IPANZ E-Update - 8 November 2022

A real mix of articles for you today – from measuring well-being to managing change in complex systems. Enjoy.

Kay Booth, Executive Director

Demographic projections - one in three children will be Māori by 2043

The age structure of different populations is impacting the projected number of children in various ethnic groups and, in addition, children are increasingly likely to have multiple ethnicities (reported in Politik using Stats NZ data).

The share of children who are Māori is projected to increase from 27 per cent in 2018 to 33 per cent (about 1 in 3 children) in 2043. Within the Pacific ethnic group, the share of children is projected to increase from 14 per cent in 2018 to 19 per cent in 2043.

For the broad Asian ethnicity groups, projections from 2018 to 2043 indicate that the share of children within the Asian ethnic group will increase from 16 per cent to 25 per cent (about 1 in 4 children).  For European or Other group, within the 0–14 age group, there is projected decrease in population share from 67 per cent to 66 per cent

Developing policies, regulation and operational practice to meet the needs of this very wide cultural diversity of children and whanau could mean very different public service responses. And surely it also requires greater ethnic diversity within the public service?

Now more than ever, we need the public service to be less risk averse

The premise underlying this brief article here is that the public service tends to be risk averse, especially trying to be seen to protect public money and ministers. And yet, sometimes the very greatest risk on some of the big social problems is the risk of doing nothing. Failure to act radically and ambitiously should not be an option – somehow the expectations and settings must change.

A follow on from this is the work now being done in Scotland with Nesta. Link here. As it says in this article that means “a seismic shift in how we frame these problems and how we design solutions”. The simple starting point is changing the narrative, describing the problem differently and enabling all involved to create solutions.

You can measure wellbeing….

Professor Arthur Grimes gives a number of interesting examples of how wellbeing can be validly measured, and how useful this could be. For example, the way in which societal trust and social connections support wellbeing; and the cultural impact upon wellbeing of Treaty breaches. He also says “there’s quite a few studies now that estimate the monetary equivalent for wellbeing of certain policies. For example, we can estimate how much money someone would have to receive to be equally happy to stay in a private rental home rather than moving into public housing.”

Link here to the article on the art of measuring happiness

Holding the line” to ensure that the rule of law is not under threat

IPANZ has always been concerned to emphasise the importance of the “rule of law” for public servants. So, we were most interested to see reference to this from ANZSOG, with the strong perception that, in Australia anyway, the rule of law is under threat. It is one of those vital things for our democracy and for the integrity of the public service.

The author mentions examples where fairness and probity in the contracting of services gets lost in the quest for efficiency. He also refers to the extension of cabinet confidentiality which reduces transparency. Transparency being important to assure neutrality and impartiality. Reasonableness and good faith are an essential part of the rule of law. His plea is for public servants to be serious about holding the line if they see the boundaries being pushed too far.

Link here to this article from ANZSOG

Click here for more information on the ANZSOG First Nations Public Administration conference

Managing change in complex systems

Here are some presentations from a workshop run by Helen Bevan on leading change, including many different perspectives. Here are a few of her key points:

  • The solutions to our most pressing problems can be found in our communities.
  • Change is inherently relational – it depends on our ability to work with others.
  • Building a sense of belonging is one of the most critical tasks in leading change.
  • The most powerful intervention is one that shifts the paradigm, values and assumptions.
  • When you are curious, you shift from expert to explorer, supporting others in their journeys.

With particular emphasis on change involving many communities, Helen references a number of important principles – here are some examples:

  1. People support what they create.
  2. To change the conversation, change who is in it.
  3. Expect leaders to come from anywhere.
  4. Focusing on what is working gives us energy and creativity.

Link here to presentations from the workshop with Helen Bevan hosted by the Health Quality & Safety Commission NZ

An “in house” consulting model to reduce reliance on external consultants?

This is one of the ideas from the new Australian Government. They would argue that having in house consultancy in the public service would reduce reliance on consultants, would enable better cross sector working and help break down silos, utilize the skills of public servants, build capability for public servants, reduce turnover and increase the “one-public service” ethos. What do you think?

Link here to the article from The Mandarin

The case for humble activism

This brief summary records the key points made in a speech in Helsinki earlier this year. The big take aways is that when dealing with the many wicked problems we face there are a few really good tips. There is no one mechanistic answer, think about combining multiple elements to move towards change. These can include:

  • Be humble about complexity but be strongly activist, hungry for all useful answers
  • Reframe the questions, the thinking, the way of seeing and doing things
  • Mobilise self-healing capacities, trust people

These ideas challenge public servants to think and work rather differently.

Link here to the post from Geoff Mulgan about this

Click here for H2R Consulting


'Working in the Public Service' survey 

Thanks to the hundreds of members who completed the survey (not everyone was eligible to do the survey, in case you're wondering) - data are being crunched as I type. We will soon have a dataset to inform future discussions - you will hear more from us on what the data say in coming months.


Effective Engagement with Māori


We have some spaces still available in our popular two-day Effective Engagement with Māori workshop in Wellington. Be in quick! 

For more information and to register click here

New Professionals - How to engage effectively with ... your manager 

A new series of events from the New Professionals Wellington Team - designed to help you navigate conversations at work and engage effectively with…senior leaders, Ministers, those you want to support directly, those that are directly supporting you etc. First up, we are covering conversations with our managers.

Register here

Click here for The Johnson Group

Westpac Financial Wellbeing Series


We'd like to attract your attention to the next online 'Managing Your Money' webinars from Westpac - with the special topic of the Housing Market from Nick Goodall, Head of Research from CoreLogic, who will give his views on what happened in 2022 and a look at what might happen in 2023.

Understanding debt: Tuesday 6 Dec. 11am-12pm --- Click here to register.

Buying your first home: Thursday 8 Dec. 11am-12pm --- Click here to register.

Managing your mortgage: Tuesday 13 Dec. 11am-12pm --- Click here to register.

The housing market update: Thursday 15 Dec. 11am-12pm --- Click here to register