PCO Secretariats

Photograph: PCO Employees

Secretariats are the basic building blocks of the Privy Council Office (PCO). Although each secretariat plays a distinct role within PCO, many share common functions.

Some secretariats support the Cabinet and one or two of its committees. Many also keep track of activities and trends within specific policy sectors such as the economy, foreign affairs or security and intelligence.

Others provide advice on appointments, the way the government is organized, the development of legislation, communications issues and other direct interests of the Prime Minister.

Key roles include:

  • Supporting Cabinet Committees (and other advisory committees)
    • Assisting Cabinet with the smooth functioning of its committees
    • Transmitting decisions and documents to departments
  • Managing the Flow of Cabinet Business
    • Ensuring Cabinet's decision-making process operates effectively (following the Prime Minister's design, standards and instructions)
    • Managing changes in committee structure and the use of ad hoc committees (to focus on special policy areas and challenges)
  • Facilitating Policy Development
    • Working with federal departments and agencies to prepare ministerial proposals for Cabinet
    • Ensuring a good fit between new proposals, existing policies and government objectives
    • Launching first steps for implementation