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Senior Leaders

Chief Executives, working together as the State Services Leadership Team (SSLT), have statutory responsibilities for both their individual agencies, and the responsiveness of their agencies to collective interests. Together, they have committed to build a strong and diverse group of Public Service leaders, unified around a spirit of service and capable of working across agency boundaries to better serve New Zealanders.

Public Service Leaders Group

The Public Service Leaders Group (PSLG) was formed in 2017. It is a cohort comprised of senior public servants in the largest and most complex leadership roles across 36 agencies. Members hold a special role leading across the Public Service and their Chief Executives support their development and career progression.

The Public Service needs senior leaders with experience in a range of sectors, roles, service delivery and operational environments, communities and customers. This broadens and deepens their skills and helps them deliver better outcomes and services for New Zealanders.

Members of the Leaders Group are nominated by chief executives according to role-based criteria set by the State Services Commission.

These criteria used may be one or more of the following:

  • being a member of an executive team
  • running a Public Service business for New Zealand or a significant region
  • heading a corporate function in a medium or large agency
  • creating high strategic impact, working across larger agencies and in concert with other agencies.

Career Boards

Career Boards are a mechanism by which Chief Executives provide senior leaders with cross agency development.

There are three functional Career Boards and currently, one regional Career Board (Auckland). Functional Career Boards each have a different area of focus: Policy, Operations, and Corporate. A System Career Board sits across all three. Each Career Board has a chair, appointed by the Head of State Services, and board members that are a mix of agency chief executives and senior system leaders.

Not every agency is represented on each Career Board so members are required to bring and apply a system perspective rather than an agency view.

The Career Board Chairs are:

  • Policy Profession Board: Andrew Kibblewhite (Chief Executive of Department Prime Minister and Cabinet and Head of the Policy Profession)
  • Operations Career Board: Naomi Ferguson (Commissioner and Chief Executive of Inland Revenue)
  • Corporate Career Board: Paul James (Chief Executive of Department of Internal Affairs)
  • Auckland Career Board: Carolyn Tremain (Acting Chief Executive of Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment)

Each career board has its own vision:

  • Policy: to create policy leaders who support good Ministerial decisions that improve the lives of New Zealanders.
  • Operations: to create leaders who will transform Public Service operations for a future that better delivers for New Zealanders.
  • Corporate: to create strategic leaders who stimulate and lift public service performance through corporate service-led transformation.
  • Auckland: to facilitate opportunities for building the leadership capability of the Auckland cohort.

For more information, read Understanding Career Boards (PDF, 2.1 MB) or email CareerBoard.Secretariat@ssc.govt.nz

Senior Leader Development and Deployment

Agency Chief Executives are responsible for senior leader development and deployment. The right developmental experiences at the right time are central to growing senior leader capability.

SSC has resources to support senior leader development. These tools, along with the new talent management system, common assessment and benchmarking approach supports agencies, CEs and Career Boards to match system needs and development needs with the right learning opportunities.

The SSC has developed a set of senior leader movement standards to enable greater cross-agency movement and development of senior leaders in the Public Service Leaders Group and/or Career Board cohorts. They have been designed to minimise and navigate the practical issues that can act as perceived or actual barriers when senior leaders move across agencies for individual development, agency and/or system need. The standards set out the minimum expectations for all agencies, unless otherwise agreed between the parties involved.

The Leadership Development Centre (LDC) is a branded business unit of the Commission and delivers senior leader development. Read more information about the LDC's role.

Key positions

Key positions were established in 2013 following the amendments to the State Sector Act 1988. Key positions are a mechanism for identifying the most system-critical roles. Key positions are agreed following consultation with the respective agency Chief Executive. Once designated, appointments can only be made to the position with the Commissioner's agreement.

The list of key positions change over time in response to changes in government priorities and as new areas of critical need emerge. The list of key positions is regularly updated.

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