Chief Executive's overview
It has been a year of challenges and new opportunities for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC). I am proud the staff of DPMC have risen to the occasion and delivered to a high standard across the range of our functions.
Our core business is enabling effective executive government. Traditionally this has meant providing, on a daily basis, advice and support to the Prime Minister, Cabinet and the Governor-General. As ever in 2015/16, we provided high-quality, integrated, advice and support across a range of complex, integrated policy areas that spanned the breadth of government. Our analysis and support provided decision-makers with a key advantage, and helped translate government priorities into action.
In the past few years, our role has grown, and we now have responsibilities to a wider range of Ministers – including the Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration, the Minister of Civil Defence, the Minister for Communications and the Minister Responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau (GSCB) and the New Zealand Security Intelligence Service (NZSIS).
To meet these diverse needs, we are a department made up of several discrete business groups, brought together by our unique position at the centre of New Zealand's system of democratic government.
The Policy Advisory Group (PAG) has continued to support the Prime Minister in his role as leader of Government and Chair of Cabinet. The PAG are high-performing advisors, who seek to ensure policy coherence across the wide range of government policy, by working across portfolios and directly to the Prime Minister.
In August 2016 the Prime Minister launched three new quality policy frameworks, the result of the year’s work led by the Policy Project, a team hosted within DPMC. These frameworks have been co-designed for and by the policy community to support agencies to improve their policy quality and capability, and will have a meaningful impact on the quality of policy advice Ministers receive.
A big focus has been leading the disestablishment of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA) on 18 April 2016, and the transition of a range of functions into local and central government agencies. For DPMC this involved establishing the Greater Christchurch Group (GCG) and becoming the lead central government agency supporting the regeneration of greater Christchurch.
The transition from CERA to DPMC was a mammoth task. I would like to thank all the staff involved in this for their professionalism and hard work throughout this process. In particular, I acknowledge the contribution of Michelle Mitchell, who was a Deputy Chief Executive at CERA and then Director of the GCG in DPMC. Michelle’s passing in January 2016 was a loss for her family, for us and for the regeneration of greater Christchurch. Our thoughts remain with her family.
Hosting CERA as a departmental agency for 14 months leading up to the transition ensured we were able to hit the ground running post 18 April. We now have staff across Christchurch and Wellington supporting the regeneration efforts, an additional member of the Executive Leadership Team and are more outward facing than ever before. Our focus in this space over the coming year is to support the new regeneration agencies and local government to complete the transition back to more traditional governance arrangements.
The Security and Intelligence Group (SIG) has continued to mature, and focus its efforts around the Officials Committee for Domestic and External Security Coordination (ODESC). Our goal in this area remains for New Zealand to have a world-class national security sector, and we are justifiably proud of the well-coordinated, forward-leaning and effective system that we now have. To progress this we have coordinated the Government and sector’s response to an independent review of New Zealand’s intelligence agencies, and led the refresh of New Zealand’s Cyber Security Strategy.
In tandem with this, we continue to grow in the resilience space. The synergies between the GCG, the National Emergency Management Agency, the SIG and the PAG continue to grow. The Agency, which became part of DPMC in April 2014, is now fully embedded in the Department.
It has been a big year for Government House, supporting Lieutenant-General the Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae and Lady Janine through a busy series of engagements, as well as preparing Governor-General Designate Dame Patsy Reddy to take up office. As a Department, we wish Sir Jerry all the best, and thank him for his services to New Zealand over the past five years.
As well as maintaining its excellent support of the Cabinet decision-making process, the Cabinet Office implemented the new CabNet system which went live in August 2015. CabNet is a world-leading, digital support tool that ensures Cabinet material can be accessed in a more efficient, timely and secure way.
My ambition is that DPMC is viewed as an exemplar of executive and policy leadership, trusted by government to undertake projects and work with agencies from across the sector. This year we have used the opportunity presented by the transfer of functions from CERA to build our corporate capability and infrastructure, and to integrate our workforce by focusing on our shared values, culture and vision of a confident, well-governed, and secure New Zealand.
The success of the Department is the result of the hard work done every day by our staff. Thank you to all of you, and to your families and the people who support you to carry out your work.