A survey of central government agency employees will seek an independent lens on key aspects of the culture and practice of the New Zealand public service.

A joint project between BusinessDesk and the Institute of Public Administration NZ (IPANZ), the Working in the Public Service survey asks about public employees’ real-life experience of workplace culture and relationships as well as the core principles of public service.

Much of the survey builds on previous research by Statistics NZ, academics and the former State Services Commission.

“In our news coverage and analysis of the public sector, we have realised that some valuable research would benefit from being updated,” says BusinessDesk’s managing editor, Pattrick Smellie.

“We hope to bring an independent lens to significant aspects of the public sector’s culture and practice."

Complements other research

Adds IPANZ president Liz MacPherson: “We take seriously our role as a ‘critical friend’ of the public service. Our vision is a high-performing public sector, respected and valued by New Zealanders.

“We believe that additional data about practices and behaviours within the public service will be invaluable to help the public sector achieve that vision.  

“This data will complement the public sector’s own research,” she says.

The survey is being conducted by market research firm Perceptive, an NZ company with long experience in similar research. Perceptive is bound by the industry’s code of practice and is conducting the survey accordingly.

Wide definition of ‘the public service’

The survey is being sent directly to central government employees who are on the BusinessDesk and IPANZ databases. This includes people working in the following types of agencies:

  • Public service departments.
  • Non-public service departments.
  • Crown agents.
  • Departmental agencies.
  • Interdepartmental executive boards.
  • Offices of parliament.

The survey is open for three weeks. Central government employees who are IPANZ members or BusinessDesk subscribers will receive a personal invitation to participate in the survey. Others can access the survey by clicking on this link.  

Participation is voluntary and responses are anonymous. There is more information in these FAQS.

“A high response rate will help improve the statistical validity of the research,” says MacPherson.

Results will be reported beginning in November as a free service from BusinessDesk (not behind the paywall) and by IPANZ through its Public Sector journal and seminars. The anonymised data will also be available to selected academics.

BusinessDesk and IPANZ intend to repeat the survey in future years, to track changes over time.

The “Working in the Public Sector” survey was supported by NZ On Air’s Public Interest Journalism Fund within BusinessDesk’s public sector project.
See all of BusinessDesk's recent public sector coverage here.