Vanuatu Sessional Legislation
Commencement: 24 August 1998
REPUBLIC OF VANUATU
NO. 5 OF 1998
Arrangement of sections
PART I - PRELIMINARY
PART II - THE EXECUTIVE
4. Prime Minister
5. Leadership role of Prime Minister
6. Council of Ministers
7. Minutes and decisions of Council
8. Committees of Council
9. Ministries and the Public Service
PART III - SUPPORT TO COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
10. Secretary to Council
11. Functions of Secretary
12. Developmental Committee of Officials
13. Members of Developmental Committee of Officials
14. Functions of Developmental Committee of Officials
15. Attorney General and Director-General of Finance
PART IV - POLITICAL ADVISORS
16. Political advisors
17. Number of political advisors
18. Role of political advisors
PART V - BREACHES OF THE ACT
19. Offences and penalties
20. Conduct of proceedings
PART VI - COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL ADVISORS
21. Council Committee on political advisors
22. Further responsibilities of Committee
PART VII - MISCELLANEOUS
23. Responsible minister
REPUBLIC OF VANUATU
NO. 5 OF 1998
An Act to provide for the role, effective management, and responsibilities of the Executive Government.
BE IT ENACTED by the President and Parliament as follows:
(a) efficient and effective management; and
(b) arrangement; and
(c) function of the Executive; and
(d) the employment, function and responsibilities of political advisors.
(2) The provisions of this Act are in addition to those contained in the Constitution.
(3) If this Act or any provision of this Act conflicts with the Constitution, then the Constitution will prevail.
3. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires:
(a) a benefit derived by a person;
(b) a benefit derived directly or indirectly by another person at the request or direction of the first person; and
(c) a service, advantage or gift;
"Council" means the Council of Ministers referred to in Article 40 of the Constitution;
"Comprehensive Reform Programme" or "CRP" means the reform programme for the Republic of Vanuatu directed at the:
(a) revival of institutions of governance;
(b) redefinition of the function of the Public Service and improvement of efficiency within the public sector;
(c) encouragement of growth within the private sector; and
(d) equitable distribution of benefits of the programme to the people of Vanuatu;
"Ministerial Office" means an office of a minister of Council that has money appropriated to it by Parliament it for the purpose of its expenditure;
"Ministry" or "Department" means a Government ministry or department of the Republic of Vanuatu;
"Political advisor" means a person or persons employed on the personal staff of a minister to provide political advice;
"Public Service" means the persons employed in the ministries, departments, State appointed offices, agencies and instruments of the Executive Government of Vanuatu as may be designated by the Prime Minister under section 9;
"relevant minister" means the minister of Council to whom a political advisor is employed to assist;
"Secretary" means the Secretary to Council appointed under section 10.
(2) The executive power of the people of t Republic of Vanuatu shall be vested in the Prime Minister and the Council and shall be exercised as provided for by the Constitution and by any other enactment not inconsistent with the Constitution.
(3) The Prime Minister may by written instrument specify the functions, duties and responsibilities of each minister.
LEADERSHIP ROLE OF PRIME MINISTER
5. The Prime Minister will have principal responsibility for:
(a) strategic policy, planning and significant administrative decisions;
(b) coordinating the activities of Government;
(c) determining the fundamental direction of foreign policy;
(d) ensuring observance of the rule of law in public affairs;
(e) overseeing the implementation of Government policy beginning with the implementation of the CRP;
(f) reviewing the machinery and structure of Government; and
(g) tendering advice to the President.
COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
(2) The collective responsibility of the Council is to assist in:
(a) the strategic policy planning of significant matters affecting Vanuatu;
(b) the co-ordination of the activities of Government;
(c) making significant administrative decisions;
(d) ensuring observance of the rule of law in public affairs; and
(e) implementing Government policy beginning with the implementation of the CRP.
(3) Each minister shall assume and be responsible for:
(a) the functions imposed on him or her by the Prime Minister under section 4(4); and
(b) the effective and efficient management of any ministry, department, State appointed office, agency, instrument, authority or corporation under his or her direction.
MINUTES AND DECISIONS OF COUNCIL
(2) Decisions of the Council shall be recorded in writing and a copy provided to each minister and every ministry, department, State appointed office, agency, instrument, authority or corporation of Government affected by or charged with the responsibility of implementing a decision.
(3) The minutes and decisions of Council may be archived after every 3 years or sooner if there is a change in Government.
(4) After a change in Government the minutes of the Council before the change shall be archived and will not be made available to the members appointed to the Council after the change unless the composition of the first mentioned Council is substantially the same as the second mentioned Council.
COMMITTEES OF COUNCIL
(2) It shall be the function of any committee of the Council to:
(a) Gather all available information relevant to the matter before the committee; and
(b) identify issues of policy that should be brought to the attention of the Council; and
(c) formulate recommendations and report to the Council.
MINISTRIES AND THE PUBLIC SERVICE
(2) The Prime Minister may by written instrument direct what functions a ministry shall be responsible for and move from time to time assign to, or withdraw functions from, a ministry.
(3) A minister may, after consultation with he Prime Minister, assign, by written instrument, functions to a ministry for which he or she is responsible.
(4) A minister (including the Prime Minister) must not:
(a) interfere or attempt to interfere iii Public Service employment issues; or
(b) interfere or attempt to interfere in employment issues relating the Teaching Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission, and Police Service Commission.
