Mike Allen’s home away from Housing is charitable work

Mike Allen’s passion for helping people kept him in the same agency for more than 35 years, and now leads him to charity work in retirement. The new IPAA fellow spoke to The Mandarin.

“It’s not trite to say that public service is an honourable profession,” according to Mike Allen, the former head of Housing New South Wales, “because it’s about helping people, regardless of what part of government you are involved in.”

Allen (pictured) retired this year after more than 35 years involved in the provision of public housing, and got a “very unexpected and pleasant surprise” when the public service professional association awarded him its highest honour. He can now add the initials for Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia after his name, joining Department of Finance secretary David Tune and the soon-to-depart head of Treasury, Martin Parkinson, on this year’s list. Last year’s featured his former boss, Department of Family and Community Services secretary Michael Coutts-Trotter.

The respect and admiration go both ways. Allen is more than happy to share his thoughts on the value of IPAA membership, both to the individual public servants it supports and the ultimate beneficiaries of that, the public.

“We’re all doing similar work across the state and across the country, and the opportunity that the IPAA provides — to hear from experts, to engage with other professionals across the public sector — those sort of enriching, learning opportunities are a very important way of dealing with the many challenges that the public sector now faces,” he told The Mandarin.

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