Our cover for the December Public Sector journal shouts ‘summer is here’. It’s not long till you can keep your jandals on all day and kick back – or get active – for your summer holidays.
If you are working through Christmas/New Year to provide services to Kiwis and our visitors from other places – thank you!
SAVE THIS DATE in your diary: The 2023 IPANZ Annual Address will be delivered by the Hon. Grant Robertson on Thursday 9 February 12.30 - 1.30pm. More about this in January.
Meri Kirihimete – and may you have a rejuvenating and relaxing summer.
Kay Booth, Executive Director
In our Public Sector Journal in December, we profile two of our women leaders Lil Anderson and Fepulea‘i Margie Apa
Lil Anderson (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) here started a twelve-month secondment in April 2022 at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) in Australia, as a leadership and teaching fellow. Some of her insights in this article include
- “In New Zealand, we tend to be very politically neutral and that’s, I think, a real credit to us as public servants. In Australia, they express really strong political views all the time, which really had me taken aback.”
- She commented on the fact that there is not a major focus on the Crown in Australia. “One thing Māori all agree on is that the Treaty partnership is fundamental to everything. If one of those parties disappears, it changes fundamentally”
Fepulea‘i Margie Apa here gives us a lovely glimpse into her background and her aspirations for health services. It is heartening to hear her ambition for the health sector – one where prevention and community-based services come to the fore.
Most important, there is a significant opportunity now to make a difference for Māori. She says “It’s often a problem with agencies that they develop an idea or a programme and then they consult with Māori. The people feel these programmes are often imposed. We have to let go and share. Māori know what’s best for them, so we have to create space.”
Keeping pace in space
Another article in the December Public Sector journal talks about the need for New Zealand policy and regulation to keep pace with the development of our space industry – “Keeping pace in space” by Kevin Jenkins. See Radio NZ’s article talking about aerospace companies potentially quitting NZ owing to “red tape”.
Accelerate new ways of thinking and doing for public servants in 2023
IPANZ always makes the strongest possible plea for the public service to look at promising community initiatives, ensure they are evaluated to understand what drives success, scale them up, create the conditions for more to develop, and devolve resources to them. There is something so special about what whanau and communities can do which the public service cannot. But the public service can be part of the answer, creating the conditions for innovation. We must accelerate the learning, and the extension of highly promising initiatives such as THIS. 2023 must be a year for this.
We hear lots about the front line – what about more support for middle managers?
Middle managers have some of the most difficult jobs, between the leaders and the front line, often criticised for being what has been termed “the concrete in the middle”. This article is a very thoughtful account of the new realities for middle managers, facilitating remote teams and meeting the needs of hybrid workers, increasingly sure of what they want. There is a plea in this article to provide more support and training for these middle managers. Perhaps sometime before 2023 kicks in, take the time to really find out how your middle managers are coping and to develop more support for them.
From Te Kawa Mataaho – what must happen in the next three years?
The Public Service Commissioner is required to prepare a three-yearly briefing on the state of the Public Service – link to it here. Peter Hughes rightly gives tribute to public servants for many achievements.
Although much of the briefing is predictable, there is a promise of important developments and areas for strengthening, for example:
- Better partnering with communities, indeed stepping aside at times, but with clarity about accountability.
- Continuing to build trust in the Public Service, especially amongst those groups in the community who have lower levels of trust. This is in the context of a shift in the global threats to democracy, which is challenging.
- More engagement with citizens, including those with lived experience, and building capability in the Public Service for this active citizenship role.
- Ongoing building of the capability of public servants to engage with Māori and understand and act on Māori perspectives.
Let’s keep a watch on progress on all these things to ensure they progress quickly.
No return to punitive and racist child protection
One of the burning issues to be addressed in 2023 is to secure an effective child protection system. Yet more reviews do not support this agency to improve and build trust, an agency which does one of the most difficult jobs in the public service.
In this article in Newsroom, Ian Hyslop asks why our child protection system veers from lack of intervention to over intervention. He warns against mandatory reporting as yet another knee jerk reaction to a review.
Of most significance he says “You can work with whānau to resolve risk and protect children, but this is demanding and intensive work. It is better delivered by hāpu, iwi or ground-up, community-centred services. But the development of these services involves power sharing, training and the commitment of resources. It can’t be done with the stroke of an ideological pen, and above all, it requires a level of investment in child protection services we have never seen in this country". Is that what is required in 2023? Read here.
And to finish - an eloquent plea to care for our oceans
You may be by the sea this summer. Enjoy these lovely words and delicious pictures created by Tony Morris, from The Spinoff, and treasure our ocean this summer and always. Read here
What we are reading and watching
You will have heard about the Dunedin Study. Over your summer holidays you might like to dig into this fascinating study.
There is much of interest in it. The study has spawned hundreds of research papers and influenced thinking here and internationally on a diverse range of topics including juvenile criminality, cannabis use, the effects of abusive childhood environments, lead exposure, the impact on later life of self-control in early childhood, and oral health.
The quality of the study has set it apart from longer running studies overseas. It has a high retention rate (94% of the original cohort have stayed), a multidisciplinary approach that gathers an “incredible” breadth of information, and testing and interviewing people face-to-face rather than through questionnaires.
There is a whole lot of things to read and watch here to help shape policy.
And the TV series “why am I” brings it all to life – watch the episodes here.
For the past ten years, the team at Allen + Clarke have been supporting central government deliver successful reviews and inquiries, including the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addictions and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the attack on Christchurch Masjidain.
Join the team for a free online Q&A discussion and the lessons we have learned from delivering successful inquiries.