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Challenge Two

Governance for the 21st Century

The executive branch of government comprises the Governor-General, Prime Minister, other Ministers of the Crown and the public service. The engine room of executive decision-making is the Cabinet system, and the resilience and security of this system is critical to stable and effective governance.

Goal 3 Integrated Governance – Government decision-making processes and systems are integrated across the public service, support the presentation of high quality advice to Ministers, and facilitate collaborative working

What we intend to achieve

We will, in partnership with other agencies, improve the level of support provided to Ministers. Integrated systems and processes will contribute to more effective execution of the Government's priorities.

What we will do

The Cabinet Office will continue to steward and enhance the Cabinet system and processes. We will work with Ministers’ offices and departments so that issues are presented to the Cabinet clearly and robustly, supporting good decision-making.

Following the successful deployment of CabNet, providing electronic management of Cabinet material, we will further develop the system, driven by the needs of our users. We will also commence a review of the current requirements for Cabinet papers to ensure they meet the needs of Ministers.

How will we measure our progress

The effectiveness and ease of use of CabNet will be tracked using surveys and feedback from users, including the number and nature of calls to helpdesks.

Goal 4 Knowledge and support – Newer Ministers have the knowledge and support necessary to carry out their roles and functions

What we intend to achieve

We provide advice and support to new Ministers to help them in their roles. We will improve the quality of this, so they can more effectively carry out their functions.

What we will do

We will work with Ministerial Services in the Department of Internal Affairs to ensure Ministers have the systems they require to work efficiently and effectively.

We will develop a refreshed approach for the induction of Ministers, ahead of the 2017 elections, and consider other initiatives to support Ministers in their roles.

How will we measure our progress

We will use feedback from Ministers about the services provided to them, including induction programmes and ongoing advice and support.

Goal 5 Ethical Government – Executive government is supported to function in a manner that upholds, and is seen to uphold, the highest ethical standards

What we intend to achieve

Supporting Ministers to carry out their duties to the highest ethical standards is critical to maintaining New Zealand's trust and confidence. We can create an environment where appropriate conduct is clear, and assistance is available to clarify expectations.

What we will do

The Cabinet Office will provide advice to Ministers and their offices on issues concerning conduct and management of conflicts of interest.

We will also complete a review of the Cabinet Manual as the authoritative guide to central government's decision-making. This will involve reviewing and updating its text to reflect legislative changes and new policies and practices since its last update in 2008.

This will be alongside our ongoing work to promote, through a range of channels and agencies, a greater understanding of New Zealand's approach to executive government, central government decision-making structures, and the statutory and constitutional framework within which central government operates.

How will we measure our progress

The revised Cabinet Manual will be endorsed by Cabinet.

We will also continue to receive feedback from Ministers and their offices as to the clarity, accuracy, and quality of the guidance provided by the Cabinet Office.