This document is part of the Employment Arrangements for Public Entities resource.

The following key principles should guide consideration of the employment arrangements for a public entity:

  • consistency in employment arrangements for like entities
  • clarity in roles and responsibilities
  • clear lines of accountability.

These principles are outlined in more detail in the following sections.

3.1 Consistency

Consistent legal and governance arrangements should apply to public entities that perform similar functions or require similar degrees of ministerial control and direction. This also extends to employment arrangements. Wherever possible, entities should be established using commonly used employment mechanisms, consistent with like public entities.

Consistency promotes clarity of understanding about the employment status of individuals and groups of staff, their entitlements and obligations and allows entities to build on the experiences of others.

From time to time, circumstances may require that an entity be established with non-standard employment arrangements. As a general rule though, highly customised employment arrangements should be avoided. Proliferation of differences between entities contributes to complexity in the public sector and leads to problems in understanding the implications of specific employment arrangements, particularly as specialised knowledge tends to dissipate over time.

3.2 Clarity in Roles and Responsibilities

In addition to the principle of consistency, clarity in the roles and responsibilities of all parties should guide consideration of employment arrangements.

Clarity in roles and responsibilities ensures that all parties understand the boundaries of their role and what is expected of them, and have the authority to fulfil their responsibilities. Clarity in roles and responsibilities also helps to ensure that all parties understand the relationship between their role and that of other individuals within the entity, other entities, the public service and the government.

3.3 Clear Lines of Accountability

Finally, a focus on clear lines of accountability between public entity staff, entity management (including the CEO) and the board should guide determination of employment arrangements.

Clear lines of accountability promote role clarity and good governance. In contrast, complex reporting structures can create internal confusion and hinder the entity’s ability to perform its functions. Internally, reporting lines for employees should be clear, and the relationship between the board (where applicable) and entity staff (including the CEO) should be transparent.