A high performing Public Service is dependent on high performing chief executives' (CEs) ongoing leadership and talent development. Better Public Services (BPS) requires a significant shift in leadership with a sharper, more collaborative focus on results and sector-first thinking. This needs to be driven and supported by a modern, efficient, and credible performance management system.
The performance management approach for CEs is designed to ensure alignment with Government priorities, a stronger focus on measurability, and a system that adds value to CEs.
Driving performance excellence
The State Services Commission works with chief executives to deliver performance excellence in three ways: by setting clear, measurable expectations for chief executives, by providing ongoing support to chief executives, and by holding chief executives to account for achievement of their performance expectations.
Expectations provide the platform for driving performance and focus on both the impact a CE's leadership will have over the medium-term and key actions for the year ahead.
Regular engagement with the State Services Commission ensures that engagement with CEs is purposeful and deliberate in supporting the agency and sector to achieve results over the medium-term, based on the CE expectations and relevant BPS result action plans.
Providing high quality advice and support
The State Services Commission is committed to providing high quality advice and support to improve performance - leveraging off our experience and expert networks.
A particular focus over the medium term will be aligning chief executives' strategic foci to the BPS result areas. In some cases the chief executive will also be leading a result area while others have important contributory roles.
See more information about the Better Public Services programme here.
Assessing the effectiveness of agency, sector and system performance
The State Services Commissioner reviews the performance of each chief executive in terms of achievement of results and investment in the capability of their organisations. There is also an orientation on future direction in addressing government priorities and the development of the CE's organisation. A CE's overall performance is discussed with the Responsible Minister.
The State Services Commissioner holds chief executives to account to provide evidence of the results they are achieving for New Zealanders. He uses a number of tools to measure and understand how well agencies are performing (for example the Benchmarking Administrative and Support Services programme (BASS), the Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) and the BPS results). Making an assessment of performance helps SSC deliver advice on how to make improvements to areas like cost-effectiveness and service delivery.
Role of Deputy Commissioners and Assistant Commissioners
The Commission's Deputy and Assistant Commissioners ensure that sectors and agencies' work aligns with Ministerial expectations, providing support at different levels:
- Through regular engagement with Ministers to provide a well informed and timely view of performance across the system. This includes providing advice and assessment on different situations and potential implications within sectors and agencies, identifying and mitigating key risks before they are realised, and reinforcing policy direction with agencies and sectors.
- With chief executives, through regular engagement on management and leadership issues. SSC staff regularly engage with chief executives, support them to capitalise on opportunities, assist with problem solving, and develop future leaders. Through this engagement, Deputy and Assistant Commissioners aim to ensure a closer connection between a CE's performance and their development.
- Across the public management system as a whole. SSC staff identify and work to remove barriers to good performance, and encourage relevant parts of the State Services to work together to achieve results for New Zealand.