The very model of a modern major agency: act like business

If government wants better relationships with business it should start acting like business.

A new report from Deloitte, commissioned by the Australian Small Business Commissioner, says there are “substantial” benefits to the economy if government agencies improve their performance by adopting “model” business behaviours.

Researchers interviewed 30 senior government leaders and 28 business heads who regularly deal with government to explore business behaviour within agencies. Six recommendations are designed to “guide and strengthen the adoption of ‘model’ business behaviour across government agencies in their relationships with the business community”.

Small business commissioner Mark Brennan says government agencies regularly behave in a business-like manner — but must go further. “We found that the fundamentals of ‘model’ business behaviour are essentially the same, regardless of sector,” he said in a statement.

Agency leaders told researchers that commitment to “strategy, stakeholders, staff and success” and the alignment of behaviours around these commitments will release clear and tangible benefits as important to government as to business. Like business, they said personality, philosophy and experience of leaders is pivotal in establishing appropriate standards.

Business heads agreed a “model” organisation aligns the behaviours of leaders — government or private sector — with the values of an organisation and the principles and practices of employees.

The Mandarin will cover this report in more depth over the coming days …

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