- Title page
- State sector reform legislation
- The Crown entity system
- About this guidance
- What are the monitoring department's functions?
- Appendix 1: Ministers' powers in relation to Crown entities
- Appendix 2: Central agencies' statutory responsibilities
- Appendix 3: Crown entities and accountability to Parliament
- Appendix 4: Glossary of public sector terms
What are the monitoring department's functions?
A department has a two-fold role: as an agent of the Minister to help the Minister discharge his or her responsibilities (unless directed otherwise); and to undertake other functions such as administering appropriations and legislation as required by statute. Ministers may use other agents, including staff from their private offices, for some tasks (including monitoring), but even in these situations, the department will normally have a policy and/or Vote administration role to play. The 2013 amendments to the CEA deliberately included discussion of the role of monitors (s. 27A) alongside Ministers' roles in relation to Crown entities (s. 27).
Departments work in two capacities: to help their Ministers to undertake their roles and responsibilities and to undertake other statutory functions. The Guide for Ministers emphasises that assistance should be provided to the Minister on three main monitoring functions:
1 appointing and maintaining an effective board
2 setting direction and performance expectations
3 monitoring performance.
In addition, departments undertake other statutory functions on their own behalf including:
4 administering appropriations
5 administering legislation
6 tendering advice to Ministers, and
7 undertaking any other activities required under statute (CEA s. 27A).
This guidance is organised around the above functions.
The relationship between a Minister and a Crown entity is more at arm's length than that between a Minister and a department. While a Minister can directly control a department on almost all matters (other than some exceptions such as staffing), the Minister's ability to exercise control over arm's-length bodies like Crown entities is more indirect. The specific powers of Ministers in relation to Crown entities are listed in Appendix 1 of this guidance and also discussed in this section of the Guide for Ministers.