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Trevor Mallard - Shared human resources framework

Hon Trevor Mallard
15 June 2004 Speech Notes

Launch of a shared human resources framework

Launch of the SSC's Human Resources Framework, Beehive, Wellington

It is great to see such a wide range of people here. Chief executives, human resource managers, project team members, the PSA. It represents the large number of groups who have come together to develop this initiative.

Today we are here to mark a major milestone in an important work-stream for government. Today we are here to show a real commitment to developing the Public Service as ¡¥a good place to work¡¦. Today we are here to launch the new Human Resources Framework.

The public service is a big employer of 34,400 people. A number of challenges face these people. In a fast changing world, the public service needs to get closer to people. It also has to understand their needs more - and to focus more on achieving results.

This has some very specific implications:
„h one agency cannot do it alone ¡V we need to work together more on complex issues;
„h common standards of behaviour help staff operate with integrity and consistency in complex circumstances; and
„h we need skilled, versatile people to choose to work and stay in the public service.

This Government has placed a much greater emphasis on ¡¥connected¡¦ government. Connected government simply means agencies working better together to achieve better results. A more connected government can occur in a variety of ways.

For example, the E-government strategy has put in place some common technology standards. This allows government IT systems to talk to each other. It also allows the public to easily access standardised information from government websites. This seems common sense but it was not easy to do.

Now that many of our hard wired systems can talk to each other, we have turned our focus to the ¡¥soft¡¦ systems - how to better connect the people in the public service.

This will be done through the development of a shared Human Resources Framework.

The framework grew out of the Review of the Centre, a review process that strongly recommended at whole-of government approach to public management.

The Framework idea was floated in the Review report. It was then was strongly supported by the Tripartite forum and the PSA through the Partnership for Quality relationship.

In a nutshell, the Human Resources Framework will improve departments¡¦ abilities to work together and to attract and develop good people.

At present each department has its own system of human resource management. This means, for example, that length of service in one department may not be recognised in another. Similarly, most departments have their own payroll systems.

The Human Resources Framework simply identifies where it is common sense to have shared policies and where it makes sense for departments to design their own.

In addition, the Human Resources Framework takes a long-term view of human resource strategy in the public service.

It takes into account the Government¡¦s intention to rebuild a quality public service; the rising skill requirements of government work; and the desire to recruit and retain quality staff to deliver better services for New Zealanders, now and in the future.

So what makes up the Framework? It is a collection of linked initiatives in three major areas: Capability; Employment Relationships; and Work Environment and Conditions of Work

Much of the Framework is not new or rocket science. There are already many common standards and guidance in place. This first phase simply brings things together and provides more good practice, tools and guidance.

Today I am pleased to officially launch the first six initiatives that make up part of the first phase of the HR Framework:

First, Structured secondments. Secondments have been used within the public service for many years to fill short-term gaps or development opportunities. This initiative puts some good practice guidelines around the use of secondments to improve their effectiveness. The Government Jobs Online website (www.jobs.govt.nz) has also been revamped to allow secondments to be advertised more widely and transparently.

I¡¦m pleased to see that the site is up and running, with some secondments advertised already.

Secondly, a set of Common Public Service Induction Modules has been developed. These will support departments inducting new public servants. The modules will help new staff feel part of a wider public service, rather than just an employee of a particular department.

Thirdly, a set of Common and Unique Public Service Competencies have been developed. These describe the knowledge, skills, attributes and behaviours commonly required of all public service employees.

Late last year, I spoke to public service chief executives, setting out my aspirations for Partnership for Quality (PfQ). I am delighted to note the deepening and broadening of PfQ in the public service. Two new arrangements are being established; the first in the Department of Labour and the second in the National Library. Penny Carnaby of the National Library will speak shortly on this.

The State Services Commission has developed resources so departments can learn from others' experiences implementing PfQ.

The fifth initiative is a Recognition of Previous Service. The Review of the Centre proposed the adoption of common standards in HR Management. This initiative will assist departments to consider how recognition of previous service can be achieved.

The final area of work being launched today covers a System for Identifying Remuneration Pressures and Priorities across the public service. Remuneration and reward is always an area of interest, for departments and public servants alike. But resource limitations will always mean there is pressure on budgets and that a process of prioritisation must be followed.

These are, of course only the first six elements of the first phase of the HR Framework. A further seven are still being worked on and will be released as they are completed.

These include such things as: graduate recruitment programmes; a new service to coordinate training and development; and promoting work/life balance for public servants.

Later phases planned for the Framework include focusing on capability building to meet the ever-changing needs of the public service workplace. This includes looking at future trends that will impact upon employment such as new technologies and the increasing global competition for talent.

The key to all this guidance is accessibility. All the products being launched today, and over the next few months, will be available through the Commission¡¦s websites - and eventually through a public service intranet.

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge that these projects were developed for departments, by departments and have been achieved through the hard work of many, many people and supported by the PSA. Thank you to all of those who worked to make this happen.

So today¡¦s launch is about two things- firstly to introduce the first phase of the HR Framework. And secondly, to signal that further work is also underway.

In simple terms, all the elements of the Human Resources Framework are aimed at developing a public service that is modern and practical. And has the ability to meet the needs of the Government, the community, and its staff. And, importantly, is seen as an attractive place for you to work.

ENDS

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