Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 404. Updated Tuesday, 08 April 2014

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PM&C issues guide to implementation

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet has issued a Guide to assist Departments and Agencies formulate implementation plans that articulate how new policies, programs, and services can be delivered on time, on budget and to expectations.

The Guide to Implementation Planning described an Implementation Plan as a record of the structured thinking and planning that had occurred around how an initiative would be implemented.

Assistance with policy proposals

"Implementation plans are essential to provide assurance to the Cabinet that the policy, program or service is delivered on time, on budget and to expectations," it said.

The Guide said it supported the Government's approach to strengthening Cabinet decision-making and improving program governance and implementation.

It said it aimed to assist those involved in implementation planning to understand how they should formulate an implementation plan.

According to the Department, while there was no set format for an implementation plan, the Cabinet Implementation Unit (CIU) had produced a toolkit on the seven key principles of implementation planning.

It said the toolkit provided an easy-to-understand and straightforward guidance on implementation planning drawing on lessons learnt by frontline APS staff involved in implementation and delivery.

The Cabinet said that all Cabinet submissions and new policy proposals must contain information on implementation.

In addition, the Cabinet required all submissions and new policy proposals with significant implementation risks or challenges to have a robust implementation plan.

According to the Cabinet, a submission or new policy proposal was likely to have significant implementation risks or challenges when it addressed a strategic priority of the Government, made major or complex changes or involved significant cross-Agency or cross-jurisdictional issues.

There were also implementation risks when the proposal was particularly sensitive, e.g. had a large number of conflicting stakeholders or was particularly risky, required urgent implementation, involved new or complex delivery systems, or had been developed over a very short period.

The Cabinet also required an implementation plan for any new policy proposal that had a Risk Potential Assessment Tool pre-mitigation rating of medium or higher.

The required implementation plan normally took the form of a separate attachment to the submission or new policy proposal.

If the CIU determined that a submission or new policy proposal had 'significant implementation challenges' and did not contain an implementation plan, the submission would not be considered by the Cabinet.

The CIU's Guide to Implementation Planning can be accessed at this PS News link.

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