Response from Te Kawa Mataaho

Response to our recommendations about Strategic suppliers: Understanding and managing the risks of service disruption.

28 April 2023

Leaanne McAviney
Assistant Auditor-General, Sector Performance
Office of the Auditor-General

Tēnā koe Leeanne,

Thank you for your letter dated 3 April 2023 to Peter Hughes, Public Service Commissioner, following up on the performance audit on Strategic Suppliers: Understanding and managing the risks of service disruption.

He has asked me to provide a response to you on how Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission is addressing recommendation 2, which was:

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Department of Internal Affairs, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Treasury, the National Emergency Management Agency, and other agencies as appropriate:

  • consider how the public sector, including local government, can build on existing initiatives to ensure that strategic supply risks affecting important public services are well understood, managed, and co-ordinated; and
  • work with Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission to ensure that roles and responsibilities are clearly assigned.

This recommendation relates to the role of the Commissioner in establishing the Public Service Leadership Team (PSLT), designating system leaders and reviewing the performance of Chief Executives.

Role and mandate of system leads

The Public Service Act 2020 (the Act) requires the Commissioner to establish a Public Service Leadership Team to, among other things, provide strategic leadership that contributes to an effective and cohesive public service. This is a key mechanism for the Public Service to identify strategic issues across the system.

The Act also enables the appointment of chief executives as system leaders, responsible for key system leadership roles to lead and co-ordinate best practice in a particular area. This includes the ability to issue guidance and standards that have mandatory effect in the public service.

Strengthening and clarifying system leadership roles

Since system leadership was established in the Public Service Act 2020, seven system leadership roles have been designated by the Commissioner. A number of system leaders coordinate work across the public service involving critical services and strategic suppliers, including the leaders for Digital, Data, Information Security, and Procurement

Most relevant to this review, the Secretary for Business, Innovation and Employment is the system leader for Procurement and Property and is responsible for strengthening leadership and oversight of suppliers and agencies in key procurement sectors. A core part of this role is helping to ensure that agencies collaborate around sourcing and purchasing common goods and services.

In line with this role, it is for the Secretary for Business, Innovation and Employment to respond in detail to the matters raised by this audit. I understand that the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, may update you as part of a collective response with other agencies on the work they are doing.

Te Kawa Mataaho continues to work to clarify and strengthen these system lead roles. We have provided advice to Cabinet on strengthening the system leadership roles for property, procurement, digital, data, and information security.

We are currently supporting agencies to report back to Cabinet on detailed mandates for the Property, Procurement, and Service Transformation system lead roles. We expect these to be confirmed before August.

Setting and monitoring performance

The Commission provides oversight of, and support for, system leaders through its process of setting and monitoring performance expectations of chief executives. Chief executives are accountable for their system leadership roles, and what is expected of them is set out in their individual performance expectations and through the Public Service Leadership Team.

Performance against the expectations set with respect to system leadership is assessed as part of the regular engagement Te Kawa Mataaho has with chief executives as their employer. This engagement includes regular information and real-time feedback, including on the system leadership aspect of a chief executive’s role.

Thank you for the opportunity to update you. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you require further information.

Ngā mihi nui,

Hannah Cameron
Kaikōmihana Tuarua, Te Tohutohu Rautaki me te Kaupapa Here
Deputy Commissioner, Strategy & Policy
Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission