Papers seeking agreement to policy/approval for additional resources to implement that policy should be submitted to the Cabinet committee responsible for that area of government activity.
The Cabinet committee may refer such papers to the Cabinet Committee on State Sector Reform and Expenditure Control (SEC) for decisions on the financial aspects, if they would benefit from SEC’s scrutiny.
The Minister of Finance may also wish to refer such papers to SEC for consideration in addition to the policy being considered by a Cabinet policy committee. The Minister of Finance will advise the portfolio Minister of this, when consulted on the paper.
Where there are time pressures, and a proposal cannot wait until the next SEC meeting (after consideration by the relevant Cabinet policy committee), further consultation may be required with Finance Ministers and senior Ministers before Cabinet consideration. Papers that only seek changes to baselines, and that do not include any policy decisions, may be submitted directly to SEC, without first needing to be submitted to a Cabinet policy committee.
Drafting financial recommendations
The correct drafting of financial recommendations is essential to record accurately Cabinet’s financial decisions. These decisions provide Cabinet’s authority for changes to appropriations, expenditure, and the use of Imprest Supply. Cabinet Office circular CO (15) 4 Proposals with Financial Implications and Financial Authorities, contains further guidance.
For guidance on drafting financial recommendations and the format of tables, see the Treasury’s guide, entitled Writing Financial Recommendations for Cabinet and Joint Minister Papers. The relevant Treasury Vote analyst can assist in ensuring that the financial recommendations are technically correct.
Recommendations that propose a change in appropriation or expenses should include details of:
- the action to be taken (i.e. approve/agree);
- the substance of the change being proposed;
- the name of the affected Votes;
- the type of appropriation/revenue (e.g. departmental output expense);
- appropriation/revenue name;
- if a new appropriation is being proposed, its scope;
- changes to appropriation (both the direction and amount of the changes);
- monetary units – numbers should be stated in terms of $million (e.g. $0.010 million);
- changes to revenue or funding mix;
- GST status, if appropriate (in accordance with the Public Finance Amendment Act 2004, appropriations should be exclusive of GST);
- the years affected, including outyear impact;
- whether the changes need to be included in Supplementary Estimates and met under Imprest Supply;
- the impact on the operating balance and/or debt.
In general, tables should be used to present the information contained in financial recommendations.