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Step change for government office accommodation

Members of the Property Functional Leadership Chief Executives Group spoke to a group of 140 property specialists from across the public sector recently about the future vision for government office accommodation.

The Property Functional Leader, Carolyn Tremain, said property contributes to, and supports, a joined up public service.

Property will be a key conduit to our ability to deliver government services that citizens need and are citizen focused, with a clear priority on more collaboration between agencies, workplaces that value people, and value for money, she said.

Across the public sector there are a number of CE groups that lead issues including for property, IT, people, data, and security.

As leaders, delivering on the expectations for property, and leading the step change, means working closely together to ensure specific agency needs are met, consistency across the system is maintained, and Government’s expectations for property are met.

Carolyn Tremain  Property Functional Leader

The accommodation or building on its own cannot deliver everything. The changes also require collaboration and joined up approaches to technology; people and culture; property design and performance; health, safety and security; resilience; portfolio planning; and professional capability.

For example, harnessing technology and using it effectively to support modern and flexible ways of working with technology enabled office space, will be a key plank underpinning the future of government office accommodation.

The Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs, Paul James, sits on the property functional leaders group and he is also the government sector functional lead for technology. He explained it is important to look at government property and IT together.

The future vision is to enable better connectivity, to enable staff to work from anywhere, and to be able to walk into a government office, say in the regions, and be able to log in and work from there.

Paul James  Chief Executive of the Department of Internal Affairs

The Commissioner and Chief Executive of the Inland Revenue Department, Naomi Ferguson, said our greatest asset is our people.

In the future, when we have more shared buildings across government together, our environments will also have higher standards. Office space and technology will need to work together to support collaboration, virtual connections and we will work to get that balance right.

Naomi Ferguson  Commissioner and Chief Executive of the Inland Revenue Department

In addition, health, safety and security are important elements to consider when planning our future work spaces.

Rebecca Kitteridge, Director General of Security Government Protective Security Lead, said security mitigations, when dealt with at the beginning of a project, keeps our people and infrastructure safe and means we need to take a proactive approach to protective security, ensuring public trust and confidence.

This means understanding what needs to be protected, designing an office site securely and ensuring the security is fit for purpose.

Rebecca Kitteridge  Director General of Security Government Protective Security Lead

As well as looking at office requirements in the metro areas, the drive to regional growth is part of the planning for future government office accommodation. Part of this will be looking for future opportunities for where government agencies could collocate in a single NZ Government building, with shared services and the ability to provide wrap around services for the local community.

The Director General of the Department of Conservation (DoC), Lou Sanson, is inspired by what he sees working in the regions.

He is an enthusiastic advocate for shared office accommodation and flexible working models. For DoC, collocation, being based in the regions, and linking with Iwi and local government, with a focus on the needs of the community and community collaboration, has been positive.

There are innovative approaches we can use to partnering in the regions for government office accommodation.

Lou Sanson  Director General of the Department of Conservation (DoC)

“What’s more, the skill base in the regions is high, and flexible working means we are increasingly able to hire staff from across the country, and be able to do our jobs from anywhere. For example, I don’t even have a desk.”

The future of government office accommodation is exciting, and it’s great we can say that about property, Carolyn Tremain said.

You can read more about the property mandate, the expectations for government office accommodation and the property programme and projects on the New Zealand Government Procurement and Property website.

Government Property Group is holding regular knowledge hours to bring public sector property specialists together, to collaborate and build a shared knowledge and understanding as we work together to deliver government expectations for office accommodation.

Property knowledge hour sessions are displayed in the key dates section on the New Zealand Government Procurement and Property website.