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Full Development Pathways Tool

Issue date: 
Friday, 27 November 2020
Issue status: 
Current
Version note: 

The HTML version has been developed for accessibility purposes. To download and self-complete the Framework checklists and forms we recommend the PDF version.

Purpose of this document

The Development Pathways Tool identifies the actions a policy practitioner can take to develop their skills at three different levels – developing, practising, and expert/leading. These actions are organised into three ways of learning – on the job experience, learning from others, and formal training.

The online Development Pathways Tool allows you to select the skills you wish to develop from the Policy Skills Framework, and then download a set of actions for acquiring each of those skills. This document collects the source information provided in that online tool, for reference purposes. However, we encourage you to use the online tool as it provides the intended interactive experience.

Background

In 2016, the Policy Project co-developed the Policy Skills Framework with policy practitioners. It’s one of three policy improvement frameworks designed to improve the quality of policy advice across government.

The other two frameworks are the Policy Quality Framework (describes the key characteristics of quality policy advice, and identifies the enablers of great advice) and the Policy Capability Framework (sets out the key questions that policy agencies need to answer to assess their policy capability).

The Policy Skills Framework is a tool to help policy practitioners and their managers assess their current skills and think about how they want to progress as a policy practitioner. However, the Policy Skills Framework does not provide any guidance on how policy practitioners can acquire the capabilities they need to provide quality policy advice and to progress from one level to the next. The Policy Skills Framework provides the ‘what’. The Development Pathways Tool complements the Policy Skills Framework by providing the ‘how’.

The Policy Skills Framework

Purpose and approach of the Development Pathways Tool

What is it?

The Development Pathways Tool takes each element of knowledge, applied skills, and behaviour required to become a policy professional (as described in the Policy Skills Framework), and identifies practical steps an individual can take to move from one level of capability to the next – in three different ways:

  • learning by doing on the job
  • learning from others (including colleagues)
  • formal learning.

For many types of jobs, a commonly accepted guideline to maximise the effectiveness of learning and development is 70% learning by doing on the job, 20% learning from others, and 10% through formal learning (structured courses and development with explicit learning objectives).

In the Tool, the actions at each level in the Policy Skills Framework build on the one before (e.g. the actions under Expert/Leading build on those outlined under Practising).

A policy practitioner does not need to complete all the practical actions listed in the Tool in order to progress to the next level of capability. They are simply a guide to what a policy practitioner might want to consider doing to gain the knowledge, applied skills, and behaviour at each level. There will be other development pathways as well.

Examples of courses are provided under ‘formal learning’. Individuals and their managers will still need to do their own research to identify the full range of courses and see which work best for them.

What will be achieved and who will use it?

Both policy managers and their policy staff can use the Tool. The Development Pathways Tool will:

  • provide an easy way for individuals to identify how to gain the policy-related knowledge, applied skills, and behaviour at different capability levels
  • support policy managers to have discussions with individual policy practitioners or teams about their professional development plans and career aspirations, including identifying concrete activities to build capability levels
  • help policy managers identify possible ways to fill identified gaps in knowledge, applied skills, and behaviour in their teams
  • complement and enrich agency-specific learning, development and career pathways
  • contribute to improved quality of policy advice across the public service and better government decisions.

How to use the Development Pathways Tool

The following steps provide a useful way for a policy practitioner to use the Tool.

  1. Identify and discuss with your manager the knowledge, applied skills or behaviour you would like to focus on for further development. You can use the Policy Skills Framework to map your skills, and decide which ones you want to focus on. You may want to seek the views of others as well as your manager on your self-assessment, before you identify the skills you want to focus on.
  2. Open the Development Pathways Tool and select an element of the knowledge, applied skills, and behaviour you wish to develop further, and the development level you want to achieve. The Tool will only generate a single applied skill, knowledge and behaviour at a time.
  3. Download the information that the Tool generates on how to develop your skills.
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other skills you want to develop. 
  5. Read the development pathways information. Identify the practical steps for improving policy capability that are most relevant for you, and discuss them with your manager.
  6. Incorporate the actions you’ve agreed with your manager into your professional development plan. 

Policy analyst example

Zoe is a policy analyst looking to upskill, so she:

  • maps her skills using the Policy Skills Framework
  • decides that she would like to develop her skills in ‘Government systems and processes’ and ‘Engagement and collaboration’
  • reviews the practical steps suggested in the Development Pathways Tool for a practising policy practitioner (e.g. participate in increasingly complex interdepartmental, Cabinet and Parliamentary processes)
  • discusses and sets up a professional development plan with her manager for the next six months.

Zoe’s development plan includes a project that will require her to lead a policy development process that involves:

  • scoping and planning an engagement strategy on changes to legislation
  • the development and passage of an amendment Bill through Parliament.

She will also:

  • learn from her team about iwi as Treaty partners and key stakeholders (e.g. ministers, select committees, service users, other community groups) their drivers, interest and influence, and engagement style and preference
  • undertake a Parliament in Practice seminar run by the Office of the Clerk.

Policy manager example

Michael is a policy manager. He decides to assess his team’s policy skills so he can identify where to focus future capability. Michael uses the Policy Skills Framework to map the team’s knowledge, applied skills and behaviour. His team is likely to be increasingly involved in cross-agency and cross-sector work that has a large design component. Michael is particularly interested in whether there are any skill gaps across the team, who’d be interested in development, and whether senior members of his team could coach less experienced team members.

Michael identifies that his team needs to develop collectively its strategic thinking, engagement and collaboration, and design for implementation skills. He uses the Development Pathways Tool to identify potential practical steps to develop the team’s skills. Michael decides to:

  • ask the Principal Analyst in the team if she could coach and mentor less experienced team members on systems thinking and futures thinking (since this an area of her expertise)
  • organise a seminar by a government agency (that has recently undertaken major reform in its sector) on user-centred approaches to policy design and implementation
  • suggest several members of the team attend training on how to apply the Māori Crown Engagement Framework and Guidelines
  • suggest the whole team takes a course on design thinking methods (e.g. Design Thinking in the Public Service, Think Place).

Skills for development

Domain Knowledge

Specialist subject matter expertise

Developing

  • Acquiring subject matter knowledge relevant to the work of the agency and sector.
  • Building technical know-how on the legal, regulatory and service delivery frameworks.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Build knowledge of your agency’s business and strategic direction by reading your agency’s annual report, statement of intent, briefing to the incoming minister, and relevant strategic or business plans.
  • Discuss with your manager how your role contributes to achieving your agency’s priorities.
  • Learn about the key policy tools or analytical and kaupapa Māori based frameworks used in your agency and how to apply these.
  • Learn about the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi, relevant legislation, regulations and Cabinet decisions relating to your agency and your work.
  • Learn about the history of your agency’s business, key decisions that have been made, and what the impact of these has been on other agencies’ business, New Zealand society, the economy, Māori, the Māori Crown relationship, and New Zealand’s international relations.
  • Learn about Treaty settlement commitments in your policy area.
  • Learn about the current policy issues facing your agency and sector, including regional variations and interests.
  • Participate in small policy projects and tasks that will develop greater subject matter expertise.
  • Stay up to date with literature relevant to your role, tasks or knowledge base.
  • Discuss with your colleagues about when and how to engage your agency’s operations, legal, finance, digital and service design, and communications teams in the development of policy, and take opportunities to do so.
  • Participate in projects across your agency, or in corporate projects to broaden your knowledge of organisational issues.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Interact with colleagues to gather new ideas and insights relevant to your subject matter expertise.
  • Participate in relevant professional and expert networks.
  • Seek on-the-job coaching on domain knowledge from more senior practitioners or managers.
  • Attend in-house seminars on your area of subject matter expertise.
  • Find opportunities to spend time with people who may be affected by your policy area, including Māori, iwi organisations, frontline staff, businesses, different ethnic groups, community groups, non-government organisations, disabled people, senior citizens and single parents.
  • Read key documents with commentary of the Māori Crown relationship relevant to your subject area.
10% formal learning
  • Attend your agency’s induction training.
  • Complete the Public Service Commission's online modules Induction to the State Services.
  • Attend external seminars and participate in workshops to expand and update your subject knowledge.
  • Attend training on te ao Māori relevant to your subject area (e.g. Victoria University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning offers tailored courses on Māori Crown Relations).

Practising

  • Has solid subject matter knowledge of policy issues and the current policy and regulatory settings.
  • Is advancing practical understanding of the domain and sharing knowledge with others.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead or contribute significantly to projects that allow you to put your domain knowledge and expertise into practice.
  • Share domain knowledge and policy experience with other policy practitioners.
  • Contribute to discussions about specific issues or projects related to your subject matter expertise.
  • Lead discussions about policy problems and approaches in your subject area.
  • Stay up to date with literature and policy problems relevant to your role.
  • Be knowledgeable about current Māori views on your subject matter, including reading relevant Waitangi Tribunal reports and evidence.
  • Lead advice to the Minister, Cabinet committees, select committees, and inter-agency meetings where you are the subject matter expert.
  • Read key policy development documents (such as discussion documents, Cabinet papers, and Regulatory Impact Assessments) to identify exemplars and lessons.
  • Engage with cross-government or sector work of increased complexity to understand policy frameworks, methods and tools that other agencies use.
  • Contribute to the development of policy tools and processes within your sector.
  • Contribute to subject matter-focused policy training programmes in your organisation.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Subscribe to relevant technical journals to build knowledge of new thinking.
  • Read widely, including areas outside your area of technical expertise and experience.
  • Identify people within your agency who have expertise in the policy area that you are working on and interact with them to gain the insights they can provide.
  • Set aside time for reflection (possibly with a coach) on policy processes you are involved in.
  • Seek coaching from a principal policy analyst on modifying standard frameworks or designing new structured approaches to make them relevant to your work.
  • Take up secondment opportunities or seek rotation to broaden your specialist expertise.
  • Build relationships with external organisations and individuals with an interest in your subject area, particularly iwi and Māori.
10% formal learning
  • Attend external seminars run by the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies, Institute of Public Administration New Zealand (IPANZ), Motu, The Treasury, Te Puni Kōkiri, Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti etc and share and discuss lessons with colleagues, and incorporate what you have learnt into your agency’s approaches.
  • Attend internal seminars and participate in workshops to expand and update your technical knowledge.
  • Continue formal learning on te ao Māori relevant to your work.

Expert / Leading

  • Is a subject leader for the agency in the domain.
  • Is recognised as a thought leader in a field of knowledge and builds agency credibility by:
    • contributing to the knowledge base
    • sharing, synthesising and influencing thinking
    • forging links with the academic community.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead and guide discussions on policy projects, challenges and outcomes that draw on your specialist subject matter expertise.
  • Shape a culture of generously giving and receiving knowledge within and across sectors.
  • Build and share a knowledge base of the domain’s strategic context, including regional and international considerations.
  • Mentor less experienced policy practitioners and lead in-house training in your specialist subject matter expertise.
  • Maintain oversight of contemporary domestic and international approaches, and contribute to the knowledge base in the domain.
  • Monitor complex agency issues, which have broader strategic impact.
  • Position yourself as a leader for professional policy making in your subject matter expertise.
  • Seek out projects or tasks where issues break new ground or establish precedents.
  • Take up secondment opportunities or acting roles that broaden your subject matter expertise.
  • Contribute to, access, and assess the following in your subject area: research; evidence; case studies; and lessons learned.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Establish and drive strong networks within your domain areas, across sectors and with interested external groups, particularly Māori and iwi organisations.
  • Seek out opportunities for discussion and sharing with others in your subject area.
  • Engage with and seek critique from thought leaders and experts (including academics, Māori).
  • Present papers at conferences, submit papers to journals, and seek critique amongst external experts.
  • Advance professional practice by testing, adapting and sharing theoretical approaches, kaupapa Māori methodologies and frameworks, models and techniques and by seeking critique and sharing lessons.
  • Consider applying for an award or fellowship.
  • Seek collaboration opportunities with iwi, across sectors and agencies to improve policy methods.
10% formal learning
  • Attend courses, conferences and seminars that will extend your networks and knowledge in your areas of expertise.
  • Take courses aimed at leading complex policy projects.

