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Delegations, Authorisations and Appointments Health Check

Proximity Overview

Proximity is an innovative law firm that leads the market in service delivery, business management and staff engagement. Our innovative approach has been widely recognised. In 2017 Proximity was the winner of the Australian Government Law Team of the Year at the Australian Law Awards, a finalist in the Law Firm of the Year (1-100 Lawyers) at the Australasian Law Awards and a finalist in the ALPMA/Lexis Nexis Thought Leadership Awards.

We understand that the best professional services are developed in collaboration with you, rather than from a distance. Our approach allows us to work closely with you, resulting in a better understanding of the issues and more focused and helpful advice.

Delegations, Authorisations and Appointments

It is critical to the effective operation of agencies that the right people have the powers they need to perform their functions.

This is a constant challenge because:

  • people join, leave or move around within agencies
  • agencies change in size or shape, according to administrative needs
  • Ministers add to, take from or alter the responsibilities of agencies
  • legislative change adds to, takes from or alters the responsibilities of agencies.

Delegations, authorisations and appointments (DAAs) need regular and consistent attention. However, DAAs are often only reviewed periodically due to resource constraints or other priority work, or the responsibility for DAAs moves around the agency or is permanently dispersed across the agency.

Over time, this can lead to many problems, including where:

  • DAAs are not updated to reflect new or altered powers after legislative change
  • original DAA instruments cannot be found, making it difficult to prove that a decision-maker in relation to a challenged decision had the
    power to make that decision
  • authorisation and appointment instruments are not updated as new positions are created (the current view is that these instruments, unlike delegations, do not include officers in positions which did not exist at the time the instrument was made)
  • previous DAAs are inadvertently revoked when making new DAAs
  • the description of the positions to which powers or functions are delegated no longer match the persons purporting to exercise or perform those powers or functions
  • line areas develop and follow procedures or guidelines but do not ensure their DAAs are up to date and support those procedures
  • in the absence of central coordination, line areas draft their own DAAs, leading to inconsistency in description and delegation levels, different drafting styles and overlapping or inconsistent DAA instruments.

Many agency systems and processes for DAAs are at risk of entropy. If not addressed, this can have a significant adverse effect on the operations of the agency.

Proximity can help

We can work with you to examine your agency’s DAAs and discuss options for improvement. This will help your agency to:

  • identify areas of non-compliance
  • rectify non-compliant instruments
  • implement new procedures to ensure ongoing compliance.

Proximity has advisors who are experienced in:

  • checking legislation, regulations and identifying the necessary legislative authority
  • collating provisions within instruments to reflect duties
  • comparing staff functions with statutory authority
  • drafting DAAs
  • examination and appraisal of record keeping systems for DAAs and staff access to those systems
  • developing DAA registers
  • drafting template and uniform instruments to ensure consistency
  • training staff in how to use and analyse their powers and duties
  • advising on Ministerial and Secretarial powers

Client Feedback
Proximity provided the combination of technical and interpersonal skills that we needed and delivered above and beyond our expectations.

We can provide the following services:

Stage 1 (Review & Fix)

  • undertaking a cost-effective review of the current state of your agency’s DAAs
  • ensuring instruments are up to date, consistently and accurately described and within the scope permitted by legislation
  • reviewing the agency’s mechanisms for storing, recording and updating instruments
  • ensuring DAAs correspond accurately with the electronic record management system used by your agency
  • establish the systems that allow your agency to demonstrate that appropriate DAAs are in place
  • creating instrument registers, and a process for their maintenance, to ensure records are properly kept
  • developing minutes and briefs, template instruments, record keeping systems, process documents and training materials

Stage 2 (Ongoing Support)

  • providing a quarterly review and maintenance service to ensure that DAAs are reviewed on a regular and consistent basis
  • fast turnaround on drafting instruments
  • providing an ongoing advisory service in relation to DAAs
  • option for Proximity to host and maintain a DAA online portal that you can access 24/7

You can purchase just Stage 1 services or can add Stage 2 services to your package. We offer hourly/ daily rate or fixed pricing for Stages 1 and 2 and can customise a solution that meets your agency’s specific needs.

The Proximity Advantage

We provide you access to the highest quality legal advisors when and where you need them and are highly regarded for our innovative approach to providing legal advisory services:

  • Government focus – The government sector is our focus, so we understand the laws, policies, politics and culture of the sector and don’t have the conflict issues that many national firms have. We have advised government agencies on some of the government’s most complex and high-profile projects in Australia.
  • Best for project teams – Unlike traditional firms that typically build teams around a partner and use that team for all matters, we assemble the best team for your matter based on the right blend of skills, experience and level.
  • Efficiency – Because we don’t have the typical firm leverage model, we don’t over resource matters. We pride ourselves on performing each matter as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  • Cost competitive – Our low overhead structure removes the need for large and fancy offices and expensive marketing and back-office teams, which enables us to offer consistently competitive pricing for all our matters.
  • Solution-based business – We don’t just deliver advisory services on an ad hoc basis, we develop products and solutions that assist clients to be more proactive, strategic and holistic in their approach to legal issues. These include our Delegations Health Check, PIA Plus, and Procurement-as-a-Service.
  • Technology powered solutions – We are always exploring how technology can improve outcomes for clients and have an in-house technology team developing products like our procurement spend analysis software, Optix™. We also promote the use of artificial intelligence, machine learning and other technologies that improve service delivery.
  • Flexible pricing – We offer a broad range of pricing models that are tailored to meet the needs of your matter so you don’t get the surprises that come from six-minute billing. We believe in the use of different pricing models and we deliver the vast majority of our services using fixed price and subscription models that meet client needs.
  • The right people – We are technically excellent, strategic, practical, experienced and efficient; our advisors are hand-picked based on having the right attributes to successfully advise your team and provide practical solutions.
  • The right skills – We combine big-picture strategy with attention to detail in implementation.
  • Knowledge transfer – Proximity’s advisors have significant experience as mentors and actively transfer skills and knowledge.

Client Feedback
The Proximity team relates well to clients at all levels of seniority, listens carefully, and adapts the way they present their advice and training accordingly to provide advice that is meaningful.