Administrative Practice Statements

1. Introduction

2. The Practice Statement Framework

3. Principles

4. Governance

5. Approval of Instructional Material

5.3 Registration

5.4 Format

5.5 Availability and accessibility 

5.6 Currency and review

5.7 Consultation

5.8 Feedback

6. Record keeping

7. Review

8. Conformance

9. Related policies and references

Current Practice Statements

CCI Practice Statement Version 02 28 August 2017
Practice Statement Framework Version 02 28 August 2017

1. Introduction

Practice Statements form part of the APVMA's operational policy framework and provide direction to APVMA Officers in performing duties derived from the Agvet Legislation as well as their obligations as public service employees.

Practice Statements have the effect of being lawful and reasonable directions of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the APVMA, issued under section 13(5) of the Public Service Act 1999. They outline the:

• legislative and common law principles/requirements that APVMA Officers must comply with, and
• directions that all APVMA Officers must abide by in the conduct of their duties,

The Practice Statement Framework set out in this document is a direction from the CEO and must be followed by all APVMA Officers when undertaking their duties, powers and functions.

This document outlines:

• the Practice Statement Framework
• document types within the Practice Statement Framework (known as Instructional Material)
• governance of document types within the Practice Statement Framework
• legal obligations
• document access, management and maintenance

2. The Practice Statement Framework

The Practice Statement Framework is a structured way to document how staff within the APVMA perform their jobs. Documentation within the Practice Statement Framework is collectively known as Instructional Material. Instructional Material is any documentation that directs, assists or informs a staff member in undertaking their work.


The Practice Statement Framework consists of six tiers of Instructional Material:

 
AgVet Legislation

AgVet legislation means the legislation establishing the APVMA and regulating the Agvet chemical industry and includes the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code, which is scheduled to the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994, Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992 and the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Regulations 1995.

Practice Statements, CEO Directions & Accountable Authority Instructions (AAls)

CEO Directions are issued under the Public Service Act 1999. Practice Statements form a subset of these directions and are high level, lawful and reasonable directions issued by the CEO. The Practice Statements

set out the core principles the APVMA operates by and the legislative and common law obligations of APVMA Officers.

Under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act), CEOs of Commonwealth agencies are responsible for the management of Commonwealth resources. AAls are the mechanism by which the CEO (as the Accountable Authority) of the APVMA sets out internal financial policies to which all APVMA Officers must adhere.

Section 6A Guidelines and Regulatory Guidelines

The purpose of the APVMA's Regulatory Guidelines is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the regulation of Agvet chemicals and their constituents through increased transparency, consistency, accountability and predictability of decision-making.

Section 6A of the Agvet Code provides that the APVMA may make written guidelines for performing functions and exercising powers under the Agvet Code and the Agvet Code Regulations.

APVMA staff must have regard to the guidelines in performing their functions and exercising powers under the Agvet Code and the Agvet Code Regulations. APVMA staff must consider each case on its merits and may depart from the guidelines in special circumstances, following discussion with their Director on the issue. Where there is a departure from the guidelines, a record must be made setting out reasons for departing from the guidelines.

Policies

An APVMA policy is a statement of APVMA's position or rules in respect to a given topic. APVMA staff mustconsider each case on its merits and may depart from a policy only in special circumstances, following discussions with their Director on the issue. Where there is a departure from the policy, a record must be made setting out reasons for departing from the policy.

Process Maps and Process Descriptions

Process maps and process descriptions provide a high level description of how an outcome or output is achieved. It describes what happens, but not how it happens. APVMA staff must consider each case on its merits and may depart from the process only in special circumstances, following discussions with their Director on the issue. Where there is a departure from the process, a record must be made setting out reasons for departing from the process.

Procedures

A procedure describes how a series of sequential tasks are to be performed within a process. APVMA staff must consider each case on its merits and may depart from the procedures only in special circumstances following discussions with their Director on the issue. Where there is a departure from the procedures, a record must be made setting out reasons for departing from the procedure.

Work Instructions

Work instructions are step by step instructions for performing an individual task. APVMA staff must consider each case on its merits and may depart from the work instruction only in special circumstances, following discussions with their Director on the issue. Where there is a departure from the work instruction, a record must be made setting out reasons for departing from the work instruction.

Forms, Templates, Notices and Reference Material

Forms, templates, notices and other references are operational material that may be created to support the other tiers of instructional material. APVMA staff must utilise these documents in their work and may only depart from using the materials in special circumstances, following discussions with their Director on the issue. Where there is a departure from using the work material, a record must be made setting out reasons for departing from the material.

3. Legal outline 

APVMA functions are based on a range of legislation and administrative law principles. Practice Statements provide direction for consistency in decision-making. Acting in accordance with these Practice Statements minimises risk to both APVMA Officers and the APVMA.