Government Systems and Processes

Cabinet and Parliamentary processes and other requirements relevant to policy making

Developing

70% on-the-job learning
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Learn from senior staff about the lessons they have acquired from the policy process, and how you could apply those lessons to your work.
  • If possible, accompany your manager or senior colleagues to meetings with the Minister or other agencies.
  • Work with a senior colleague to draft a timeline for a policy process involving Cabinet decisions, legislation or regulations.
10% formal learning
  • Specific induction training, including the Public Service Commission’s online modules Induction to the State Services.
  • Introductory courses on machinery of government, Cabinet Office guidance, legislative processes, and select committees. For example:
    • Policy to Legislation by the Office of the Clerk
    • Introduction to Parliament and Select Committees by the Office of the Clerk
    • Machinery of Government by Civic Square
    • Parliament’s Financial Scrutiny Cycle by the Office of the Clerk
    • The Insider’s Guide to New Zealand Government by Civic Square
    • Effective Policy Development and Leadership by Brightstar
    • Impact Analysis Requirements by the Treasury.
  • Complete the Privacy for Policy Makers e-learning module developed by the Government Chief Privacy Officer and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner.

Practising

  • Understands and follows processes to ensure policy proposals meet the requirements of Cabinet and Parliamentary processes (including liaising with and instructions to the Parliamentary Counsel Office relating to legislative change).
  • Can apply required frameworks and processes to policy proposals (e.g. Impact Analysis Requirements, Better Business Cases).
70% on-the-job learning
  • Build good relationships with officials and departmental advisors in the Minister’s office.
  • Read the Policy Project’s guidance on Writing for Ministers and Cabinet.
  • Read the Guide to Working with the Parliamentary Counsel Office to learn about providing instructions for legislative drafting.
  • Work with your agency’s legal team and the Parliamentary Counsel Office to provide instructions for legislative drafting.
  • Learn about how the structure of government entities influences the level of involvement in policy processes. Read the Public Service Commission’s information on machinery of government.
  • Lead Cabinet papers through cross agency processes (e.g. consultation on papers, cross-agency briefings).
  • Participate in increasingly complex Cabinet and Parliamentary processes.
  • Develop business cases to support policy initiatives, applying Treasury’s Better Business Cases guidance.
  • Mentor junior staff on government systems and processes.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Shadow senior managers involved in providing advice to the Minister, Cabinet committees, and negotiating with Parliamentary counsel about legislative drafting, and participate in select committee processes.
  • Establish networks with the people who have relevant knowledge about government systems and processes to help you undertake your policy projects effectively.
10% formal learning
  • Take advanced courses on machinery of government, select committee processes, legislative processes, and policy development for senior practitioners.
  • The Treasury can run courses on Public Sector Budgets. G-Reg and ANZOG both schedule workshops and seminars from time to time on regulatory design and practice.
  • Attend seminars with experts in specific processes, such as:
    • Public Policy Fundamentals by Victoria University of Wellington
    • Introduction to Parliament and Select Committees by the Office of the Clerk
    • Policy to Legislation by the Office of the Clerk.

Expert / Leading

  • Understands and leads others in the effective processes of policy proposals, including on large-scale, complex cross government programmes through:
    • relevant budgetary cycle and funding arrangements
    • Cabinet Committee processes
    • legislative and Parliamentary processes.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead and guide agency input on sensitive issues including navigating government processes and dealing with extraordinary situations.
  • Provide departmental expert advice to ministers, select committees, Cabinet committees etc.
  • Participate in internal leadership groups on particular issues such as governance boards, monitoring of crown entities and other machinery of government issues.
  • Ensure quality systems are followed when developing different policy products (e.g. legislation and regulatory processes, select committee and Cabinet papers, ministerial briefings).
  • Integrate and implement system-wide requirements (e.g. Better Business Cases and Impact Analysis Requirements) into agency policy processes.
  • Establish yourself as an expert on government systems and processes.
  • Mentor others about processes and people associated with specific policy products (e.g. clerks of select committees, Parliamentary Counsel Office).
  • Lead or participate in training to staff on government systems and processes.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Where relevant, use guidance from central agencies to help others with systems and processes (e.g. the budget cycle and funding arrangements – Performance and Financial Management Cycle).
  • Seek feedback from your manager and peers on how you have led policy projects and navigated government processes.
10% formal learning
  • Take courses aimed at leading complex policy projects (e.g. planning, resourcing, skills, people). For example:
    • Towards Strategic Leadership (ANZSOG residential programme) or equivalent.

Political Context and Priorities

Understand government priorities and relevant political context

Developing

  • Becoming aware of the government’s agenda and priorities, and where your agency’s work fits.
  • Developing knowledge of the agency’s political context (stakeholders, thought leaders and commentators, and current issues).
  • Growing understanding of the implications of the Treaty of Waitangi for policy making in their work domain.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Read party manifestos, and relevant government and cross-party coalition and confidence and supply agreements.
  • Review written statements of the Government’s objectives and the Minister’s priorities.
  • Attend staff meetings to get a regular download from senior managers on the Minister’s priorities.
  • Read the Code of Conduct for Ministerial Staff.
  • Watch the Prime Minister’s post-Cabinet press conference and look at what might be relevant from the political television programmes.
  • Regularly read the Minister’s media releases and speeches posted on the Beehive website.
  • Attend Parliament or watch Parliament TV when an issue or question of the day relevant to your team’s work is being discussed, to see how the matter is addressed.
  • Consider how political decisions impact on your agency’s stakeholders.
  • Identify the other agencies and ministers who might have an interest in your agency’s policy work.
  • Know the tools of government research (for example, Brookers for legal matters and Hansard for transcripts of Parliamentary debates) and how to use them appropriately in your work.
  • Read the Te Ara – Encyclopedia of New Zealand extract on the Principles of the Treaty of Waitangi – ngā mātāpono o te tiriti, a range of Waitangi Tribunal reports, and consider how the Crown’s obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi relate to your work.
  • Read the Treaty of Waitangi analysis material in the Policy Project’s Policy Methods Toolbox, which includes the Cabinet Office circular Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi Guidance developed by Te Arawhiti – The Office for Māori Crown Relations, on how to apply the terms and concepts of the Treaty of Waitangi to policy development and implementation.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Discuss with your manager where your team’s work fits within the Minister’s priorities.
  • Learn from other colleagues who have experience in interacting with ministers and Parliamentary processes.
  • Discuss with senior colleagues the historical context of any reforms to your agency or sector and whether there are any documents that would be helpful to read.
  • Learn about the respective roles and responsibilities of staff in the Minister’s office (e.g. private secretaries, political advisors, media advisors) through discussions with more senior colleagues.
  • If possible, accompany your manager or senior colleagues to meetings with the Minister.
  • If possible, accompany your manager or other senior colleagues to a select committee meeting and discuss afterwards the difference between policy and political issues.
  • If possible, accompany your manager or senior colleagues to a meeting with Māori or iwi groups and discuss afterwards how the public service could better incorporate te ao Māori perspectives into policy processes.
  • Interview your more senior colleagues about who the key stakeholders in your agency’s sector are, their interests, and how they are likely to influence your policy work.
  • Discuss with senior colleagues who the key decision makers are in your agency.
  • Accompany your manager or other senior colleagues to your agency’s executive leadership meetings.
  • Identify the implications of the Treaty of Waitangi principles for a policy option you are involved in, and get feedback from a colleague.
10% formal learning
  • Take a course on the Treaty of Waitangi and cultural perspectives in policy making.

Practising

  • Understands government priorities, the current political context for and the historical context of their policy area.
  • Can clearly articulate how their work area contributes to the agency’s policy work programme and government priorities.
  • Understands the obligations of the Crown under the Treaty of Waitangi in their work domain.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Review relevant government and cross-party coalition and confidence and supply agreements and party manifestos.
  • Contribute to work planning for your team and discussions about agency and government priorities.
  • Represent your agency on cross-agency and cross-sectoral policy projects, where you need to articulate how your agency’s work contributes to government priorities.
  • Contribute to complex projects on cross-sectoral government priorities.
  • Lead medium to complex projects that require an understanding of the implications of the Treaty of Waitangi and Māori Crown relationships, and require engagement with Māori/iwi.
  • Develop knowledge of Māori groups with an interest in your subject area.
  • Share your knowledge of the historical reforms that impacted your agency or sector (e.g. structural, funding, service delivery).
  • Seek to be involved in developing Treaty settlement redress in your policy area.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Test your understanding of the political context and government priorities with more senior colleagues.
  • Attend a Waitangi Tribunal hearing.
10% formal learning
  • Take a course on the Treaty of Waitangi and cultural perspectives in policy making.

Expert / Leading

  • Is highly skilled at gaining clarity from ministers and senior leaders on desired outcome, scope and appetite for risk related to new, curbed or redirected spending – in order to shape new policy directions and programmes.
  • Scans, anticipates and responds to changes in government priorities and pressures throughout the Parliamentary and election cycle, and to trends or significant shifts in context.
  • Shares information and insights to ensure colleagues are well-informed about issues affecting the agency, government and wider policy eco-system.
  • Thoroughly understands the obligations of the Crown under the Treaty of Waitangi and expectation of Māori in their work domain.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Apply your commissioning skills and expert subject knowledge of political context and priorities to clarify desired outcomes for new policy work, including risks and spending constraints.
  • Lead and guide other colleagues in complex policy projects that require working across multiple agencies and with multiple ministers.
  • Lead work that is central to the Parliamentary and election cycle (e.g. briefings for incoming ministers).
  • Consider a secondment to the Minister’s office, so you can better see how the political context and priorities impact on the work programme.
  • Build and draw on well-established relationships with officials and advisors in the Minister’s office, across agencies and networks, to anticipate risks and the need for advice.
  • Lead complex projects that require an understanding of the relationship between Māori and the Crown and consultation with Māori groups.
  • Maintain strong relationships with Māori groups and individuals with an interest in your subject area.
  • Share lessons and insights with other colleagues on government directions and pressures through in-house training and coaching or mentoring.
  • Share your knowledge with other colleagues about budget and legislative processes and how to make bids.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek critique from other colleagues who have considerable experience in interacting with ministers and Parliamentary processes.
  • Build relationships with representatives of central agencies (Public Service Commission, the Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet) to get their perspective on government priorities.
10% formal learning
  • Talk to your manager about any formal learning opportunities available to you. 

