Major policy projects are aimed at enhancing the regulatory environment and usually involve significant duration, complexity and public consultation. Major policy projects include:
Other policy projects of notable duration, moderate complexity and aimed at enhancing the regulatory environment or developing a new policy position are also included. These policy projects produce new or amended subsidiary legislation (such as a Regulation or Order); voluntary codes, guidance notes or equivalent; briefing notes or policy submissions to a Minister or other external bodies; Cabinet submissions; or new or significant amendments to government policy.
This measure counts key milestones for policy projects. Four milestones are assigned to each project (each representing 25 per cent of project completion). The key milestones are – seeking approval, consulting, drafting final documents and obtaining endorsement.
Milestones are summed to give a total count of policy project activities. The total cost of service is divided by this figure to give a cost per unit results.
In 2017–18 the department undertook 30 policy projects, which was greater than the anticipated target of 14 and the 26 undertaken in 2016–17. As a result, the average cost per policy project was $129,639, which is 14 per cent lower than the 2016–17 figure of $151,197 and 58 per cent lower than the 2017–18 target of $310,308.
In both 2016–17 and 2017–18 much higher levels of policy project activity occurred than in previous years, and therefore lower unit costs. In 2016–17 there was an unexpected increase in minor legislative and other policy projects (for example the implementation of multiple sets of individual amendment regulations in support of red tape amendments passed by the Parliament in November 2016; the implementation of product safety standards; and appointments to committees). Whilst it was expected that outputs would return to previous levels in 2017–18, the implementation of multiple sets of individual amendment regulations; implementation of product safety standards; and appointments to committees has seen the work levels remain high.
Table 30: Key efficiency indicator S1.2: Average cost per policy project