Oversight and administration

Compliance

Under the Act, the head of a government agency is responsible for:

  • overseeing and certifying government advertising campaigns
  • ensuring that a campaign undertaken by the government agency complies with all government policies
  • ensuring that research and other relevant records that substantiate the compliance certificate can be produced, if required.

Exemptions

If an agency considers that it may not be able to comply with an obligation set out in this Handbook, the agency should contact Department of Premier and Cabinet immediately to seek advice on how to proceed.

Monitoring

While compliance with the Act, Regulation and Guidelines is ultimately a matter for each NSW Government agency, the Department of Premier and Cabinet is able to review agencies’ compliance with their obligations in the following situations:

  • advertising submitted for peer review or to the Cabinet Standing Committee on Communication and Government Advertising
  • advertising which is brought to the attention of the Department of Premier and Cabinet for advice
  • advertising procured through the Media Agency Services contract

In addition, the Auditor-General is required under the Act to conduct annual performance audits of one or more government agencies in relation to their advertising campaigns.

Agencies may also wish to consider including an audit of their advertising for compliance with the Handbook in their internal audit programs.

Reporting

Expenditure

The Department of Premier and Cabinet requests expenditure information from agencies as required, including estimated forward expenditure and final campaign costs.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet publishes an updated report (every six months) on its website with details of advertising media expenditure by government agencies

Agencies are also encouraged to publish information about their own advertising programs on their websites. Information may include advertising rationale, objectives, costs and outcomes. 

Evaluation

As part of developing an advertising strategy, agencies should determine and document how they intend to measure the effectiveness of their advertising activities.

Agencies should conduct evaluation (as appropriate) that is relevant, cost-effective and meaningful in order to measure the success of their advertising against its stated objectives. These results must be shared with the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Roles and responsibilities

This table summarises some of the main roles and responsibilities in the management and oversight of government advertising. 

Government agencies Ensure compliance with the requirements set out in the Act, as well as the requirements of the Guideline and Handbook.
Accountable for the development and implementation of advertising activity relating to their responsibilities.
Demonstrate the specific need being addressed by the proposed advertising activity and explain the rationale and evidence for the chosen approach.
Allow reasonable and realistic timeframes to undertake advertising, with consideration of required approvals, media deadlines and cost efficiencies.
Ensure that the content of Advertising submissions for peer review is accurate and provided in the appropriate formats as advised by Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Provide to Department of Premier and Cabinet information required by Cabinet relating to campaign expenditure and evaluation of the campaign outcomes.
Secretaries and Chief Executives Responsible for overseeing and certifying Government advertising campaigns.
Must, prior to a Government advertising campaign being disseminated, certify the campaign (unless they are able to delegate certification of an advertising campaign if a ‘routine campaign’). See the certification section of the Handbook.
Certification must reflect the Secretary’s or Chief Executive’s own views, independent of any Ministerial direction on campaign design or implementation as it relates to method, medium and volume of advertising.
Responsible for ensuring that, if required, research and other relevant records that substantiate the compliance certificate can be produced.
Must ensure that a Government advertising campaign undertaken by the government agency complies with all government policies, including financial management and procurement policies.
Determining whether an activity meets the definition of the Act.
Ministers The head of a government agency is not subject to the direction or control of any Minister concerning:
  • the method, medium or volume of any Government advertising
  • campaign of their agency
  • whether to issue a compliance certificate for a Government advertising campaign.
Ministers may, however, direct agencies in relation to determining budgetary or other financial limits for Government advertising campaigns.
Auditor-General Conduct annual performance audits of one or more government agencies in relation to their advertising campaigns.
Determine whether a government agency has carried out the campaign economically, efficiently and in compliance with the Act and the Guidelines.
Department of Premier and Cabinet Coordinates Government advertising to maximise effectiveness and minimise crossover and duplication.
Manage the peer review process.
Support the Secretariat of the Cabinet Standing Committee on Communication and Government Advertising.
Manage the Media Agency Services contract on behalf of NSW Government agencies.
Provide guidance on advertising processes and policies.
Provide advice and assistance to agencies regarding use of advertising suppliers, research and evaluation approaches and reviews of cost production.
Manage the panel of approved creative advertising and digital communication suppliers.
Share advertising and media information across the whole of government to promote best practice and learning.
Manage the NSW Government website, including content.
Monitor and report on expenditure to ensure that government agencies adhere to government advertising cost savings initiatives.
Report to the Cabinet Standing Committee on NSW Government advertising matters.