Instructing the PCO
New: From policy to Parliament, the steps in transforming policy into a Bill for introduction.
This part of the PCO website provides information and resources to assist departmental officials involved in preparing legislation.
Transforming government policy into legislation is a collaborative task between Parliamentary Counsel and officers of the instructing department, particularly the instructing departmental solicitor. We rely on the instructing department to provide well-thought-out, comprehensive, and fully developed drafting instructions in order to achieve the government’s policy objectives. Instructing departments rely on us to draft legislation that is legally effective, easy to understand and apply, and consistent with legal principle and other legislation. The best legislation results from a successful partnership between instructing departments and Parliamentary Counsel.
The resources we offer here are intended to strengthen this partnership:
- The Guide to Working with the PCO (PDF version 650KB) describes the roles of instructor and drafter, and outlines the various stages in the development of legislation, for both Bills and Legislative Instruments.
- Checklists for drafting instructions and the introduction of Bills.
- From policy to Parliament, a diagram and poster showing the steps and time required to transform policy into a Bill for introduction.
- Principles of clear drafting (PDF version 284KB), an excerpt from our in-house Drafting Manual, provides guidance on drafting for agencies that draft subordinate legislation. It outlines the structure of legislative sentences and how to express legislative ideas in writing, describes the use of formulas, tables, charts, etc, and includes a list of reference material and an appendix of problematic words.
- Clauses for standard elements of Treaty settlement Bills provides the standard clauses that are to be used in new Treaty of Waitangi settlement Bills covering redress that is common to most settlements.
- Production of forms and graphics for publication in legislation sets out our requirements for forms and graphics provided to us for publication in legislation.
- Choosing fonts for forms and graphics lists the fonts that can be used in supplied forms and graphics.
- The Model clauses for alternative dispute resolution (PDF version 64KB) form a companion-piece to Chapter 18 of the LAC Guidelines "Alternative Dispute Resolution Clauses in Legislation" (2001 edition).
- Notifying Legislative Instruments explains an agency's obligations in arranging for Legislative Instruments to be notified in the New Zealand Gazette.
- Notifying Other Instruments outlines the process we use for keeping links to Other Instruments up to date on the New Zealand Legislation website.
- Guidance on regulatory impact statements (RISs) explains how to refer to an RIS in a Bill's explanatory note, and sets out printing requirements.
- Highlights from the PCO Quarterly are excerpts from our newsletter for instructing departments.
We also offer seminars to instructing departments. Please contact us, or contact your Drafting Team Manager directly, for more information. We also welcome requests for any other material you would like to see on this part of the website.