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Agencies and Assets are Managed Strategically

Ownership Requirements

Ministers are responsible for making major ownership decisions and setting broad strategic direction. They expect to receive well-informed advice on such matters from chief executives and boards. Good advice is based on a thorough analysis of the ownership issues at stake, from both a governmental and agency perspective. Strategic exchanges among agencies are a useful way of identifying key ownership issues and generating advice for Ministers.

Ownership typically means taking a long-term view of Crown agencies' purpose, structure, capability and outputs, and the alignment of these elements with the goals and requirements of the Government as a whole. Ownership requirements include:

  • alignment of action and resources with Government’s priorities
  • integrity of action and behaviour across the public service
  • assurance of future capability
  • improving cost-effectiveness over the long run
  • assurance that agencies are well governed and performing well.

The Government and central agencies work across agencies to ensure that:

  • appropriate structures and systems are in place to meet likely demand, both now and well into the future
  • public resources are used effectively to achieve objectives required
  • priorities are applied consistently across the state sector
  • financial and performance risks are managed actively and promptly
  • agencies work well collectively, when this can deliver superior results.

The Government also works to ensure that capital expenditure is planned and controlled, assets are maintained, managed and used efficiently, essential capabilities are in place, and block obsolescence[26] is avoided.

Chief executives and boards are responsible for identifying issues likely to be important to the owner and taking action in line with:

  • the Government’s overall strategy and long-run interests
  • the Responsible Minister’s view of the agency’s direction
  • issues specific to the agency, its clients, or the business sector it operates in, that need a response or contingency plan
  • demand to reshape policy, responsibilities and operational capacity
  • risks and threats to the ongoing provision of affordable services.

Such actions may be represented in:

  • expectations stated in the Chief Executive’s performance agreement
  • the agency’s strategic business plan or Statement of Intent
  • policy reviews and cost management exercises
  • capability development plans (eg, for human resources)
  • separation of purchase, delivery and monitoring responsibilities[27]
  • outsourcing of, or competitive tendering for, goods and services.


  • [26]That is, a large proportion of assets reaching the end of their economic life in a short period. This may reveal undue deferral of replacements and poor asset management.
  • [27]Eg, putting delivery, purchase and monitoring functions into different business units.
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