APVMA Officers must apply Practice Framework Documentation (Instructional Material) appropriately in undertaking their duties. This involves:

  • searching for and following the current Instructional Material relevant to the tasks being performed
  • making decisions in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness. These include providing a fair hearing to anyone whose interests would be adversely affected by the decision, and ensuring that the decision is made without bias
  • applying flexibility in a way that is appropriate to the circumstances of each case;
  • choosing options to manage risks which are proportionate, least restrictive or intrusive and only imposed for as long as necessary
  • citing the relevant law as the authority for their decision rather than the Practice Statement, and
  • reporting any anomalies between a Practice Statement and other instructional material to their supervisor and the business owner for the Practice Statement.

If these principles are not followed, it is possible that the decision may be successfully challenged through review undertaken either internally or by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT)

4. Principles 

Practice Statement Framework documentation (Instructional Material) should:

  • meet legal requirements—be in accordance with regulatory, high-level policy and domestic/international obligations including all relevant and associated legislation
  • be aligned to the relevant business model—reflect the APVMA's position, be able to be attributed to a service the APVMA delivers in the business model
  • be readily identifiable—standard templates should be used to ensure a uniform look and feel so that material is easily identifiable by APVMA Officers and the public.
  • have a defined business owner

5. Governance 

Development of Instructional Material is to be done in line with the process 'Development, Approval and Publication of Instructional Material'.

5.2 Approval of Instructional Material 

All instructional material has a business owner and an approver. The business owner is generally at the Director level, and the approver at the Executive Director level. Where the instructional material crosses multiple programs, endorsement from within both programs is necessary. A business owner must endorse the instructional material before it is sent to the approver. 

For new content, major changes and to retire material, delegate approval is required. For minor updates to existing material (i.e. style, formatting), business owner approval is sufficient provided the defined processes have been followed to complete the change.

All Instructional Material must be approved as identified below.

Document type

Endorsement

 

Approval

Practice Statements - 

Executive Director of one or both of the relevant Programs

General Counsel and Deputy CEO

CEO

Accountable Authority Instructions General Counsel and Deputy CEO   CEO
Section 6A Guidelines/Regulatory Guidelines Executive Director   CEO
Decision maps Principle Legal Officer   Deputy General Counsel
Policies Senior Leadership Team   Executive Leadership Team
Processes Director   Executive Director
Procedures, Work Instructions, Forms, Notices, Templates Director   Executive Director
Reference Material Director   Executive Director

5.3 Registration 

Approved Instructional Material is retained in the Instructional Material Library (Quality System) and is operative and enforceable on date of publication.

Instructional Material will be allocated a unique identifier and will be version controlled.

5.4 Format 

Instructional Materials are to be created in the approved standard templates to ensure a uniform look and feel so that material is easily identifiable by APVMA Officers and the public.

5.5 Availability and accessibility 

Whether Instructional Material will be made available to the public is to be determined when the material is developed and is to be indicated at the top of the material ('Internal' or 'Internal and External').

In line with the Information Publication Scheme, Government Agencies could be asked to publish all Instructional Material. Therefore, all material could be released publicly (unless a formal exclusion is available under the IPS). This enhances Government transparency, consistency and predictability and increase accountability. Instructional Material authorised to be distributed externally will be made available on the APVMA website in accordance with IPS requirements.

5.6 Currency and review 

Instructional Material must be reviewed at least 2 years (or earlier if required) for accuracy and overall content. The length of the review period will depend on changes in legislation, operational practice as well as the nature and risk of the activity being documented. On publication, a next review date will be set.

Scheduled Reviews of Instructional Material are to be done in line with the process 'Conducting scheduled reviews for Instructional Material'.

5.7 Consultation 

The APVMA may consult with industry and other government agencies, including state and territory authorities where applicable, when developing and reviewing Instructional Material.

Consultation periods will be in line with the APVMA's current practices for internal and external consultation.

5.8 Feedback 

Internal feedback, concerns or non-conformity issues on Instructional Material can be submitted via the Instructional Material Library, and will be channelled to the Instructional Material Administrator.

Submissions will be managed in line with the process 'Instructional Material Feedback and Improvement'

6. Record keeping 

All material must be:

  • retained and disposed of in a manner consistent with the requirements under the Archives Act 1983 and APVMA's disposal guidelines
  • appropriately classified, stored and handled in accordance with the APVMA's Protective Security Policy Framework
  • stored in accordance with the APVMA's record keeping standards.

7. Review 

This Practice Statement is subject to an annual review.

8. Conformance 

Where required, Instructional Material will include indicators that will measure performance and conformance within the policy framework of which the Practice Statement is being developed.

9. Related Policies and References 

  • Section 6A Guidelines
  • Public Service Act 1999
  • Archives Act 1983
  • Protective Security Policy Framework (PSPF)
  • Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

 

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