IPANZ State Sector Excellence Awards 2016

6 July 2016

The Prime Minister’s Award for Public Sector Excellence was presented at the Annual Deloitte Public Sector Excellence Awards this evening to the Auckland Council for its Bylaw Review Programme. This was described as a complex activity undertaken over five years to produce a coherent and sustainable set of regulations – and which form exemplars for other local authorities. The candidates for Prime Minister’s Award are the winners of the eight categories of the Public Sector Excellence Awards.  State sector and local government agencies submitted more than 90 projects to be considered for an Excellence Award. The category winners were:

  • Justice Sector Excellence Award for Building Trust and Confidence in Government  – New Zealand Police for “Enhancing Trust and Confidence through Culture change at New Zealand Police”
  • Te Puni Kokiri Award for Excellence in Crown-Maori Relationships – Ministry of Justice  for “Nga Kooti Rangatahi” ( marae based youth courts)
  • Treasury Award for Excellence in empowering Public Value through Business Transformation – Inland Revenue for “Making a Difference  – doing the right things right”
  • Microsoft Award for Excellence in Digital Government – Department of Internal Affairs for Birth Registrations on line”
  • State Services Award for Excellence in Achieving Collective Impact – Ministry of Education / Tertiary Education Commission for”Working together gives kids better career choices and real results”
  • State Services Commission / Leadership Development Centre Award for Improving Performance through Leadership Excellence  –  Guardians of New Zealand Superannuation for Improving our Workplace Culture”
  • Victoria University of Wellington School of Government Award for Excellence in Public Sector Engagement – Ministry of Primary Industries for “Queensland Fruit fly response, Auckland”
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment / Treasury Award of Excellence  in Regulatory Systems – Auckland Council for the “Bylaw Reform Programme”

The Skills Organisation Young Professional of the Year Award  to Mataroria Lyndon, Ka Awatea – Counties Manukau Health





2014 IPANZ Excellence Awards

3 July 2014

The 2014 IPANZ State Sector Excellence Awards were presented last night.

NZ Police was prominent as winner of the Prime Minister’s Excellence Award (which was presented by the Prime Minister) and as the winner of four other categories.

The winners were:

Prime Minister’s Excellence Award and  Improving Public Value through Business Transformation –   NZ Police   Police Model: Prevention First

Achieving Collective Impact  –  Ministry of Justice, NZ Police, Department of Correction  – Hutt Valley Justice Sector Innovation Project

Crown-Maori Relationships –  Ministry of Justice  Ngati Haua settlement of non-Raupatu historical claims

Improving Performance through Leadership Excellence  –  NZ Police, Ministry of Social Development, New Zealand Defence Force, Inland Revenue  – Transition: a cross-agency leadership development programme

Public Sector Communications  –   NZ Police  – Safer Summer: speed enforcement campaign

Digital Government –  Department of Internal Affairs – Infrastructure as a Service

Excellence in Regulatory Systems   – Environment Canterbury Alternative environmental justice

Integrity and Trust   –  Ministry of Education –  Leading by backing others to win


The criteria on which excellence is assessed are;


Demonstrates visionary leadership within an organisation, the public sector, and/or the wider community.

Demonstrates a commitment to openness and accountability.

Presents an aspirational role model for the wider public sector through professionalism and achievement.



Demonstrates innovative approaches through the use of research, creative concepts, cutting edge technologies or new policy development.

Demonstrates innovative systems integration, business model development, or performance or service enhancements.

Provides evidence of focus on implementation and durable solutions.



Provides evidence that the initiative has already achieved real results.

Provides evidence of an improvement in at least one of the following:

  • outcomes for New Zealanders and/or New Zealand
  • organisational performance in terms of productivity, leadership or employee engagement
  • the quality of service to clients and communities
  • New Zealanders’ participation in and satisfaction with the processes of government and the public service.








Public Sector Excellence Awards

3 July 2013

Parliament tonight was debating amendments to the State Sector Act and the Public Finance Act to enable improvements in the delivery of more effective State Services at the same time as several hundred State servants gathered at the TSB Centre in Wellington to celebrate excellence across the public sector.

New Zealand Institute of Public Administration (IPANZ )recognised the best agency endeavours with Excellence Awards.  Forty one agencies were involved in a range of outcome focused activities which demonstrate their commitment to implementing effective and customer focused services.

The Prime Minister’s Award,  the premier award, was given to the Ministry of Social Welfare for its “It’s OK to help”  programme.  This seeks to extend the “OK” brand, to build on the “It’s not OK” anti-violence campaign which IPANZ  recognised with an award several years ago. Trish Green and her team at MSD have entrenched the message that support and encouragement can  be effective in reducing family violence.

