01 August 2022

This process guide is designed to help public servants to prepare advice on changes to structures and governance, and work through possible options for organisational form, whether this is an existing or new agency. 

Te Kawa Mataaho expects agencies to include options in their shortlists for carrying out the proposed functions in a Public Service agency form (department, departmental agency, interdepartmental executive board or interdepartmental venture).

In addition to this guidance, our System Design Toolkit provides guidance for cross-organisational issues.

Making structural or governance changes in government

System Design Toolkit for shared problems

Use this glossary to help you understand system design and architecture terms.

Glossary — System architecture and design 

See the list of existing organisations: New Zealand’s central government organisations

He pātai mō ngā whakatau e pā ana ki te hanga o te whakahaere Questions to inform decisions on organisational form

 Where structural change may be needed — for example, because new functions and powers are under consideration, or the location of existing functions and powers in the public sector is being reassessed — the following questions must be worked through to determine the most appropriate organisational form.

Question 1: What type of agency?

  • 1(a): What role?
    • for central government?
    • or the agency undertaking the role?
    • for the agency as a system participant?
  • 1(b): What functions
    • to carry out role?
  • 1(c) What powers?
    • to carry out functions?
  • 1(d) What funding?
    • what source(s)?
    • how much?
    • how sustainable?
  • 1(e) What risks?
    • from functions and powers?
    • strategic, political, fiscal or contractual risk?
  • 1(f) What governance and oversight?
    • what degree of ministerial involvement?
    • What, if any, Board role?
    • do any functions or powers need external oversight?

Note that these sub-questions aim to build a picture of an agency’s overall ‘profile’ in terms of the desirable governance and accountability regime, so that the most appropriate organisational form can then be identified.

Question 2: What do the answers to question 1 mean for organisational form?

The main considerations driving form choice here are how close the organisation needs to be to ministers (the nature of its public policy role) and whether it needs the freedom to operate more or less commercially.

Question 3: Existing agency, or new agency?

Once the type of agency required has been identified, consider if the objectives can be achieved by allocating the functions and powers to an existing agency or if a new agency needs to be created.