Ministers and Officials - Getting the Relationship Right

IPANZ and ANZSOG jointly hosted a panel discussion exploring the drivers of a good relationship between Ministers and Officials - panelists Sir Bill English, Hon Carmel Sepuloni, Wayne Eagleson and Peter Mersi shared insights from their experiences working at the political/administrative interface.

This panel discussion facilitated by Sally Washington, Director Aotearoa, ANZSOG, provided many insights from both Ministerial and Bureaucratic perspectives, below is a small selection from the discussion. A more comprehensive summary the discussion will be published in the September Public Sector Journal. 

  • Establish a Good Foundation - from the very first meeting, help your Minister understand not only the issues, but the machinery of government, so he/she can make good decisions. Avoid jargon and assumptions about the Minister's familiarity with the portfolio.
  • Understand the Environment Your Minister Is Operating In - learn about the political landscape and how this is influencing decision-making. Political nous is a critical competency for senior officials.
  • Openness and Transparency are Key - this involves more than a 'no surprises' approach! Don't hold back any information, particularly bad news - it travels faster than good news. 
  • Political Advisors - are key figures in building an effective relationship with the Minister.
  • Trust, Respect and Openness need to be at the heart of the Minister/Official relationship.

Sally Washington, Director Aotearoa, ANZSOG has written a summary of this discussion, you can read this here