The awards were:

  • Justice Sector Award for Integrity and Trust – MBIE with balancing “Ease of Doing Business” and Integrity
  • State Services Commission and LDC Award for Improving Performance through Leadership Excellence –   LINZ
  • Sweeney Vesty award for Public Sector Communications – MSD ( Its OK to help)
  • State Services Commission Award for Working Together in the Public Services -Ministry of Justice, NZ Police and the Department of Corrections
  • Treasury Award for Improving Public Value through Business Transformation – MBIE and Ministry of Justice
  • Te Puni Kokiri Award for Crown – Maori relationships – Bay of Plenty DHB
  • Microsoft Award for Networked Government – NZTA
  • VUW School of Government New Professional of the Year – Jeremy Palmer

Hon Stephen Joyce and Hon Judith Collins presented awards.  Both made very heartening and appreciative comments about the commitment and effectiveness of agency staff.  Meanwhile, at Parliament, the Committee of the Whole continued its consideration of the State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill.



IPANZ -Gen-i Public Sector Excellence awards

28 June 2012

The IPANZ Gen-I Public Sector Excellence Awards were awarded at a Wellington function last night.  From the 29 finalists, eight category winners were announced – together with two special awards including a recognition of special endeavour related to the Christchurch Earthquake.

The winners were;

Excellence in Public Sector Communications
Smokefree Prisons – Department of Corrections

Improving Performance through Leadership Excellence
Leading from where you stand – Statistics New Zealand

Excellence in Improving Public Value through Business Transformation
Blood is a Gift – Auckland District Health Board

Excellence in Networked Government
Earthquake Employment Support – Ministry of Social Development

Excellence in Recognising Ethnic Diversity
Maori Pacific and Ethnic Services Cultural Response Team – New Zealand Police

Excellence in Working Together for Better Services
Resolving historic claims of child abuse and neglect – Ministry of Social Development, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Education

Excellence in Crown-Maori Relationships – joint winners

Te Upoko Taiao – a partnership for resource management in the Wellington Region – Greater Wellington Regional Council and Te Ara Tahi Maori,

Pacific and Ethnic Wardens – New Zealand Police

The overall winner, presented with the Prime Minister’s Public Service Excellence Award for 2012 by the Minister for StateServices was for Resolving historic claims of child abuse and neglect – Ministry of Social Development, Department of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Education.


UK’s Guardian Public Services Awards

26 September 2013

The Guardian can probably be considered a civil servants’ newspaper.  It seems to be more supportive of those delivering services than championing the policies of any particular government or party. The Guardian Professional Networks – which encompass 16 interest areas –  are a source of innovative and challenging ideas.

The 10th annual Guardian Public Services Awards are currently being decided.  The New Zealand Institute of Public Administration would love its Public Sector Excellence Awards to receive sponsorship to the extent given by the Guardian to this UK event. This year’s five finalists have been selected and the paper’s readership has been invited to select the best candidate.

Mike Bracken of the UK Cabinet Office created Government Digital Service which helps people use government services and has built the framework for on-line government services. In what must be a peculiarly British evaluation, he is said to be “…a bit Marmite for the public sector” … who has delivered a huge government transformation project.

Sue Bruce, the first female chief executive of Edinburgh city council is recognised for her leadership of a council employing 15,000 staff.

Carl Haggerty, digital communications manager at Devon County Council has encouraged greater involvement in local government. His skill is promoting democratic participation “…in a ubiquitous digital climate…”

Lynne Owens, the chief constable of Surrey Police made exemplary contributions to the Metropolitan Police. “…She signifies a new kind of leader in the Police… focused on her staff, with a different way of exerting authority…”.

Keir Starmer, appointed Director of Public Prosecutions although he had no prosecution experience, made “some really brave decisions” relating to domestic abuse, assisted suicide, and  prosecuting more rape and child abuse cases….”




UN awards to mark Public Service Day

26 June 2012

United Nations Public Service Day, celebrated on various dates this month in various places, was recognised at the UN Headquarters yesterday.  At a ceremony to mark the occasion awards were presented in a range of service categories.

Awards were made for

  • Preventing and Combating Corruption in the Public Service

 ( Mauritius, Korea, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey and Georgia were recognised in an unusual grouping of winners, reflected also in the other award categories. )

  • Improving the Delivery of Public Services
  • Fostering Participation in Policy-making Decisions through Innovative Mechanisms
  • Advancing Knowledge Management in Government
  • Promoting Gender-responsive Delivery of Public Services

Another series of awards was based on a recent UN e-government survey.

