Approvals and requirements
Prior to commencing a Government advertising campaign, agencies must assess the likely costs of the campaign and ensure that the following requirements are completed:
|Under $250,000||Over $250,000||
Over $1 million
|Evaluation Framework||Evaluation Framework||Evaluation Framework|
|Compliance Certificate||Compliance Certificate||Compliance Certificate|
|Peer Review||Peer Review|
|Cost Benefit Analysis|
|Approval from Cabinet Standing Committee|
The cost of the campaign includes any expenses such as, but not limited to, the research and strategic planning of the campaign, creative production, media buy and evaluation.
Agencies are responsible for ensuring that any changes to the proposed Government advertising campaign are compliant with the agencies’ obligations under the Act, Regulation, Guidelines and this Handbook. Significant departures from the original proposed Government advertising campaign may require revisiting the steps set out in the above table.
The Act provides that the relevant head of a government agency (that is, the Secretaries or Chief Executives) must, prior to a Government advertising campaign being disseminated, sign a compliance certificate that certifies, in the opinion of the head of the Government agency, that the Government advertising campaign:
- complies with the Act, Regulation and Guidelines
- contains accurate information
- is necessary to achieve a public purpose and is supported by analysis and research
- is an efficient and cost-effective means of achieving the public purpose. The advertising compliance certificate serves as the approval by the head of a government agency for all Government advertising campaigns, regardless of value.
The Government Advertising Regulation 2018 Section 7 provides that ‘routine advertising’ under $250,000 (ex GST) does not require compliance certificate provided:
- The advertising is approved by an "Authorised Officer" with written authorisation from the Head of the Agency and authority to incur the expenditure (for example Delegations Manual)
- The Authorised officer is satisfied that the advertising complies with the Government Advertising Act 2011, the Regulation, and the Government Advertising Guidelines
‘Routine advertising’ involves information about routine service matters, community events, notices required by law, recruitment or procurement. Section 7 of the Regulation implements this change, and defines 'routine advertising'.
Peer Review is a requirement under the Government Advertising Act 2011 Section 7(2). The Government Advertising Regulation 2018 Section 4 implements the new threshold of $250,000 for peer review rather than $50,000 as mentioned in Section 7(2) of the Act. All NSW Government campaigns with a total cost likely to exceed $250,000 (excluding GST) are subject to a peer review before the campaign commences.
The peer review process is managed by Department of Premier and Cabinet who issue agencies with a letter confirming when the process has been completed.
Agencies are responsible for ensuring that the content of submissions for peer review is accurate and provided in the appropriate formats as advised by Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Peer reviews of campaigns for whole-of-government initiatives shall include a reviewer independent of the public sector.
In cases where the Department of Premier and Cabinet develops a campaign that requires a peer review, the following rules apply:
- The review will be convened by a person independent of the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
- All peer reviewers will be independent of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, including at least one reviewer independent of the public sector.
- The peer review chair reviews the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s response to the review to ensure all issues raised have been addressed and then provides an independent written assurance of the appropriateness of the campaign to the Secretary, Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Cost Benefit Analysis
Where the cost of a campaign is likely to exceed $1 million, Section 7 (1) of the Act requires a Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA) to be carried out before the campaign commences. The Act and Guidelines refer to CBAs being completed at a campaign level.
The agency proposing the advertising campaign is responsible for preparing the CBA. Agencies should refer to the Cost Benefits Analysis Framework for Government Advertising and Information Campaigns when preparing a CBA.
Agencies should also refer to the Cost Benefit Analysis for Government Advertising: A User Guide.
Cabinet Standing Committee on Communication and Government Advertising
All NSW Government advertising campaigns with a cost likely to exceed $1 million will require additional approval of the Committee.
Campaigns over this value must complete the requirements of the Act (including peer review, cost benefit analysis and compliance certificate signed by the head of the government agency) before seeking Committee approval.
Agencies may also seek approval of programs of advertising, which refer to all planned advertising campaigns by an agency relating to the same broad focus area within the financial year. For example, road safety, skin cancer prevention and NSW tourism and event promotions.
The expenditure for Government advertising campaigns likely to be less than $1 million can be approved by the head of the government agency, subject to the requirements of the Act. Approval from the Committee is separate and additional to the independent role of agency heads under the Act.
Department of Premier and Cabinet will liaise with agencies on any other requirements of the Committee, such as providing information on advertising effectiveness or expenditure.
The cost of the campaign includes any expenses such as, but not limited to, the research and strategic planning of the campaign, creative production, media buy and evaluation. The reported cost of an advertising campaign is exclusive of GST.
The Guidelines detail specific requirements and accountabilities around the cost of campaigns, including demonstrating a specific need for the campaign, allowing realistic timeframes for approval, and ensuring methods of advertising are not excessive.