In 2015 Premier Baird created the ‘Premier’s Implementation Unit’ to support agencies to drive the delivery of 12 state priorities in New South Wales. Premier Berejiklian has carried on this drive in 2017 and we have learned a great deal about what it takes to harness and sustain the engagement of a Premier.
From the outset and throughout, we listened carefully to the Premier to understand where they are coming from on the priorities and what they wanted in terms of working style. We needed this understanding to meet their expectations in the way we behaved, the materials we produced, and the delivery routines we facilitated. This meant being consistently citizen-focused, driven by the facts and reality ‘on the ground’, clear and to-the-point in our briefings, and solution-focused. A lot goes on behind the scenes to make this happen and ensure that our routines really deliver outcomes for citizens.
Our engagement with the system leadership is much broader than the Premier. All ministers, via cabinet, are engaged every six months in the delivery reporting routine – there is full transparency. The top civil servant is engaged in all the routines as are the secretaries responsible for each priority.
There are also routines that bring together all the key leaders - civil servants, political advisors and practitioners - with responsibility for delivery via ‘roundtables’ and other forums to review progress and share learning. Our whole approach is built on a foundation of collective leadership, commitment, and collaboration – getting these relationships and engagements right at the outset pays off in the long run and it helps when leaders change. It is by no means perfect and is something we keep working away at day-to-day.