In the global e-government award, Korea, followed by the Netherlands and the United Kingdom were considered to have excelled in establishing a robust telecommunications infrastructure, invested in the development of human capital capacity and expanded usage of e-government facilities.

Awards for outstanding progress in implementing e-government were given to Finland, Israel and Liechtenstein, recognising advances in service delivery, and a commitment to re-think of e-government and e-governance.

The countries recognised for leading e-government in each region were the United States, United Kingdom, Seychelles, Australia and Korea.

Leaders in providing customer focused e-government services were

1st =    Netherlands and Korea

2nd =   Kazakstan and Singapore

3rd =    United States and United Kingdom

New Zealand doesn’t seem to have featured – and probably was not even entered for consideration – in any of the awards.

The IPANZ – Gen-i Public Sector Excellence Awards, to be announced tomorrow night, will commemorate Public Service Day in New Zealand.




Can the Spirit of Service dull reactions and diminish responsiveness?

26 November 2021

A virtual celebration this week marked the announcement of the five category winners of 2021 Spirit of Service Awards. These were the agencies and individuals selected as exemplars of the Public Service Act section13 duty to act with the Spirit of Service to the community and to preserve, protect, and nurture the Spirit of Service to the community, that public service employees bring to their work.

The Awards have a lengthy pedigree having been championed for many years as the Public Service Excellence Awards by the Institute of Public Administration (IPANZ). A similar process has been maintained, with a premiere, Prime Minister’s Award going to the most worthy winner from the competition categories (Better Outcomes, Service Excellence, Maori-Crown Relationships, and Leadership in Governance). Coalitions of Health Agencies and Border Agencies engaged in Covid 19.  Shared the Prime Minister’s Award. Te Papa Tongarewa received the Leadership in Governance Award.

The persistence of Delta variant incursions has led to increasingly vocal criticism of Covid 19 elimination / suppression measures. What initially was a general willingness to comply with controls, is now fracturing with some in the media who deprecate the capability of Covid 19 programme managers, are expanding their audience of the disaffected. They want a “return to normal, now”, and with high numbers of the double vaccinated, for open borders, a resumption of tourism, a return of international education, immigration, and temporary workers from the Pacific. This movement may be seen as devaluing the commitment of the agencies awarded the Better Outcomes  and the Prime Minister’s Award and perhaps challenging the substance of the outcomes for which they have been recognised.

There may well be a link to the concerns voiced by Dame Kate Bingham in Britain. She is a venture capitalist in the life sciences, who was put in charge of leading the British vaccine task force last year. The Covid 19 campaign there was slow to get off the ground, but once mobilised, was speedier than any other large jurisdiction at vaccinating its population. The problem, she wrote about in The Times, was a lack of scientific knowledge among mandarins and ministers. Few in authority understood the implications of Covid 19 and as a consequence had left the country ‘woefully unprepared’ for the virus.

‘The machinery of government is dominated by process, rather than outcome, causing delay and inertia,’ Dame Kate wrote in The Times. Only by short circuiting the usual government processes was further delay avoided. And could that become the criticism here where there is growing awareness of the deliberative and excessively considered pace which marked the realisation by decision-makers, that mass vaccinating of the population should be an immediate necessity.

She spoke of British officials having an obsessive fear of personal error and criticism. ‘There is a culture of groupthink and risk aversion.’ Civil servants were also accused of treating business with ‘hostility and suspicion’ in her criticism of their lack of skills in science, industry and manufacturing.  She is unlikely to be recommending the equivalent of Spirit of Services awards.

When speaking subsequently about lessons to be learned from the Covid 19 experience she referred to the role of a non civil servant – the chief scientific adviser – in precipitating the decision-making process. She believes that the outcome of the vaccine programme may otherwise have been very different.

It was a decision to buy vaccines deemed most likely to succeed before results were available that has been widely credited with helping Britain to start the western world’s first vaccine programme. It appears that New Zealand decision makers felt unable to do likewise and were steadfast in adhering to tried and tested approval processes.

Apparently a former chief adviser to Boris Johnson added fuel to what may become a pyre for senior civil servants by stating that “…Ministers lacked the scientific understanding necessary to realise the threat of the Covid pandemic and senior civil servants did not have the scientific and technical comprehension needed to be ‘operationally effective’. He said that this left the country exposed to future threats from cyberwarfare to climate change.

