1.2 Office Staff
Office of the Minister
Ministers are entitled to staff and resources to assist them in the performance of their duties. The Office of the Minister consists of the Minister and all ministerial staff, including staff employed on a contract or consulting basis, who directly support the Minister in carrying out his/her functions as a Minister of the Crown.
Where exceptional circumstances exist a Minister may also establish a ministerial office in more than one location with the Premier’s approval. All ongoing costs associated with each office shall constitute the total costs of the Office of the Minister.
Staff management principles
Staff provide support to the Minister in fulfilling portfolio responsibilities. It is therefore essential that the Minister communicates clearly to staff members:
- the roles and responsibilities of the portfolio within the overall policy platform of government; and
- the scope and sensitivities attached to the Minister's portfolio.
Ministerial Services maintains the human resource management function associated with staff and assists the Premier and Minister in making appointments to his/her office.
Ministerial Services are responsible for liaising with the Premier and Minister in relation to staff administration which includes the recruitment, appointment and termination processes for all positions within the Office of the Minister.
The human resource management functions of Ministerial Services include:
- maintaining a Register of Position Descriptions;
- advertising vacancies;
- assisting the Premier and Minister in determining salary levels;
- processing the appointments of all staff members;
- payment of salaries to Ministerial staff including processing salary variations;
- maintaining all leave, personnel and establishment records;
- monitoring conditions of employment; and
- assisting the Premier and Ministers as required in developing proposals for staffing establishment changes above the approved establishment level.
The following table represents the range of positions in ministerial
|Specialist Advisor (restricted to central portfolios)
||As negotiated but within the parameters of SES pay scales
|Principal Media Advisor
|Senior Policy Advisor
||AO8 - SO
|Senior Media Advisor
||AO8 - SO
||AO6 - A07
||AO6 - AO7
|Assistant Policy Advisor
||AO4 - AO5
|Assistant Media Advisor
||AO4 - AO5
|Personal Secretary/ Office Manager
||AO4 - AO5
||AO1 - AO3
Staff entitlements for ministerial offices depend on portfolio requirements and may vary between offices. The level of remuneration within the range shown is subject to qualifications and experience and determined by the Premier.
Recommendations regarding the required staffing entitlement should be made in writing and be signed by the Minister and forwarded through the Manager Human Resources, Ministerial Services to the Premier. The Premier’s Office will advise the ministerial office and Ministerial Services in regards to a decision.
To assist in determining staffing requirements, the staffing model below is suggested as a basis for Office requirements.
||Number of Positions
|Principal Media Advisor
|Policy Advisor/Media Advisor
|Assistant Policy/Media Advisor
|Personal Secretary/Office Manager
Offices that have an Assistant Minister are usually provided with an additional Administrative Officer to assist the Assistant Minister.
Departmental Liaison Officers
Departmental Liaison Officers (DLOs) are staff appointed by their department to facilitate communication and liaison between the ministerial office and the portfolio department.
DLOs are not appointed in all instances, as the need for such a position will vary between portfolio departments.
It is important that DLOs are not seen as an extension to the ministerial staffing component and their role should therefore be restricted to the liaison function for which they were appointed. These officers should not undertake work normally the responsibility of ministerial staff.
Ministers are required to consult with the Premier regarding their need for a DLO prior to any appointments being made.
Basis of employment
All new engagements to ministerial offices shall initially be on a temporary basis for a period of three months.
Ongoing employment will be on the following basis-
Ministerial staff drawn from the Queensland Public Service
All staff drawn from the Queensland Public Service to work in ministerial offices are to be granted leave without pay from their substantive positions.
The basis of their engagement in ministerial offices is by way of a temporary appointment made pursuant to S6 of the Ministerial and Other Office Holder Staff Act 2010 and in accordance with arrangements approved by the Premier.
The terms and conditions of the temporary engagement are detailed in their appointment letter.
In accordance with S13 of the Ministerial and Other Office Holder Staff Act 2010 Public Servants engaged in this manner retain their rights and privileges under the Public Service Act 2008 and are provided with terms and conditions of employment contained in Directives issued under S26(1) and (2) of the Ministerial and Other Office Holder Staff Act 2010.
At the completion of the period of temporary appointment (or at any time where either the appointee, or the Director-General upon the recommendation of the Minister, determines that the appointment should cease) the staff member shall return to the Department from which the leave without pay took place, at the classification level to which they were appointed prior to their temporary engagement in the ministerial office.