Evidence, Insights and Evaluation

Gather and generate evidence to support analysis

Developing

  • Becoming familiar with how to use evidence throughout the policy cycle.
  • Growing an understanding of the different kinds of qualitative and quantitative evidence, evidence sources, and evaluation types.
  • Learning how to summarise and synthesise evidence to draw conclusions (e.g. on key issues, their magnitude, root causes and possible solutions).
  • Learning how to incorporate end-user perspectives accurately and empathetically into analysis.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Learn about the strengths and limitations of key data and statistical collections available in your agency and externally (e.g. from Statistics New Zealand, the Treasury, Ministry of Social Development).
  • Research how to source quantitative and qualitative data information from these sources for policy development.
  • Read the Policy Project’s conversation tracker on the Superu (Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit) Making Sense of Evidence – A Good Practice Guide.
  • Read Making sense of evidence: A guide to using evidence in policy (Superu 2018).
  • Review briefing papers that have a strong evidence base.
  • Learn about the strengths and weaknesses of the different quantitative and qualitative methodological tools available by reading relevant textbooks, and speaking with colleagues who are knowledgeable on Māori perspectives on data and data use.
  • Use problem trees to identify the relationships between adverse outcomes and the root causes of policy issues.
  • Do a literature review of a policy issue, drawing on articles that use qualitative and quantitative information.
  • Practise using, summarising and communicating key themes from research, information and data results.
  • Learn how to commission simple and medium-complexity data extraction and collection internally and externally.
  • Work with a senior colleague on a policy project where you need to identify the characteristics of the people the policy will serve and design a method to seek their views.
  • Learn about what data is available through the Integrated Data Infrastructure and how it can be accessed.
  • Apply different approaches to understand the personal stories and lived experience of the policy’s end user. Read the material in The Policy Project’s Policy Methods Toolbox on design thinking, behavioural insights, and futures thinking.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Learn about your internal data analysis team (if you have one), and find out more about what they do.
  • Learn about your behavioural insights team (if you have one), and find out more about what they do.
  • Learn about your futures thinking team (if you have one) and find out more about what they do.
  • Review high quality research work conducted by others to get insights on how to approach research tasks.
  • Identify and meet with data, research and evaluation specialists in your areas to understand what data and information they collect, and what it can and cannot tell you.
  • Consult with senior colleagues to assess various sources of evidence for relevance.
  • Ask colleagues with relevant skills about statistical concepts (e.g. margins of error and confidence intervals).
10% formal learning
  • Take an introduction to statistics course.
  • Take an online course to build your understanding of statistical methods.

Practising

  • Can synthesise diverse information and evidence, distil what is important, and use it to tell a coherent story.
  • Can competently assess the quality and limitations of evidence, data and research. Understands empirical methodology, principles of data integrity, and the basics of statistical analysis.
  • Understands methodologies for drawing insights from the ‘citizen-as-customer’ and the frontline, and how those insights can inform policy.
  • Can identify measurable and meaningful indicators of effectiveness, plan (and possibly execute) fit-for-purpose evaluations, and extract lessons learnt to help build an ongoing evidence base.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Develop a strategic relationship with your agency’s data team, so they are familiar with your requirements.
  • Identify and communicate themes from data analysis results along with methodology strengths and limitations.
  • Participate in policy projects that have a significant information and evidence base.
  • Apply the design thinking, behavioural insights and futures thinking guidance in the Policy Project’s Policy Methods Toolbox to one of your projects. 
  • Have a rich quantitative and qualitative understanding of the people who are impacted by your subject area and how they are impacted.
  • Use with confidence and interpret data and evidence regularly in your policy work to tell a coherent story, enrich analysis and enable well-informed decisions.
  • Demonstrate awareness of how data and evidence can reflect and reinforce stereotypes and institutional bias, and how this can be mitigated.
  • Build into your projects opportunities to revisit policy assumptions based on the evidence base.
  • Use a variety of methods to bring data and information to life for non-specialists.
  • Commission complex data extraction and collection internally and externally.
  • Ensure that policy projects allow sufficient time for data collection and analysis.
  • Critically evaluate the accuracy, completeness, consistency, uniqueness and timeliness of data you use as evidence.
  • Establish strong relationships with agencies that have a key role in data and research collection and remain up to date with new developments.
  • Learn how to design and implement or commission an evaluation or review of a policy initiative.
  • Share and present your data analysis and evaluation findings from specific projects and discuss lessons learned.
  • Mentor and coach others in developing strong evidence-informed policy.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Join relevant communities of practice or networks (e.g. Government Economics Network).
  • Consult and work with data specialists, survey design specialists, co-design and public participation experts, and evaluation experts to learn about and ensure the appropriateness of the:
    • design and collection of data and research
    • design and use of survey tools for collecting qualitative information (e.g. Survey Monkey)
    • design of evaluation tools to measure the effectiveness of current policy interventions or post policy implementation effectiveness.
  • Develop relationships with Māori academics and others who have an interest in data in your subject area.
  • Discuss with experienced colleagues how to balance apparently conflicting analytical approaches.
10% formal learning
  • Consider more advanced courses on statistical analysis and methodologies for drawing insights from the ‘citizen-as-customer’. 
  • Undertake a programme evaluation course (e.g. Programme Evaluation – Supporting Evidence-Informed Practice by University of Auckland, and Evaluation for the Public Sector by ANZSOG).
  • Attend conferences such as indigenous data summits (e.g. Ngā Pae o te Maramatanga).

Expert / Leading

  • Applies expert knowledge to lead others in developing strong evidence-informed policy.
  • Develops and guides others on the right lines of enquiry.
  • Draws on the right capabilities to mine data and use ‘big data’ for insights that can enable better decisions and create value.
  • Can commission and/or execute monitoring and evaluations, and build their findings into policy development, at early and subsequent stages in the policy cycle.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Engage with decision makers to illustrate how the research, information and data generated by you and your colleagues can assist in achieving policy goals.
  • Consider how regular data flows can provide alerts about emerging patterns and potential issues.
  • Understand predictive analytic models and methods for improving insights, and their limitations.
  • Use multiple sources of data to get a better picture of situations and issues.
  • Regularly scan relevant research and evaluation findings and interpret them for policy insights.
  • Have a rich understanding of the key characteristics of the people affected by your subject area and advise others on useful ways to demonstrate potential impacts of different decisions.
  • Build into your projects opportunities to revisit policy assumptions based on the evidence base.
  • Identify with specialists which policy interventions need evaluation, and institute an appropriate methodology.
  • Identify data and other evidence gaps for your agency, and lead work on future data needs and building the policy evidence base.
  • Share and present your evaluation findings from specific projects and discuss lessons learned.
  • Mentor and coach others in how to develop strong evidence-informed policy.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Co-design data requirements with specialists and incorporate them in policy projects for analysis.
  • Develop a collaborative relationship between policy makers, analysts and data specialists.
  • Engage with academics to foster research interest in long running policy issues to generate research insights.
  • Engage with non-specialists and other agencies to illustrate how the research, information and data you hold will help them achieve their goals.
  • Incorporate data specialists in project teams (either as direct or virtual team members).
10% formal learning
  • Take an online course on how to work with data strategically (e.g. Strategic Data Skills from the Open Data Institute).
  • Consider more advanced courses on statistical analysis and econometrics.

Analysis

Apply analytical frameworks and methods to make sense of evidence

Developing

  • Learning about the range of analytical frameworks that can be used in policy analysis including:
    • academic disciplines (e.g. various schools of economics, political science, sociology) and the frameworks they offer for making sense of what is happening and why
    • sectoral and system frameworks (e.g. the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework, Natural Resources Sector framework)
    • decision-making frameworks (e.g. cost benefit analysis, multi-criteria analysis, risk analysis, Impact Analysis Requirements, Better Business Cases, decision trees).
  • Can prepare draft analysis with guidance.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Know your agency’s policy guide (if they have one) and quality assessment criteria for policy advice, including The Policy Project’s Policy Quality Framework.
  • Read the Policy Project’s resource materials in its Policy Methods Toolbox on Start Right, design thinking, public participation, behavioural insights and futures thinking.
  • Read policy tools likely to be required in your work (e.g. the Treasury’s Impact Analysis Requirements).
  • Learn about Treaty settlements affecting your policy area.
  • Read the Treaty of Waitangi analysis material in the Policy Project’s Policy Methods Toolbox, which includes the Cabinet Office circular Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi Guidance developed by Te Arawhiti – The Office for Māori Crown Relations, on how to apply the terms and concepts of the Treaty of Waitangi to policy development and implementation.
  • Learn about diversity and inclusion tools and resources that may assist your policy analysis (e.g. Ministry for Pacific People’s Pacific Policy Analysis Tool Kapasa, Ministry of Social Development’s Child Impact Assessment Tool, Ministry for Women’s gender analysis tool Bringing Gender In).
  • Develop a problem tree for a current policy issue that documents the relationships between adverse economic, social, environmental or cultural outcomes and their root causes.
  • For all policy options that your team has identified in regard to a policy issue, diagrammatically document the intervention logic of each (what inputs and activities will produce which outputs and outcomes).
  • Peer review more senior colleagues’ work to build understanding of how different analytical frameworks, techniques and tools have been applied to different policy issues.
  • Assist your team with analytical work on policy issues, or lead analytical work on small tasks or projects.
  • Work with a more senior colleague to develop a Regulatory Impact Assessment or a simple Cabinet paper on a policy project.
  • Investigate opportunities to help with quality assurance of Regulatory Impact Assessments that inform policy in your subject area.
  • Attend seminars in your agency, or other departments, that will extend your thinking.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Ask colleagues to recommend and discuss good briefings and Cabinet papers, as well as books and articles on the practice of policy analysis.
  • Seek on the job coaching from your manager or senior colleagues on the policy development cycle, from defining the problem to setting policy objectives, identifying and assessing options, recommending solutions, implementing solutions, monitoring and evaluation.
  • Improve your understanding of policy analysis by reading key text books, for example:
    • A practical guide for policy analysis: the eightfold path to more effective problem solving (Bardach 2009)
    • Adding Value to Policy Analysis and Advice (Scott and Baehler 2010)
    • The Australian Policy Handbook (Althaus, Bridgman and Davis 2017)
    • The Art and Craft of Policy Advising (Bromell 2017)
    • Routledge Handbook of European Public Policy (2017).
  • Check with principal and senior analysts for other informative books and articles on ‘wicked problems’ and test your understanding of these through discussion with your team members and manager.
  • Ask colleagues about how they apply te ao Māori and mātauranga Māori to their policy work.
  • Ask colleagues about how they apply other frameworks that have a population lens (e.g. Ministry for Pacific People’s Pacific Policy Analysis Tool Kapasa).
10% formal learning
  • Take an in-house course in basic policy analysis if available.
  • Attend seminars at the Institute of Governance and Policy Studies, Motu, or other departments on analytical topics.
  • Take introductory short courses for policy staff on the role of policy analysts, policy tools and frameworks (e.g. from Victoria Professional and Executive Development).
  • Treasury can run courses on Regulatory Impact Analysis on request. G-Reg and ANZOG both schedule workshops and seminars from time to time on regulatory design and practice.
  • Take introductory courses on using economic analysis in the policy development process by the Government Economics Network (GEN).
  • Take a cost benefit analysis course (e.g. Introduction to Cost Benefit Analysis by GEN).
  • Consider taking a tertiary course, such as Public Policy Fundamentals by Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Consider taking one of the Government Economics Networks’ introductory courses (e.g. Microeconomics for Policy Analysis, Macroeconomic Principles for Policy, Cost Benefit Analysis, Behavioural Economics for Policy).

