Remembering who you report to

Pathways to good policy outcomes

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  • Published 20200203
  • ISBN: 9781925773804
  • Extent: 264pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

EARLY IN MY career as a Queensland public servant, I attended a workshop with the renowned Professor Patrick Weller, where he interrogated me about to whom I was accountable as a public servant. I jumped right in, saying that I was accountable to my clients and responsible to the minister. Pat tore strips off me. I had it all wrong: under the Westminster system, I was only accountable to the minister, who was accountable for the portfolio performance to parliament and, ultimately – through our system of representative democracy – to the people.

It was 1990, and I was in my early thirties. I had shifted from being a young social-policy advocate working within and outside the public service with disadvantaged people and communities to being a deputy CEO heading up housing-service delivery in what had once been an old-style state housing authority. I saw my role as advocating and assisting the communities I served and acting as a conduit and adviser to the minister of the day.

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About the author

Ken Smith

Ken Smith is Dean and CEO of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and was the Agent General for Queensland based in...

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