What’s the role of IPAA – according to the CEOs….

For those of you who may be new to public administration and public purpose, you may be wondering who and what IPAA is.

Fair question!

Rather than hear from us about what we do, we posed the question to some senior leaders. Find out more about IPAA’s role in public purpose by reading their responses below.

Rachel Hunter – Director-General, Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning

I think IPAA provides a forum for people who want to come and share experience in relation to public sector leadership, policy making, governance, but also for people who want to come and learn.  

I think it does create a ripe forum for that exchange of ideas, for thinking about innovation in the public sector. For helping senior and not so senior people visualise the public sector in an age of digital disruption and what that means for the future of public purpose work.

To some extent, awareness raising. I have been a public servant for most of my life and yet I think very few people fully understand the dimensions, the challenges and the richness of the work in the public sector. They see it when they go to a hospital, or to a school, or in emergency services and public safety, but for those of us who sit in offices and work on matters of public policy, our work is less visible.

So IPAA has a role there too in encouraging people to understand the importance and attractiveness of work in policy roles in Government. Because we need to think of renewal and attracting the best and brightest and ensuring that when we hand over the baton, we pass it to a generation of public sector leaders that are fit for purpose.

Neil Scales – Director-General, Department of Transport and Main Roads 

Fostering good practice and cloning good practice. Getting people to think and use that best practice that we have in the public service to foster more people to come into it. Because we need to make the public service the employer of choice. We are doing some really good stuff! I used to be in the private sector and if I didn’t like what I was seeing in a particular market, I could just withdraw out of it; you can’t do that in the public service.

Greg Hallam – Chief Executive Officer, LGAQ

As a young student, I was encouraged to be an IPAA member – that was 40 years ago. I think it used to be more about learned people and the written word, and the journal – which was everything back in the day. I think now it is much more about networks, giving people exposure to different types of thinking, potentially giving people mentors outside of their own workplace, it is a very different approach to the one I knew as a young person 40 years ago.

IPAA has very much evolved as the public sector has evolved. It is not as crusty, it is less formal, it is focused on outcomes, it is thoughtful about how people get together and communicate, I love the fact that it is really conscious of people’s time and everything is quite measured in terms of how long things will take so that people can come along, and still continue on with their day. I think it is much more culturally appropriate.

Michelle Lees – Deputy Secretary, Service Delivery Operations, Department of Human Services

I think it plays a really important role in exposing us as public servants to different strategic topics and to get us thinking about things that aren’t associated with our daily jobs.

It is really an opportunity to open our minds to different inputs by having different guest presenters. But then encouraging discussion and debate across public service jurisdictions to really craft where we want to take the public service moving forward in light of the changing environment and in light of different strategic challenges.

Ian Stewart – Former Queensland Police Commissioner

IPAA can be an absolute leader and thought provoker in this space. I see that as being one of the primary roles – To ask the questions, pose the solutions and be at the front.

Not lose the underlying principles, values and foundations blocks of what a good public service means.

It is simple in context, but in execution it can be quite difficult.

IPAA is the point of inconvenience – it is a disruptor.


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About IPAA Queensland:

IPAA Queensland is the professional association for people engaged in public purpose work.

Our mission is simple. We promote and enhance the professionalism, capability and integrity of public administration and pride in service.

We do this through a program of thought leadership forums and events that enable our members to build their connections, challenge their thinking and keep informed about contemporary issues.

Becoming a member of IPAA Queensland demonstrates your personal commitment and contribution to public purpose work and offers you exclusive development and networking opportunities. To read more articles like this, check out our blog, and to watch the Irene Longman Oration in full, join today and access the full back catalogue of IPAA Queensland events.