The Public Administration Act 2004 and the Education and Training Reform Act 2006 (and the Ministerial Orders made under that Act) provide the Secretary (as employer) with powers and functions in relation to the employment and management of employees. The Secretary has delegated some of these powers and functions to the occupants of particular positions.

The policy and guidelines developed by the Department are consistent with the delegations and generally a delegate can rely on policy to guide decision making. However, when exercising delegations, delegates are required to:

  • identify the appropriate delegated power
  • examine the delegation schedule to become familiar with the delegation, its authority and any limitations or conditions on the exercise or scope of the power or function
  • refer to the relevant legislative provision which creates the power or function
  • refer to any relevant policy or guidelines, and
  • make a decision given the available facts and supporting information

Before exercising any power or function the delegate must also consider whether the matter is of such importance or possesses certain unique features that it should be submitted to a delegate at a higher level, or to the Secretary.

Structure of delegations

The Secretary’s delegations are set out in schedules to the current instruments of delegation and enable delegates to determine if they have the delegated authority to make a decision in relation to particular matters. Each delegation has a reference number and contains the following information:

  • the authority or legislative basis for the power or function
  • a description of the power or function
  • any limitations or conditions on the exercise of the power or function
  • the permitted delegate level (that is, who may exercise the delegated power)


A delegate under the Secretary's Public Service Delegations may authorise another person to exercise specified powers and functions for which they have delegated authority. An authorisation instrument must be completed by the delegate for an authorisation to have effect. For a copy of an authorisation instrument, refer to the Resources tab.

It is recommended that an authorisation instrument be reviewed at least every 12 months.

Where a person ceases to be a delegate, any authorisation instrument will continue to have effect for a maximum period of 3 months, after which time the authorisation instrument will cease to have effect.

An authorisation instrument cannot be made to operate retrospectively.

For further advice regarding authorisations, contact Policy and Workplace Relations Branch.

Relevant legislation

Overview of HR topic on delegations and authorisations of powers and functions and structure of delegations

Reviewed 08 September 2022

Policy last updated

15 June 2020


  • Schools
  • All Department staff


Policy and Workplace Relations Branch

Was this page helpful?