Mandates and roles

Public agencies are required to clearly articulate roles and responsibilities.

Government policy

The Public Agencies Governance Framework (0.3 MB) requires all agencies have clearly articulated roles and responsibilities. This will occur through formalized mandate and roles documents that describe:

  • the mandate of the public agency
  • the roles of government and the public agency
  • the accountability chain
  • a process for annual reaffirmation of Mandate and Roles Document
  • how the renewal of mandate and roles document will occur

The requirements and content for Mandate and Roles Documents under the Alberta Public Agencies Governance Act (APAGA) (0.3 MB), can be found in sections 3, 4 and 5.

Discussion

Common understanding of all parties' roles and responsibilities is the primary governance issue for public agencies and government.

The minister is ultimately responsible to the public for how the work of the government is accomplished. The authority to conduct government business flows from the minister, or through legislation for which the minister is responsible, through to the public agency, and back.

Once responsibility is given to a public agency, the public agency must exercise discretion within the bounds of its mandate, and be consistent with applicable government policy, while being held accountable for its results. Clear statements about roles and responsibilities that are reviewed and regularly accepted by the public agency and department are essential for good governance.

Copies of the Mandate and Roles Document for all public agencies will be filed with the responsible department, the public agency and the Public Agency Secretariat. In support of transparency, this document must be available publicly.

Mandate and Roles Documents

Mandate and Roles Documents will build on the business case and legislation to provide further clarity and direction between the government and public agencies. The mandate and roles document is not meant to duplicate existing legislation or agreements, but rather address how the legal framework will be put into practice. In some cases, they may be adapted from existing Memoranda of Understanding.

These documents are created cooperatively between the minister and the chair, each document's purpose is to provide an understanding of the role of the public agency within the government structure, and to outline the goals and performance expectations of the minister. It also outlines the role of the minister and, where applicable, department designates. The document provides an opportunity for ministers and chairs to develop communication channels, express concerns and share successes.

Mandate and Roles Documents will vary among public agencies. In the checklist provided below are the minimum requirements under the APAGA, the requirements from the Public Agencies Governance Framework and items recognized as good governance practices that have been included in the sample documents that are provided elsewhere on this website.

For ease of reference, the checklist uses the same section headings that are found in the sample documents for different classifications of public agencies.

Downloads

Mandate and Roles Document Checklist (0.05 MB) - updated January 12, 2010

Sample pure advisory agency mandate and roles document (s.7 advisory agencies) - updated September 24, 2014:

Sample regulatory/adjudicative agency mandate and roles document - updated September 24, 2014:

Sample public trust or corporate enterprise agency mandate and roles document - updated September 24, 2014:

Sample service delivery agency mandate and roles document - updated September 24, 2014:

Sample Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a service delivery agency - added April 2009: