Staying engaged when your agency is restructured (again)


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Restructure and change in government departments is inevitable. Rather than railing against the disruption, bureaucrats must plan community interactions around them.

I hear a common refrain from exhausted public servants …

“Here we go again! A new government, a new name for the agency, a new structure, another amalgamation/deamalgamation. This happens every time. The community has no idea who we are. How are we meant to keep people engaged when they don’t know who their dealing with, and half the time, neither do we?”

I feel their pain.

In 2004 I was working with the NSW Department of Planning. We’d been rolling out the “Planning NSW” brand for several years, working hard to be an enabling agency rather than a regulatory one. Things were humming along nicely. Then one day, everything changed. We came to work to discover that the entire department was to be amalgamated with the Department of Land and Water Conservation and parts of the Department of Transport, to create a monster called the Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources. It was more than a mouthful. It’s fair to say that there were no winners that day. Of course DIPNR is now long gone, replaced by, wait for it, the Department of Planning within a few short years.

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