NZ’S MOST REPUTABLE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENT: NZ POLICE : Police walk the talk

It’s probably unsurprising that the New Zealand Police is New Zealand’s most respected government department. Our cops sometimes take hammering in the media, but time and again they score well in public opinion surveys. Now they are highly rated by Kiwi leaders too.
Commissioner Howard Broad is “delighted” with the top-shelf vote of confidence and thinks his peers respect his organisation’s mission “to ensure the community’s safety and security”.
“They probably also understand the difficulty of our operating environment,” he adds. “I suspect they look at it and say: that’s tough.”
Fronting up to and dealing with difficulties while simultaneously keeping an eye on the ball and delivering service day-in and day-out, is tall order for any chief executive and management team.
“But that is what we do,” says Broad. “You can’t take time out to just think about things and try something else. You have to be doing it, as you do it.”
But Broad also thinks having, what he calls “skin in the game” builds ‘brand’ respect. “We are not just talkers,” he says. “Our staff own the business. They can end up with police officers getting shot or badly injured. We occupy ringside seat on the country’s difficulties and we are part of it.”
And finally, Broad thinks NZ Police has clear but simple operating strategy.
“We turn up when people call for help. We have coercive powers that we must deliver on, and at the same time show the community why we can be trusted to exercise these powers. The whole community policing thing is the counter-weight to the other coercive powers part of the organisation.”
The survey’s respondents undoubtedly picked up on the department’s effective operating model. “When I talk about the strategy of policing (to outside groups) the simplicity and the compelling nature of that strategy is clear and they invariably get it,” he adds.
So why is such high ranking in NZ Management’s survey so important to him?
“There is nothing more important to us than our reputation. We can’t do anything without good reputation,” he says.
“Being considered reputable is important to us. Reputation is built on the quality of our service: Do we turn up? Are we competent when we turn up? And, can we be trusted because of the nature of the services we deliver?”
It is difficult to imagine many countries where police force would enjoy similar survey rating. Broad agrees.
“New Zealand does have trusted police force,” he says. “People have opinions about us and want to tell us how to do our job, but that is good thing. That’s democracy. But they trust us even when they disagree about things we do.”
The New Zealand police force scored highest for its contribution to New Zealand community and that, says Broad, is entirely understandable.
“We encourage our staff to engage in the community. We don’t have fortress mentality, like many police agencies around the world. We have different view and encourage our people to get involved in all sorts of community stuff.
“We are widely distributed and very visible. And we use technology to get our people out into the community, not as way to pull back from being out there.”
And when it comes to strong and effective leadership he says simply: “We’ve done some work over the last few years to build our leadership brand. Not just command leadership, but teaching wider set of skills associated with effective leadership.
“To see that reflected in survey like this is very encouraging. It is also personally satisfying for me after five years in the job. For someone to come along unannounced with this kind of finding is very pleasing.”

FINALISTS

Treasury
John Whitehead, Secretary

“I would like to think that we have reputation for integrity, and for being free and frank with our advice. We are professional and committed to doing excellent work. Our lead role in improving public sector performance is taking on greater importance. The Government has high performance expectations of the Treasury, and we in turn are setting clear expectations for ourselves. ”

Inland Revenue Department
Robert Russell, Commissioner

“Inland Revenue works in very business-like way. We can and do measure productivity, and have lifted it each year for several years.
“We have excellent relationships and high customer satisfaction level with the business community and transparent, open tax policy process, as seen in the discussions leading to major tax changes.”

Department of Conservation
Al Morrison,Director-General

“DOC works with over 4500 businesses every day – from small-time bee-keepers and kayak operators to the country’s biggest energy and tourism companies and I think the business community is starting to understand the wider value of the conservation work we do. We are looking after the very things that New Zealanders say they treasure most.”

NZ Customs Service
Martyn Dunne, Comptroller

“We hope this rating reflects the work we have done to build trust and confidence in the way we deliver our services. We work hard to tailor our services to the business interests of our stakeholders, whether they are in government, industry, or the public – and deliver to their needs while maintaining our protection and enforcement roles.”

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