The Governance and Operation of Smaller Statutory Agencies: Output 1: Evidence Review Report

Research output: Working paperpeer-review

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The Australia and New Zealand School of Government has partnered with the public sector commissions of Queensland and Western Australia to commission a research project investigating small statutory agencies, with the goal of producing best practice guidance for establishing, governing and operating these increasingly important and numerous government agencies.
This paper, the first product of the project, provides a review and analysis of some relevant scholarly and grey literature. It finds that while there has been significant consideration of governance issues in general, there have been fewer studies aimed at the interaction of these issues with the size of agencies. Of those that have treated this more specific question, some have focused on agencies within particular domains, while others have sought to analyse and define small statutory agencies as a type of agency within the broader machinery of government. That is, the literature has not directly addressed the key questions of how small statutory agencies ought to be constituted.
Nonetheless, the literature does assist the task of identifying the key issues facing small statutory agencies and their governance. First, the literature provides some discussion of how to define and identify small statutory agencies, noting that there is a range of ways to define smallness, and different understandings of the purposes for which small statutory agencies might be established. Secondly, it also suggests a set of challenges that small statutory agencies face, including risk governance and flexibility in governance frameworks, the interaction of these risks with agency size (in terms of staffing and other resources), recruitment and retention of staff, and accountability to the government and parliament. Moreover, this analysis also reveals critical gaps in the literature, which provide directions for this research projects and the field more broadly.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherAustralia and New Zealand School of Government
Publication statusPublished - 6 Apr 2023

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