The policy workforce and pathways to improved capability: public service agency practices related to policy people capability and potential options for collective policy workforce initiatives

Public sector Public servants Labour market Labour supply Policy New Zealand

This report is part of the Policy Project (PP) people capability workstream, agreed by the Head of Policy Profession (HoPP) Board in 2016. The Board commissioned the PP team to:

  • support agencies to use the policy improvement frameworks, including the Policy Skills Framework (PSF)
  • examine and analyse priority policy workforce issues (attract, retain, develop, deploy) and where they might be best addressed collectively.

This report:

  • profiles the policy workforce and describes key trends and perceptions related to recruitment, retention, development and deployment
  • reports current and potential use of the PSF
  • outlines the reported appetite for collective policy workforce initiatives
  • sets out potential options for action (for the PP and collective initiatives).

This report draws together information about the policy workforce based on:

  • a 2017 PP survey of agency policy capability leads and their HR/OD colleagues on agency policy people capability practices, including their use of the PSF (see Annex 1 for the PP survey methodology)
  • 2005-2017 data from the Human Resource Capability Survey (HRC) and Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI)
  • policy related system level workforce analysis of 2017 Four-year plans
  • insights from numerous cross-agency workshops and discussions on ‘pain points’ related to the recruitment, retention, development and deployment of policy staff.

This report supports policy leaders’ consideration of potential collective initiatives to build policy people capability, including as part of any possible future Public Service wide policy workforce strategy. Such a strategy, if supported, would be consistent with agencies maintaining responsibilities for their own workforce planning but recognise the opportunities for and benefits of collective action. It should also align with any talent management system in support of the proposed policy career board.

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