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Terms of reference

The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to new Terms of Reference for the Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision at its 19-20 April 2010 meeting.

  1. The Steering Committee for the Review of Government Service Provision (the Steering Committee) was established by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) and comprises representatives of the Commonwealth, State and Territory governments. The Steering Committee will operate according to a Charter of Operations.
  2. As an integral part of the national performance reporting system, the Steering Committee informs Australians about services provided by governments and enables performance comparisons and benchmarking between jurisdictions and within a jurisdiction over time. The Steering Committee and its working groups are supported by a Secretariat located within the Productivity Commission as a neutral body that does not represent any jurisdiction.
  3. Better information improves government accountability and contributes to the wellbeing of all Australians by driving better government service delivery. To this end, the Steering Committee will:
    1. measure and publish annually data on the equity, efficiency and cost effectiveness of government services through the Report on Government Services
    2. produce and publish biennially the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report
    3. collate and prepare performance data under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations, in support of the analytical role of the COAG Reform Council and the broader national performance reporting system
    4. initiate research and report annually on improvements and innovation in service provision, having regard to the COAG Reform Council’s task of highlighting examples of good practice and performance and perform any other related tasks referred to it by COAG.
  4. The Report on Government Services and the Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage report will be produced subject to additional terms of reference.
  5. To support the quality and integrity of these products, the Steering Committee will:
    1. ensure the integrity of the performance data it collects and holds
    2. exercise stewardship over the data, in part through participation in data and indicator development work of other groups that develop, prepare and maintain data used in Review reports, and through reporting outcomes of Steering Committee data reviews to authorities such as Heads of Treasuries and COAG, to ensure its long term value for comparisons of government service delivery, and as a research and evidence tool for the development of reforms in government service delivery
    3. ensure that performance indicators are meaningful, understandable, timely, comparable, administratively simple, cost effective, accurate and hierarchical,consistent with the principles for performance indicators set out under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations
    4. keep abreast of national and international developments in performance management, including the measurement and reporting of government service provision.
  6. The Steering Committee’s ability to produce meaningful comparative information requires timely access to data and information. All jurisdictions have committed to facilitate the provision of necessary data, either directly or via a data agency, to meet Steering Committee timelines and to ensure the Steering Committee can meet its obligations to COAG.
  7. The Steering Committee will seek to maximise the accessibility to governments and the Australian community of the performance data it collects and collates, taking advantage, where appropriate, of developments in electronic storage, manipulation and publication of data. It will work with other government agencies in Australia undertaking similar work to ensure a consistent and best practice approach.
  8. The Steering Committee will also, subject to direction from COAG, and in recognition of its role in the broader national performance reporting framework:
    1. have regard to the work program of the COAG Reform Council and provide such data as is required by the Council for the performance of its functions
    2. align, insofar as possible, the data collected and indicators developed with those under the National Agreements, avoiding duplication and unnecessary data collection burdens on jurisdictions drive improvements in data quality over time, in association with the Ministerial Council for Federal Financial Relations, the COAG Reform Council, other Ministerial Councils and data agencies.