Machinery of Government

Machinery of Government (MOG) broadly refers to the structure of government agencies and may involve structural change across the public sector. Reform to the configuration of the public sector may occur as government strives to implement a more effective approach to the provision of services to the community and a reduction of the unnecessary use of public resources.

The Commissioner provides advice to the Government on appropriate MOG changes to achieve and maintain operational responsiveness and flexibility.

The Commission supports the Commissioner to undertake the complex task of leading the MOG process, provides advice, and supports agencies and interim CEOs as they transition to new arrangements.

It is important to understand the composition of the Western Australian public sector as this exists under the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (PSM Act).

  • Public service departments – primarily responsible for providing policy advice and administrative support to its minister. Employees in a department are part of the ‘public service’. Public service departments are established, divided, abolished and renamed under s. 35 of the PSM Act by the Governor on the recommendation of the Public Sector Commissioner.
  • SES organisations – established under a written law to perform specific statutory functions, generally responsible through a board to the minister. SES organisations are specified in Schedule 2 of the PSM Act. Chief executives and members of the senior executive service employed within a SES organisation are part of the ‘public service’. Other employees are considered to be part of the general ‘public sector’.
  • Non-SES organisations – like SES organisations, are established under a written law to perform specific statutory functions, generally responsible through a board to the minister. All employees are considered to be part of the general ‘public sector’.
  • Other organisations – the remaining organisations constituted by law to undertake specific public functions. They tend to operate somewhat at arm’s length from their minister and Government and in a commercial/semi-commercial environment. Organisations in Schedule 1 of the PSM Act are not considered to be part of the public sector for the purposes of that Act.
  • Independent offices – offices or agencies that, by having a direct reporting relationship to Parliament, operate at distance from the government of the day. The office holder is generally appointed by the Governor and supported in his or her operations by a department or other non-SES organisation. Examples include the Office of the Auditor General, Public Sector Commission and the Corruption and Crime Commission.

The types of MOG changes fall into the following broad categories:

  • structural changes made under s. 35(1) of the PSM Act involving the creation, division, amalgamation, abolition or designation of departments
  • structural changes involving the creation, amalgamation or abolition of statutory authorities (which for PSMA purposes will fall within one of the categories of Schedule 1, Schedule 2 SES or non-SES entities)
  • administrative transfers whereby one or more functions (often including staff) from an entity are transferred to another entity
  • change in the status of an entity (e.g. a Schedule 2 SES organisation becomes a department)
  • creation or abolition of entities within a larger entity (e.g. a sub-department – which is a term used in the Financial Management Act 2006 but not in the PSMA)
  • creation or abolition of a statutory office, post or position (e.g. the Commissioner for Children and Young People; Commissioner of Titles).

Page last updated 28 April 2017