Public sector mandarins will have to change their ways by giving geeks a bigger seat at the policy table, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English has warned.
Ministers wanted more “facts” and agencies should start referring to people as “customers” not clients, he said. …
English said the structure of government was going to change much more over the next 10 years than it had over the past 30.
“The use of other words like ‘clients’ hasn’t brought about in the past the kind of culture shift that we need,” he said.
English was speaking in Wellington at an annual homage to technocracy, a conference organised by United States firm SAS Institute, a leading provider of software tools to crunch “big data”.
Data and data analytics should be an intrinsic part of policy-making but that was not how the public service was organised, he said.
“We are making a lot of policy with people who know nothing about customers. We are organised with the sociology graduates ‘over here’ and the geeks down the corridor somewhere.”
Departments didn’t bring technical people who understood their data to meetings unless ministers specifically requested it, he said.
“That will change. Policy without using these tools won’t mean much to us because our policies are pretty pragmatic. They are focused on getting better results for customers.”
Very much agree data should be a big part of decision making. The analysis of data should occur in both the public and private sectors. An important part of this is to have the Government continue to make its internal data available outside of Government.Tags: Bill English, open data