Acting in the Spirit of Service

Workforce Assurance

The New Zealand Public Service is internationally recognised as one of the world’s most trustworthy. This comes down in very large part to the integrity, decency and commitment that the vast majority of public servants bring to their role every day.

Peter Hughes, Public Service Commissioner

Robust standards of integrity and personnel security enable organisations to have trust and confidence in the workforce. The Protective Security Requirements (PSR) outline the Government’s mandatory expectations for managing personnel, physical and information security in agencies covered by the requirements.  The PSR Personnel Security Mandatory Requirements cover processes for identifying suitable people to employ or engage, educating them about their responsibilities, evaluating their continuing suitability and managing a person’s departure. Public service organisations that are not covered by the mandatory requirements are encouraged to adopt the best practices set out in the PSR.

These Workforce Assurance model standards outline the Public Service Commissioner’s additional expectations on public service organisations when recruiting employees and contractors. The standards help ensure the suitability of the people organisations engage and that the workforce continues to meet high standards for integrity and honesty. 


These model standards cover employees and contractors. For clarity:

  • Employees have an employment agreement, with their employment records including wage, holidays and leave records maintained by the organisation. Employees include fixed-term employees, part-time employees, temporary staff, casual staff and secondees[1].
  • Contractors are engaged on a contract for services, are paid on invoice and are responsible for their own tax and ACC levies. Contractors can be engaged directly or through a third party (e.g. recruitment agency).

The definition of ‘contractor’ for these standards does not include consultants who work independently from the agency for a consultancy company to deliver a specific piece of work and are responsible for their own resources. The definition of ‘contractor’ for these standards also does not include those providing services outside of core business such as cleaning or trades services. Assurance regarding such people comes from the providing company.

[1] These definitions vary slightly from the PSR Personnel Security Mandatory Requirements which refer to employees, contractors and temporary staff. For these model standards, temporary staff are regarded as employees if they have an employment agreement with the organisation.


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