13 September 2013

This year's recipient of the Ria McBride Public Service Management Award, Lou Parker, was recently announced by Peter Brown, Deputy Commissioner, State Services Commission at the New Horizons for Women Trust, Wellington Awards Ceremony.

At age 30 years, as a single mother of two living in England, Lou Parker was working in retail, earning money to support her family.  When her car broke down and she couldn't afford to have it fixed, Lou enrolled in night classes where she learnt about repairing engines.  And the rest, as they say, is herstory: working for the City Council's engineering workshop as a Small Plant Fitter, then as Mechanical Fitter. After nine years she went on to work in trading standards enforcement. Several secondments later Lou took a role where she was responsible for the enforcement of laws controlling the accuracy, description, price, quality, quantity and safety of goods and services.  In 2007, after hitting the 'glass ceiling' in this industry she immigrated to Wellington, where she worked briefly for the Commerce Commission and the Ministry of Economic Development (as it was then - now MBIE) as a Product Safety Advisor. 

Some of her achievement included the development of a regulatory response to ensure safe multi-purpose ladders are now supplied in New Zealand. She produced an Unsafe Goods Notice in 2009 to stop chainsaws being brought into New Zealand without a chain brake. Lou also worked to raise awareness and established safety standards for products that are retailed through Discount Stores.

Most recently Lou Parker has worked with Massey University to produce a research paper about children and dangerous toys.  Whilst she doesn't hold a degree, we are reliably informed that the paper about to be published is the most comprehensive work ever undertaken on this topic. It was presented in Prague in 2010, and at the World Health & Safety conference in Wellington this year. 

Lou Parker is now hoping to pursue a course of study that will enable her to take on bigger and more challenging management roles.  And we, at the Commission, wish her all the very best with those endeavours.

The Ria McBride Award will offer Lou that opportunity. This award is sponsored by the State Services Commission in partnership with The New Horizons for Women Trust - recognising women who have demonstrated potential to advance to higher levels of responsibility in the Public Service. It's part of our efforts to ensure better public services for New Zealanders by helping to develop 'resilient, responsive and adaptable leaders', says Iain Rennie, State Services Commissioner and Head of State Services

More information about the award is published on the webpage Ria McBride Public Service Management Award.

Media enquiries: Janryll Fernandez. janryll.fernandez@publicservice.govt.nz , Communications Advisor, State Services Commission, 021 472 598.