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A Friday Note - 16 February 2018

Dear all,

Some cooler conditions this week.

SAFETY

Today is the last day to have your say on proposed changes to motorcycle registration, which are designed to help improve safety for novice riders. You can have your say here until 5pm today (Friday, February 16).

As of midnight on Thursday, February 15 there had been nine fatalities on South Australian roads so far this year.

CARETAKER PERIOD

By convention, when an election is called and the writs are issued, the government assumes a 'caretaker' role and should avoid making decisions that would limit the freedom of action of an incoming government. Caretaker commences on Saturday, 17 February 2018 until the Government is sworn in after the State election. The State election will occur on Saturday, 17 March 2018.

The public sector must adopt a number of administrative practices to safeguard its neutrality during this time.

During caretaker the conventions of operation are that the Government:

* Avoids major policy decisions that would bind an incoming Government

* Avoids making significant appointments

* Does not enter into major contracts, projects, or undertakings

* Generally, does not hold Cabinet meetings or Executive Council

The current Government and Ministers are able to:

* Respond to routine administrative correspondence and Ministerials

* Request factual information related to routine business from Agencies

The result of the election may not be known immediately, in which case the incumbent Government continues in normal administrative business.

Fortnightly meetings have been established for the Chiefs and General Managers to discuss issues arising during Caretaker. For immediate questions, please contact Nadine Wessel, Office of the Chief Executive, in the first instance.

Additional information on Caretaker Conventions is available here.

Contact with Ministers Offices and Party Candidates

The Departmental protocol is that all Minister Office requests are directed through the Department Co-ordination team, who will liaise with the Office of the Chief Executive. It is the direction of the Chief Executive that General Managers and our Officers should not be providing information, holding meetings, or attending any engagements which may place themselves in a position which may be perceived to be a breach of the caretaker conventions and public sector code of ethics.

Departmental Correspondence (Minutes and Ministerials)

Correspondence requesting Minister sign off during the caretaker period will need to include a statement within the covering Minute to reflect that the Minister can sign in accordance with caretaker conventions, insert the following: ‘The issues raised within the attached correspondence and the associated draft response (if applicable) are deemed routine administrative/operational matters, hence complying with Caretaker Conventions and Pre-Election Practices, for Ministerial sign off. ‘

For more significant correspondence where the conventions recommend Chief Executive sign off, insert the following: ‘The issues raised within the attached correspondence and the associated draft response (if applicable) are not routine administrative/operational matters, hence in line with Caretaker Conventions and Pre-Election Practices it is recommended for Chief Executive sign off.’

References to actions to be taken after the election must be made in terms of ‘the incoming Government’, and correspondence that requires an explanation of Government policy should not commit the Government to action after the election or imply that a policy will continue.

It is at the Chief Executive’s discretion if matters and correspondence are considered significant.

In the case of Ministerials, it is anticipated the Ministers’ Offices will forward correspondence directly to the Department to respond via the usual SharePoint process. Ministerials will continue to be drafted by the Ministerial team with the input of business areas. Please ensure that all Ministerials are turned around quickly.

Departmental Personnel            

Aside from political appointments within Ministers’ Offices that may be impacted after the outcome of the election is known, all Departmental personnel and employment conditions continue. Contract dates remain and continue as specified, and there will be no change to ongoing employee status within the Department.

COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT

Informing the community and listening to their views is important for the successful delivery of our projects. Last Saturday, the Gawler East Link Road Project team held a successful community day, where more than 170 interested local stakeholders attended and got a valuable insight into the project.

UNDERGRADUATE PROGRAM

This week the Northern Connector project team hosted a group of budding engineers from the DPTI Undergraduate Vacation Employment Program. They experienced first-hand a full range of construction activities, including piling works for the 10 bridges, the concrete batch plant and major earthworks for the elevated sections of the motorway and the interchange ramps.

A number of students also joined Field Services, where they completed tasks relevant to safety, quality and environmental management, as well as assisting to improve the department’s management systems and conducting a gap analysis on areas of improvement.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY

Today’s Flashback Friday photo is of Nile Street in Port Adelaide in 1928.


SLSA G/5838

Have a good weekend,

Michael Deegan