Information security

INF013

Security classifications for Cabinet documents

This section covers Cabinet documents, such as Cabinet and Cabinet committee agendas, papers, minutes, and memos.

Documents that Cabinet uses to formulate policy and make decisions require special protective measures.

Cabinet documents, unlike other official information, belong to the governments that create them. They’re integral to the process by which governments make decisions and they constitute the record of those decisions.

Any unauthorised disclosure damages the openness and frankness of discussions in the Cabinet room and impedes the process of good government.

Protective markings for Cabinet papers

The minimum protective marking for Cabinet papers is IN CONFIDENCE. Higher security classifications should be used if appropriate.

To ensure a paper receives the right level of protection, the originating agency (or Minister's office) is responsible applying a security classification to a Cabinet submission.

If your agency submits a Cabinet paper without a security classification or with an inappropriate classification, the Cabinet Office will assign the correct security classification in consultation with the relevant Minister's office.

Endorsement markings for Cabinet papers

When your agency needs to identify special care requirements for Cabinet papers, you should apply an endorsement marking.

Endorsement markings used for Cabinet papers include:

  • BUDGET: proposed or actual measures for the Budget before their announcement
  • COMMERCIAL: sensitive commercial processes, negotiations, or affairs
  • STAFF: reference to names or identifiable individuals
  • SPECIAL HANDING REQUIRED: specific handling requirements apply.

Use SPECIAL HANDLING REQUIRED sparingly

Very little information needs the endorsement marking SPECIAL HANDLING REQUIRED and it should be used sparingly.

This endorsement marking is specific to Cabinet papers. It may be used with the SENSITIVE security classification if the material in the paper is assessed as highly sensitive in nature and needing additional protection.

More advice on classifying and handling Cabinet material

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) 
Secure handling of Cabinet material

Page last modified: 5/08/2019