Ian Caplin: Kia ora and welcome to the program. You’re watching G-Reg, the Government Regulatory Practice Initiative. My name is Ian Caplin and if you’ve just joined us this is episode 10 of 10. A 10 part series of webinars that taken together stand as the G-Reg 2020 annual conference.
They’ve been broadcasting across the month of October and November, but rest assured, members of the audience, if this is your first time, you’re not too late, because first of all, you can catch up with our back catalogue, which will include, ultimately, this webinar as well – on the G-Reg website, and in any event, the whole conference story arc is about the modern regulator, but the episodes have been individually specially designed so you can watch them in any order.
G-Reg is the world’s first and only cross government professional user network for those who exercise the coercive, facilitative and, wait for it, members of the audience, if you’ve been regulars, you can you can say before me – anything else-ive – powers of the state. I make no apology for saying that virtually every episode because it really underscores one of the things that regulation’s all about.
It’s about that broad sweep of all the things we do in the business of government and G-Reg’s based here in New Zealand, but we continue to welcome, not just a New Zealand audience, but an international audience truly watching us across the world, both live and recorded as any of us may be watching and indeed, in the public domain as all these webinars are, both live and recorded
And I say, without any apology, once again, whenever and wherever you are, you continue to be very welcome here, as we come to the end of what’s been a really interesting series of webinars about the modern regulator.
Today’s title is called ‘Life’ and it really kind of is very much a crescendo of all the kind of sub themes that we’ve looked at across the series. We’ve looked at entrepreneurialism right at the start, we’ve looked at collaboration, working across government, working beyond government.
We’ve looked at regulatory responsiveness in the sense of being agile and in a sense of being proportionate and compassionate without the undue automatic lunge to coercion, which most modern regulators don’t implement. We’ve also looked at other things, critically regulatory stewardship, and we spent quite a bit of time on that. And we also looked at the wellbeing, not just of those we regulate, in the preceding webinars that I’ve just pointed up, but actually regulating our own wellbeing and regulating ourselves.
And in this final episode, we talk to, if I may say so, a very modern regulator who personally and indeed institutionally really espouses all of those kind of themes within this conference story arc, if I can put it that way. I will come to Paula Knaap from, on behalf of Worksafe in just a moment.
But I just want to say a couple of other things as we, as we come towards the end of the series, because a number of you have written in, all five of you, and three of you are me, no I’m jesting there. But a lot of these webinars have gone out, at least in the live version, at 11 o’clock in the morning, New Zealand Daylight Time.
And the theme, the marketing theme for those of you who registered on the website, has been elevensies, traditionally a cup of tea and a slice of cake or perhaps something else.
And some of you may have written in and say, well, what would I have with my cup of tea. And of course, absolutely nothing at the moment because it would be conduct unbecoming of any kind of regulatory practitioner to talk to you with my mouthful, but I do without crossing any codes of conduct, like an occasional Mars bar.
And the reason for that, members of the audience, and the reason I mention it, is because actually Mars and this episode have quite a few things in common. The slogan, I believe, for advertising that particular piece of confectionery was ‘work rest and play’ and of course across this series, we’ve been talking about the work of the regulator, we’ve been talking about looking after ourselves in terms of wellbeing (rest) and we’ve been talking about entrepreneurial ism, which is very much a kind of play.
And you could even say that Mars is potentially or could be an acronym for Modern Agile Regulatory Stewardship, or it could be something nice to eat that gives you energy with a cup of tea. Well, I hope that this final episode continues to be your cup of tea, members of the audience, as we hand over in just a moment to Paula Knaap on behalf of Work safe to talk a little more about the kind of a smorgasbord of real life ways in which a number of the conference themes have been put into action by Worksafe.
Worksafe, of course, institutionally is a very modern regulator, not just progressively but chronologically, born as it was after Pike River, which
Had it’s tragic 10th anniversary very recently. So we’ll hear, hear more from Paula about that – you will have questions, you will have comments, you always do, members of the audience.
At the bottom of your screen, you’ve got that Q&A box and you can please put those questions or comments, and even while Paul is delivering the presentation and we’ll come to those in due course afterwards.
