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Government Sets State Sector Expectations

Government to set clear expectations for state sector

The Government is to set out clear expectations for the state sector and establish a standards board as a result of recommendations in the Hunn Report into the Department of Work and Income New Zealand, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

Trevor Mallard said that the Hunn report had underlined some of the problems that a Government faced in setting and articulating standards in the State sector.

But the questions were more longstanding - and more complicated - than just those that were apparent in Work and Income.

"Overall, this Government will set out what it expects from State servants. To date, there has been little leadership from a New Zealand government in this area. In many ways, the initiative I am announcing today fills a gap that has existed since the State sector reforms of the 1980s," Trevor Mallard said.

The Government's response to the wider state sector aspects of the report included two clear actions:

 To set out the Government's expectations for standards of behaviour by State servants. Setting these expectations gives State servants a clear sense of what the Government values, and the style in which it wants them to operate when they make decisions; and

 To establish a standards board that will advise the Minister of State Services on the Government's expectations and on standards, generally, in the State sector.

"One of the roles of the standards board will be to advise me on changes in the values of the State sector, and the environment in which the State sector is working," Trevor Mallard said.

"Values are not static. They are evolving constantly. The Government intends to get ahead of the problems in this area, and the standards board will be part of the way in which we do that."

Trevor Mallard said that the State Services Commissioner would also have a stepped-up role in State sector standards. The Commissioner will place a new focus on standards in the selection, induction, and performance assessment of departmental chief executives who are appointed by him under the State Sector Act 1988.

"Further, the Government has asked the State Services Commissioner to report on the implications that would follow if he were to take a role in education in standards and values in the wider State sector - that is, beyond the 38 core departments that are the current limit of the Commissioner's mandate."

Trevor Mallard said the State Services Commission in consultation with the Treasury will advise the Government on how it can best communicate its expectations to all State sector institutions.

In particular, Trevor Mallard said, a decision had to be made as to whether the Government's expectations, and the standards board, would apply to State-owned companies. Advice from the Commission and the Treasury on this question is expected by the end of August, after which the standards board will be established.

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