01 June 2022

The parties commit to good practice to ensure their relationships are trusting and productive

Build and maintain relationships

The responsible Minister

  • invests time in building a productive working relationship with the entity’s chair and senior management
  • ensures the Department is aware of Ministerial communication with the entity
  • ensures the entity is given advance notice of sector stakeholder meetings, and invites its advice

The Crown entity

  • offers to induct a new Minister into the work of the entity, including meeting the board
  • recognises the Department’s different roles as ‘friendly critic’ and ‘supporter’
  • communicates the focus of the Department’s monitoring priorities to relevant entity managers
  • fosters trusted working relationships with critical senior Department staff to facilitate the full, free and frank exchange of information on day-to-day and strategic activity
  • actively invests time and effort to strengthen relationships with the Department
  • briefs the Department in advance on major new initiatives or changes in priorities and seeks feedback

Monitoring department

  • ensures a new Minister receives an early, accurate and balanced briefing on the entity
  • ensures Department staff understand and respect the ‘arm’s-length’ principle, and when the Department should be acting as ‘friendly critic’ or ‘supporter’
  • builds its relationship-management capacity to ensure skilled, knowledgeable and credible staff manage and nurture relationships with the entity
  • is open in its dealings with the entity
  • with the entity, develops and adheres to joint communications protocols

Ensure there are no surprises

The responsible Minister

  • understands and applies the ‘no surprises’ convention in advising the entity about information that could affect its operations

The Crown entity

  • understands and applies the ‘no surprises’ convention in dealing with the Minister and Department

Monitoring department

  • understands and applies the ‘no surprises’ convention in dealing with the entity and Minister

Ensure effective meetings

The responsible Minister

  • establishes and keeps to a realistic and achievable timetable of meetings with the entity and Department officials
  • ensures the entity and Department are well informed about the Minister’s views on agenda topics
  • where practicable, ensures Department officials attend meetings with the entity and, if necessary, informs the chair of this protocol

The Crown entity

  • prepares well for meetings with the Minister, ensuring agendas are concise and focus on a few important (usually strategic) issues
  • before meetings, provides the Minister with concise briefing papers on critical agenda items
  • informs the Department of agenda items and the entity’s position

Monitoring department

  • when required, provides the Minister’s office with timely advice on agenda items
  • confirms with the entity matters of fact or matters on which the Department may have a differing opinion (in accordance with the ‘no surprises’ convention)
  • has a scheduled programme of meetings with the chair, chief executive, designated liaison staff and topic-specific staff, where appropriate

Invest in relationship-management skills

The responsible Minister

 

The Crown entity

  • ensures staff in critical relationship-management positions have the appropriate skills to ensure productive relationships with the Department
  • provides staff with professional development opportunities focused on relationship management generally and within the public sector specifically
  • provides relevant career paths that demonstrate that it values staff with highly developed relationship-management skills

Monitoring department

  • ensures staff in critical relationship-management positions have the appropriate skills to ensure productive relationships with the entity
  • provides staff with professional development opportunities focused on relationship management generally and within the public sector specifically
  • provides relevant career paths that demonstrate that it values staff with highly developed relationship- management skills

Induct entity and Department staff

The responsible Minister

 

The Crown entity

  • inducts new monitoring advisors in the Department into the entity’s work and management practices

Monitoring department

  • offers induction to entity staff and managers on the Department’s work and management practice

Manage escalation where different views exist

The responsible Minister

  • ensures critical issues are escalated to appropriate colleagues including sector Ministers, the Minister of Finance, the Minister for the Public Service, the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Crown entity

  • agrees with the Department on ‘first points of contact’ and an escalation process in order to respond to differences of opinion in a timely and effective manner
  • when critical issues arise, makes personal contact with relevant Department staff in a timely manner
  • actively works to resolve differences of opinion with the Department
  • follows the agreed escalation process if a dispute persists

Monitoring department

  • agrees with the entity, and internally, on ‘first points of contact’ and an escalation process to ensure the Minister’s office is kept apprised of any difference of opinion
  • when critical issues arise, makes personal contact with relevant entity staff in a timely manner
  • actively works to resolve differences of opinion with the entity
  • follows the agreed escalation process if a dispute persists