All paid leave taken subsequent to the completion of the temporary appointment will be paid at the staff member’s substantive departmental salary level.
Ministerial staff engaged from outside the Queensland Public Service
Non-public servants who are engaged in a ministerial office are employed under a Contract of Employment pursuant to S6 of the Ministerial and Other Office Holder Staff Act 2010 and therefore shall not become officers of the Public Service.
A summary of the benefits and conditions of employment under the Contract of Employment are set out below:
- Employment in ministerial offices shall be subject to the terms and conditions as prescribed in Directives issued under S26(1) and (2) of the Ministerial and Other Office Holder Staff Act 2010.
- The hours of work shall be those ordinarily worked by public servants.
- The Government shall meet all expenses necessarily incurred in the discharge of official duties in accordance with Queensland Government policy as determined by policies approved by the Premier.
- All Principal Advisors and Principal Media Advisors shall be reimbursed in full, service and equipment charges of a telephone installed in their private residence as well as a percentage of calls as agreed between them and the Minister in accordance with guidelines approved by the Premier.
- Chauffeur/Assistants shall be reimbursed in full, home telephone service and equipment charges plus 280 local calls per calendar year (see ENTITLEMENTS - Staff).
- A Declaration of Interests must be provided to the relevant Minister prior to or within one month of taking up duty (see APPENDIX 9 – Declaration of Interests).
- Queensland Public Service leave provisions and other benefits shall apply.
- If the Engagement is terminated for other than a breach of contract the following severance conditions apply:
|Where the appointee has less than one (1) year of service at the date of termination
Four (4) weeks' salary
|Where the appointee has one (1) year or more but less than two (2) years of service at the date of termination
Six (6) weeks' salary
|Where the appointee has two (2) years or more but less that three (3) years of service at the date of termination
Eight (8) weeks' salary
|Where the appointee has three (3) years or more but less than four (4) years of service at the date of termination
Ten (10) weeks' salary
|Where the appointee has four (4) years or more but less than five (5) years of service at the date of termination
Eleven (11) weeks' salary
|Where the appointee has five (5) years or more but less that seven (7) years of service at the date of termination
Twelve (12) weeks' salary
|Where the appointee has seven (7) years or more of service at the date of termination
Twelve (12) weeks' salary plus an additional two (2) weeks' salary for every completed year of service in excess of six years, up to a maximum of fifty-two (52) weeks' salary
Approval for the appointment of permanent staff
All recommendations for the appointment of permanent staff are to be made in writing, signed by the Minister and forwarded through the Manager Human Resources, Ministerial Services to the Premier. These recommendations are to include proposed salary levels and commencement dates. The Premier’s Office will advise the ministerial office and Ministerial Services in regards to a decision.
No salary will be paid to any employee until the Premier’s approval is received.
External appointments will be on a temporary basis for a period of three months.
Ministerial Services will forward the engagement documentation, following the Premier’s approval.
Completion of the three month temporary period
Immediately prior to the completion of the three month period, a review of the temporary staff member’s service is to be made to assess their suitability for ongoing employment.
A recommendation for permanent appointment is to be made in writing, signed by the Minister and forwarded through the Manager, Human Resources, Ministerial Services, to the Premier.
The Premier’s Office will advise the ministerial office and Ministerial Services in regards to a decision.
Ministerial Services will forward the engagement documentation following the Premier’s approval.
In cases where a staff member is not recommended for permanent employment, the engagement shall cease at the conclusion of the temporary period.
Ministerial Services will arrange for written advice to the employee upon receipt of formal notification from the Minister.
Process for filling vacant positions
Vacant positions in the Minister’s office may be filled with or without advertisement, based upon the recommendation of the Minister.
Where a vacancy is to be filled by advertisement:
- the Minister or Principal Advisor is to liaise with Ministerial Services concerning position requirements and updating of the position description (if necessary);
- Ministerial Services places the advertisement/s, answers inquiries, distributes position descriptions and receives and registers applications;
- an interview panel is convened to conduct short listing, and arrange interviews;
- the interview panel makes a selection; and
- Ministerial Services ensures the appointment is in accordance with appropriate legislation, and the provisions of this Handbook.
All unsuccessful applicants will be notified by Ministerial Services.
Qualifications for Appointment
There are no mandatory tertiary qualifications required for appointment in a minister’s office. However, the enhanced work performance derived from the expanded knowledge base and skills attained through formal tertiary training is valued.
It is acknowledged however that such enhanced work performance can be achieved through other learning experiences including on the job training, structured professional development or life experiences.
