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Department of Premier and Cabinet

4. Writing a Cabinet Briefing

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4.1 Standard requirements

4.1.1 Briefings are used to present information to Cabinet for noting. The Briefing format is customised according to the type of information being presented:

  • Information Briefing – to be used when the submission does not require a decision of Cabinet other than to note the contents - see Section 4.2;
  • Appointments to Government boards, authorities, committees, etc  - see Section 4.3.2 – 4.3.9;
  • Appointments to Senior Executive or Statutory offices– see Section 4.3.10 – 4.3.15;
  • Appointment of Chief Executive Officers to Government Business Enterprises (GBE) and State-owned Companies (SOC) see Section 4.3.16 – 4.3;
  • Final Bill Briefing – to be used when returning final Bills for approval – see Section 4.4; or
  • Committee Briefing – to be used when seeking Cabinet endorsement of Cabinet Committee decisions – see Section 4.5.

4.1.2 The cover sheet constitutes the first page of each Briefing. The information for the cover sheet must be prepared on the template available from the Cabinet Office web site (www.dpac.tas.gov.au/divisions/corporate_and_governance_division/ government_services/cabinet_office) then be provided to the Cabinet Office on plain white paper so as to allow it to be photocopied directly on to the coloured cover sheet proforma.

4.1.3 A Communications Strategy should be attached to Briefings in order to inform Cabinet as to how agencies intend to communicate particular decisions.

4.1.4 Some discretion exists in deciding if a Communications Strategy is required - most position appointments, for example, will not require a strategy. Guidance on this issue should be obtained from your agency Communications Manager or the Communications and Protocol Manager, Department of Premier and Cabinet.

4.1.5 The information contained in the template is to be referenced on the submission cover sheet. If a Strategy is required for a Cabinet Briefing it is to be included as the final attachment.

4.1.6 Briefings which require a Communications Strategy will not be included on the Cabinet agenda until a strategy approved by the Agency Communications Manager is provided..

4.1.7 Draft text for a media release (if required), should be included with the Communications Strategy Template. If a draft release is not available, indicate when it will be available and the agency responsible for drafting it.

4.1.8 An electronic version of the Template is available at: www.communications.tas.gov.au/resources/cab_sub_temp.dot . Further information on the Communications Strategy template may be found at pages 13,14 and 15 of Example 1 in the Cabinet Handbook Examples volume.

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4.2 Information briefings

4.2.1 The format for the body of an Information Briefing will depend upon the subject matter being presented, but should usually be structured under the following headings:

Purpose - A concise statement of the reasons for presenting the information to Cabinet.

Background - A brief summary of the events leading up to the briefing. Reference may be made to any previous consideration of the subject by Cabinet. Relevant decision numbers and dates should be cited if the same, or similar, matter has previously been considered by the current Cabinet (ie, there hasn’t been an election since the relevant decisions were made). Specific references to Cabinet deliberations or decisions of a previous Government must not be quoted. Copies of documents originating under a previous Government are not to be included as attachments.

Information - The information being brought to Cabinet's attention should be detailed here in a format which clearly and succinctly presents the subject matter.

4.2.2 These headings may be amended depending on the nature of the information being presented. A sample Information Briefing is provided at Example 2 in the Cabinet Handbook Examples volume.

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4.3 Appointment briefings

4.3.1 There are two types of Appointment Briefings – one for appointments to boards, authorities, and committees and another for senior and statutory officer appointments.

Government Boards, Authorities and Committees

4.3.2 Proposed appointments to Government boards, authorities and committees (“Board appointments”) are prepared as Briefings, notwithstanding the fact that recommendations are usually involved.

4.3.3 All appointments should include a brief outline of the selection process and significant reasons for selecting the recommended candidate(s).

4.3.4 Re-appointments, including re-appointments of directors of Government businesses, must be submitted to Cabinet in the same way as initial appointments. If the appointment is to fill a forthcoming vacancy then the name and expiry date of the incumbent must be noted in the Briefing.

4.3.5 All Briefings for proposed board appointments must include the sizing statement prepared by the Department of Premier and Cabinet. Sizing statements set out the recommended remuneration for members of the board, authority or committee.