Practising

  • Has deeper and broader experience in applying different analytical frameworks, and understands their underlying assumptions and limitations and their appropriateness for different types and complexities of policy challenges.
  • Can make sense of evidence and turn it into insightful advice that tells a coherent story (e.g. about the problem or opportunity, its magnitude and causes, who is affected and how, and a proposed pathway to achieve desired outcomes) – while being transparent about how issues are framed (inherent bias) and gaps in evidence.
  • Can guide less experienced staff to undertake specific analysis and identify, direct or commission specialists where particular expertise is required.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead medium to complex policy design and development projects. Undertake a Regulatory Impact Assessment.
  • Lead discussions on analytical frameworks and approaches to policy projects with internal and external groups.
  • Look for opportunities to participate in developing innovative policy approaches to ‘wicked problems’.
  • Talk to policy analysis experts in your agency to identify relevant practices and approaches.
  • Work with specialists in behavioural science to identify and use psychological and sociological techniques to deliver public policy outcomes (e.g. ‘nudge’).
  • Work with specialists in future thinking to identify and use futures techniques in policy development.
  • Apply te ao Māori knowledge and approaches and mātauranga Māori to your policy work, and understand and explore the areas where a te ao Māori lens suggests a different direction to other analytical frameworks.
  • Apply other population frameworks and lenses to your policy work (e.g. Ministry for Pacific People’s Pacific Policy Analysis Tool Kapasa, Ministry of Social Development’s Child Impact Assessment Tool, Ministry for Women’s gender analysis tool Bringing Gender In).
  • Translate evidence into a compelling story about your analysis of policy issues and solutions. Use different mediums (e.g. words, graphics, diagrams, charts, tables) to present the information in an easily digestible way. Write a discussion document.
  • Develop networks with technical experts who can provide input into problem identification, approaches to framing policy, and resolution.
  • Coach or mentor less experienced analysts on how to choose and apply the ‘best fit for purpose’ analytical frameworks for policy problems.
  • Participate in your agency’s policy quality assurance processes, such as regulatory impact analysis and Cabinet paper committees.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Make connections with external experts in the application of frameworks, analytical methods and practices for specific policy projects.
10% formal learning
  • Take courses on different methodologies and analytical frameworks.
  • Take a course on critical thinking.

Expert / Leading

  • Can thoughtfully apply new and emerging methods of analysis and problem solving (e.g. design thinking, behavioural analysis), articulate their advantages and disadvantages, and lead the adaption or development of common frameworks, principles, methodologies, tools and techniques.
  • Coaches others in standard and emerging methods of analysis.
  • Able to translate complex evidence into insightful analysis that supports advice by continuously:
    • testing underlying assumptions/bias
    • asking questions that encourage critical thinking
    • testing feasibility of policy options and likely benefits, costs and risks for different groups and stakeholders.
  • Employs deep critical thinking skills and uses breakthrough methods to find solutions to challenging problems.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead complex cross-agency policy projects using a variety of analytical tools, and consider how these tools can be improved to be more relevant to these issues.
  • Lead others in the development of a Regulatory Impact Assessment.
  • Share and test tools and techniques from different disciplines to apply critical thinking to the issues and problems.
  • Design and contribute to policy projects and analytical processes at an ‘expert’ level (e.g. establishing analytical practice standards).
  • Foster discussion networks on new and emerging analytical approaches, techniques and tools.
  • Keep up to date with international and domestic developments in your areas of expertise.
  • Challenge current thinking and introduce new perspectives.
  • Coach or mentor less experienced analysts on how to choose and apply the ‘best fit for purpose’ analytical frameworks for policy problems.
  • Recommend and discuss examples of good briefings and Cabinet papers with less experienced analysts, and disseminate best practice examples and lessons learned.
  • Design, establish and lead quality assurance processes (e.g. regulatory impact analysis panels and Cabinet paper committees).
  • Position yourself as a leader for professional policy making.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Discuss analytical frameworks with peers across agencies. Talk about improvements to both the analytical frameworks and methods, and to the application of them.
  • Discuss with peers the underlying assumptions of a policy problem you are working on, how you have identified the risks, benefits and feasibility of different options, and the impact of the problem on the wider system.
  • Build relationships with domestic and international experts in methods and tools from different disciplines that can be used in policy analysis.
10% formal learning
  • Consider advanced courses on analysis in the policy development process.
  • Consider taking Victoria University of Wellington’s more advanced short courses including policy courses and degrees.

Design for Implementation

Design policy proposals to include workable delivery and implementation options

Developing

  • Learning how to develop policy options with implementation in mind, by becoming familiar with:
    • the range of policy instruments used to deliver policy intent (such as incentives, subsidies, regulation, service delivery and behavioural nudges)
    • the organisational expertise you need to involve to make policy work (e.g. legal, finance, procurement, operations, service delivery partners), and the importance of involving them and service users in ‘end-to-end’ and ‘outside in’ processes.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Learn about your agency’s corporate functions, and who can help you (e.g. legal, finance).
  • For a given policy issue, practise describing who has to do what, how, when, where, and with whom, for each proposed option to have its desired effect.
  • Read the Policy Project’s materials on design thinking in its Policy Methods Toolbox.
  • Find out about the values, needs and preferences of the end users of your agency’s policy.
  • Think about the potential impacts of policy change in your sector and how it would affect stakeholders.
  • Build your understanding of design for implementation by getting involved in long-term projects that take incremental steps to design and implement workable solutions.
  • Build your understanding of design for implementation issues by being involved in a policy project that has a sizeable implementation component.
  • Learn how to use prototypes to bring abstract ideas to life.
  • Build into your work tests and experiments that can examine what is and isn’t effective in practice.
  • Review how a recent policy decision was operationalised, and identify the roles played by different corporate functions and external service delivery channels.
  • Learn how to access data on user needs to inform design options.
  • Position the user at the centre of the policy problem and consider this at every stage of implementation.
  • Talk with senior staff about the lived experience of users, their values, and how these need to be reflected in implementation design.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Engage with a ‘community of practice’ or a wider public sector group to discuss and learn tools and concepts relevant to designing for implementation.
  • Talk with your operational colleagues and read your agency’s accountability documents (e.g. annual report, statement of intent) to learn about the operating environment for your agency.
  • Learn as much as you can from more experienced colleagues about the end users of your agency’s policy area, and the use of co-design in implementation.
  • Spend time in regional offices, if your agency has them.
  • Seek secondments or other opportunities to work with partner organisations, such as iwi entities.
10% formal learning
  • Attend introductory courses on policy design and implementation.

Practising

  • Can confidently include delivery options in policy design, consistently thinking ‘end to end’. This means being able to:
    • use implementation-focused decision-making models (e.g. Impact Analysis Requirements, Better Business Cases)
    • assess the impact of factors like benefits, costs, and risks, and the assumptions they are based on
    • include frontline staff in early and later stages of policy design
    • engage with other experts to convey or seek advice on implementation requirements.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead the development of a detailed description of how each policy option would be operationalised, and apply an appropriate decision model to assess the costs, benefits and risks.
  • Work with relevant partners to ensure users or sectors with particular needs (e.g. women, Māori, other ethnic communities, those with accessibility or mobility needs) can use a service or have alternative options.
  • Consider the potential for non-traditional policy options, such as behavioural nudges, new technologies and voluntary agreements.
  • Engage early on in your policy work with service delivery experts and specialist advisors who will be key to the successful implementation of policy proposals (e.g. your agency’s legal section and Parliamentary Counsel).
  • Use iterative approaches to test new ideas on a small scale before wider implementation (e.g. sand-boxing, pilots, prototypes and small-scale experiments of new ideas).
  • Manage timeframes to ensure projects include sufficient time and resources for testing and evaluation across different stages of a project or service’s lifecycle.
  • Learn about how user research is integrated into policy analysis at different points, including the design of policy options and services.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Use basic prototypes to explain or test approaches with colleagues.
  • Learn from other agencies’ expertise on how to take user-centred approaches to policy design and implementation.
  • Spend time in regional offices, if your agency has them.
  • Seek secondments or other opportunities to work with partner organisations, such as iwi entities.
10% formal learning
  • Attend courses or seminars on new ‘design thinking’ methods including Agile and Lean project approaches. For example:
    • Design Thinking Fundamentals by Victoria University of Wellington.

Expert / Leading

  • Leads decisions on the choice of policy instruments using rigorous criteria and proven design frameworks so that options are feasible. This means being able to:
    • constructively challenge traditional delivery mechanisms and actively examine alternative mechanisms (e.g. via new technologies, non-regulatory levers, new partnerships)
    • systematically identify and address internal and external issues, challenges and risks that could affect implementation
    • build relationships with potential delivery partners, inside and outside government, to test option viability, resolve problems and identify efficiencies
    • develop robust delivery roadmaps that are collaborative, assign accountabilities and enable adjustment if circumstances change.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Confidently apply new formal iterative methodologies and techniques that can contribute to design options.
  • Regularly use iterative project management methodologies to test a number of different approaches.
  • Develop and maintain a register of project risks and how to mitigate them.
  • Design tests and experiments to evaluate prototypes through large-scale randomised tests or randomised control trials.
  • Assess which research methods (e.g. questionnaires, in-depth interviews, workshops, ethnographic observation) are best used to gain insights about users and how they are likely to respond to different policy options.
  • Identify ways that new user needs can be tested and re-validated throughout development and delivery.
  • Use participatory approaches to design, develop, test and implement projects that involve users directly.
  • Coach less experienced staff in how to develop prototypes that can be used with users to test feasibility and explore the ability to scale up.
  • Coach or mentor less experienced staff on how to ensure policy proposals are workable.
  • Share with colleagues your knowledge of applying different policy instruments (e.g. regulation, financial incentives, behavioural nudges) to policy problems, and lessons learned.
  • Share your insights on design for implementation at in-house policy training and seminars.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Engage with academics, service providers and key users to iteratively co-design policy processes.
  • Engage with a community of practice that applies new methods and approaches to testing policy frameworks.
  • Work with other experts to adapt, design and lead training on how such approaches can be used in cross-sector and in-house policy projects.
  • Engage with specialists in behavioural science to use psychological and sociological techniques to deliver policy outcomes (e.g. ‘nudge’ interventions).
10% formal learning
  • Attend courses or seminars on new ‘design thinking’ methods including Agile and Lean project approaches.
  • Attend courses that aim to help understanding complexity, design better operating policies, and guide effective change from a systems thinking perspective (e.g. Systems Thinking by Victoria University of Wellington).
  • Attend courses on influencing human behaviour as part of policy development.

Plan and Manage Work

Ensure advice is delivered using the right mix of resources and ‘right touch’ project management methodology

Developing

  • Developing an ability to manage their own workload (e.g. by clarifying priorities, speaking up when at capacity or under-utilised and making thoughtful trade-offs between timeliness and quality).
  • Learning about scope, scope management and accepting commissions.
  • Learning how to break down their work into logical steps, tasks and estimated time to complete them.
  • Becoming reliable and consistent in their output.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Read the Start Right Guide on the Policy Project’s website.
  • Learn about your agency’s policy project management methodology.
  • Practise using commissioning discussions to clarify priorities and the scope of your contribution to projects.
  • Understand the various roles in a project and how they contribute to the project’s objectives.
  • Lead the development of small pieces of advice, or lead the development of advice on minor projects.
  • Learn how to break down the different streams of work in a project, by identifying tasks and sub-tasks, deliverables and milestones.
  • Keep your manager informed on progress with allocated work. Identify well in advance if you are having difficulties meeting competing priorities, and suggest strategies to address this.
  • Seek feedback from your manager about the key priorities, risks and opportunities in your work.
  • If you have excess capacity, alert your manager and suggest projects you could assist with.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Talk with your colleagues about the common risks to planning a policy project (e.g. changes in ministerial direction, changes in organisational priorities, lack of the right skill sets, the Minister’s availability).
  • Participate in project team meetings and discuss expectations with your manager and senior policy analysts.
  • Learn from more experienced colleagues about budgets and tracking spending on projects.
  • Seek advice from senior colleagues on scoping and sequencing your parts of a project.
  • Learn from senior colleagues how to track progress in achieving milestones.
10% formal learning
  • Take training on your agency’s project management practices and systems.
  • Take time management courses.
  • Take an introductory project management course. For example:
    • Practical Project Management by Victoria Professional and Executive Development
    • Managing Policy Projects by Brightstar.

