Public Financial Management and Reforms to the State Sector Act
This article addresses changes to the Public Finance Act that have been proposed in the Public Finance (Wellbeing) Amendment Bill or are being considered for future legislative or administrative action. It discusses these changes in the context of the State Sector Act. The interrelationship between the two pieces of legislation is described, as are the implications of proposed changes to the Public Finance Act. These changes include requirements for the specification of objectives for wellbeing (outcomes) in the budget process and reporting of wellbeing by the Treasury at least every four years. Changes also include, potentially, greater flexibility in the nature of appropriations and the selection of the services that will be provided within an appropriation, as well as legislative support for the public service to operate in a more ‘joined-up’, innovative and collaborative way. The article identifies as a strength of the proposed changes to the Public Finance Act and the State Sector Act that they maintain consistency between the two acts, but also identifies the risk of replacing one one-size-fits-all system with a different one-size-fits-all system, and considers a ‘two-track’ public management system as an alternative.
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