Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 

Hipkins seeks joined-up thinking across state bureaucracy

Hipkins seeks joined-up thinking across state bureaucracy

By Pattrick Smellie

June 26 (BusinessDesk) - Major reforms to the law governing the public service will force far more collaboration between government agencies on the biggest policy challenges, State Services Minister Chris Hipkins says.

Announcing the largest set of public sector reforms since the passage of the then ground-breaking State Sector Act in 1988, Hipkins outlined a radical departure from current practice that will force public sector leaders to create multi-agency teams to tackle specific issues.

"Under the changes, boards, made up of chief executives from relevant government agencies, will be established to tackle the most pressing issues," said Hipkins in a statement. "These boards, or joint ventures, would be accountable to a single minister and receive direct budget appropriations. Public servants from across the system will be deployed as required."

Trying to solve complex policy challenges by using just one agency's expertise "doesn't work any more", he said. "These reforms will make groups of chief executives jointly accountable for delivering on complex government priorities. This can’t happen under the current Act.”

Elements of this approach were a feature of the way the government's first Well-being Budget, published May 30, was put together. They were detailed in yesterday's OECD report on the current state of the New Zealand economy.

"Guidance to agencies submitting bids indicated initiatives that align with one or more of the five Budget 2019 priorities and show cross-agency and cross-portfolio collaboration would be prioritised," the OECD report said.

Hipkins said the existing State Sector Act would be repealed and replaced with legislation that "shifts agencies from working as single departments to working as one, unified public service, to quickly mobilise and tackle specific issues, such as reducing child poverty, mental health services, climate change and the future of work."

This would create collective responsibility for policy outcomes among public sector chief executives and allow more flexible deployment of public servants on single-issue challenges.

The new legislation would also preserve "public service principles to the community, political neutrality, free and frank advice and merit-based appointments" and would be accompanied by a programme of cultural change.

The new legislation will explicitly acknowledge the responsibility of the public service "to support the Crown to fulfil its responsibilities under the Treaty of Waitangi".

“What is good for Maori is good for New Zealand. The country is stronger when we improve outcomes for Maori,” Hipkins said on the same day as new Stats NZ well-being indicators showed far higher levels of distrust in Parliament, the courts, police and media among Maori than the New Zealand population as a whole.

A Public Service Bill will be drafted and introduced to Parliament in the second half of 2019.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Reserve Bank: Official Cash Rate Unchanged At 1 Percent

The Monetary Policy Committee has decided to keep the Official Cash Rate (OCR) at 1.0 percent. Employment remains around its maximum sustainable level while inflation remains below the 2 percent target mid-point but within our target range... More>>

ALSO:

Food Prices: Avocados At Lowest Price In Almost Three Years

Avocados are at their cheapest average price since February 2017, with tomato, lettuce, and cucumber prices also falling, Stats NZ said today. More>>

Auckland Port Move: Cabinet Ministers Deliberate On Report

Cabinet ministers now have a copy of a report urging the government to move the Auckland port up north, but say no final decisions have been made. More>>

ALSO:

Toxicology Tests Planned: Dead Rats Washed Up On Beaches

As many as 600 rats washed up on Westport's North Beach over the weekend to the horror of locals. DOC said they may have been killed by a recent 1080 poison drop 140km away and washed down the Buller River after heavy rain battered the coast. More>>

ALSO: