Written on 4 July 2022 by Peter Hughes

Speaking up blog

Kia ora koutou katoa,

All New Zealand workers, including public servants, must be able to raise concerns without fear of punishment or reprisal.

Today I welcome the publication of the updated Acting in the Spirit of Service Speaking Up model standards as an organisational platform for public sector staff to raise wrongdoing concerns.

I’m proud that New Zealand is held in high regard for the standards of honesty, openness, transparency, and integrity in the Public Service. Our reputation is bolstered by our ability to build and maintain a culture that promotes speaking up about wrongdoing.

Good policies and processes that encourage staff to speak up about possible wrongdoing are vital for maintaining the integrity of our Public Service.

The Speaking Up standards were first issued in 2017 (under the State Sector Act 1988) and were further updated in 2019.

The standards have now been updated by Te Kawa Mataaho | Public Service Commission in line with the Public Service Act 2020. They also reflect the new Protected Disclosures (Protection of Whistleblowers) Act 2022, which came into effect today (1 July) – aiming to make New Zealand whistleblowing protection easier to access, understand, and use.

These new standards outline my minimum expectations, as Public Service Commissioner, for organisations to support staff on speaking up on relation to wrongdoing concerns that could damage the integrity of the Public Service.

These standards comprise all the key elements for promoting a ‘speak up’ culture, operating good processes (including timely investigations), and keeping people safe from reprisals or other detrimental impacts.

For more information, visit our Speaking up in the Public Sector web page.

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