As mentioned above, Executive Government is composed of the Premier and Ministers chosen from the elected members of parliament. When appointed, each minister is given an area of responsibility in the operation and administration of the State through a government department. These departments are most often referred to collectively as the ‘public service or public sector.’
Government delivers goods and services and regulates activities through these departments and agencies. There are a number of different forms that Government Departments and Agencies can take:
- statutory authorities,
- government trading authorities and
- boards and committees.
A characteristic of the public sector is that its agencies are funded in whole or in part of money allocated by Parliament, or they rely on the State’s ability to borrow money.
Departments are established by the Governor on the recommendation of the Minister for Public Sector Management and at their head have a chief executive officer usually known as the Director General. A statutory authority is established by Act of Parliament.
Role of Government Departments
- provide policy advice
- deliver government services
- observe Public Sector standards
It is clear that there is a lot of work to be done in running the State. Parliament is engaged in passing laws but it is the Executive that looks after the daily aspects and day-to-day details and procedures.
Once a piece of legislation becomes law the public service or government departments assist the responsible Minister in delivering government policy. The department has permanent officers who are employed and are expected to be neutral and serve the executive government of the day. Westminster-derived systems of government have a tradition, dating back to the early 19th century, of a politically neutral public service to give advice to Minister, handle day-to-day administration and to provide government services.
The Department of the Premier and Cabinet
The Department of the Premier and Cabinet is central to the functions of Executive Government in Western Australia. It is headed by the Directory General and is responsible for providing the administration of executive government services and Government policy management.