ANZSOG continues to evolve to meet public sector challenges: Dean and CEO Ken Smith

Ken Smith on the podium giving a speech.
  • Published Date: 13 December 2019

The public sector is constantly undergoing rapid change and public servants are challenged to deliver public value in a complex and demanding environment.

At ANZSOG, we recognise these challenges and in 2019, we have continued to strengthen our engagement with government owners and university partners with a view to ensuring that our education, research, thought leadership activities and programs enhance government’s capability to meet the needs of all Australians and New Zealanders.

We’ve identified and implemented several changes as part of a long-term strategy, ANZSOG 2025 (now available on the ANZSOG website) to ensure we continue to evolve and adapt while maintaining the values core to our mission in public sector education, research, and thought leadership.

This year, we introduced major changes to our research program including a new demand-led, practice-driven and collaborative approach. We spent the year consulting with our government owners and university partners about the focus, design and operational arrangements to support new research projects. And in the new year, we will shift our focus to major research projects, shaped by these consultations.

We were proud to be able to make a significant contribution to public administration research via the Independent Review of the Australian Public Service, chaired by David Thodey. We were commissioned to deliver a series of major research papers for the Review. These were produced with our global network of scholars and practitioners on a diverse array of topics of relevance to the Review including:

  • integrity
  • commissioning and contracting
  • engaging across the federation
  • program evaluation and learning from success and failure
  • minister/public service relations, and
  • local solutions.

These papers contributed to the work of the Review and were referenced in the panels interim report in March 2019.

ANZSOG’s Teaching and Learning Strategy provides an exciting overview of our current priorities all of which seek to strengthen our program offerings and enhance our student experience.

The Executive Master of Public Administration (EMPA) and Executive Fellows Program (EFP) remain key foundation programs, structured around the enduring concept of public value. The recent refresh and long term improvements we are putting in place will ensure that current and future cohorts will benefit from a program that is place-based, uses technology to connect participants, and focused on enhancing individual capability in the areas of leadership, integrity and innovation.

We have also expanded our geographic footprint with courses delivered in regional locations and significantly increased the number of tailored education and thought leadership programs delivered, in direct response to government requirements. Our Thought Leadership program has provided free events in five jurisdictions, including New Zealand, bringing leading academics and practitioners from across the world to more than 4000 people.

ANZSOG’s Regulators Community of Practice began as an informal network of Victorian regulators, and now encompasses every jurisdiction in Australia, providing a forum for regulators to meet, share knowledge and hear from experts in their field, The annual conference, held in Melbourne in October this year, with the theme of The Intelligent Regulator, attracted more than 250 people.

We have reaffirmed our commitment to working with communities across Australia and New Zealand to promote and prioritise the perspectives and contributions of First Peoples.

In February we held a successful Indigenous Affairs conference in Melbourne, our second in partnership with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, on the theme of Reimagining Public Administration. We also convened the third senior public service leadership forum in Canberra in November with the support of NIAA. We’re also looking ahead to the 2020 First Peoples conference which will be announced soon on the ANZSOG website.

We have also taken significant steps in progressing our own journey to become a more inclusive, diverse and culturally competent organisation.

Mid-year, ANZSOG and the City of Melbourne played host to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, who delivered an inspiring address on ‘Why does Good Government Matter?’ and highlighted what Australia could learn from New Zealand’s approach to public policy. A former New Zealand Prime Minister, Sir Bill English also delivered a challenging and inspiring fourth Rattigan Lecture in November in Canberra, on the limits and future of the welfare state and the opportunities for government in the use of big data.

This has also been the first full year of operation for our Alumni Advisory Council – a body of ANZSOG alums – set up to advise us on how to maintain, leverage and foster connections with our 3600 strong alumni community worldwide.

We are a broad and diverse agency, and our work reflects many challenges of public administration and policy in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand.

The rapid changes the public sector is undergoing makes it even more important that we focus on our core values.

We want to ensure that ANZSOG equips public sector leaders with the competencies that provide them with the best opportunity to deliver public value for the communities they serve. We emphasise public value, ethics and integrity for public managers who have responsibility for managing large service delivery operations. In 2020 as before, we will seek to inspire, educate, connect and enrich the public sector leaders across Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand.

I wish our partners and stakeholders the very best for Christmas and a successful 2020.