Working flexibly across the sector
Peggy Koutsos, Principal Organisational Development Adviser – Diversity & Inclusion Lead at Ministry for Primary Industries, has enjoyed the flexibility of working arrangements in the Public Service, which have allowed her to thrive in and outside work and balance her caring responsibilities.
“I can honestly say that without having the ability to work flexibly I probably wouldn’t have been able to progress my career in something I absolutely love and am passionate about.”
Alongside flexible work times, last year Peggy also worked in two roles within her flexible working arrangement: at her home agency Ministry for Primary Industries l Manatū Ahu Matua and in the Gender Pay Taskforce at Te Kawa Mataaho.
“I think the gender pay gap action plan has really lifted the profile of flexible working in that we’re no longer just talking about it. There’s been a considerable shift across the sector.”
The Moving Mountains Kaikōura infrastructure project was a collaboration between Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery Alliance and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura. At the 2020 Te Hāpai Hapori | Spirit of Service Awards, it won Te Tohu a te Pirimia | Prime Minister’s Award (overall winner) and Te Tohu mō te Kaiārahi Mahi Whakahaere | Leadership in Governance Award.
The team took a transparent and innovative approach to governance that delivered a hugely complex and challenging project.
They introduced one governance structure that also brought in private sector partners. The Board adopted a kaupapa of people first, recognised local iwi as a Treaty of Waitangi partner, integrated the project into the community and focused on results that delivered value for money and openly shared information and risk. This model of governance of large infrastructure projects is now being used across $6.8 million of work from Queenstown to Whangarei.
A unified Public Service
The common principles and values for the Public Service are a powerful unifying force; they make clear to Public Servants, government and public alike the common standards applying across the Public Service and emphasise the public sector over an individual agency’s identity. The principles and values bring greater force and authority to the Commissioner’s standards and expectations. They also form the basis for Public Service-wide approaches, such as the single recruitment channel for the whole Public Service.
In the employment area, the Act sets out that Chief Executives appoint public servants to the Public Service. This clarifies that, while their employment relationship is with their individual agency, they are appointed to be part of the wider Service. This forms the basis, in principle, for workforce development initiatives, such as the Workforce Mobility Hub and other measures that make it easier for public servants to move between departments.
The principles and values of the Public Service are also applied to Crown agents. Crown agents are a key ‘face of government’. They account for around 40 percent of government expenditure, employ the vast majority of public servants, and deliver most of the critical public services to New Zealanders. Throughout the year, the Commission has extended support and connection to Crown agents as part of a unified system. They have been involved in HR forums to support the COVID-19 response, engaged on questions of Māori-Crown relationships, and encouraged in their efforts to enhance diversity and inclusion. Crown agents are eligible for Te Hāpai Hāpori | Spirit of Service Awards, Te Rā Ratonga Tūmatanui | Public Service Day Awards, and in 2020, Te Tohu a te Pirimia | Prime Minister’s Award was awarded to Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, KiwiRail, the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery Alliance and Te Rūnanga o Kaikōura for their Moving Mountains Kaikōura infrastructure project.
Stewardship is one principle of the Act, that is, care for the long-term capability of the public sector and its people, as well as other assets, such as physical infrastructure and legislation. To support this, the Act introduced a new requirement for every Public Service department to produce, once every three years, a long-term ‘insights’ briefing. The purpose of these briefings is to:
- support the stewardship role of the Public Service by ensuring that departments are thinking about the more complex long-running issues that our society is facing and the types of capabilities and solutions that might be required to respond to these issues
- provide the information and analysis collated and prepared by the departments into the public domain. This supports both an informed public discourse on these important issues and effective democratic government by providing parties from across the political spectrum with a basis around which they can formulate their policies.
As well as progressing work on our own long-term insights briefing, the Commission is helping New Zealanders have their say about what should be considered in these long-term insights briefings by explaining and guiding them through the consultation process, clarifying how to take part in all long-term insights briefing consultation processes undertaken by the Public Service.