Rules of the game


Rules of the game

Rules of the game

This is about knowing your level of authority – the boundaries of your role in relation to managing finances. Often you hear about levels of delegation which tells you what you can make decisions about without consulting anyone. 

Sometimes these rules are not clear – you need to get clarity.

Every organization has a “delegations of authority” policy or procedure.  At the very least these explain what each role in the organization can spend without seeking approval.  A good delegations policy will also cover who can approve staff recruitment, signing of contracts or signing off on reports and applications for grants and so on.

Case study: Good intentions without good process can cost

Once upon a time there was a hard working Unit Manager.  Her salaries and wages budget was blowing out because of a high cost Workcover claim.   A staff member had fallen off a chair suffering a shoulder injury that required surgery and physio with slow recovery.  When she investigated this she found that the chair was a cheap, non OHS approved chair.   Further investigation found that the ward clerk ordered the chair and thinking she was doing the right thing, bought the cheapest one.  She was unaware that there was a procurement process that should be followed.  This cost the Unit over $60K and contributed to an increased Workcover premium for the organization of around $50K.


  • Find and review the Instrument of delegation and determine what level of delegation you have in your position – what decisions can you make without seeking permission?
  • Who do you need to obtain permission or authority from?
  • What are the forms or templates you need to use and where are these?
  • Consider a purchase or service that you would routinely need.  Tease out the exact process you would need to follow, including the forms you need to fill in and the people you need to consult with in order to make this purchase.


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