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Challenge One

The public service understands, delivers, and helps shape the Government's priorities

The Prime Minister and the Cabinet are the centre of executive government. Ensuring there is a strong connection with the public service is critical.

Goal 1 Understanding and delivery – Mechanisms to articulate and align government priorities are stronger; working with Treasury and SSC, we support a seamless execution of the Government’s priorities.

What we intend to achieve

With our Central Agency partners, we will improve the processes, systems, and mechanisms that translate Government priorities into agency action.

What we will do

We will help departments understand Ministers' perspectives, develop policy that supports Government priorities, and deal with implementation issues.

We will facilitate links across agencies working on related issues, including through the setting of national intelligence priorities. We will work with the other Central Agencies to further refine the policy priority setting process and ensure coordinated assurance, including through regular reviews of the BPS result areas.

A focus will be coordination across sources - both policy and intelligence - to ensure that decision-makers receive cohesive, integrated, all-source advice and assessments.

How we will measure our progress

Our excellence in policy services, and effectiveness as a model policy agency will continue to be measured by satisfaction surveying. We will also continue to track the Better Public Services result areas.

Goal 2 Shaping – The quality of policy advice across the public service increases

What we intend to achieve

Policy advice varies in quality, evidence is not always used to best effect, and new methodologies are emerging domestically and internationally that departments need support to come to grips with.

Addressing these challenges requires a dedicated, multi-year programme of work. Policy excellence will see the public service deliver better policy processes, more responsive solutions, and better outcomes over time.

What we will do

The DPMC-led Policy Project and the leadership of the Head of the Policy Profession (currently the Chief Executive of DPMC) will help to drive continuous improvement in the quality of policy advice and the capability of policy agencies.

The Policy Project has multiple work-streams and over the next year our focus will shift towards encouraging and supporting agencies to use the tools and frameworks developed so far. In addition, we are developing work programmes for:

  • Sharing knowledge and building capability on promising methods for using and generating evidence and insights.
  • Scoping issues and opportunities for collective action on the policy workforce.
  • Looking at options to embed the Head of Policy Profession role and required infrastructure, including monitoring benefits.
  • Establishing a repository of information, tools and learning accessible to the policy community (if this is assessed as worthwhile).
  • Improving support for policy stewardship and free and frank advice.

We will also continue to model a professional, politically neutral, and highly effective policy agency.

How we will measure our progress

We will look for improvement over time in:

  • Agencies' policy advice quality ratings (using the Policy Quality Framework or other assessments).
  • The number of engagements the Policy Project has with other agencies around deployment of the Policy Project frameworks and tools.
  • Reported use rates of the Policy Project frameworks and tools.