SUPPORT TO COUNCIL OF MINISTERS
SECRETARY TO COUNCIL
(2) The secretary will be appointed by the Public Service Commission in accordance with the Public Service Act.
(3) The secretary must not disclose any business or general matters of the Council to any third party without the express authority of the Prime Minister or in his or her absence, the minister responsible for the Prime Minister's duties.
(4) The secretary is to be responsible for Council minutes and decisions in accordance with section 7 and must maintain a register of Council minutes and decisions.
FUNCTIONS OF SECRETARY
11. The functions of the secretary will include:
(a) attending Council meetings;
(b) responsibility for ensuring the effective and efficient administration of the business of the Council;
(c) the provision and co-ordination of administrative assistance to the Council;
(d) co-ordination of submissions made to Council; and
(e) complying with the provisions of this Act or any other enactment.
DEVELOPMENTAL COMMITTEE OF OFFICIALS
DEVELOPMENTAL COMMITTEE OF OFFICIALS
13. (1) The members of the DCO will be:
(a) the Director-General of the Prime Ministers office who shall be chairperson;
(b) the Director-General of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management;
(c) the Attorney-General;
(d) the Chairman of the Public Service Commission;
(e) every other director-general of a ministry;
(f) the Director of the Department of Strategic Management who is to be secretary to the DCO; and
(g) the Secretary to Council who shall provide secretarial support, and be the liaison person between Council and the DCO.
(2) A member of the DCO includes an employee or officer who performs the functions, powers or duties of that member during any vacancy in that member's office or during the absence or incapacity of the holder of that office.
FUNCTIONS OF DEVELOPMENTAL COMMITTEE OF OFFICIALS
14. The functions of the DCO shall include:
(a) advising Council on Council submissions;
(b) advising Council on issues submitted to Council; and
(c) improving standards and procedures to be used in preparing Council submissions, and to ensure that submissions and papers put before Council are of the highest quality, are factually correct and have been property coordinated between interested parties.
ATTORNEY GENERAL AND DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF FINANCE
(a) the Attorney-General as to the legal aspects; and
(b) the Director-General of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Management as to the financial implications of each submission and its conformity with the principles of responsible fiscal management.
(2) The Attorney-General and Director-General include an employee or officer who performs the functions powers or duties during any vacancy in, absence from or incapacity of, the holder of either office.
16. A political advisor must:
(a) subject to section 21(3), be appointed by the relevant minister;
(b) not be, or will cease on appointment to be, a member of the Public Service;
(c) not receive a greater total remuneration, including benefits, than a director-general of a ministry;
(d) have his or her employment terminated in accordance with his or her employment contract;
(e) not direct or attempt to direct the director-general or his or her staff in the administration of a ministry other than to convey a general direction of the relevant minister relating to the implementation of Government policy; or
(f) not interfere or attempt to interfere in Public Service employment issues including appointments and terminations; or
(g) not interfere or attempt to interfere in employment issues relating to the Teaching Service Commission, Judicial Service Commission and Police Service Commission including appointments and terminations; or
(h) not interfere or inhibit or attempt to interfere or inhibit a director-general, director or his or her staff or any other person entitled to do so from living policy advice to a minister; or
(i) not prevent or attempt to prevent a director-general, director or his or her staff or any other person entitled to do so from providing information communicating with a minister about matters pertaining to the operations of his or her ministry.
NUMBER OF POLITICAL ADVISORS
ROLE OF POLITICAL ADVISORS
BREACHES OF THE ACT
OFFENCES AND PENALTIES
(2) A political advisor who contravenes section 16(e), (f), (g), (h) and (i) commits an offence against the Leadership Code and is liable to be dealt with under that Code accordingly.
(3) A Secretary to Council who contravenes section 10(3) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding VT200,000, and must be dismissed from office if the Court considers the offence a serious one.
CONDUCT OF PROCEEDINGS
COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL ADVISORS
COUNCIL COMMITTEE ON POLITICAL ADVISORS
(2) The Committee must ensure that the candidate:
(a) has the necessary qualifications or the position; and
(b) is suitable for the position; and
(c) is of good character; and
(d) will attend work and carry out is or her appointed functions; and
(e) is appointed in accordance with the general terms and conditions for the employment of political advisors established by the Committee.
(3) A minister must not appoint a political a( visor until the Committee has approved the candidate in accordance wit -i subsection (2).
(4) The Committee must have a quorum of not less than 3 members.
(5) The Committee will be chaired by the Prime Minister or a minister appointed by him.
(6) The Chairperson must give to each member of the Committee not less than 7 days notice in writing of the date, time and venue of a meeting of the Committee.
(7) The notice must provide an agenda for the meeting including the name of any candidate for the position of a political advisor.
FURTHER RESPONSIBILITIES OF COMMITTEE
22. (1) The Committee on political advisors will also:
(a) determine the structure and budget of each ministerial office; and
(b) specify the number of support staff to be employed; and
(c) ensure that the terms and conditions of employment of political advisors are recorded in a written contract of employment at the time of appointment.
(2) The support staff (other than political advisors) shall be appointed by the Public Service Commission under tie Public Service Act 1998.
25. This Act shall commence on the date that it is published in the Gazette.