Kia ora koutou
It isn't often that New Zealanders suggest that a public servant should be the New Zealander of the year, but at the time of writing about 4,300 New Zealanders have signed a petition for Dr Ashley Bloomfield to take that honour.
I am sure Ashley Bloomfield would be the first to acknowledge that he relies on all public servants across the system. He gives us an insight into the best public servants everywhere. In front of the media glare he reveals the cherished qualities of public service: honesty, clarity, responsiveness, learning, using evidence, humility, being unflappable and communicating with warmth and care.
The State Services Commissioner made the appointment of a doctor to lead the Ministry of Health. A wise decision it seems. There may be some agencies in the Public Service where the choice of a person with a related professional background is important, and other agencies where it is less crucial. A matter for future conversation perhaps.
For now, let’s celebrate the public service at its best, and let’s acknowledge that this excellence and leadership is demonstrated across central government, in iwi and hapu, local government, community organisations and much more.
Let us also celebrate that we may see a shift in public attitudes, with more appreciation of the preventative and coordinating role of governments and the public service.
Lessons in Leading in a Crisis
Like many of you, we have been reading the multitude of papers coming out about leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic.
There are no recipes for how to be a leader: every person leads in their own way and certain leadership styles fit better in certain circumstances. Being authentic is very important.
Some insights that resonated with us from all our reading included:
We saw an account of the empathy and care shown by many of the global women leaders and will leave you with this image “It’s like their arms are coming out of their videos to hold you close in a heart-felt and loving embrace. Who knew leaders could sound like this? Now we do.”
These two articles explore the intensely human side of leadership:
Maintaining Trust in Government and Each Other
We are blessed in New Zealand to have high trust in Government. Trust is built up over a long time and lost in an instant. In a crisis where government has unusual powers, even more care is needed to uphold human rights for everyone
Government is using a mix of legal and emergency powers and a softer but powerful force by signalling the social norms of behaviours. Government has also demonstrated the importance of democratic accountability with the establishment of the Epidemic Response Committee.
These interventions could have failed if New Zealand did not have a strong sense of community and social solidarity. The importance of this culture may be one of the most important ingredients contributing to any success we achieve.
We are also fortunate to have our independent watchdogs — crucial agencies such as the Ombudsman, the Auditor General, the Privacy Commissioner and the Human Rights Commission. Their role is vital at all times, but ever more so now.
Some good examples we’ve seen of the work being done by watchdog agencies here and overseas include:
Meet the Team
We’ve started a series of articles introducing the team who make things tick at IPANZ.
First up is Kavya Shrivastava, who became an IPANZ New Professionals co-convener last year.
With both parents in the public sector, it was almost inevitable that Kavya would find herself working in the public sector too.
Kavya says she was drawn to becoming involved with the New Professionals as a co-convenor because she wanted to help to foster the network, the sense of belonging, and to host really interesting and useful events.
“It can be a lonely place starting a new job in the public sector and it’s a steep learning curve when it’s your first time. IPANZ is a great way to get those skills that you need and meet people who can help you out. We also host a wide range of events based on what’s happening in the work at that time. These help you stay informed in a very accessible and understandable way — while getting to hang out with lots of people!”
You can read our article about Kavya here.
Celebrating Our Peers
We’ve seen some wonderful examples of best practice coming out of our public sector agencies in recent weeks, which we think deserve celebrating.
So we’re sending virtual bouquets today to:
It could be a while before we will be welcoming all our members to face-to-face events again.
In the meantime we have our Journal, with more in-depth articles, our e-update with more concise gems, and our social media channels including our LinkedIn page with a mix of relevant content.
In addition to this, we are now are offering a series of informative and insightful videos, which we will prepare specifically for you.
In our first video, public sector ICT expert Laurence Millar addresses the very timely and important issue of digital inclusion.
Laurence talks about the challenges of digital inclusion, what is needed, why exclusion happens, and the future beyond Covid-19.
You can view this video here. And access it any time via the events section on website.
WHAT WE'RE READING
This article from Geoff Mulgan’s blog caught our attention. He turns his mind to the future, and especially speaks of what might happen in relation to government once the crisis is over — very much the sorts of things IPANZ thinks about.
As is always the case with Geoff — Professor of Collective Intelligence, Public Policy and Social Innovation at University College London — we found lots to consider, for example:
Please Stay in Touch with Us
IPANZ is upping our presence on social media to give you more ways to find out about our events and receive helpful information from us. If you’re not already connected with us, please follow our new page on LinkedIn.
If you found this update useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues. We’re always looking to reach more people with our news, events and insights. If you have friends and colleagues in Christchurch or Auckland, we would be particularly happy to hear from them.
And if you’ve received this update indirectly and would like to sign up to our mailing list, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org