I wonder if the situation is any different in New Zealand?

The attached video of Dame Kath’s Romanes Lecture at Oxford University is worth a watch.

Te Hāpai Hapori | Spirit of Service Awards | Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission

Romanes Lecture – Kate Bingham, ‘Lessons from the Vaccine Taskforce’ – Bing video Romanes Lecture – Kate Bingham, ‘Lessons from the Vaccine Taskforce’ – Bing video

United Nations Public Service Day

25 June 2014

The United Nations encourages Member states to recognise Public Service Day on 23 June each year.  This year the day was marked as part of a UN conference in Korea.  Each year, a highlight is the announcement of the UN Public Services Awards. These reflect a programme that promotes the role, professionalism and visibility of public service.  It encourages exemplary public services and recognises that democracy and successful governance are built on competent public administrations.

The UN awards aim to discover innovations in governance, reward excellence in the public sector, motivate public servants to further promote new approaches, enhance professionalism, raise the image of public services, strengthen trust in government and collect and disseminate successful practices for replication by others.

The UN awards are in four classes with regional winners in each.

  • Improving Delivery of Public Services – South Africa, Austria, Singapore and Turkey
  • Fostering Participation in Policy Making Decisions – Thailand and  Brazil
  • Whole of Government Approaches in the Information Age  – Korea, Uruguay and Bahrain
  • Promoting Gender Responsive Delivery of Public Services  –  Morrocco, Thailand, Brazil and Oman.

Public Service day is not marked in New Zealand , although about the same time each year the  Public Sector Excellence Awards, championed by the New Zealand Institute of Public Administration, are announced.  The rationale for the IPANZ Excellence Awards is similar to that of the UN awards. They will be presented in Wellington on 2 July 2014.



Tough times to continue for UK civil service

4 July 2013

The picture remains grim for the British civil service. There will be another four years of austerity measures according to the Cabinet Secretary .  This seems to echo comments by his Minster in late June that the government needs to make additional cuts on top of the £5bn in efficiency savings already achieved. And Whitehall reforms need to be accelerated over the next year.

“We need to be honest about what needs to change,”  Mr Maude. the Cabinet Office Minister told a Civil Service Live conference. “There is no virtue in us being mealy-mouthed.”  He acknowledged a leadership failure in implementing the civil service reform plan and finding the resources it would take.  Despite his push for hard headed analysts, he conceded that he had misunderstood the need for generalists. He is now backpedalling on a mantra that “the age of the generalist is over”. Although he thought that the consolidation of the government legal service under the Treasury Solicitor and setting up the Government Digital Service were going well, it’s just pity that the majority of civil servants responding to a staff survey don’t agree – 52%  now feeling less supported than a few years ago.

In New Zealand the State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill generated some excitement in Parliament with the Committee stages completed under urgency last night and this morning.  With Labour ACT and Dunn in support, there were no substantive challenges to the Government which seems to be making a better fist of changes to facilitate Better Public Services than the reforms in Britain. Perhaps Mr Maude needs to adopt  more moderate tone when speaking of State servants as both the Ministers of Justice and Economic Development  did at the Public Sector Excellence Awards last night, and as Amy Adams did today when chairing the House in Committee.



Canada is celebrating Public Service week

10 June 2013

Canada is celebrating Public Service week, in both its federal and provincial governments. This celebration is linked to the annual World Public Service Day – designated by the United Nations as 24 June – but Canadians mark the event more dramatically than most, with a range of events and award ceremonies.  Twenty one years ago Canada’s shortest statute, with its purpose explicit in its title, was enacted to entrench  Public Service week as the third week in June (National Public Service Week; Serving Canadians Better Act 1992). The celebrations may be a little flat this year however as the public sector unions are boycotting events to show opposition to Government proposals to reduce conditions of employment in the sector –  affecting salaries, leave and redundancies.

At least four United Nations bodies are involved in the UN celebrations this year which will take place in Bahrain.  The theme is of “Transforming e-Government and Innovation – Creating a Better Future”. The General Assembly has indicated a need to promote the exchange of experience related to the role of public administration in the implementation of internationally agreed goals including the Millennium declaration and “South-South and interregional cooperation”.

Few  OECD member States seem to give much priority to the World Public Service day, although, this year, the United States Government celebrated public service achievements in a week of events and award presentations in early May.

There is no direct recognition in either Australia or New Zealand.  However, the annual NZ Institute of Public Administration Excellence Awards, to be presented this year on 3 July 1013,  have an accidental concurrency.