01 August 2022

Changing times, priorities and public expectations may result in ministers, senior leaders or Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission proposing changes to structures or requiring new collaborative arrangements. This process guide is designed to help public servants to develop advice and implement change.

Te tukanga arotake How to approach a review

A structural or governance review is a form of policy project and follows a similar process to developing any strategic policy advice for ministers.

The guidance in this section is adapted from the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Policy Quality Framework and is organised around 4 main steps:

  • Context and planning — understanding the purpose, defining the problem or opportunity, scope, and connection across government
  • Options and analysis — using our tools and resources to identify and assess options for change
  • Advice — developing advice for decision makers
  • Action — implementing the agreed option and evaluating it.

Engaging with others and undertaking due diligence are recommended at several steps in the process to ensure proposals are well informed and fit for purpose for decision-makers. 

Figure 1: The process for change

The diagram is a flowchart that moves across the diagram, using 4 boxes to show the 4 steps to the proces. There are arrows from boxes 1 to 3 that flow into the next box.  Box 1 states: Context and planning: Understand purpose, scope, and connections across government; Clearly define the problem or opportunity. Box 2 states: Options and analysis: Udentify organisational form or governance options; Assess organisation design options. Box 3 states: Advice: Develop advice for decision makers; Refine and finalise advice. An arrow from this box goes back to Box 2, indicating that steps 2 and 3 might be repeated. Box 4 states: Action: Implement agreed upon option; Evaluate process and impact. Underneath the 4 steps, an arrow with 2 ends stretches the length of the boxes. In the middle of the arrow are the words: Engagement & due diligence, to indicate these are part of each step.

Remember that changes differ in scale and speed, the process is flexible, and you don’t have to work through the steps in an exact order. When carrying out a structural or governance review, you may need to revisit steps in the process as you get new information or new feedback from decision-makers.

Contact us

The Public Service Commissioner is responsible for reviewing the governance and structures of government and providing advice on proposed changes. Agencies should consult Te Kawa Mataaho on any proposed system design changes early in the process and keep us updated on progress.  

Contact us

Use the system architecture and design glossary

This glossary uses a mix of legal definition, conventional interpretation and additional description to help you understand system design and architecture terms.

Glossary — System architecture and design 

Find central government organisations

Te Kawa Mataaho maintains an up-to-date list of all central government organisations.

New Zealand’s central government organisations