IPANZ E-Update - 27 October 2020

Kia ora koutou

What a delight to see our events section in this e-update filled with the activities of our New Professionals. November is clearly the month for our IPANZ young people!  We hope we’ll see many more Young Professionals signing up to our database.

IPANZ wants the voices of younger people and those new to the public sector reflected in all of our discussions — our e-updates, journal, social media and events.

We are also pleased that these events can often be on video or zoom, so we can reach our younger members in Auckland, Christchurch and in regional local government agencies too. IPANZ is committed to expressing the perspectives of our diverse members. Thanks to our New Professionals for their energy.

Shenagh Gleisner, Executive Director


An Opportunity to Learn More About the Public Sector

When COVID-19 hit, like so many of our Public Sector agencies, we had to think about different ways of doing things, and one product of this is our new Public Sector 101 online learning resource.

We assembled a group of expert presenters, filmed each of them explaining a critical part of the public sector, researched and compiled a whole lot of useful resources and pulled it all together to provide an overview of the unique working environment that is the Public Sector.

Public Sector 101 is designed to help people new to, or working alongside the public sector, to develop an understanding of the sector — the fundamentals, Te Tiriti, the key players and processes, the structure and agencies, the financial cycle, and the checks and balances. It consists of seven modules, each with a video presentation and a workbook for you to work through in your own time at your own pace. There are no exams or tests, just learning!

Our hope is that Public Sector 101 will provide, not just for public servants, but those working with the Public Sector, an opportunity to learn more about how the system works and how we can all contribute and engage with it.

You will be able to sign up after November 4 and in the meantime you can find out more here.

Let's Start Thinking About Open Government

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) provides an opportunity for government and civil society reformers to make governments more transparent, participatory, and accountable. Working together, government and civil society in 78 countries co-create two-year action plans with concrete commitments.

New Zealand is a member of this partnership. Open government is one of the principles in the Public Service Act.

The aim is that openness will be deeply rooted in the government’s operational methods and attitudes instead of being a separate responsibility that causes extra work.

Internationally, Finland is a model of openness. There is much to read about how they’re achieving this and we have picked an article to share about Finland’s efforts to make government activities easier to understand, which you can read here. Genuine openness is impossible if the activities of the government are incomprehensible.

Finland’s actions include:

  • Training for public sector professionals to use plain language
  • An NGO “academy day” to help the NGO public sector engagement
  • A support package to assist public sector professionals engage on social media.

Public Sector Professionals Training in Innovation

New Zealand has its Design Labs, innovation courses on a range of subjects, innovation centres and more. But In Argentina, public servants earn points through their innovation training, which are a prerequisite for promotions and pay rises.

At the Argentina Design Academy, students can take classes on digital transformation, storytelling, design thinking, data and evidence use and artificial intelligence. All this training is available here too but without the incentive (which they call gamification) of gaining points to build public sector careers. What do you think?

You can about how Argentina is rewarding public servants for learning how to innovate here.

Radical Ideas Request

We were very pleased to get a good response to the request in our last e-update for radical ideas. We have had some enjoyable coffee conversations with people with some excellent ideas, and others booked. Thank you, all you creative people.

It would not do justice to your ideas to summarise them. But let us outline loosely some of the themes so far.

  • Many responses suggesting mechanisms to ensure cross sector collaboration happens
  • Ideas about advanced technologies to enable safe and private data sharing
  • Suggestions about capability development for public sector professionals (one example included public servants engaging much more effectively with communities and  another example on innovation and collaboration)
  • Mechanisms for much more effective long-term leadership to build resilience

This has made us think about how the public sector can be open to these, and many other ideas.  We are planning an article in our next journal with a “marketplace” of these propositions. We are still mulling how to reflect some of them at our December event where we intend to get a range of people to talk about radical ideas for the public sector in 2021.

Thank you for your responses.

Balancing Online Transparency and Innovation in the Public Sector

IPANZ facilitated a fascinating discussion on the application of Artificial Intelligence at an event last week.

During the Q and A, the Office of the Government Chief Data Steward, Rachael Milicich talked about The Algorithm Charter for Aotearoa New Zealand. It was launched during Techweek in July 2020 and now has 26 signatories across government. By signing the charter, agencies commit to lifting transparency and accountability in how they use algorithms.

In mid-2021 a review of the Charter will take place to ensure it is achieving its intended purpose of improving government transparency and accountability without stifling innovation or causing undue compliance burden.

Find out more about New Zealand’s work on government algorithm transparency and accountability here.

Reframing Risk

The UK innovation foundation NESTA  has produced a useful guide for reframing risk to enable innovation. It explores risk in the local authority setting in the UK, but is equally relevant for central Government and for New Zealand.

