The Committee was formed in November 1996 following the disestablishment of the former Standing Committee on Government Agencies, which had been in operation since April 1982. The primary objective of the Committee is to inquire into and report to the House on the means of establishing government agencies; the roles, functions, efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of agencies; and, generally, the conduct of public administration by or through agencies, including the relevance and effectiveness of applicable law and administrative practises.
In addition, the Committee currently has a particular interest in out-sourcing, and the contracting out of government services. The Committee is mindful of the issues raised by the contracting out process, such as the apportionment of liability, the allocation of risk, and precisely which party is responsible when disputes arise as to non-performance, or unsatisfactory performance, of a particular service or contractual obligation. The Committee maintains a close interest in the implications of these processes on the delivery and quality of public services.