The Office Manager role will vary from office to office, depending on the requirements of the employing parliamentarian. Despite the variance, there are several key responsibilities that generally fall under the domain of the Office Manager, these include:
- Managing budgets
- Managing office records
- Managing work expenses
- Booking travel
- Preparing reports
- Overseeing office maintenance and managing supplies
- Assisting with staff recruitment and termination
- Managing staff performance and career planning
- Managing WH&S roles
The section below has been designed to assist Office Managers undertake some of the main functions of their role, and to provide an overview of the key contacts available to provide additional support.
Ministerial & Parliamentary Services (MaPS)
MaPS administers the employment framework for MOP(S) Act employees and provides a number of HR and support services.
|(02) 6215 3333|
Pay & Conditions
Pay & Conditions provide advice and support on matters relating to salary, leave, professional development and PEMS.
(02) 6215 3333 - Option 1
HR Advice & Support
HR Advice & Support provide advice and support on WH&S, restructuring & recruitment, performance conversations, and other employment matters.
(02) 6215 3333 - Option 2
Parliamentary Business Resources (PBR)
PBR provide advice and support on office expenses including the use of expenses, claims processing and PEMS office support.
(02) 6215 3333 - Option 3
The Education team are responsible for the delivery of the Professional Development Program (PDP), parliamentarian and employee inductions, the Safe and Respectful Workplaces program, and the assessment of ad-hoc training and studies assistance applications.
(02) 6215 3333, select option 1 and request to speak with the education team
Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA)
IPEA is responsible for arranging the payment of travel allowances and administration of travel expenses.
(02) 6215 3000
Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS)
DPS provides hardware to connect each office to Parliament House through the APH Network. Equipment and services available through DPS include:
|(02) 6277 2020|
Commonwealth Parliament Offices
State and territory offices provide advice and assistance on electorate office accommodation and equipment, private-plated vehicles, and manage the Commonwealth Parliament Offices located in each capital city (except for Canberra).
|NSW/ACT||(02) 8289 9900|
|Vic||(03) 9660 6600|
|Qld||(07) 3001 8900|
|WA||(08) 9260 5000|
|SA||(08) 8205 1000|
|Tas||(03) 6231 0734|
|NT||(08) 8941 4133|
As an office manager, you will typically manage the Electorate Support Budget (ESB) and the office expenses budget.
The ESB is an annual budget allocated to each parliamentarian to fund the employment of electorate employees (generally on a short-term, relief basis), and travel for official business by electorate employees and nominated personal employees.
Click here for further information on the ESB.
Parliamentarians are also provided with an annual budget for office expenses under s67 of the Parliamentary Business Resources Regulations 2017 (the Regulations). Details on the 2022-23 FY budget and the types of office expenses that can be claimed are available here.
Click here for further information on the office expenses budget including the conditions for claiming, requirements for printing and communication related expenses, and more!
Managing office records
Good record keeping not only helps make life in a busy office easier but assists in meeting obligations under the PBR Act and other legislation (e.g. Fairwork Act). Where possible, records should be kept electronically (soft-copy) on your designated server as this is secure and backed up, or within relevant system (e.g. PEMS) where they exist. All physical records should be digitised where possible.
The way in which you choose to keep records should be clearly communicated, logical and consistent to make it easily accessible and organised. A set of simple guidelines for record keeping in your office can help ensure this. Guidelines may include:
- How the architecture of files/folders is organised in your office
A clear and actionable records management strategy should be at the heart of your organisation’s records and information architecture, processes and procedures. Guidelines should detail how the architecture of files/folders is organised in your office.
- The requirement to digitise physical records where possible
While digitisation of physical records can be seen as a time consuming and costly endeavour, the end result will far outweigh the interim costs and effort. Note, Adobe Professional software provides the ability to complete and sign forms electronically.
- Naming conventions
The name given to a file or document should follow a standard sequence e.g. 'Monthly Office Report February 2023'.
If a system does not already exist, spreadsheets (typically excel) provide a platform to track information, e.g. parcels/mail in and out, constituent interactions, office assets, staffing details, payment of invoices.