The authors make some interesting points. Here are a few:

  • Instead of a technical activity for professionals to maintain oversight, exploring and understanding risk should be an inclusive dialogue with a range of actors in the system
  • too often negative or downside risks are managed in a way that limits opportunities for positive outcomes
  • re-weighting the upside possibility, local authorities may find that innovation can be a risk-reducing activity (and this article gives a few brief examples of how it has been done)
  • Becoming more cognisant of which risk is being attended to (outcome risks or organisational risks, for example) enables better decision-making about approaches to risk.

The full report is not very long and is worth downloading. We especially recommend looking at page 15, where how to go about reframing is presented; and the chapter beginning on page 21, where a set of questions are asked about the risk maturity of your organisation.

Find out more about H2R here


New Professionals — Meet the Chiefs with Lil Anderson. WELLINGTON. Wednesday 11 November, 7.15am — 8.30am 

Lil Anderson (Te Rarawa and Ngāpuhi) is the Chief Executive of the Office for Māori Crown Relations - Te Arawhiti (Te Arawhiti). She is originally from Panguru in the Hokianga, and has more than 25 years in the public sector and wider state sector.

Te Arawhiti was established to consolidate a range of distinct but related government functions that support Māori Crown partnerships and help the Crown build on the sense of renewal in Māori Crown relations established through the Treaty settlement process.

Over the past seven months, Lil led a key workstream within the COVID-19 All of Government Unit in DPMC called ‘Caring for Communities’, aimed at supporting New Zealand’s most vulnerable groups.

Find our more and register here.

Auckland New Professionals — Public Sector Agility. WEBINAR. Wednesday 11 November, 11am-12pm.

This year New Zealand has enacted the new Public Service Act that enables a more adaptive, agile and collaborative public service.

Meanwhile, with the uncertainties that came with COVID-19, public sector agility has been as important and topical as ever.

The Auckland IPANZ New Professionals group is hosting a webinar to hear from the designers of the new legislation, and about what public sector agility means.

Find out more about the speakers and register here.

Cyber Security — Is the Risk Increasing? What can we do? WELLINGTON, Monday 16 November, 12pm-1pm.

You will have regularly read in the media about cyber security threats, and events such as the recent attacks that closed down the New Zealand Stock Exchange.

We have also heard how cyber security problems are becoming more common over time. The global disruption through Covid-19 has changed the landscape too, with all of us spending more time online.

What we may not know enough about is what we as individuals can do to diminish the impact of these attacks, what our agencies are doing, and how the government and the private sector in New Zealand are managing this risk more broadly.

Join us for a conversation with Paul Ash, Cyber Coordinator in the National Security Group of DPMC and the PM’s Special Representative on Cyber and Digital.

Find our more and register here.

New Professionals — Young Leaders in Local Government. WELLINGTON. Wednesday 18 November, 7.15am - 8.30am

In 2019, Wellington's local government scene got an injection of youth, with a number of fresh-faced new leaders being elected in various parts of the greater Capital region.

IPANZ New Professionals invites you to meet some of the Gen Z and Millennial councillors who are raising the voice of future generations to help shape the region's future and to hear about the challenges they have faced being leaders in an area of public service that has historically struggled to attract interest from younger people.

We will hear from Hutt City Mayor Campbell Barry (the youngest Mayor in New Zealand's history), Kāpiti Coast District Councillor Sophie Handford (2019 Wellingtonian of the Year and nationwide School Strike for Climate organiser), and Porirua City Councillor Josh Trlin.

Find out more and register here.

Find out more about The Johnson Group here


We have been reading about conspiracy theories, trying to understand how they become established, and how to engage people with very firm beliefs. Such beliefs that are resistant to persuasion are all around us, in our personal and work lives. So improving skills at engagement is useful for public servants.

In this regard this article in the Conversation gives some good hints for how to productively engage, such as:

  • understand that it is emotions not facts that drive the position
  • there will always be kernels of truth so seek them out and agree when you can
  • aim to sow doubt, not to convert.

A book we often turn back to is Jess Berentson Shaw’s “Matter of Fact: Talking Truth in a Post-Truth world” (A BWB book).  This book highlights that talking truth often involves not talking at all — it is about listening, building relationships and connecting with people. Referencing shared values rather than arguing about statistics, we can find innovative ways to talk effectively about contentious information. 

But just in case you have been thinking it is all the other people who have distorted beliefs and not you, we also recommend reading The Invisible Gorilla. The book reveals the numerous ways that our intuitions can deceive us, but it's more than a catalogue of human failings. It explains why people succumb to these everyday illusions and what we can do to try to inoculate ourselves against their effects. Again and again, we think we experience and understand the world as it is, (in other words we are sure we are right!)  but our thoughts are beset by everyday illusions. We found it sobering, albeit fascinating.

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 in Auckland, we would be particularly happy to hear from them.

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