Practising

  • Understands the commissioning process, and is active in establishing the mandate and defined deliverables for their own work.
  • Manages risks, issues, conflicts, timelines, resourcing and deliverables and knows when to escalate for clarity. Reports on progress as required.
  • Can lead simple to moderate complexity policy projects.
  • Identifies when commissioned work is project-sized and would benefit from fit-for-purpose project management disciplines.
  • Understands a variety of project planning and management techniques and is able to apply them.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Play an active role in commissioning discussions to establish the mandate and desired deliverables for new policy projects.
  • Assess the appropriate level of engagement with Māori using the Māori Crown Relations Engagement Framework and Guidelines and build time into your planning to allow early and suitable engagement.
  • Ensure projects include sufficient time and resources for testing and evaluation.
  • Manage policy projects of moderate complexity, from start to finish.
  • Ensure that the rights skills are available and applied in projects at the right time.
  • Ensure the right data is being captured, analysed and reported to provide feedback about project progress and risks.
  • Learn how and when to escalate issues for resolution.
  • Model the effective and consistent use of your agency’s processes (e.g. commissioning, project planning, peer review and sign-out processes).
  • Evaluate your projects after completion to identify lessons about what worked and what didn’t.
  • Coach or mentor less experienced analysts in project planning and management.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek feedback from colleagues with more experience in managing policy projects.
10% formal learning
  • Consider taking an advanced project management course (e.g. Agile Policy Management).

Expert / Leading

  • Can translate strategies, priorities and issues into policy projects with clear intent and direction of travel, scope, and level of resources.
  • Takes a leadership role in the policy or programme team (including cross-agency), ensuring the right skills and experience are available when required.
  • Can establish and manage clear and meaningful governance and decision-making arrangements (managing information flows effectively), reconciling them with line management accountabilities.
  • Can apply ‘right touch’ project management principles to ensure desired outcomes are delivered on time and to the right level of quality, by:
    • adapting the principles agilely in response to uncertainty and change
    • using stakeholder management plans and risk registers appropriately
    • working with stakeholders and functional groups and across related work to ensure plans are realistic, workable and joined up.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Initiate and lead complex policy projects, ensuring that the rights skills are available and applied at the right time to produce desired deliverables within specified timelines.
  • Look at new project management approaches and techniques that can be adapted to policy environments, and which accommodate iterative methodologies.
  • Advise others on the timeframes and stages required to properly engage with Māori.
  • Share people and resources to enable joint ownership and delivery of a project.
  • Establish and manage governance arrangements and the flows of information in all directions.
  • For complex projects, develop and maintain risk registers that identify the likely consequences of risks, strategies for mitigating them, and their likely effectiveness.
  • Design stakeholder management plans that identify key stakeholders, their level of interest and influence, and how they will participate in projects.
  • Work with managers to scope, develop, prioritise and adjust the work programme as necessary.
  • Coach or mentor less experienced analysts in project planning and management.
  • Present to colleagues on lessons learned from managing big or complex policy projects.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek feedback from colleagues in your own and other agencies in your sector on draft project plans, risk registers and stakeholder plans.
10% formal learning
  • Consider taking an advanced project management course (e.g. Agile Policy Management, PRINCE 2).
  • Consider taking a course that focuses on personal and professional effectiveness (e.g. Managing Yourself for Success by Auckland University).

Advise and Influence

Deliver advice that is robust, free and frank, compelling

Developing

  • Learning how to use a range of techniques to inform ministers and other decision makers.
  • Learning about the constitutional conventions of free and frank advice.
  • Contributing to advice that is clear, accurate, well-reasoned, evidence-based, impartial, politically neutral and targeted to the audience (the decision maker).
70% on-the-job learning
  • Read the Public Service Commission’s Standards of Integrity and Conduct, factsheets on free and frank advice and policy stewardship.
  • Read your agency’s style guides and processes for different types of documents.
  • Review previous advice to decision makers to get a feeling of tone, language and appropriate format.
  • Prepare short documents, ministerials, Official Information Act requests, key messages, simple briefing papers etc.
  • Learn about the relevant legislation, regulations and Cabinet decisions relating to your work.
  • Learn how to access legislation, regulations, written and oral parliamentary questions, and select committee reports online.
  • Peer review colleagues’ work to build your understanding of how well-reasoned, impartial and politically neutral policy advice is presented.
  • Learn how to write policy advice that is clear, accurate, well-reasoned, impartial and politically neutral, and targeted to the audience.
  • Assist your team on policy issues or tasks that you are unfamiliar with.
  • Contribute data, text and analysis to support the work of others for a range of products (e.g. talking points, web content, reporting on status).
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Ask senior colleagues to identify effective policy advice papers. Review them to identify what works.
  • Seek peer review or coaching from more experienced analysts or your manager.
  • If possible, accompany your manager or a senior colleague to meetings with senior management or leadership teams, so you can see how messages are communicated.
  • If possible, accompany your manager or a senior colleague to meetings with the Minister, so you can see how key messages are communicated and how officials interact with the Minister.
10% formal learning
  • Take an introductory negotiation and influencing skills course.
  • Consider training in storytelling.
  • Take a persuasive writing or plain English course (e.g. Business Writing Essentials by Write Limited).

Practising

  • Provides free and frank advice to decision makers that:
    • tells a compelling story
    • has all the relevant information to support the decision
    • puts the decision in context
    • shows what needs to be done to make it happen (through clear, action-oriented and realistic recommendations).
  • Can champion decisions and work with others to ensure they are implemented effectively.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead the development and delivery of free and frank advice on low to medium complexity projects that meets all the Policy Quality Framework criteria.
  • Learn to provide your advice as a compelling story that puts the decision in context and provides next steps.
  • Lead or contribute to discussions in which you need to be persuasive with the Minister, select committees, Cabinet committees, across agencies and with stakeholders.
  • Take responsibility for communicating decisions and monitor progress to ensure effective implementation.
  • Participate in discussions on improving the way analysis is delivered.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Actively seek peer review of policy advice papers from more senior or experienced colleagues.
  • Verbally outline or role play the approach you plan to take in presenting a paper to other experienced advisors, and get feedback.
  • Ask more experienced colleagues to identify strategies they adopted to enact a decision once taken, and ensure it is implemented well.
10% formal learning
  • Take a negotiating and influencing skills course.
  • Take a presentation skills course (e.g. Presentation by Communicate).

Expert / Leading

  • Has credibility and a reputation as a ‘trusted’ advisor. This means that they are able to:
    • offer proactive free and frank advice to decision makers, even when it has not been requested
    • frame advice in the context of sector and collective priorities (beyond institutional boundaries)
    • anticipate and time provision of advice to have the greatest influence
    • influence others, shape policy debates, and build ‘coalitions of the willing’ to ensure decisions are implemented effectively.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead the development and delivery of free and frank advice to decision makers on complex cross-agency projects that meets all the Policy Quality Framework criteria.
  • Anticipate the need for advice.
  • Identify who needs to be influenced and how best to do this so that the right decisions are made and implemented.
  • Lead discussions in which you need to be persuasive with the Minister, select committees, Cabinet committees, across agencies and with stakeholders.
  • Lead and guide discussions on how to improve the way analysis is delivered to ministers.
  • Develop case studies for peer learning on what works, and to practice how advice is presented and understood.
  • Present your work in your capacity as a compelling and influential subject matter expert.
  • Share with others your knowledge on how to advise and influence.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Shadow senior managers in the development of relationships with key decision makers. 
  • Work with colleagues in other agencies to identify common objectives, including how policy issues in one area can influence and affect the achievement of objectives in another.
  • Join peer networks within your agency or across the public service, where you can share ideas and experiences of presenting advice and influencing decision makers.
10% formal learning
  • Consider taking a leadership course (e.g. Leadership by Communicate).

Strategic Thinking

Incorporate longer-term thinking and broad system perspectives to shape policy direction

Developing

  • Developing an ability to think conceptually and imaginatively by participating in activities related to setting vision, strategic direction, and achieving outcomes.
  • Becoming familiar with the main drivers of change impacting on the areas in which the agency operates.
  • Becoming familiar with patterns, links, and synergies between policy issues, portfolios, agencies and sectors.
  • Developing an ability to think ahead about next steps. Considers how current action contributes to longer-term policy intent.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Read your agency’s annual report, statement of intent, four year plans etc to learn about your agency’s role, current issues, assumptions about the future and strategic direction.
  • Read the Policy Project’s materials on futures thinking in its Policy Methods Toolbox.
  • Map out the main features of the system that your organisation works with. Identify the drivers of change likely to impact on those features.
  • Keep an informal ‘change diary’, where you note anything you’ve noticed that is changing and any thoughts about what impacts each change could have.
  • Build your understanding of the planning processes, accountability and reporting requirements for your agency.
  • Follow key policy topic issues in the media and think about the potential implications for your work.
  • Identify whether your agency has international obligations and which international examples most closely align with the directions of your agency.
  • Contribute to workshops in your agency on its vision and strategic direction.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Form or join an action-learning group focused on systems thinking and futures thinking.
  • Discuss with your manager where your team’s work fits within your agency’s overall strategic direction, outcomes and work programme.
  • Work with your team to develop a line of sight between your projects, your team’s work programme, and the Minister’s priorities.
  • Attend staff meetings to familiarise yourself with the work and current issues of the different groups.
  • Read an accessible introductory text on foresight/futures thinking, such as Think Like a Futurist (Somers 2013).
  • Explore an online compendium of futures tools designed for the policy context (e.g. United Kingdom Government’s Futures toolkit for policy-makers and analysts).
10% formal learning
  • Take your agency’s induction training.
  • Consider doing a strategic thinking course.
  • Consider doing a futures thinking course (e.g. How to Think About the Future by Stratedgy).

Practising

  • Contributes to activities related to setting vision, strategic direction, and achieving longer-term outcomes.
  • Understands the broad political, economic and strategic context and the assumptions embedded in them. Identifies links between and across policy issues, organisations and systems.
  • Understands current trends, change drivers, emerging states, critical uncertainties and strategic issues related to their work and can incorporate that future focus into policy design.
  • Can incorporate thinking about a range of future states into policy design.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Contribute to policy analysis that is explicit about timeframes under consideration, clearly identifies the implications of the dynamic system involved and where best to intervene.
  • Develop and maintain a ‘change log’ for your team or division, where you note changing dynamics and their potential future impacts.
  • Identify established and emergent trends and use standard futures tools and techniques to explore their strategic implications. Communicate the implications – both challenges and new possibilities for your agency and sector.
  • Actively seek the input of others into the strategic context of your projects, including the implicit assumptions operating in that context.
  • Contribute to your group’s strategic planning.
  • Lead cross-sector projects.
  • Participate in cross-government futures networks.
  • Work with specialists in futures thinking to identify and use futures techniques to inform policy development.
  • Attend seminars that provide examples of how other agencies have incorporated ‘futures thinking’ into their policy development processes.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Ask more experienced colleagues to reflect on their experience of selecting and applying systems thinking and future thinking tools and using the outputs to inform policy work. Ask them to unpack for you what went well and what they would do differently next time.
  • Ask more experienced colleagues to identify systems thinking and future thinking resources that will expand your understanding.
  • Read books published by leaders in foresight, such as Thinking about the Future (Hines and Bishop 2007) and Strategic Foresight: Learning from the Future (Lustig 2017).
  • Join the Strategic Futures Group – Interagency Community of Practice on Futures Thinking.
10% formal learning
  • Take a course aimed at strategic thinking. For example:
    • Systems Thinking by Victoria University of Wellington
    • Strategic Negotiation and Influencing Skills by Brightstar.
  • Take a course on futures thinking. For example:
    • How to Think About the Future by Stratedgy
    • Designing Strategy Projects by Stratedgy.

