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Privy Council Office > PCO Secretariats

PCO Secretariats

Photograph: PCO Employees

Secretariats are the basic building blocks of the Privy Council Office (PCO). Although each secretariat plays a distinct role within PCO, many share common functions.

Some secretariats support the Cabinet and committees of Cabinet and keep track of developments within specific policy sectors. Others provide advice on appointments, mandates and government organization, legislation and counsel issues, security and intelligence, communications issues and other direct concerns of the Prime Minister.

Key roles include:

Supporting Cabinet Committees

  • Assisting the Cabinet and its committees in preparing for and conducting meetings; 
  • Transmitting decisions and documents to departments.

Managing the Flow of Cabinet Business

  • Helping ensure the Cabinet decision-making process functions smoothly according to the standards, design and instructions of the Prime Minister;
  • Managing changes in committee structure and the use of ad hoc committees (to focus on special policy areas and problems).

Facilitating Policy Development

  • Working with departments to prepare ministerial proposals for Cabinet;
  • Ensuring complementarity between new proposals, existing policies and government objectives;
  • Arranging for follow-up measures for implementation.