of baseline business model (ICT internal benchmarking) can assist negotiations around future service delivery.

When providing funding for applications that are hosted by the original entity it is advisable to develop metrics to support use of the hosting capacity. 

Entity experience — DCCEE:

On the abolition of DCCEE, the entity which comprised approximately 700 employees plus contractors was divided between the Department of Resources Energy and Tourism (DRET) and the then Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (Innovation) with roughly one third of staff moving to RET and the remainder to Innovation.

At the time of the MoG the former DCCEE’s ICT delivery model comprised core ICT Components being sourced via PM&C with platform hosted services provided by Fujitsu. The Fujitsu platform hosted services included the majority of DCCEE’s business applications and almost all websites.

Added complications for the DCCEE MoG experience was that RET was, at the time, sourcing its core ICT Services from Innovation. Additionally the Innovation network did not have sufficient capacity to absorb any increase of the size of the DCCEE systems. The eventual ICT outcomes of the MoG were:

  • DCCEE users that became part of Innovation (66%) remained on the PMC ICT Network at Nishi
  • All pre-MoG RET users were migrated away from the Innovation Network and were consolidated onto the PMC Network with the DCCEE users that became part of RET (34%)
  • Shared drives identification of the required DRET components that were needed meant that copies of the relevant data could be moved onto the refreshed DRET Network
  • Innovation users continue to have access to the original DCCEE G: drive data on a case by case basis with relevant approvals.

Entity experience — DEEWR:

DEEWR found that the variances in technologies used across government departments mean that any transition of system may require new technologies in the receiving environment, or re-development of the systems into technologies supported in the receiving department. Both of these options have significant cost/resource impacts

Whilst the technical directions and product choices of departments may be similar, the differences in configuration, versions, and implementations of the products require significant analysis to determine the preferred models.

The linking of the networks was key to enabling further integration in establishing the “One DEEWR ICT environment”. This linking was still problematic due to a range of technical issues

Social media presence

Entities must review their social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, entity blogs and consultative sites to determine if they need to be discontinued, redirected or transferred. 

For discontinued accounts, it is suggested to keep the accounts active but make them hidden, or change the profile, and communicate why they are no longer used — this approach will prevent others from poaching the account and using it for their own purposes. 

Ensure discontinued accounts meet archive requirements.  See www.naa.gov.au/records-management/agency/digital/socialmediaExternal link icon for more information.

Last updated: 03 December 2018