Now what I’ll do also is I’ll ask our producer Mariam if she’s not done this already to put the poll, the survey, on the screen, not necessarily for you to complete immediately, but as we go along, there’ll be a kind of a point in the webinar, where you will think, how much is this webinar or any of the others in the series, looking at the series as a whole, if you’ve had the opportunity to look at any of the others, helped you become an even more modern regulator.
I know you’re not shy, so please do feel unrestrained from filling that in when the time is right and now, very much, very happy to call on Paula to talk about Life. Paula, a very warm welcome to you.
Paula Knaap: Thank you Ian. As always a very entertaining and interesting introduction. Now, I’ll do that share screen, and we’ll make sure that works. There we go.
And so look as Ian has said so eloquently there is a strong connection between Worksafe and the Pike River tragedy, so I’m sure many of you will have seen the coverage last week and the news around the anniversary of the coal mining tragedy where 29 men lost their lives.
And what you might not know though is not only was Worksafe born out of that tragedy, but also the Royal Commission inquiry into Pike River and a finding by an independent task force that there’d been reading failure on the part of the former Department of Labour.
So as the Prime Minister emphasized last week, the Royal Commission’s findings about the government’s obligations to those men and their families doesn’t just exist at Pike River, but exists in every workplace across the country. And so the legacy of Pike River tragedy truly drives Worksafe’s aspiration to get every person who goes to work home, healthy and safe.
Sorry, juts getting my buttons to work [inaudible]. So since its inception in 2013, Worksafe has implemented new primary legislation. So that’s the Health and Safety At Work Act and used this as a tool to create far greater awareness around the importance and the responsibilities that all of us have [inaudible] safety.
But along with that, of course, comes a heightened expectation about Worksafe’s ability to respond across an increasingly broad landscape. And the reality is that our rates of harm are still very high. Some of the things that are changing are our population, the growth in key sectors and the need to broaden our traditional focus on acute harm, so injuries and accidents and deal more effectively with latent risks that contribute to health and mental health issues. Now those are big and challenging shifts.
And so for us as an organization, we need to be increasingly clear about the range of choices that we have to make in terms of where and how we intervene and of course the trade-offs that you need to make when you do that.
Our four year strategy sets out the improvements that we need to make, so that New Zealand can lift its health and safety at work performance towards world class.
Now we’ve got some clear focus areas that align our work with strategic direction and in the context of today’s conversation, it’s helpful to note the external focus areas.
So delivering the right mix of services in the right way speaks to the choices that we make as a regulator.
We’ve got a limited range of interventions, like any, any regulator, from providing information and advice through to enforcing compliance and we need to deploy those across the spectrum in the best way and to make the greatest impact.
Building our harm prevention approach speaks in part to enabling employers and workers to address the underlying factors that drive harm at work, so that they can manage their own risks in the workplace and growing effective strategic relationships speaks to the role that Worksafe can play in system leadership and influencing others to build capability and drive improvements right across the health and safety system.
Now, when you look at what we’re aiming for as an organization, which is the second box from the right, you can see that there’s a huge focus on working collectively with others, enabling, empowering and encouraging people to value health and safety as actually being part of the business.
And what all of this describes as an aspirational culture shift that we’re not going to achieve by using compliance mechanisms as our only tool to shift the dial.
And so for us, we’re taking a deliberately engaging, influencing and partnership approach, while still holding the enforcement line because we know that it remains critical.
So the three basic tenets of good health and safety management and leadership are both at the executive level and on the frontline, risk management and worker engagement.
However, when we look at recent research that we’ve carried out, still only a fifth of our businesses have what we would describe as a mature safety culture. So that’s a culture where workers are valued as critical contributors to health and safety decisions and where the business shows that it listens to and values the voice of its workers.
So that demonstrates, of course, that we’ve got a way to go and a lot to do. But it also shows where we can make big gains. So regulation is going to help us to keep most businesses above the bottom line, but really shifting the dial on New Zealand’s cultural and workplace health, safety and wellbeing.
