As a Minister or head of a department cannot make all of the decisions in that department it is normal to delegate those decisions to officers, often at a minor level within the department or agency. It would be unreasonable to grant total decision making powers to lower level officials and usually only limited powers are granted to a person. Historically, many cases have argued whether the exercise of powers can be granted to the officer who has made the decision.
At the present time, the expansion of government has seen an increase in the number of decisions being made with the decision making process being controlled by departmental guidelines or manuals that contain detailed rules interpreting the terms of the statute. Under freedom of information laws these manuals must be made available to the general public, see Freedom of information. It is often useful to obtain these manuals when considering any application for review.
Is the decision a Commonwealth or State government one?
It is important to know whether a decision was made by either the Commonwealth or State governments, otherwise a lot of time may be wasted by complaining to the wrong body. For example, social security payments are all administered by Centrelink, a Commonwealth government agency, whereas the Housing Trust is a State Government agency. If there is any doubt the office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman or the State Ombudsman will be able to advise which body is responsible.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.