The Public Service Commissioner is the Head of Service, and leads the Public Service and wider public sector agencies to work as one system to deliver better services and better outcomes.

The Commissioner acts to protect and enhance the legitimacy and integrity of the Public Service, and the spirit of service that sits at the heart of the Public Service and everything it does.

The Commissioner is appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the prime minister. The role of the Commissioner is defined in the Public Service Act 2020 — to provide leadership of the Public Service, including the performance and integrity of the system, and is supported by 2 statutory Deputy Public Service Commissioners who have the same powers, functions and duties as the Commissioner. 

Find out more about our Public Service Commissioner: Our leaders

The Commissioner works with the Public Service secretaries and chief executives, operating as Te Ohu Tumu Whakarae i te Ratonga Tūmatanui Public Service Leadership Team, to lead the Public Service agencies as a single system, to deliver better services and outcomes to New Zealanders, and to maintain the public's trust and confidence in the Public Service. Under the Public Service Act 2020, the Commissioner’s functions include:

  • leading the Public Service to deliver better services and achieve better outcomes for the public
  • promoting and reinforcing integrity, good conduct, and transparency and accountability in the Public Service, including through standards and guidance
  • being responsible, in conjunction with departmental secretaries and chief executives, for developing senior leadership and management capability in the Public Service
  • promoting the development of workforce capability and capacity, including in the employment relations area
  • appointing the leaders of the Public Service and acting as the employer of chief executives of departments and departmental agencies. This includes appointment, reappointment, and performance review
  • advising on improvements to the performance, function, and structure of the Public Service system
  • reviewing the performance of departments and departmental agencies and assisting agencies to improve, as well as conducting investigations and inquiries in relation to public agencies.