An applicant’s skills, knowledge and abilities will be assessed against the selection criteria of the position description without prejudice regarding the origin of those skills, knowledge and abilities.
Staff members appointed to a ministerial office and who are currently based in another centre may be entitled to claim for expenses involved in taking up their appointment at the discretion of the Premier or delegate. Appointment expenses incurred are to be reasonable and subject to the approval of the Minister. Ministerial Services are to be consulted prior to the refund of appointment expenses.
These entitlements may include:
- transport for the employee and their family to the new location;
- temporary accommodation assistance whilst waiting to secure a residence at the new centre;
- transport of furniture and effects;
- storage of furniture and effects;
- cartage of motor vehicles, boats and caravans; and
- leave for unpacking.
Detailed guidelines regarding this policy are available on the Ministerial Intranet Site or from Ministerial Services.
Relief staff may be required to cover the absence of staff on leave or to provide assistance when the workload of the office has temporarily increased beyond its normal capacity.
In the case of short-term arrangements to cover staff absences of up to, but not greater than four weeks, the Minister may approve the relief arrangements.
Relief staff may be sourced through:
- Departments within the Minister’s portfolio
- The temporary employment register maintained by Ministerial Services; or
- Employment agencies under the Standing Offer Arrangements.
When engaging staff from employment agencies, Ministerial Services utilises the Whole of Government standing offer arrangement for the employment of agency staff (SOA 200). A group of preferred suppliers has been established under this arrangement. Further details may be obtained by contacting Ministerial Services.
Costs incurred in the provision of relief staff from departments shall be a charge to the office of the Minister. For the period of relief, the employee shall continue to be paid by their home agency and the recoupment of costs is made by way of tax invoice to Ministerial Services.
Invoices from employment agencies are to be forwarded to Ministerial Services for payment.
Relief staff engaged from the temporary employment register shall be paid through the Ministerial Services payroll and will be forwarded temporary engagement documents upon receipt of written approval from the Minister.
Ministerial Services will not pay any salary, allowance or tax invoices until the Minister's approval is received.
In the case of longer term arrangements the Minister may recommend a suitable replacement or request Ministerial Services to advertise the temporary vacancy.
Recommendations for relief staff in these circumstances must be made in writing, be signed by the Minister and be forwarded through the Manager, Human Resources, to the Premier’s Office. The Premier’s office will advise the ministerial office and Ministerial Services in regards to a decision.
Ministerial Services will not pay any salary, allowances or tax invoices until the Premier's approval is received.
Ministerial Services will forward written confirmation of the relief arrangements to the employee.
Chauffeur/Assistants shall be available for driving duties for other Ministers, former Premiers, Governors and Chief Justices, visiting dignitaries and other VIP’s if not required by their respective Minister.
As the requirement to work overtime can fluctuate on specific occasions and to ensure after hours work is spread equitably, a rostering arrangement will be managed through Human Resources, Ministerial Services for the provision of casual/relief chauffeurs.
Requests for casual/relief chauffeurs are to be made with the Principal Human Resource Consultant, Ministerial Services.
Salary level reviews
The salary levels for Ministerial staff may be reviewed at any time by the Minister subject to budgetary constraints.
In order to assist offices with this process, Ministerial Services will forward a reminder to the Minister after a staff member has been on the same salary level for twelve months, requesting whether the Minister would like to review the performance of that staff member and recommend an increment to the next pay point of the classification band. For staff members who have already reached the top of their classification level, i.e. AO3(4), no reminders will be forwarded by Ministerial Services. It is at the discretion of the Minister as to when or if the salary levels for these staff members is reviewed. Reviews must also be within the classification ranges for positions.
All recommendations for salary level adjustments must be returned to Ministerial Services who will then seek the approval of the Premier’s office. No salary levels will be adjusted until the Premier’s office has approved the increase.
Public servants employed in a ministerial office maintain their substantive salary and are paid an allowance up to their ministerial salary level. The Minister will be forwarded a reminder as per the above process to review the officer’s Ministerial salary.
All salary, leave and associated matters for ministerial staff members are processed by Ministerial Services. Such matters include:
- Superannuation changes
- Changes to bank account details
- Tax File Number Declarations
Forms are available from the Ministerial Intranet or Ministerial Services.
Relieving arrangements for all positions are approved by the Premier or delegate. A Higher Duties form signed by the Minister is to be forwarded through the Manager, Human Resources, to the Premier’s Office.
Where relieving is performed in a Principal Advisor position or a Principal Media Advisor position for the first time, the higher duties amount shall be at the minimum of the classification range for the Senior Policy Advisor or Senior Media Advisor position, viz., A08(1) unless special circumstances exist.
The Industrial Relations Directive outlines the general conditions applying to higher duties allowance.
Termination of employment
Employment in the ministerial office may be terminated by:
- the person engaged, by giving two (2) weeks’ notice in writing; or
- The Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, by advice in writing
- in the event of a breach of this agreement by the appointee;
- upon receipt of a notice in writing from the Minister that the services of the appointee are to be terminated;
- upon receipt of a notice in writing from the Premier that the services of the appointee are to be terminated;
- based on the operational requirements of the Office of the Minister.
Where the employment is terminated pursuant to (b), if the appointee is entitled to a period of notice, the period of notice or payment in lieu of notice shall be as follows:
- where the appointee has not more than 3 years continuous service - 2 weeks;
- where the appointee has more than 3 years service but not more than 5 years service - 3 weeks;
- where the appointee has more than 5 years service – 4 weeks.
These amounts will be increased by 1 week if the employee is 45 years old or over and has completed at least 2 years of continuous service.
Ministerial Services and the Premier’s office must be contacted before any action is taken to terminate the employment of staff.
Staff members are to ensure that any property that has been assigned to them is returned as early as practicable before exiting the Office of the Minister. The staff member is to note the Exit Procedures Checklist as each procedure is completed. The Exit Procedures Checklist assists in ensuring all official equipment is returned and official access is disabled.
The staff member is to sign the Exit Procedures Checklist as certification that all action has been taken and present the form to Human Resources, Ministerial Services prior to, or on the day of leaving. Human Resources, Ministerial Services will forward the Exit Procedure Checklist to staff members to action prior to their departure.
Exit Procedures Checklists are available from Ministerial Services or the Ministerial Intranet. See Appendix 11 (PDF, 23 KB).
Public Servants employed in Ministerial Offices
The temporary appointment of public servants to ministerial office positions may be terminated at any time where either the appointee or the Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, upon the recommendation of the Minister, determines that the appointment should cease.
The staff members shall return to the department from which they had taken leave without pay, and any allowance being paid or salary sacrifice arrangements in place whilst in the ministerial position will cease.
Ministerial Services and the Premier’s Office should be notified before any action is taken to terminate the temporary appointment of a public servant to a ministerial position.
The staff member is required to complete an Exit Procedures Checklist when ceasing. The checklist assists in ensuring all official equipment is returned and official access is disabled.
Checklists are to be forwarded to Ministerial Services within 7 days of a staff member leaving the office. Exit Procedures checklists are available from Ministerial Services or the Ministerial Intranet. See Appendix 11 (PDF, 23 KB)
Cessation of Minister's Commission
When a Minister ceases to hold a commission, that is, on the acceptance by the Governor of the resignation or dismissal of a Minister, the following consequences will flow:
- All temporary appointments of public servants in the Minister’s office automatically terminate, unless otherwise determined, and officers will return to their respective Departments at the classification they held immediately prior to their engagement in the ministerial office.
- Contracts of employment will remain in force pending advice to the Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, to terminate employment. If employment is terminated, severance conditions as detailed in the Contract of Employment will apply.
Change of Government
Termination of existing arrangements
When it is known that there is to be a change of government, written notification signed by the Minister must be forwarded to the Director-General, Department of the Premier and Cabinet, advising that the employment of all staff members employed under a contract of employment is to be terminated and the date of termination.
If it is known that some staff members will continue employment under the incoming Government, and therefore should not be terminated, this should be noted. This is often the case with ministerial chauffeurs.
The temporary appointment of public servants to positions within the ministerial office will automatically cease, unless otherwise determined, and these staff members will return to their respective Departments.
Interim staff arrangements for incoming Ministers
In the case of a change of government, interim staffing lists signed by the incoming Minister, which include salary levels and commencement dates, must be forwarded to the Premier as soon as practicable.
The Premier’s office will contact the ministerial office and Ministerial Services in regards to a decision
No salary will be payable under the interim arrangements until the Premier’s approval is received.
All interim staffing arrangements will be on a temporary basis pending the finalisation of ministerial staffing arrangements.
Translation of staff
Following a change of Government, staff members who were formerly employed within the Office of the Leader of the Opposition may be directly translated into positions within Ministers’ offices.
Similarly, staff members who were employed within ministerial offices may be directly translated into the Office of the Leader of the Opposition following a change of government.
^ to top