That’s going to require us to be entrepreneurial as Ian’s referenced, leveraging relationships and giving a voice to those within the system who really want to make a difference. And I guess that sets the scene for today’s conversation, where I’ll share some themes that describe how we’re starting to step outside the frame of the traditional regulatory approach and supplement that work, which still exists very strongly, by focusing on influencing across the system.
So the first of these themes is collaborative leadership and I know it’s something that’s been talked about throughout the series. Health and safety cuts across every sector. It’s also impacted by other regulatory systems like the labour market, education, health and the environment. So we know the change that’s required to lift our health and safety performance is going to call on everyone in the system.
Now we’ve got a multi-year investment agreement with ACC that enables our design and delivery of a number of sector and sector [inaudible] programs, but we don’t create or deliver those programs alone. Instead, we work with a whole range of industry leadership groups, businesses, unions, workers to develop and pilot target [inaudible] together.
Now for some of you who may have seen the Worksafe G-Reg presentation last year, you might remember the way that we did around reducing come from quad bike rollovers, using a range of regulatory levers, but also working with suppliers, partnering with ACC and drawing on trusted industry partnerships to influence behaviour change in a socially charged space.
Now, building on that work, we’ve recently entered into a three year strategic partnership with the FMG Young Farmer Of The Year competition.
Now we identified a need to influence the next generation of rural leaders to help change perceptions and also those workers’ expectations about safe and healthy work.
Now, as you can imagine, with 300 contestants across the country competing for the title each year and all of the community support that’s wrapped around them, this partnership gives us the chance to have a very different engagement with rural communities on the ground and in their own environment.
So we work collaboratively with the Young Farmers team to embed health and safety within the modules at all the regional events and we had a very strong Worksafe presence.
Now, through this partnership, we’re building rapport with rural communities and we’re hoping to create generational change.
We also engage the Young Farmers Organization and other sponsors like FMG Rural Insurance to become even stronger independent advocates for health and safety, bringing a voice that can influence the sector in a way that we can’t always do as the regulator.
And now another great example of partnering to create generational change is our recent work with Massey High School, and that was about delivering a pilot [inaudible] program to your 12 and 13 carpentry students. Last year, 13 construction workers were killed and more than 5000 were away from work for more than a week due to injury.
And so with that in mind, it’s exciting to be able to work with these young people and raise their expectations of what a mature safety culture should look like in a work environment.
And based on the success of that pilot, we’re now looking to work more closely with the Ministry of Education to roll that program out.
Now I know that there’s been quite some conversation on regulatory stewardship and of course that’s about, you know, leading and driving connection and coordinated delivery, right across the system.
But more than that, I think for us it’s about leading system conversations, even in difficult areas and areas that we can’t influence by ourselves and being brave about articulating the change that we want to see and the part we all have to play in getting New Zealanders safe home every day.
So for us, we place a strong emphasis on the range and the quality of our engagement with our system partners and other stakeholders.
And also, I think, really importantly, translating their insights back into the system and so that we can increase our understanding and responsiveness and drive change.
Now, in recent years, we’ve supported the formation of several tripartite health and safety leadership bodies and they’re tripartite because they’re made up of industry leaders, union and Worksafe.
And these groups now exist in forestry, construction agriculture, transport, postal warehouseing and very recently on the back of some engagements through Covid, the screen industry, which is actually
a really growing industry in New Zealand. Now, by being at the table in those forums, we can demonstrate our commitment to being in this work together.
We also have a channel that shares a collective vision directly with industry. We’ve also been able to support industry in leading and delivering harm reduction initiatives into their own sectors through those routes.
Now of course this is a very familiar logo for us all. Our trusted relationships with industry really came into play during our lockdown.
Of course we know that as a country we all stepped up in a very unprecedented way but in the background, New Zealand businesses across the country were navigating extremely uncertain – and for many – stressful terrain and during this time our established industry leadership groups provided a vital channel for the co-development of industry specific guidance to support businesses in these sectors in returning to work safely. Now the process that we had to develop at pace to review, endorse and share sector’s own guidance was entirely voluntary.