All records (digital and physical) are vulnerable to data breaches. Whilst statutory regulations dictate that some records need to be kept indefinitely, most records should be destroyed after a prescribed period of time. It is good practice to schedule a regular audit of files and folders.
Privacy and sensitivity of information should be considered in all recording keeping procedures and guidelines.
Managing work expense
Office Managers may be asked to manage a variety of ad-hoc work expenses on behalf of the parliamentarian. These expenses could relate to private plated vehicles, Canberra-based vehicles, vehicle administration, legal assistance expenses and injury compensation claims.
Click here for further information on any the above, in addition to other work expenses and related resources.
The following reporting must be completed for Parliamentary Work Expenses:
1. Monthly Management Reports (MMRs): these include payments made and invoices raised within the month being reported, including office and travel expenses for staff at transactional level.
MMRs are used to assist with monitoring expenditure and managing budgets. MMRs are provided to parliamentarians for internal use to assist with the day to day operations of the office and are not required to be certified.
2. Quarterly Expenditure Reports: these include payments made and repayments received within the reporting period.
Parliamentarians are asked to certify that their expenses are within the legislated purpose.
Expenditure reports and certifications are published on the IPEA website and the data from the reports is published on data.gov.au. Reports only include aggregate travel expenses for staff.
Further information can be found on the IPEA website, or you can contact IPEA directly: 02 6215 3000.
Travel for parliamentarians and MOP(S) Act employees is administered by the Independent Parliamentary Expenses Authority (IPEA). Queries about travel should be directed to IPEA.
Overseeing office maintenance and managing supplies
Some office maintenance issues are a landlord responsibility, while others are managed by Ventia (the contracted property provider). MaPS state and territory offices work closely with both parties to ensure offices are properly maintained.
Click here for further information on office maintenance including instructions on how to log issues.
The supply, maintenance and replacement of office furniture and major office equipment is arranged by the MaPS state and territory offices. State and Territory offices also coordinate the information and communication technology (ICT) equipment provided by the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS).
Click here for further information on furniture, equipment and office ICT.
Assisting with staff recruitment and termination
As an Office Manager, you may be responsible for assisting your parliamentarian with staff recruitment and terminations.
To assist with the recruitment process, MaPS have created a comprehensive guide to recruitment which is available under ‘Related Resources’ on the Recruiting staff page on the MaPS website.
Click here for further information on recruitment, ensuring you use the ‘New employee contracts’ tool to identify the required paperwork to be completed for your new starter.
An employing parliamentarian (or authorised person) may terminate an employee’s employment in accordance with the MOP(S) Act and other legislative obligations by giving notice in writing.
Termination must meet the requirements of the Fair Work Act 2009, including ensuring the termination is not unfair or unlawful.
Before terminating an employee’s employment, advice should be sought from the MaPS HR Advice and Support team.
Click here for further information ceasing employment, including terminations.
Managing staff performance and career planning
Inducting new employees, providing clarity around roles in the workplace and routinely holding performance discussions (including conversations around career planning), are all ways in which employers and managers can support employees to perform at their best.
Click here for further information on managing staff performance, including guidance on how to create a position description and establish a performance agreement.
Probationary periods provide the opportunity to review and assess the performance of new employees within the first several months of their employment. It is strongly recommended that all new ongoing and non-ongoing employees are placed on probation at the beginning of their employment.
Click here for further information on probation and probation periods.
Managing WHS roles
There are four Work Health and Safety (WHS) roles within each parliamentarian’s Commonwealth-funded office (electorate office). These are:
- WHS Site Officer
- First Aid Officer
- Emergency Officer
- Deputy Emergency Officer
Under the WHS Act 2011, it is a requirement for each role to be filled, with penalties incurred by parliamentarians for non-compliance.
A Corporate Responsibility Allowance (CRA) is paid to each employee who is nominated for a WHS role, aside from that of Deputy Emergency Officer. An employee can be nominated for multiple roles. Details on how to nominate WHS roles in your office are available here.
Click here for further information on workplace health and safety, including instructions on incident and hazard reporting.