Senior executives and officers of NSW government agencies play an essential role in supporting the Cabinet system. They deliver quality advice to Cabinet ministers, and operate in an environment of integrity and confidentiality.

Within the NSW Cabinet system:

  • all ministers are members of Cabinet
  • the Premier chairs Cabinet meetings, which typically occur weekly
  • Cabinet is based on convention. The most significant Cabinet conventions are:
    • collective responsibility for the decisions of Cabinet
    • confidentiality of Cabinet deliberations
  • Cabinet makes decisions based on recommendations put forward by ministers in a Cabinet submission
  • Cabinet committees deal with specific areas of policy or have cross portfolio functions.

How Cabinet works

For Cabinet to function efficiently, Cabinet meetings must concentrate on important issues. As such, a lot of  the detailed discussion between ministers and agencies - including areas of contention or disagreement  - should be dealt with before bringing the matter before Cabinet.

The following diagram outlines the steps involved in developing a Cabinet submission.

The role of senior executives

In your role as a senior executive,  you may be required to lead policy development process, communicate policy leadership in high-quality Cabinet submissions and provide advice on submissions from other clusters.

Support policy development submission drafting

It is your job to ensure broad strategic awareness of portfolio policy developments, while  maintaining interagency relationships, and working with agencies and your Minister’s office to develop submissions in the ‘pre-draft’ stages. When drafting or reviewing submissions ask the following questions:

  • Is the proposal in line with the Government’s priorities?
  • Is the proposal consistent with Cabinet’s previous decision and directions?
  • What other options have we considered?
  • Are there implementation challenges and risks?
  • Have we consulted the relevant stakeholders?
  • Is the submission clear and succinct, and no more than 10 pages?
  • Are the recommendations clear?

Review and provide comments on draft or final submissions

You may also be asked to write or endorse comments on submissions from other clusters. When preparing draft comments or coordinated comments:

  • be concise
  • address significant issues
  • consult colleagues in your own cluster
  • consult the Minister’s office.

Cabinet confidentiality

Cabinet records are strictly confidential. This is essential to protecting the collective responsibility for Cabinet decisions. To ensure confidentiality:

  • Cabinet records are managed in the secure eCabinet document management system
  • access to eCabinet requires authorisation, and documents are provided on a need-to-know basis
  • Cabinet records are never copied in any form, and must be returned to the Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) to be marked off and securely destroyed.

All Cabinet documents must carry the Dissemination Limiting Marker - ‘Sensitive: NSW Cabinet’.