Four groups of Statutes (Acts of Parliament), and delegated powers under those Acts, legally regulate the work of the department. The groups of Acts are those relating to: child protection, adoption, the public sector/human resources and financial administration. For the purposes of the Child Safety Practice Manual (CSPM), it is sufficient to refer to the Acts relating to child protection and to adoption, in particular the:

To authorise actions to give effect to the purposes of these Acts, they each confer powers on the chief executive. As it is not practical to expect that the chief executive would always exercise those powers, that is, perform or authorise particular actions on a day-to-day basis, the Acts also give the chief executive power to delegate their statutory powers to officers or categories of officers, for example, the Child Protection Act 1999, section 156, and the Family Services Act 1987, section 6.

The formal legal instruments for this delegation of authority are written 'instruments of delegation' signed by the chief executive which delegate specified powers to particular categories of officer.

Whereas the CSPM provides staff with professional guidance and direction for actions they are to undertake, it is delegations under Acts that give relevant staff the legal authority to perform those actions.

Departmental officer's have a responsibility to be informed of instruments of delegation as authority documents, and the Code of Conduct for the Queensland Public Service (created under the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (PDF)) states that, 'You have a responsibility to maintain a good working knowledge of the legislation, policies, standards and procedures relating to your role, and to ensure your decisions are consistent with these (section 1.2)'. In addition, the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994 (PDF), section 7, requires public service officials to uphold the laws of the State and the Commonwealth, and the Public Service Act 2008 (PDF), section 26, requires that public service employees observe all laws relevant to their employment.

In addition to child protection and adoption, other Acts which have delegations applying to officers of the department are:

For further information, refer to the Statutory delegations on the department's infonet site.