Government consulting on significant reforms to public service

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The Government is consulting on reforms to the public service.

Minister of State Services Chris Hipkins said the proposed changes are a major shift in the way the public service operates.

Chris Hipkins said:

"On a system wide level, the changes would see the Public Service operate as one, joined up system to tackle the big, complex challenges facing New Zealand. The Public Service would have more capability to wrap multiple services around the needs of citizens.

“Under the current model individual departments deliver services that they have sole accountability for. This doesn’t work as well when agencies need to be working collectively where citizens often must deal with a number of different agencies on a single issue."

More information is available from State Services Commission. Submissions are open until 12 October 2018.

The Q&A on the recently announced family and sexual violence joint venture says:

"Government has placed a strong emphasis on cross-agency and cross-portfolio actions to improve wellbeing.  The joint venture uses existing powers, and an explicit Cabinet mandate, to work in new ways across government.

Proposed changes to the State Sector Act 1988, as recently agreed for consultation by Cabinet, would formalise this type of arrangement, allowing for a group of chief executives to collectively own and govern a formal joint venture. The joint venture approach offers the potential to transform the way government operates through new ways of working collectively on complex issues that extend beyond single agencies.

Currently, the government is focused on ensuring the success of the joint venture that will lead efforts to reduce family violence and sexual violence. It is likely that this joint venture approach will also be adopted in other policy areas."

Comments on the Government's proposed state sector reforms are available in the media below. These include comments on the loss of specialisation and subject matter expertise in the public service.

Selected media

Max Rashbrooke: How to build governments which work, NZ Herald, 28.09.2018

Geoff Bertram: A public business, not a public service, Stuff, 13.09.2018

Simon Chapple: Govt commissions experts because departments are run down, NZ Herald, 05.09.2018