The position today is one of high risk. Legal actions can often be personal, freedom-of-information requests are challenging, some ministers can be hostile in their relationship with the secretary,'' the report says. ''The secretary is often required to manage illegal or inappropriate ministerial direction and … new initiatives which have not been funded in the department's budget.'' Secretaries were ''absolutely accountable … when things go 'belly up', irrespective of the source of the error''. ''Ministers don't ''fall on their swords'' any more. The secretary is accountable for protecting the minister. Secretaries have to manage conflicts between the department and the minister and the minister and the government … in the delivery of programs which have a political purpose and are not in the national interest. This is an awkward area of management.''
Thursday, April 01, 2010
FOI in the frame sometimes
Freedom of Information did rate a mention when 19 departmental secretaries had a chat in 2008 with the Remuneration Tribunal about the challenges of the job, as summarised in a report by John Egan released this week. As did managing illegal and inappropriate directions, and delivering programs which have a political purpose and are not in the national interest. The Age reports
Awkward indeed.The Egan report is part of the Office of Secretary Report.