Introduction to the PGPA Act for officials- RMG 002

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act) is the cornerstone of the Commonwealth Resource Management (CRM) Framework. The CRM Framework governs the use and management public resources (money and property).

How does the CRM Framework apply to me?

The CRM Framework applies to all officials of Commonwealth entities.  It establishes rules not only for financial management but for the broader governance, performance and accountability for the Commonwealth public sector. The CRM Framework is formed by legislation, legislative instruments and policy including:

  • the Constitution and appropriation acts that provide the authority for Commonwealth entities to collect and spend relevant money, and
  • the PGPA Act that establishes general duties and obligations for all officials in relation to the use and management of public resources.

The PGPA Act establishes uniform duties for officials of Commonwealth entities.

Importantly the PGPA Act supports a culture of judgement, initiative and capability in the Commonwealth public sector, rather than focus on compliance with processes, templates and tools.

For more on the CRM Framework:

For more on the PGPA Act, associated instruments and policies:

You can also subscribe or join the following Finance newsletters and blogs:

  • PMRA Newsletters – latest news on the PGPA Act reforms, events and consultations (email pmra@finance.gov.au to subscribe)
  • PMRA Community on Govdex (email pmra@finance.gov.au to join) – an online community for officials to:
    • be informed about ongoing reforms, events and consultations
    • discuss issues and reforms relating to the PGPA Act and internal controls
    • share ideas for improving the way we operate across government.
  • Comcover Connect – a quarterly newsletter providing information on risk and insurance issues and promoting better risk management (email comcover@comcover.com.au to subscribe)
  • Procurement Bulletin – a monthly newsletter providing information on procurement developments, events and opportunities (email forum@finance.gov.au to subscribe or contribute)
  • Grants News – a periodic publication (email grants@finance.gov.au to subscribe or contribute)

What are my duties under the PGPA Act?

The PGPA Act establishes the following general duties for officials of Commonwealth entities:

  • duty of care and diligence (section 25)
  • duty to act honestly, in good faith and for a proper purpose (section 26)
  • duty in relation to use of position (section 27)
  • duty in relation to use of information (section 28)
  • duty to disclose material personal interests (section 29).

To help you understand your duties see:

How can I meet my duties and perform my functions under the PGPA Act?

In addition to your general duties as an officials, your accountable authority can delegate powers and functions in the PGPA Act to officials, or can authorise officials to exercise powers and functions on their behalf. 

Officials must exercise these powers and functions with the degree of care and diligence that a reasonable person would exercise in the same position (section 25 of the PGPA Act) and act honestly, in good faith and for a proper purpose (section 26 of the PGPA Act). This will include understanding and, where necessary, complying with:

  • the internal controls in your entity (instructions from your accountable authority and the delegations of powers)
  • the purpose of your entity (set out in your entity's corporate plan).

What are the internal controls in my entity?

Your accountable authority is required to establish internal controls to ensure that you comply with the finance law. The systems of internal control for your entity should be available on your entity's intranet (or from your Chief Financial Officer) and can include:

  • accountable authority instructions
  • delegations of powers and functions or authorisations to exercise powers and functions
  • the risk management framework in your entity
  • other internal controls such as your entity's fraud control plan and workplace health safety plan.

A common way your entity's internal controls will apply is when you commit relevant money on behalf of the Commonwealth or your entity by entering into an arrangement. For more on committing relevant money:

Why is it important to understand the purposes of my entity?

  • You should understand how the program, policy or activities you undertake contributes to the purposes of your entity and the broader objectives of the Government.  In supporting the Government to meet its objectives your entity has a responsibility to parliament and the public more broadly to report on your performance and the impact of your activities. This reporting is critical for transparent and accountable government. It provides the evidence for officials, ministers, the parliament and the public to assess whether public resources are being used to achieve meaningful results.

    For more on your entity’s performance and accountability, see on your entity’s website:

    • the corporate plan, setting our purposes of your entity
    • the portfolio budget statement outlining the funds that are available for the programs and activities of your entity
    • the annual report, including the annual performance statement which reports on the achievements of your entity against its purposes and the government policy objectives

    For more on the Commonwealth performance framework see:

Why are risk management and cooperation important?

Engaging with risk and cooperating with others are instrumental to better governance, performance and accountability.

For more on cooperating with others:

For more on risk management:

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Last updated: 15 June 2017