E-Update - 6 October

Kia ora koutou

You may be familiar with our annual end of year event, where we usually invite media commentators to talk about significant events of the past year and look ahead to the next year. We hope to make it a little different this time, still with a future focus, but more creative!  We will call it a “radical ideas” forum.

The idea is that we’ll hear from a panel of speakers about what it would take to create a leap in performance for the public sector.

We’d like to start by gathering your very best ideas for the public sector — the outstanding but not outlandish, feasible and yet pushing-the-boundaries. It could be on any aspect of public sector performance. This is not about what politicians could do, it is what we as public sector professionals could implement to make a difference.

I am happy to take anyone with a great idea out for a coffee sometime before mid November, to hear your views. You are welcome to contact me at shenagh@ipanz.org.nz —  I am hoping for some good coffee conversations as we seek out some radical ideas.

Shenagh Gleisner, Executive Director


An Organisation's Journey to Enhance Cultural Competence 

A number of the readers of our Journal have been inspired by the journey of Emerge Aotearoa to better meet the needs of Maori. In the September Journal, Emerge Aotearoa Chief Executive Barbara Disley talks of the vital importance of leadership (from the board and management), how strategy and values are lynch pins, how partnering with iwi is essential, and how developing Maori leaders in the organisation is key to sustaining change. There are lessons for everyone in hearing about this journey, and how it is delivering outcomes.

If you haven't read it already, you can read the article here 

Monitoring the Implementation of the Public Service Act's Principles and Values 

A key plank of the IPANZ strategy is to “ensure the espoused aspiration to demonstrate public sector ethics, values and principles is fully reflected in the lived experience of public sector professionals”.

The day-to-day demonstration of these principles in action will be achieved by steady culture change, support, inspiration and modelling by everyone.

However, progress will presumably need to be tracked and monitored for learning and improvement to take place. We were therefore interested to talk with Simon Chapple of Victoria University about his ideas on potential ways of monitoring implementation over time. You can watch this short interview here.

We hope this prompts other contributions from our members.

Performance Management - how is it done these days in the public sector?

The ability of traditional "performance management" systems to improve employee performance in the public sector has been questioned by many, including academics and practitioners. Some research conducted in Australia* noted:

  • "performance management" appeared to have no positive nor negative impact on work behaviours
  • measurement systems can be poorly designed
  • there were inconsistencies in the implementation of the systems
  • managers seem to have variable commitment to management of performance
  • management of underperformance is particularly hard…..“people who do not perform well are put into a corner, and rated satisfactory regardless of their ineptitude, which renders the whole system useless"

The research suggested that performance was driven by a combination of individual factors — the desire of an individual to serve the public, a supportive organisational culture and specifically the support by managers.

We are sure things have changed since this research was done in 2015. IPANZ is interested in finding out more about the contemporary approaches to empowering and supporting excellent performance in the public sector.  We are therefore keen to support the research of Kendra Hill, a student at Victoria University, who is looking for people to interview over the next two months for research into performance management. Find out more about the project and how you can participate on our website.

*(Closing the Rhetoric-Reality Gap? Employees’ Perspective of Performance Management in the Australian Public Service: Jeannette Taylor. Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 74, no. 3, pp. 336–353)

Concepts and Terminology for Futures Thinking

In our last e-update we presented a framework and definitions for a range of ways of thinking about the future — important for so much of our work. You can see the diagram and the definitions here.

Shenagh Gleisner interviewed professional futurist Stephanie Pride who told us more about this. This brief video interview brings this future thinking terminology to life, and we hope you will enjoy watching it.

The Work of the Future Generations Commission in Wales

Last week IPANZ and SOLGM presented a webinar inspiring us with learnings for Aotearoa/New Zealand from the establishment and implementation of the Wellbeing Future Generations Act in Wales. On Wednesday, we sent you all the recorded webinar and the accompanying slides. In case you missed this email, you can still access them now on our website here. This is really worth it, particularly thinking about stewardship, long term insights briefings and our wellbeing framework.

Meet the Team

IPANZ Board member John Larkindale has had one of the most varied and rewarding careers it’s possible to have — and all within one Government agency.

Not bad for someone who was expected to become a chemist and then take over the family business manufacturing adhesives and cleansers for the dairy industry!

We’ve spoken with John about his almost 40 year career with MFAT, and the privilege and responsibility of working in the public service, for our latest article in our meet the team series. You can read that here.

Find our more about H2Rhere


Using Artificial Intelligence - Understanding and Applying — Wellington, 22 October, 12pm-1pm

Talking to someone who can make a complex subject clear and simple is a treasure. Hearing Sean Audain talk about AI and the associated technologies is an example of this clarity. IPANZ have therefore asked Sean to talk with our members about the application of AI in the public sector. He will be joined by people in the public sector who have used these technologies to increase impact, and enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

This will be largely an interactive event – we will send you a paper written by Sean before the event so you can familiarise yourselves with some of the terms, concepts and risks. There will be lots of time for you to ask questions, dig into what AI might mean for you and how these technologies might be applied in your setting.

Find out more and register here.

Cyber Security — Is the risk increasing? What can we do? — Wellington, 16 November, 12pm-1pm

Cyber Security is a challenge for us all and is a key enabler for New Zealand’s digital future.

Join us for a conversation with Paul Ash, Cyber Co-ordinator in the Natural Security Group of DPMC and the PM’s Special Representative on Cyber and Digital, about the risks and how we can respond.

Find out more and register here.


Some Insights into Global Trends

In 2007, McKinsey laid out what they believed to be the implications of global trends for the public sector. These global trends included, for example, the ubiquitous access of information, technological connectivity transforming the way we work, live and interact, and public sector activities “ballooning”.

They noted five main implications for the public sector:

  • The importance of a radical increase in productivity for the public sector
  • The need to change the relationship with citizens in order to engage with the increasing demands
  • A requirement to redraw the organisational landscape to deliver better services
  • A need to achieve major cultural change putting data at the heart of policy making and management
  • The importance of finding ways to attract and retain scarce talent.

In 2020, more than a decade later, a paper by Deloitte  looks at these trends and drivers of change, and notes what they call the ”megashifts” for the public sector.

The authors believe that the implications for the government which could transform the public sector include:

  • Governments will be enablers instead of solution providers, building platforms, holding partners accountable for outcomes resulting in more private/public partnerships.
  • Made-for-me service delivery with increasingly personalised services and available from home and mobile devices.
  • Distributed governance with technology making it possible to distribute more tasks to citizens and to co-create to build prototypes and to reach greater policy effectiveness.
  • Data-smart government where predictive modelling allows more focus on prevention instead of reaction and remediation.
  • Alternative forms of government funding which may include more payment-for-results models and pay as you go systems and dynamic prices.
  • Just-in-time civil service which could involve more of a consulting type model for the public service, with employees less often sticking to departments, and with government expanding their talent networks. This could move from a closed to an open model, which will redefine what the public sector workforce means.
  • A new basis for national prosperity based more upon a move from GDP to GNP metrics (as in New Zealand’s wellbeing framework) where societies assess their progress more broadly, with new and different demands of government.

Even ten years ago the implications were similar to that today. And in many regards, government and public sector have responded and adapted. In 2021, Deloitte will complete another analysis of trends. It will be most interesting to see if Covid-19 has impacted, and in what ways.

Find out more about The Johnson Group here

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