And so that early leadership example of our partners paved the way for us to work with more than 30 plus sectors and subsectors from racing to hospitality to visual sports to education, anything you can think of. And to provide industry level guidance that created parity for businesses across the country at a time that they desperately needed it.
I think the other thing that was great about that was that our early and open dialogue with industry groups and our ability to bring that back into the system also informed the advice that we were able to give to other agencies about industry needs and their concerns and what we can do to help them.
And so we then worked across government in particular with Health, MBIE, MPI and Police to create a consistent approach to how we could all work [inaudible] through that transition period.
And those industry level conversations also importantly supported much better and more informed interactions at an individual business level and reduced the pressure on us to have a really huge [inaudible] regulatory conversations.
Another good example of regulatory stewardship in action is Worksafe’s role in influencing the formation of the construction sector accord and transformation plan. This was work done together with MBIE and Business Leader’s Health and Safety Forum initially.
Now as I said earlier, we still have far too many deaths and injuries in construction and also has the highest rate of deaths related to [inaudible] exposure of any sector in New Zealand and there’s a high prevalence of mental health issues as well.
So with the huge pressure on our infrastructure, a significant increase in volume and the pace of construction that’s now expected over the next 10 years, and of course, added to this is the pressure of construction being, you know, really critical to our Covid economic recovery.
So all of that has set the scene for our early conversations around how we might create change by looking to the example of the 2012 London Olympic Games, where for the first time in Olympic history, there were no fatalities in the build of those facilities. And actually this was the backdrop to the work we did in the Canterbury charter space post the Christchurch earthquakes as well.
Now the premise of these conversations is about lifting our focus up from the bottom of the supply chain where pressure results in poor business and safety outcomes that often sits with the contractors and the workers who have little ability to control that and instead focusing on the responsibility and the opportunity of the leaders that sit at the top of that supply chain to truly listen to workers and contractors to get them a seat at the table and create settings that support resilience right along that supply chain.
So that’s things such as, of course, labour conditions, procurement practices, funding agreements, standard materials. Effectively this is about creating a culture of health and safety where care for people is a key driver.
And fundamentally, the building blocks to achieve great health and safety outcomes are actually the very same pillars that we need for strong, sustainable business.
So those early influencing conversations resulted in commitment between our government and the construction industry to work together, to bring a value driven and resilient sector with a high performance culture. It bought sector leaders together in, I think, an unprecedented way and has created a new pan-industry and government steering group, which is chaired by Peter Reidy, who’s the Chief Executive of the Fletcher building company and working in genuine partnership now towards common goals and that’s lifted up to a focus over the next three years in terms of the accord transformation plan.
So thinking about the application of that and other sectors and building on a lot of work we’ve done in the forestry sector over the last 2 to 3 years we’re now in the early stages of bringing together key groups at the top of the forestry supply chain, so Forest Owners’ Association, for example, to sign up to a charter with a view to creating
better supply chains [inaudible] NZ Forestry to get those better work outcomes that are important to all of us.
As I outlined earlier, genuine two way engagement between workers and employers is a critical pillar of mature health and safety culture, because when workers are engaged in health and safety in the [inaudible] benefits, businesses are able to make better informed decisions. And of course, workers are a business’s best line of sight to what’s really happening on the ground and how best to shape safer work systems that are actually going to work when they’re put in place.
Now one of our flagship worker engagement initiatives is our Toroawhi pilot. Toroawhi means together we create change.
And this was a partnership initiative with the Forestry Industry Safety Council. So one of those tripartite leadership groups, I talked about earlier to embed two independent health and safety champions and regional communities. The initiative was designed to give strength to the worker voice to build capacity and empower workers because and it was co-designed on the ground with workers.
And the pilot is anchored in a model that’s been trialled in the UK and Australia for a roving health and safety representative, but it was really important for us to tailor it to reflect the New Zealand forestry context.
And what’s different about this role is that these representatives or these Toroawhi don’t have regulatory powers and they’re not actually employed by Worksafe
And they meet, they also meet workers where they find them. So they won’t get access to every forest block. In some cases they do. So they’re connecting with people through community spaces and sports clubs as well.