Expert / Leading

  • Leads activities related to setting vision, strategic direction and achieving longer-term outcomes. Can translate strategic intent into medium-term plans and activities.
  • Articulates the broad strategic context, its drivers and its dominant assumptions, and identifies where and how to intervene to maintain strategic direction.
  • Has broad expertise in strategic foresight, including scanning and exploring future states, and can communicate the implications of this foresight for existing policy direction and investment in policy capability.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead big or complex cross-sectoral projects.
  • Participate at agency and sector level in strategic thinking that contributes to vision setting, strategic direction and longer term outcomes.
  • Undertake analysis of policy issues and options that is explicit about time frames under consideration, clearly identifies the implications of the dynamic system and where best to intervene.
  • Design the foresight component of policy projects, selecting the optimal combination of tools for each part of the project (scanning, uncovering assumptions, exploration of possible future states, exploration of responses, identifying preferences), and designing futures-informed policy responses.
  • Lead scanning activities that identify future trends and their strategic implications, and alert your agency and sector to the implications for policy direction.
  • Lead the selection and application of futures tools and techniques to the outputs of your scanning work, to explore the possible futures and develop future informed policy responses.
  • Design the communication of possible futures (challenges and opportunities) and your future-informed policy to your agency and sector, selecting from a range of communication methods (including storytelling).
  • Identify the skill sets, data sets, organisational processes and culture needed for futures thinking. Advocate for the resources needed to invest in them.
  • Consider using stories to help explore uncertainties and possibilities when talking about the future.
  • Facilitate workshops to test new ideas and approaches for systems thinking and futures thinking.
  • Coach and mentor others in systems thinking and futures thinking.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Keep abreast of the new tools and techniques others are using to support their systems thinking and futures thinking.
  • Test systems thinking and future thinking with other experienced colleagues, within and across agencies.
  • Read articles on emerging futures practice from one or more of the academic futures journals, such as Journal of Futures Studies, Futures, and Foresight.
10% formal learning
  • Attend courses that help you understand complexity, design better operating policies, and guide effective change from a systems thinking perspective. For example:
    • Systems Thinking by Victoria University of Wellington
    • Strategic Negotiation and Influencing Skills by Brightstar.
  • Take a futures thinking course.

Feedback and Coaching

Give and receive constructive feedback to develop the capability of individuals and teams

Developing

  • Actively seeks and learns from constructive feedback.
  • Is learning how to work with their own and others’ weaknesses, strengths, preferences and personalities.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Seek feedback and coaching from your manager about how you interact with peers and your team.
  • Practise constructive participation (such as asking questions) in team meetings and policy discussions.
  • Seek constructive feedback on your performance from others.
  • Review and assess yourself against the Policy Skills Framework, and consider what skills still require development, and the role you would like to move to. 
  • Identify the skills and experience you would like to develop and discuss these with your manager. Seek input from peers.
  • Assist your team on unfamiliar policy issues or tasks.
  • Discuss with your manager the best options for learning through colleagues, on-the-job opportunities, and information online.
  • Think about your strengths and weaknesses and review them against the expectations in this tool.
  • Look for opportunities to acquire new skills and seek exposure to a wide range of policy issues, applying transferable, core skills.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Talk with your manager and senior colleagues about who you can connect with internally as a ‘buddy’ to guide you and answer questions.
  • Seek peer review or coaching from more experienced analysts or your manager.
  • Talk to other staff within and outside your agency about their career development paths.
  • Find out from your peers how they like to work with others, and their preferences or working style. It may be helpful for you to know both your own and your team’s personal styles. Consider your personality profile and what it tells you about your working style and how you interact with others.
10% formal learning
  • Take some free online tests on work behaviour styles.
  • Complete a personality profile (preferably as part of a team-building strategy).

Practising

  • Invites and offers regular constructive feedback to colleagues.
  • Shares knowledge and expertise, and reviews the work of others. Thinks of the work as ‘team products’ and is active in supporting quality control.
  • Accepts responsibility, is self-reflective and can appreciate and work with others.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Offer to peer review work and reflect constructively on improvements or different approaches.
  • Take on diverse tasks and get immediate feedback on your learning and performance.
  • Regularly review your team’s approaches to policy development, what worked and could be done differently.
  • Provide timely and constructive encouragement to other team members.
  • Reflect on your performance feedback and how best to use your strengths and be more effective.
  • Consider rotating into other parts of the organisation where you can work on different issues or policy areas.
  • Contribute to policy training in your organisation or across the public service.
  • Seek out specific training and opportunities to coach less experienced colleagues, or to enter into formal mentoring agreements.
  • Consider what new knowledge you need that can be provided internally.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek mentoring from an experienced colleague who has institutional knowledge.
  • Consider starting a learning group in new or emerging policy techniques, or analysing a case study.
10% formal learning
  • Take a course on how to coach or mentor others (e.g. ‘Side by Side’ by Hartwick Associates).

Expert / Leading

  • Models for others effective ways of giving and receiving constructive feedback and challenge. Can facilitate courageous and difficult conversations on quality and performance.
  • Provides ‘on-the-job’ training of team members through supervision, guidance, coaching and mentoring.
  • Cultivates a positive team culture of celebrating achievements and learning from mistakes.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Think about how you exchange knowledge and practice with others.
  • Share your experiences and reflect on how you might have approached things differently.
  • Consider developing some ‘show and tell’ sessions where you critically deconstruct your work.
  • Lead policy training in your organisation or across the public service.
  • Coach less experienced colleagues, or enter into formal mentoring agreements.
  • Critically appraise work of your peers in a constructive and encouraging manner.
  • Lead or participate in your agency’s quality assurance panels (e.g. for Cabinet papers, select committee material and Regulatory Impact Assessments).
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek review on your ideas from peers in other agencies.
  • Participate in an expert review panel to learn from others (or allow them to learn from you).
  • Find a mentor or coach to work with on specific goals.
10% formal learning
  • Take a coaching or mentoring course (e.g. Feedback Made Easy by New Zealand Coaching and Mentoring Centre).
  • Take a course in inspiring, influencing and motivating others.

Communication

Deliver clear and compelling messages fit for purpose and audience

Developing

  • Writes clear, concise, error-free work.
  • Learning how to produce a range of written outputs (e.g. aides memoire, briefing notes, A3s, Cabinet papers, presentations, speech notes).
  • Is articulate and confident when contributing to discussions.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Read the Policy Project’s guidance on Writing for Ministers and Cabinet.
  • Understand that by relaying experiences, stories make it easier for audiences to understand.
  • Practise ‘storylining’ techniques by setting out the evidence, reasoning and drawing conclusions.
  • Judiciously use metaphors and imagery as devices to help explain complex ideas or situations.
  • Read your organisation’s style guidance and processes for the type of document you are developing.
  • Understand and apply the templates, formats, and quality standards for different policy ‘products’.
  • Review examples of written advice, verbal discussions and presentations to get a feeling of tone, language and appropriate format for the audiences.
  • Look for opportunities to produce a different kind of written product than what you have previously done.
  • Verbally present to your peers, team or others outside your agency.
  • Ask your manager or senior colleagues whether you can help them by preparing a summary, report or paper.
  • Peer review work using guidance to practice the skills for different communication products.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Ask the team about the feedback given by quality assurance panels on your agency’s policy advice. 
  • Seek feedback, coaching, or peer review on your communication style (both written and verbal) from more experienced colleagues or your manager.
  • Ask your peer reviewer to provide feedback on your approach, and use of evidence and reasoning.
  • Use peer review opportunities to debrief with your peer reviewer to apply lessons learned.
  • Set up an informal discussion on a topical issue to practise how you communicate and respond to issues.
  • Shadow or observe a more experienced colleague at meetings with different audiences, and debrief them afterwards on how they handled difficult questions or challenging audiences.
10% formal learning
  • Attend internal training sessions or seminars on policy writing.
  • Take an effective writing course or communications course.
  • Take training in ‘storytelling’ approaches to shape communication products (e.g. Infographics: Telling stories with pictures by Write Limited).
  • Take a presentation skills course.
  • Take te reo Māori lessons to build your ability to communicate in te reo Māori.

Practising

  • Writes high-quality advice in a polished, plain English style that is easy to read and has a clear purpose.
  • Confidently presents information in the most accessible form, and consistent with the preferences of the audience.
  • Can represent their agency’s interests at high levels, within boundaries and a clear agenda.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Identify the people your policy serves, and construct outlines of their experiences and motivations.
  • Ensure your story covers more than just past and present, but also what will happen in the future.
  • Test and refine drafts of your story with others to identify the best way to communicate key messages.
  • Incorporate visual elements into your story to provide context or help understanding.
  • Represent your agency and communicate advice you have helped develop.
  • Seek feedback on how your work could be better communicated.
  • Conduct ‘show and tell’ sessions with colleagues to share information and experiences about a particular project.
  • Contribute to your agency’s quality assurance processes for communication products.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek feedback from senior colleagues on what communication tools they find most effective for different audiences.
  • Take opportunities to watch other public servants presenting on their work and take note of what they’re doing well.
10% formal learning
  • Take an effective communications course.
  • Take an effective writing course.
  • Take training in ‘storytelling’ approaches to shape communication products (e.g. Infographics: Telling stories with pictures by Write Limited).
  • Take a presentation course (e.g. Presentation Skills by Write Limited and Presentation Skills by Communicate).
  • Take effective meetings training (e.g. Effective Meetings Workshop by Skillset).

Expert / Leading

  • Produces eloquent written communication that persuades and inspires.
  • Mentors and develops the communication skills of others.
  • Reduces confusion in commissioning.
  • Presents information in a variety of settings and in a way that captures and inspires audiences.
  • Is persuasive and compelling in both internal and external interactions.
  • Can reliably represent the interests of their agency, even in uncertain territory.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Present to external agencies and stakeholders on your area of expertise in a compelling way.
  • Lead the agency’s contributions to deliver communication in different settings and for different products, such as for select and Cabinet committees, public consultations or collaboration, and expert groups.
  • Consider how using a ‘storytelling’ approach helps build support and engage people.
  • Tell stories of actual users to enhance the message with a ‘real voice’.
  • Use interactive tools and methods to help audiences navigate the ‘story’ and focus on relevant parts. Enable audiences and users to contribute or reflect their own content or stories.
  • Think about using a range of methods to communicate, such as blogs and social media.
  • Act as a mentor or coach to colleagues, using lessons from your experience to help them.
  • Lead and guide discussions on how to improve the quality of written and verbal interactions using the learning that happens with the team, including how to deal with different and extraordinary situations.
  • Consider designing workshops for your group on how to draft briefings, ministerials, and official information responses.
  • Share best practice in verbal and written communication with different audiences, including select committees, ministers, stakeholders and public engagement communication tools.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Use ministerial, select committee and Parliamentary counsel staff to help shape and customise communications.
  • Work with private secretaries and ministerial advisors to create feedback loops and adapt to ministerial preferences.
  • Seek feedback from peers or more experienced colleagues on your communication and presentation style.
10% formal learning
  • Take a presentation skills course. For example:
    • Presentation Skills by Write Limited
    • Confident and Creative Presentation Skills by Victoria Professional and Executive Development.
  • Take a course on effective stakeholder engagement (e.g. Engaging Effectively with Your Stakeholders by Victoria University).

