Assessing the performance of agency chief executives

Stream: Panel 68 - Public Policy & Social Justice: Evaluating and Improving Public Sector Performance
Date: Wednesday, 28 September 2016
Time: 9.00 am – 10.30 am


Monitoring and managing agency chief executive performance is one of the main centrally-held levers for improving the performance of the New Zealand public sector. Public service chief executives are employed by the State Services Commissioner, and undergo an annual performance review that determines their remuneration and influences re-appointments and future postings. Despite considerable investment by both parties, the final assessment is primarily judgment-based, though moderated by inter-subjective agreement of senior State Service Commission employees. This paper reviews the different functions and purposes of performance reviews, and identifies opportunities for improved practice. The paper draws upon literature from comparator countries and different sectors. Of particular interest are issues of agency stewardship, cumulative (multi-year) performance, comparative benchmarking, and outcome attribution while differentiating intrinsic and extrinsic drivers of performance.


Rodney Scott (Presenter), UNSW
Dr Rodney James Scott is an Adjunct Senior Lecturer at the University of New South
Wales, an Adjunct Fellow of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government, and
Principal Research Fellow at the State Services Commission of New Zealand, where he leads
the public management research programme. Rodney earned his PhD in system dynamics in
public management from the University of Queensland.