HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Report will reveal priorities for improving capability
Hazel Kirkham is the NZAid funded Technical Assistant assisting the Office of the Public Service Commissioner (OPSC) with a capability needs analysis which will hopefully identify gaps in skills and knowledge within the public service and pinpoint the strategies to bring about improvements.
A capability workshop was conducted last Wednesday attended by Heads of Ministries and senior officials and managers during which members completed a four page capability needs analysis document. Members considered such areas as planning for outcomes, risk management, financial management, governance, relationship building, project management, communication, policy development and information management.
They were asked to rate their strength in these areas from “strong” to “pressing need to develop capability.” Also they were asked to indicate in which areas they could benefit from improved or additional skills.
Hazel is now going through the responses and hopes to have her report finished by the end of May. She said the response from managers was good.
Hazel advised her report will focus on priorities and the common issues across Ministries.
Capability, says Hazel is what it takes to get the job done. This may come down to skills, knowledge or the approach people use.
Hazel is a private consultant who has worked mainly for the NZ government’s State Services Commission on public service issues. Her firm Kirham & Elphick Ltd specialize in organizational development and human resources.
Assisting Hazel on this project is a small team made up of Dorothy Pokura and Taimata Allsworth – Spooner both from the OPSC.
OPSC CEO Priscilla Metuariki advised that the capability exercise is complimentary to the ADB funded Functional review of the Public Service.
Hazel is the latest in a long list of overseas consultants brought in the assist the Cook Islands government. It is to be hoped her report recognizes the unique make up of the Cook Islands public service.
At the basic level is a large group of dedicated, long serving workers who keep the service ticking over for little opportunity of promotion or significant salary increases. This group includes essential workers such as Teachers, Nurses, Police and Junior Doctors. Their personal circumstances and the need to be employed keep them working. For this group which deals with the “grass roots” of society, change may be more difficult for they may be entrenched in a “Cook Islands way” work culture.
At the higher level are a smaller number of overseas educated and qualified public servants who are more mobile and who have better prospects of advancement. Change may be easier for this group. Their priority would be opportunities for advancement either salary or position wise. One example of the lack of advancement for this group is seen in the failure of government to reward those who recently achieved their MBA.
Aid donors must always be aware that foreign systems that are inflexible and cannot be adapted to a particular country’s culture or way of doing business will get a difficult reception. -Charles Pitt

Herald Issue 608 21 March
- Terms of one China Policy document should be reviewed
- Pacific Media Assistance Scheme Seeks Innovation
- Successful NZ visit by PM
- Rerekura Teaurere New Climate Change Coordinator
- News Briefs

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