Engagement and Collaboration

Engage stakeholders and the community, and build relationship capital to understand diverse expectations, co-create solutions and support implementation

Developing

  • Learning when, how and who to engage with during the policy development process.
  • Is sensitive to other frames of reference, and learns how to gain diverse insights about problems and potential solutions.
  • Builds collaborative relationships with counterparts within and across agencies to facilitate working together.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Learn about the alternative approaches to engaging with the public in government decision making identified in the International Association for Public Participation’s Spectrum of Public Participation (i.e. inform, consult, involve, collaborate, and empower).
  • Read the Policy Project’s public participation content in the Policy Methods Toolbox.
  • Familiarise yourself with guidance on collaboration and engagement with local government – see Guide for central government engagement with local government.
  • Discuss with your colleagues about when and how to engage your agency’s operations, legal, finance, digital and service design, and communications teams in the development of policy, and take opportunities to do so.
  • Look for opportunities to participate in projects in which you will interact with unfamiliar stakeholders.
  • Avoid duplication by finding out who your agency is engaging with already, and on what.
  • When attending meetings with stakeholders, think about what you need to do to represent your agency well.
  • Learn how to access service user data collected by your agency or other organisations to inform your understanding of problems and potential solutions.
  • Learn about the Māori Crown Relations Engagement Framework and Guidelines.
  • Read the Treaty of Waitangi analysis material in the Policy Project’s Policy Methods Toolbox, which includes the Cabinet Office circular Te Tiriti o Waitangi/Treaty of Waitangi Guidance developed by Te Arawhiti – The Office for Māori Crown Relations, on how to apply the terms and concepts of the Treaty of Waitangi to policy development and implementation.
  • Read the six community engagement resources in the Policy Methods Toolbox to learn about good practice and principles and values for community engagement. Learn about engagement approaches of other agencies by reading the case studies and Demonstration Project Report which showcase good community engagement practices.
  • Learn about other tools that can help you seek diverse stakeholder views (e.g. Ministry for Pacific People’s Pacific Policy Analysis Tool Kapasa, Ministry of Social Development’s Child Impact Assessment Tool, Ministry for Women’s gender analysis tool Bringing Gender In).
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Learn from your team about the key stakeholders (e.g. ministers, select committees, consumers, community groups), their drivers, interest and influence, and engagement preference and style.
  • Shadow a senior colleague at meetings with stakeholders, observe how they behave, and debrief them afterwards.
  • Accompany a senior colleague to meetings with counterparts in other government agencies and, where possible, make follow-up contact with others at your level in those agencies.
  • Think about an external audience your organisation needs to engage with. Ask others about the communication needs and preferences of that audience.
  • Identify the tools your agency has for stakeholder engagement and discuss with more experienced colleagues their experience in applying them.
  • Ask your colleagues about agencies that may be able to provide advice on how to engage effectively with stakeholders (e.g. the Office for Disability Issues on effective engagement with disabled people).
  • Talk with your colleagues about the Crown’s Treaty of Waitangi obligations and agency examples of engagement and collaboration with Māori groups.
10% formal learning
  • Take an introductory stakeholder analysis course (e.g. Engaging effectively with your stakeholders by Victoria University of Wellington).
  • Take an introductory course in planning engagement and public participation methods (e.g. Engagement Essentials and Engagement Methods by the International Association for Public Participation).
  • Take the How Local Government Works course by the Society of Local Government Managers.
  • Take tikanga and te reo Māori training.
  • Take the Office of Ethnic Communities’ Intercultural Capability E-learning modules on communicating with people from different backgrounds.

Practising

  • Builds and uses collaborative networks. Engages with openness and respect for diversity of views, and strives to build consensus.
  • Can design communication and engagement processes to support joint objectives.
  • Understands and uses citizen-centric approaches to identify and develop collectively agreed solutions.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Complete stakeholder maps for projects to identify which government agencies and stakeholders have an interest, the nature of that interest, and their likely level of influence.
  • Apply your knowledge of the International Association for Public Participation’s Spectrum of Public Participation to identify which approaches to public participation and related engagement tools are most appropriate for the projects you are involved in.
  • Develop your knowledge and experience in the different types of methods for engaging with stakeholders (e.g. consultation documents, meetings, co-design partnerships).
  • Invest time in developing good networks and relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Enable effective collaboration with stakeholders by identifying mutual interests in policy projects you are working on.
  • Apply the six community engagement resources in the Policy Methods Toolbox when designing community engagement on a policy project.
  • Apply guidance on collaboration and engagement with local government – see Guide for central government engagement with local government.
  • Learn about participatory approaches to design, develop, test and implement projects that involve users directly.
  • Apply the Māori Crown Relations Engagement Framework and Guidelines.
  • Apply tools that will help you engage with diverse groups and communities (e.g. Ministry for Pacific People’s Pacific Policy Analysis Tool Kapasa, Ministry of Social Development’s Child Impact Assessment Tool). 
  • Independently scope and plan an engagement strategy with the public or specific stakeholder groups that articulates who to engage with and why, the related goals, and decision rights.
  • Develop discussion documents and other forms of engagement material within your agency’s established frameworks and processes.
  • Organise engagement meetings, so their objectives are appropriately communicated, they are well managed, and desired outcomes are achieved.
  • Ensure the appropriate tikanga is observed in preparing for, hosting, and attending meetings with iwi and Māori groups.
  • Be able to open and close meetings appropriately, introduce yourself and others in te reo Māori, pronounce Māori words correctly and perform karakia and waiata when appropriate.
  • Predict how different stakeholders may behave and respond to policy positions and proposals.
  • Learn to discuss your subject matter in a way that creates an open and empathetic discussion.
  • Develop a narrative and message that all stakeholders involved in the project share and jointly own.
  • Work across boundaries to identify new contacts and partners in the public sector.
  • Ensure sufficient time is devoted to conducting user research.
  • Regularly refer back to the identified user needs and assess your work to see if needs are being met.
  • Participate in user research and testing, interviews and workshops.
  • Use a variety of methods to record and display the results of user research (images, written notes from users, videos).
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Outline your proposed public and/or stakeholder engagement approaches to colleagues, and seek suggestions on how to approach difficult situations.
  • Seek feedback or coaching from colleagues on your conduct at stakeholder or public meetings and your communication style with stakeholders.
  • With your manager, attend meetings where the discussions with stakeholders are challenging, and debrief afterwards on how they handled this.
  • Pursue opportunities to network across the sector, including attending conferences and other events run by stakeholder groups in your sector.
  • Talk with your manager about opportunities to be involved in participatory approaches to design, develop, test and implement projects that involve consumers directly.
10% formal learning
  • Take a stakeholder engagement course. For example:
    • Extend Your Influence by Hartwick Associates
    • Public Sector: Engaging Effectively With Your Stakeholders by Victoria University of Wellington
    • Public sector: Influencing and Collaborating With Key Stakeholders by Sue Hornblow.
  • Take a course on building collaborative networks, inclusive community engagement design, or approaches to engaging to develop collectively agreed solutions (e.g. Engagement Design and Conflict in Engagement by International Association for Public Participation).
  • Take training in negotiation skills and conflict resolution, and/or influencing others.
  • Take facilitation training.
  • Take tikanga and te reo Māori training.
  • Take the Office of Ethnic Communities’ Intercultural Capability E-learning modules on communicating with people from different backgrounds.

Expert / Leading

  • Builds and draws on relationship capital.
  • Determines what needs to be managed across agencies or the system and can skilfully design the process.
  • Encourages and enables a customer-centric ethos – reflecting the diverse needs and views of current and future New Zealanders.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Work collaboratively with stakeholders across your agency, across government and externally.
  • Lead and guide others in developing engagement strategies and consultation and other engagement documents.
  • Draw on your experience in the Māori Crown Relations Engagement Framework and Guidelines, when advising other colleagues.
  • Apply guidance on collaboration and engagement with local government – see Guide for central government engagement with local government.
  • Lead a policy team to apply the Community Engagement Design Tool in the Policy Methods Toolbox when designing a community engagement approach on a policy project you're working on.
  • Apply expert knowledge of issues when communicating with knowledge leaders and stakeholders.
  • Maintain the confidence of policy leaders by updating them on stakeholder issues management, recommendations and next steps.
  • Predict and manage complex relationships. Maintain engagement and involvement of key influencers in key policy projects you are leading.
  • Use your existing stakeholder networks to find new partnerships – who do your stakeholders work with that you don’t?
  • Engage with new partners, identifying to them the benefits of working with you.
  • Use participatory approaches to design, develop, test and implement policy projects that involve affected parties, users and other members of the public directly.
  • Use a range of research methods to obtain insights about people affected by policy issues and initiatives (questionnaires, in-depth interviews, workshops, ethnographic observation).
  • Regularly test, revalidate, and identify new citizen needs throughout the development and delivery of advice.
  • Ensure that appropriate tikanga for engagements is followed, and identify when additional cultural support is required.
  • Arrange a short secondment to a key stakeholder agency.
  • Make sure your meetings are accessible to all people.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Work with specialists in user experience to develop engagement processes that are human-centred.
  • Discuss with others their experience with approaches to engagement with Māori. What worked well, what could have been done better, and what were the outcomes?
  • Contact the Office for Māori Crown Relations: Te Arawhiti to discuss your proposed approach to engagement.
  • Contact other agencies that can provide assistance with engagement with specific groups (e.g. the Office for Disability Issues on engagement with disabled people).
10% formal learning
  • Pursue advanced facilitation, building coalitions, conflict management and resolution training.
  • Take a course on managing strategic relationships, and leading and evaluating engagement (e.g. Engagement Evaluation, Strategies for Complex Engagement, and Engagement by Facilitation International Association for Public Participation).
  • Take a Māori Crown Relations engagement course (e.g. Masterclass Engagement Training by Te Arawhiti).
  • Take a course in negotiating and influencing skills.
  • Take relationship management course (e.g. Relationship management by Communicate).

Improvement and Innovation

Seek ways to ‘do things better’ and ‘do better things’

Developing

  • Driven to enhance their own professional development.
  • Views mistakes as an opportunity for learning and improvement.
  • Broadminded, inquisitive, and harnesses new and innovative ways of working and thinking.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Discuss with your manager ways to enhance your knowledge, skills and competencies.
  • Talk with your manager or senior colleagues about taking alternative approaches to policy tasks or problems, their respective advantages and limitations. Put these into practice.
  • Try something new, and afterwards identify what you learned about what worked and what didn’t.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Collaborate with others to improve your chances of success and provide a safe space to explore ideas and ask questions.
  • Connect with people who are very different or who work in different areas, to gain new insights.
  • Ask questions of your more experienced colleagues, with a view to learning new ways of working and thinking.
  • Learn from your peers, and join a policy analyst network in your organisation.
  • Look on the internet at how other jurisdictions are tackling problems in your domain.
10% formal learning
  • Attend courses that build your understanding of how service design can encourage innovations (e.g. Design Thinking Fundamentals, Victoria University of Wellington).

