Cabinet Office issues formal advice about the operation of the executive government, most often in the form of a circular or a notice.
Circulars are public and provide information related to government operations. They are often supplements to the Cabinet Manual.
Circulars are published by the Cabinet Office on the authority of the Prime Minister, the Cabinet, or the Secretary of the Cabinet. The nature and significance of the information will determine the appropriate approval level and process.
Current circulars are published on the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s website (filter the Publication archive with ‘Cabinet Office circulars’ as the publication type to see the whole list). A list of circulars that have been cancelled or superseded is also available in the Publication archive. Contact the Cabinet Office if you would like a copy of a circular that is no longer current.
What is the process for getting a circular published?#
Circulars are drafted by agency or Cabinet Office officials. Cabinet Office finalises and publishes circulars.
To be published as a circular, the information should generally have ongoing-relevance, and must be:
- intended for a wide audience, including Ministers and a broad range of government officials, and appropriate for public release (e.g. not classified)
- about government operations. It should concern procedures, standards, and/or expectations that form part of the activities of government, relate to central government, and be generally relevant across the public sector
- significant. Circulars are issued on the authority of the Prime Minister, Cabinet, or the Secretary of Cabinet. To meet the significance test, the content of a proposed circular should:
- have a meaningful effect on the day-to-day business of government, or
- communicate Cabinet expectations, based on a Cabinet decision (through a Cabinet paper), or
- include guidance issued by the Secretary of the Cabinet (e.g. information related to general elections, such as the arrangements for a transition to a new administration).
Contact the Cabinet Office for more information if you need to publish a circular.
Notices contain short-term administrative information related to the government of the day, such as indicative meeting timetables. These are only available to officials in agencies and the offices of current government Ministers and Parliamentary Under-Secretaries.
Notices are emailed by Cabinet Office to Minister’s Offices and agencies, and published on websites only accessible by those audiences (such as non-public facing agency intranets). Contact the Cabinet Office if you would like a copy of a notice.