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People Matter Most

Friday July 26

People Matter Most

People matter most, when it comes to making the public service more responsive to New Zealanders, the Comptroller of Customs Robin Dare told the GOVIS (Government Information Managers Forum) conference in Wellington today.

Mr Dare says developments in information technology are vitally important in improving access to and coordination of the public service, but at the end of the day it is the people using the technology who will make the difference.

Speaking about the projects arising from the Government’s Review of the Centre, a review of the public service, Mr Dare said that all the work that is underway is aimed at better meeting the needs and aspirations of citizens.

“We need to take a whole-of-government approach and look beyond Wellington. Most citizens don’t live in Wellington and don’t listen to Parliament’s Question Time on the radio.”

“We also need to keep at the task, acknowledging that change won’t happen overnight.”

“Technology is an enabler for the public service, providing opportunities to improve the way we do things, and better share information.”

For example information from Customs computer system CusMod is routinely shared with about 20 other Government agencies, under strict privacy and security guidelines.

Robin Dare says technological effectiveness is driven by good relationships.

“We need to understand each others’ roles and requirements to use the technology to our benefit.

“The public service needs to move beyond patch protection, and recognise that the public doesn’t care which agency it’s dealing with, as long as they get results.”

“The environment public servants are working in is changing, and that requires them to develop new skills, such as relationship skills, cultural awareness, and negotiation.

He says the Review of the Centre provides a framework for the public sector to address these and other issues.

Mr Dare is leading the People and Culture Project, one of four project areas resulting from the Government’s Review of the Centre.

The four project areas are:
- Structures and alignment (accountability arrangements)
- Central agency performance (the role of the central agencies)
- Service delivery (integration of services and regional coordination)
- People and culture (strengthening public service standards, qualifications and leadership).

Ends

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