Practising

  • Pursues a diverse range of experiences to build their knowledge, skills and competencies.
  • Participates in robust discussions on the quality of policy processes, insights, and lessons learned.
  • Challenges themselves to look beyond their immediate areas of expertise for insights on best practice.
  • Has the knowledge and experience to shift from a ‘great idea’ to a workable solution.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Approach untested or unusual ways of working with openness to trying them out.
  • Test new ideas and approaches on a small scale.
  • Connect with people who are very different or who work in different areas, to gain new insights.
  • Share insights and lessons learned on your policy projects with other policy colleagues.
  • Participate in your organisation’s quality review and improvement processes.
  • Participate in discussions to generate ideas and possible approaches to policy problems, the development of solutions, and implementation design.
  • Be open to new ideas and thinking.
  • Take a lead role in a forum to exchange views, test ideas, and explore creative new approaches to long-standing issues.
  • Seek external peer review of the scope and methodology of major projects.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek feedback from a wide range of sources and analyse that feedback for ideas.
  • Talk with colleagues, stakeholders and users about potential opportunities for improvement.
  • Engage with others who do the same work as you to find out what is different about their approach.
10% formal learning
  • Attend courses that build your understanding of how service design can encourage innovations (e.g. Design Thinking Fundamentals, Victoria University of Wellington).

Expert / Leading

  • Seeks opportunities to add value. Uses evaluation and lessons learned to improve future performance and provide fresh perspectives.
  • Can lead the ‘idea-to-innovation’ process. Promotes a culture of being receptive to diverse thinking, insights and new information.
  • Fosters experimentation and positive risk-taking. Guides others in deploying innovation and continuous improvement methodologies.
  • Creates learning opportunities for other staff.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Challenge the status quo and don't accept the way things have always been done.
  • Identify existing boundaries and find ways to overcome or work around them.
  • Provide opportunities with colleagues to do new things and support them to overcome the fear of failure.
  • Borrow from different approaches that encourage iterative and continuous improvement.
  • Use large-scale methods such as crowd sourcing and text mining to gain insights.
  • Use tools such as vignettes and personas to understand how different people think about a situation.
  • Use challenges and awards to encourage people to think differently.
  • Forge alliances among both internal and external partners that can support change. Think about working with unusual partners who can assist in identifying different approaches.
  • Reflect on what lessons you have learned and use that to question your assumptions and practices.
  • Be open to ‘unlearning’ what you have previously learned, if ways of thinking are no longer relevant.
  • Share new ideas, innovations, and lessons with your colleagues.
  • Mentor and coach less experienced colleagues in thinking outside the box.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Facilitate creative workshops to explore new ideas and approaches.
  • Analyse the approaches of people and organisations from different sectors.
  • Ask people to peer review your approaches and identify alternative options based on their practice.
  • Build international networks in your field, so you can exchange ideas.
10% formal learning
  • Attend courses that build your understanding of how service design can encourage innovations.

Agility

Responsive to change, and resilient to uncertainty and setbacks

Developing

  • Quick to grasp and use new concepts and information.
  • Adapts to altered instructions and priorities.
  • Recovers quickly from setbacks.
  • Comfortable with ambiguity and change.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Take opportunities to work across teams, groups, and different subject areas.
  • Work on policy problems where there is less structure or control.
  • Learn to accept that policy development and projects don’t always go to plan.
  • Look for opportunities, when priorities or directions change.
  • Challenge ideas and assumptions.
  • Reflect on your work – what went well, what didn’t go so well, what did you learn? Discuss your findings with your manager and other colleagues.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Accompany your manager or senior colleagues to meetings where ‘uncomfortable’ conversations or trade-offs are required to meet the policy objective.
  • Ask senior colleagues how they operate in areas of ambiguity or uncertainty.
  • Ask senior colleagues about how they respond to change and are resilient to setbacks.
10% formal learning
  • Take a critical thinking course.

Practising

  • Understands the policy process is iterative, and adjusts thinking and approach as required.
  • Can challenge earlier assumptions or conclusions in light of new information.
  • Makes sensible trade-offs between time, risk, quality and completeness.
  • Is resilient in the face of change and can switch focus to new priorities.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Regularly test your thinking with others, including the need to revisit the problem definition, or next steps in your policy development.
  • When changing circumstances require you to adapt your plans, quickly reconsider your approach and brief relevant people accordingly.
  • Apply lessons from one policy problem to another.
  • Study ‘wicked’ policy problems, such as those where there may have been disagreement about key issues and where complex independencies exist.
  • Experiment with new ideas to solve policy problems.
  • Volunteer for roles that are new or challenging.
  • Reflect on your achievements, what you’ve done well, and what you could do better.
  • Be clear about what you can influence to get the outcomes you are seeking.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Attend workshops on unfamiliar topics and incorporate what you have learnt into your agency’s approaches.
  • Seek feedback from colleagues on how you deal with change, uncertainty or setbacks.
10% formal learning
  • Talk to your manager about any formal learning opportunities available to you.

Expert / Leading

  • Is a proven and respected consultant and supports others in the face of complex and challenging change.
  • Is ‘strategically opportunistic’ – can seize opportunities, integrate new content, collaborate and draw connections that will support policy objectives.
  • Is able to manage and prioritise conflicting demands – leads the way in adjusting priorities, redeploying resources and recovering from setbacks.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Lead complex projects with competing demands. Identify sticking points and develop strategies for resolution.
  • Find opportunities in situations where you need to adapt or change direction. Role model a positive attitude to this.
  • Experiment with new ideas to solve policy problems.
  • Make time to critically reflect on your experiences and what you learned.
  • Use your influence to involve diverse groups and new ideas in your policy projects.
  • Share lessons with your colleagues on ‘wicked problems’, hurdles, and how you got traction on solutions.
  • Support colleagues to develop resilience and learn to live with inevitable delays and obstacles in the policy development process.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek feedback from networks and peers on how to approach difficult situations and competing demands.
10% formal learning
  • Take one-on-one coaching in how to be resilient and change behaviour.
  • Take Harvard’s Project Implicit Association Test to gain greater awareness of your own biases, preferences and beliefs.

Political Savvy

Navigate issues, relationships and situations with sensitivity to the political context

Developing

  • Watches and learns from others considered adept at working with ministers and other internal and external stakeholders.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Learn about the role, boundaries and accountability of a public servant. Read the Public Service Commission’s Standards of Integrity and Conduct, factsheets on free and frank advice and policy stewardship.
  • Learn about the Government’s objectives and your Minister’s priorities, and how these relate to the work of your agency. To see this at a broad level, read the Speech from the Throne.
  • Talk with your colleagues about the Minister’s style preferences and way of working, particularly as they relate to the work you do (e.g. drafting briefings).
  • Develop an understanding of how the Minister’s office operates.
  • Read party manifesto and cross-party coalition and confidence and supply agreements as they relate to your sector.
  • Develop an understanding of other agencies and ministers who may have an interest in your agency’s policy work.
  • Attend staff meetings to get a regular download on the Minister’s priorities.
  • Work alongside a senior colleague to develop a simple briefing that delivers free and frank advice.
  • Regularly read the Minister’s media releases and speeches posted on the Beehive website to get an understanding of what issues are current and how the Minister addresses them.
  • Develop an understanding of your agency’s stakeholders, their interests, and influence on your work.
  • Talk with colleagues about the role of your agency’s executive leadership team and how they like to work.
  • Seek guidance from senior colleagues on working with decision makers and in dealing with sensitive situations.
  • Support advisors attending select committees and ministerial meetings to understand how they prepare for them.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Discuss with your manager how your team’s work fits within the Government’s and the Minister’s priorities.
  • Look to senior colleagues for guidance on working with ministers and decision makers.
  • Attend regular feedback sessions by private secretaries to policy staff (if they exist).
  • If possible, accompany your manager or senior colleagues to meetings with the Minister, and your agency’s executive leadership team.
  • If possible, accompany your manager or senior colleagues to select committees.
10% formal learning

Practising

  • Builds the trust of ministers and other decision makers by being responsive and aware of political priorities.
  • Understands the various roles played in the policy process and how decisions are made.
  • Becoming adept at interpreting and navigating sensitive situations, relationships and competing interests, including between different policy portfolios.
  • Able to influence and build alignment between issues and people.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Understand the Government’s goals, including competing goals, and other political parties’ priorities and narratives for the specific policy issues you are working on.
  • Prepare free and frank advice to deliver or for others to deliver to the Minister.
  • Use networks, including junior and senior colleagues, and involve the right people at the right time in a way that strengthens complex relationships.
  • Build relationships with staff in the Minister’s office, and understand their respective roles and responsibilities (e.g. private secretaries, political advisors, media advisors).
  • Be responsive to requests from the Minister’s office. If uncertain whether a request is political or policy-related, seek guidance from more senior colleagues.
  • Know your minister’s style and preferred way of working. This includes trigger points and concerns for your minister.
  • Know your agency’s Chief Executive’s style and preferred way of working.
  • Seek opportunities to work in your minister’s office, or to be seconded to other agencies.
  • Understand key stakeholders’ interests and level of influence on policy issues.
  • Build strong and respectful relationships with key agencies and stakeholders.
  • Work with a lead advisor on a select committee process.
  • Know how to influence key people in your organisation to support your work.
  • Understand your agency’s priorities, key relationships, and any external factors impacting the organisation.
  • Know when to escalate issues to your manager and others.
  • Know and demonstrate sensitivity to competing interests and views by responding with diplomacy.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek opportunities to attend or lead discussions with the Minister or senior colleagues, in which you are the subject matter expert.
  • Seek mentoring or coaching from more experienced staff on how to deal with projects involving several ministers.
  • Attend meetings in which senior staff have a key role in influencing the thinking and behaviour of others.
  • Do role plays where you have to present policy findings to the Minister or deliver reports to select committees.
10% formal learning
  • Talk to your manager about any formal learning opportunities available to you.

Expert / Leading

  • Sustains trust-based relationship with ministers, other decision makers and key stakeholders. Can have respectful and sometimes ‘uncomfortable’ conversations without damaging those relationships.
  • Highly adept at building alignment and alliances between competing interests and agendas.
  • Helps shape the authorising environment by being able to influence the thinking and behaviour of others.
  • Anticipates and times advice for when it can have the most influence and impact.
70% on-the-job learning
  • Be sensitive to who you need to engage with in your organisation and externally to influence decisions and deliver outcomes. This includes political and communications advisors in your minister’s office.
  • Lead discussions with the Minister on your projects and areas of expertise.
  • Lead advice to your agency’s executive leadership team.
  • Lead expert advice to Cabinet committees or select committees on policy projects that require clear and persuasive advice.
  • Be the lead advisor to a select committee on draft legislation or an inquiry and present the departmental report.
  • Lead commissioning discussions for policy work.
  • Coach policy staff on matters such as:
    • the delivery of free and frank advice and boundaries for engaging with ministers
    • the positions and commitments of the Government and political parties, and how these relate to your agency’s work.
  • Share insights with colleagues on the Minister’s style and preferences.
  • Coach policy staff on how to present to the Minister (e.g. role plays).
  • Seek opportunities to attend meetings of Cabinet committees or ministerial groups to understand how your minister interacts with other ministers.
20% learning from others (including colleagues)
  • Seek feedback from peers and senior colleagues on your interaction with ministers and stakeholders, including how you manage tricky conversations or sensitive issues.
  • Role play with senior colleagues how to deliver difficult messages, or take part in ‘uncomfortable’ conversations.
10% formal learning
  • Consider courses aimed at the skills needed by a principal to navigate issues, relationships and situations with sensitivity to the political context.
Last updated: 
Saturday, 12 June 2021

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