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Guidelines for drafting Cabinet appointment papers

Issue date: 
Monday, 26 June 2017
Issue status: 
Published by: 
Version note: 

This publication is part of the CabGuide.

Cabinet appointment papers advise Cabinet of a Minister's intention to appoint a candidate to a statutory or other government agency. Appointment papers are considered by the Cabinet Appointments and Honours Committee (APH). See the APH terms of reference for further information.

Important: In general, all but the most minor appointments made by Ministers, or by the Governor-General on the advice of a Minister, should first be considered by APH.

Appointments papers should usually be no longer than four pages (excluding attachments). Where a large number of appointments are proposed in one paper, it is often clearer to set this out in table format. For advice, contact the APH secretary (search in CabNet, or contact the Cabinet Office).

An appointments paper should address the points listed below. The Public Service Commission (PSC) Guidelines provide detailed guidance on many of these points with respect to appointments to statutory and other bodies, other than Crown entities.

  • Proposal: to appoint an individual or individuals to the board of an organisation for a specific term.
  • Background information:
    • the legislative provisions or government decisions that give rise to appointments to the particular organisation, and who makes the appointment
    • the size of the board or organisation and the minimum and/or maximum number of members prescribed
    • any other relevant statutory or other consideration
    • any recent consideration by APH or a recent appointment that might affect the decision
    • whether the proposed appointee has been nominated by an organisation pursuant to a statute.
  • Comment on the reasons for the proposal:
    • why the appointment is necessary
    • whether the appointment is a replacement for a person whose term has expired (and, if so, who)
    • whether it involves the appointment of an additional member to the board
    • whether it is a reappointment and, if so, the number of terms that the candidate has already served.
  • Description of the position:
    • what the position involves
    • the qualifications required for the position (particularly qualifications required by statute in terms of the board’s composition)
    • the intended length of the appointment (it may be appropriate to recommend that a term commence “on the date of appointment”, to avoid any problem associated with the time taken to complete the appointment process. Appointments are not backdated (individuals should not be put in the position of being liable for decisions or actions that were taken before they were appointed). In the case of reappointments, backdating may be appropriate if the statutory provisions permit.
  • The Minister’s certification that an appropriate appointment process has been followed:
    • in terms of the Public Services Commission or the Treasury guideline selecting the proposed appointee
    • and why this process was appropriate.
  • The proposed appointee’s qualifications for the position:
    • the professional qualifications, relevant experience and personal attributes that make the proposed appointee suitable for the position
    • identifying any qualifications that meet statutory requirements
    • including any previous experience on statutory boards and/or current government positions held by the proposed appointee.
  • How the proposed appointment will affect the composition of the board: how the appointment would enhance the achievement of a balance of skills and experience on the particular board.
  • Representativeness of the appointment: a statement from the Minister confirming that full consideration has been given to the need to achieve appropriate gender, age, geographical, and ethnic balance.
  • The Minister’s certification concerning conflicts of interest
    • certify that any conflicts of interest that could be identified have been, and either confirm none identified, or explain any conflict found and how it will be managed; or
    • if conflict management checks are not complete, finalisation of the appointment will be provisional on appropriate enquiries being undertaken. The Minister should report to APH or Cabinet on the outcome of those enquiries if a problem arises.
  • Any other matters affecting the suitability of the proposed appointee:
    • for example, other appointments held by the proposed appointee, whether more than a second term is proposed, public perception issues, and whether there are criminal convictions
    • any outstanding information that is required before the appointment can be made. In such cases, finalisation of the appointment will be provisional on appropriate enquiries being undertaken, and the satisfactory resolution of the outstanding issues. The Minister should report to APH or Cabinet on the outcome of those enquiries if a problem arises.
  • The fees payable, and whether this is a change:
    • the classification of the body to which the appointment is being made
    • the level of fees payable to the proposed appointee
    • whether the fee is within the parameters of the Cabinet Fees Framework [CO (22) 2]  (and, if not, the basis for going outside the terms of the Fees Framework
    • outcome of any consultation with the PSC and the Minister for the Public Service).
  • An account of the consultation that has been undertaken:
    • whether there are any statutory consultation requirements, including nominations
    • whether any consultation has taken place with departments, groups, or individuals with a legitimate interest
    • whether consultation with the Prime Minister, other Ministers, or the government caucus has taken place or is deemed desirable.
  • Whether there are any publicity requirements or timing constraints
  • Recommendations must:
    • specify whether the appointment is made by the Minister, or recommended by the Minister to the Governor-General, or made by the Minister on the recommendation of others
    • include the full name of the appointees (the full legal name of the appointee must be used on appointment documents signed by the Governor-General)
    • include the term of the appointment.

Accompanying documentation attached to the paper

For information on how to upload attachments to Cabinet papers in CabNet, see the guidance on uploading attachments.

For every paper that proposes appointments an attachment that contains the Organisation form and Candidate CV form(s) must be uploaded.

The Organisation form is required for existing and new organisations. Cabinet papers that propose appointments to multiple organisations should have one attachment per organisation, with the Organisation form on the first page/s followed by all the Candidate CV form(s).

Follow the below requirements when uploading Organisation forms and Candidate CV forms into CabNet:

  • combine the Organisation form and all the Candidate CV form(s) in one CabNet attachment per organisation. The Organisation form should be on the first page/s of the attachment
  • the title of the CabNet attachment that contains the Organisation form and Candidate CV form(s) should be the name of the organisation, so that the document can be easily identified in CabNet, for example: "Auckland Region Examples Board: Org Form and CVs"
  • attachments should be uploaded at the same time that the paper is uploaded into CabNet.
Last updated: 
Friday, 19 February 2016

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