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Introduction

The State sector is reforming the way it operates to deliver better outcomes for New Zealanders. To achieve that, agencies are putting citizens, rather than their agencies‟ objectives, at the forefront of their thinking. They are operating with collective impact rather than tackling complex issues in isolation.

This change in approach will help the State sector better support the government of the day to achieve its objectives. There is strong support across the system for it, and this Public Services Briefing to the Incoming Government is testament to that – it is the first time the chief executives' group has committed collectively to such a briefing.

The reform process is a direct challenge to the operating culture that developed in response to the reforms of the 1980s that placed primary responsibility on chief executives to deliver the things their agency was accountable for. Adding to that a responsibility to work across the system to deliver those things that no agency can achieve alone is complex, and the approach is not yet fully embedded. This briefing does not make detailed recommendations but instead outlines issues for further consideration by Ministers to maintain momentum around the system reform and consolidate its objectives.

A number of key issues are raised, including:

  • Chief executives consider the focus on achieving clearly identified results through collective impact has been successful and this briefing looks to use that approach to take system reform further.

  • The need to take an investment approach across the system and to fund common functions and cross-cutting issues.

  • Developing leaders with the skills to operate in an environment that requires innovation and collaboration.

  • Getting greater access to complete data sets that will inform effective targeting of effort and investment.

  • Engaging in a deeper way with New Zealanders over their issues and solutions.

  • Ensuring that State sector boards have the right mix of capability to perform at high level.

  • Strengthening New Zealand‟s strong reputation nationally and internationally for operating with integrity and inclusiveness.

The chief executives consider that these issues challenge both them and Ministers, and that meeting that challenge will lead to citizen-centred public services that ensure the wellbeing of present and future generations of New Zealanders.

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