IPAA Victoria boss Nina Cullen on the opportunities for the public sector going forward

The new head of the Institute of Public Administration Australia’s Victorian department has put forward her imaginative and prescient for the organisation, together with constructing robust partnerships with public sector organisations to realize higher outcomes for the neighborhood.

Nina Cullen commenced in the function of IPAA Victoria CEO this month, following the departure of David Ali.

During the top of the COVID-19 pandemic, Cullen moved from her earlier function of govt director, technique and efficiency at the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, to a COVID-19 response place at the state Department of Health.

There, she managed a group that undertook shift work ’24/7′, and supplied common briefings to authorities on crucial public well being issues.

Nina Cullen

“All of the folks in the broader COVID Response Team met on-line. The work was very intense, the hours have been intense, and we have been working in ways in which I didn’t suppose have been attainable by way of coverage growth,” she instructed The Mandarin.

“So the pivoting that occurred was extremely quick, extremely demanding, however the public sector did try this. And I feel there’s loads to be taught from it.”

While the VPS continues to be in COVID-response mode, it has the alternative to capitalise on the classes it has discovered and the adjustments it has skilled since early 2020.

“I feel one in every of the key issues that the public sector might want to proceed to do is take an actual people-focused, community-focused means of working — which it does do — nevertheless it [should be] heightened,” Cullen stated.

“In phrases of what else it may do, I feel it’s very a lot about more and more constructing in that chance to have versatile work fashions, versatile engagement fashions with key stakeholders, and simply be extremely revolutionary, artistic, going forward, while at the identical time persevering with to respect its folks, and take care of its folks.”

READ MORE: Public servants should take a wellbeing-led approach to COVID-19 recovery, leaders say

The neighborhood has been pushing for a better sense of equity following the pandemic, and the public sector should be capable of meet that expectation, Cullen famous.

“Taking that additional, I feel the significance of integrity inside the public sector will proceed, particularly as we maintain going by adjusting to hybrid work fashions,” she stated.

“So integrity is a continued alternative and ongoing space of consideration and significance I feel inside the public sector and it’s completely crucial the sector will get that proper.”

Wellbeing inside the VPS workforce and in the broader neighborhood is one other massive challenge that the public sector should proceed to prioritise.

“In the public sector there’s a must proceed to assist people, but additionally construct the functionality to have resilience and psychological security as core abilities, notably in leaders,” Cullen stated.

“The actuality is the public sector is going to proceed to work laborious, and must work laborious, it all the time does. It has been by bushfires, it’s working by COVID. But the budget made it fairly clear that there’s an terrible lot that the public sector can be supporting the neighborhood on over the subsequent 4 years.”

READ MORE: Victoria commits to establishing Mental Health and Wellbeing Commission

Cullen’s plans for IPAA Victoria embody creating robust partnerships with the public objective sector and the particular person organisations inside it. This will permit them to begin conversations about what wellbeing means for the neighborhood and the workforce, and construct the abilities that allow folks to thrive on this new setting.

“What I worth about IPAA Victoria is that it supplies the alternative to attach, empower, and have fun the public objective sector, and it does that by varied mechanisms,” she stated.

“The public objective sector is extremely assorted, and the extra that the organisations inside that sector work collectively and grow to be related, then higher the outcomes can be for the neighborhood.”

Other vital areas that current opportunities and challenges for the public sector embody understanding and progressing the commitments that Victoria has made round advancing the treaty course of and Aboriginal self-determination, understanding and managing the impacts of local weather change, and understanding what a hybrid working mannequin means.

While the instant risk of COVID-19 accelerated the introduction of extra versatile work practices, and prompted a spotlight on wellbeing, enabling motion on different urgent points — like local weather change and Aboriginal self-determination — can be extra advanced.

“Fundamentally, it does rely on understanding, compassion, appreciation, and a willingness to alter,” Cullen stated.

READ MORE: How COVID-19 accelerated the Victorian Public Service’s flexible work journey


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