4.3.6 Appointment Briefings must specify the existing and proposed number of male and female members on the Board or Committee, and whether the Tasmanian Women’s Register has been consulted in an attempt to identify suitable women candidates. An explanation as to why the Register was not consulted must be provided in the Briefing.

4.3.7 A completed Tasmanian Women’s Register Appointment Certification Form must be included with the Briefing regardless of the number of women being appointed and the number of women on the board as a result of the appointment/s. Briefings that do not comply will not be submitted to Cabinet.

4.3.8 If there is a statutory obligation for consultation concerning the nomination for appointments, the Briefing is to include a clear statement that this obligation has been met.

4.3.9 The Minister is required to assure Cabinet that the nominees have no business or personal interest, real or perceived, which might conflict with the interests of the board, authority or committee to which appointment is proposed. Agencies must check with candidates that no such conflict of interest exists prior to submitting the list of nominees to the Minister.

4.3.10 The preferred format for Board Appointment Briefings is shown at Example 3 in the Cabinet Handbook Examples volume.

Senior and Statutory Office Appointments

4.3.11 Cabinet requires advice of any proposed appointment or re-appointment to senior positions.  Senior positions are statutory offices or those offices remunerated at SES Level 1 or above.

4.3.12 Proposed senior appointments are prepared as a Briefing. An example of a Senior Appointment Briefing is provided at Example 4 in the Cabinet Handbook Examples volume.

4.3.13 In the case of a proposed new appointment the Briefing should include the following information:

  • Name of the agency
  • Position title
  • Period of appointment
  • Remuneration and conditions (eg SES Level or in accordance with the Judges Act etc)
  • Proposed starting date
  • A brief outline of the recruitment process
  • The name of the successful applicant (appointee)
  • Recent positions held by the appointee (or a brief curriculum vitae can be attached)
  • Significant reasons why the applicant was selected
  • Whether appointment by Governor in Council is required
  • Any publicity or timing of announcement

4.3.14 It is not necessary or appropriate to attach the appointee’s full written application.

4.3.15 Appointment Briefings should rarely be longer than one page (with short curriculum vitae attached).

Government Business Enterprise and State-owned Company


4.3.16 Cabinet requires advice of any proposed appointment or reappointment of a Chief Executive Officer of a GBE or SOC.
4.3.17 Proposed CEO appointments are prepared as a Briefing. An example of a CEO Appointment Briefing is provided at Example 5 in the Cabinet Handbook Examples volume.
4.3.18 In the case of a proposed appointment the Briefing should include the following information:
4.3.19 Position – CEO and name GBE or SOC
4.3.20 Period of appointment
4.3.21 Name of Nominee
4.3.22 Selection Process used
4.3.23 Qualifications and Experience
4.3.24 Remuneration and conditions
4.3.25 Appointed by
4.3.26 Remuneration Package within the Approved CEO Total Remuneration Band
4.3.27 Has the Government Business Executive Remuneration Advisory Panel reviewed the draft Instrument/Contract
4.3.28 Urgency
4.3.29 Consultation
4.3.30 Publicity
4.3.31 Support/Criticism Expected
4.3.32 Recommendation
4.3.33 Attachments –
i Curriculum Vitae

ii Remuneration Table
4.3.34 Appointment Briefings should rarely be longer than one page (with
attachments).

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4.4 Final bill briefings

4.4.1 All final Bills are returned to Cabinet for approval prior to their introduction into the Parliament.

4.4.2 The Legislation Briefing format should be used when the terms of the final Bill are in complete compliance with the Cabinet decision which authorised drafting.

4.4.3 Bills which include policy amendments not previously approved by Cabinet must be presented under cover of a Cabinet Minute (and will be subject to the normal ten day rule).

4.4.4 A copy of the Economic Review Unit Final Assessment Certificate must be included as an attachment to the Briefing, along with the final Bill.

4.4.5 An example of a Final Bill Briefing is provided at Example 5 in the Cabinet Handbook Examples volume.

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4.5 Cabinet committee briefings

4.5.1 The Committee Briefing format should be used when presenting Committee decisions and papers to Cabinet for endorsement.

4.5.2 A summary of the Committee decisions should be included in the Briefing.

4.5.3 A full set of Committee papers should be submitted to the Cabinet Office.

4.5.4 A suggested format for Committee Briefings is provided at Example 6 in the Cabinet Handbook Examples volume.

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