When the guard changes: how to manage a new government

What should bureaucrats do when their masters in government change? Elections are tricky times. Understand the authorising environment has fundamentally shifted, says our expert.

Governments come, go and are supplanted. Ministers come, go and are replaced.

For a professional, apolitical public service, managing a change in government or ministers can be a … challenge.

Established relationships are torn asunder. Patterns of behaviour between ministers and departments, which had been stable and efficient, are broken.

Now comes the challenge of managing an unsettled and fraught environment. To start the relationship well and keep it positive and real, we draw on the ideas of public value, operational constraints and the “authorising” environment.

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  • rfismith

    Agree with all that Chas. Mark Moore has helped us all understand the policy challenges of government. What you have said should be widely read and with profit.

    But what if repeated changes of government, churning of senior executives, and deep cutting reorganisations have cut public service capabilities? And what about the tendency of some ministers and their staffs (not to mention some public servants too) to see every policy question as a short term political one? Politics can now penetrate a long way into a department but without much more than a short term partisan tactical perspective.

    The political parties need to lift their game if the public service is to do its job properly.