15 August 2013

The Head of the State Services’ presentation to public sector leaders earlier this month was published yesterday on the SSC website. It sets out the Commissioner’s vision and expectations. These are shaped by the facilitative character of the State Sector Amendment Act – a permissive tool that will assist change. The vision for the State Services must not only be on 2013, but on 2023, 2033 and beyond. The future is to be shaped by a focus on results, leadership and stewardship.

Expected results require underlying problems to be addressed by the Better Public Services goals, and evaluated by the Performance Improvement Framework. Leadership will flow from recreating a career service, attracting the right graduates, providing opportunities in, out and across the State Services, and developing chief executives committed not to an agency but to the public service.  And the culture of stewardship, undefined in the amended legislation, involves the things currently done well by agencies but also the challenges of capital management, resilience, strategic use of information and attention to the fundamental and transformational characteristics of integrity and trustworthiness.

The occasion was a celebration of the State Sector Amendment Act. Enacted with the votes of 95 of Parliament’s 121 members, the Act provides a mandate for change while entrenching New Zealand’s traditional system that

“(a)   is imbued with the spirit of service to the community; and

(b)    operates in the collective interests of government; and

(c)     maintains appropriate standards of integrity and conduct; and

(d)    maintains political neutrality; and

(e)    is supported by effective workforce and personnel arrangements; and

(f)    meets good-employer obligations; and

(g)   is driven by a culture of excellence and efficiency; and

(h)   fosters a culture of stewardship.”