Now finding the right people for those roles is actually a really critical part to this. And so Worksafe is right across the design and selection process together with the co-design group. Toroawhi also provided, you know, really valuable support to impacted workers during lockdown.
They maintain connection, assisted with return to work planning. They’ve also on their own connected with local authorities and Ministers, coordinated community support. One has leveraged a seat on the Wood Buyers Council. So again, it’s sitting of at the top of the supply chain in both at company board tables and one of those Toroawhi was nominated for the Health and Safety Representative of the Year at the New Zealand Health and Safety Awards and the [inaudible] gained quite a bit of media attraction. So it’s something that’s that’s really taking root.
Now we hope that this work is going to benefit our work in other high risk sectors.
We’ve actually started evaluating already while it’s being implemented and we’ll use those learnings to help shape its future and provide us with the evidence based on what actually works in New Zealand to support better worker engagement and better conversations.
Another initiative that really sits nicely in this space is our Puataunofo Come Home Safely program.
It’s a workplace health and safety education initiative that has a Pacific lens that aims to raise awareness and capability and encourage greater worker engagement in health and safety.
Now, Pacific peoples frequently work in higher risk roles and are over-represented in our injury and fatality statistics. What we found is that this inclusive approach is working not only for our Pacifica groups, but also for other groups, including Maori and migrant workers.
We had this pilot programs [inaudible} and what that’s demonstrated was that workers were more aware, they felt more confident about speaking up about health and safety and they understood how they could make a difference.
And I think that’s largely because the program is designed and delivered by Pacific people and for Pacific people and so it helps to bring down those barriers and to recognize how important it is to build trust so that workers are more open.
Alongside Puataunofo, our tripartite Pacific People’s Responsiveness Advisory Group (we’re actually looking to shorten that name) helps inform Worksafe’s decisions on how we best reduce the number of injuries and fatalities among Pacific people and what interventions are actually best suited to engage with Pacific people and to influence workers and employers, and we’re weaving that understanding into our work across a range of [inaudible].
Now, at the moment, our demand for this program actually outstrips our ability to be able to deliver it. So we’re looking at opportunities of how we might scale it up, and how we can bed it in, in other organisations so that they can take the lead on taking that work forward.
So, thinking for a minute about innovation, it’s a nice space to step into and it comes in many different guises. So if I think first about technology, we’ve used a range of technology that helps us to educate in a safe and true to life environment and to connect with a broader audience. So the image that you can see on the screen is our virtual off road side by side experience. And this was co-developed with Co-driver, a company for last year’s field days, initially.
What it does, it provides a realistic training scenario for farmers, that simulates the dangers of driving when you have diverted attention, when you are doing other things, that cause the vehicle to roll over and it realistically simulates that, but of course it does that without putting farmers in harm’s way.
Now we first debuted this technology as I said, at field days. And for those of you who are not familiar with it, it’s a huge event. I think it’s the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest agricultural event with about 130,000 people that visit that each year.
And we’re able to use that technology as a launching pad for actions and policy work we were doing around our stance on quad bikes. But the beauty of it was that we could draw people into those conversations and we could really make a difference, and we were able to have a broader conversation about choosing the right vehicle for the right job.
We’ve also used that simulator as part of our partnership with the New Zealand young farmer events, and we have a second generation model in development that will have a specific competition mode, so it’s part of the competency that they’ll undergo.
The simulator travels around the country and will be doing that for the next two years at a range of community events, where it’s always a keen attraction. And as I said, the beauty of that, is that it opens up opportunities for us to have really good conversations with people on the ground. We’ve also done lots of little things like develop VR goggles that simulate working environments and hazards in a bunch of different sectors.
And we’ve used those in sessions that were held at schools and events. And also we’ve done some one to many learning assessments that are carried out by our inspectorate.
And something else we’ve done that’s a little bit interesting, different, is partnering with meat and construction industry to trial an exoskeleton, which is sort of a skeletal suit that sits on the body and supports the worker’s body to reduce muscular stress, and that was something [inaudible] bought in from Australia.
But of course innovation is about much more than technology. We have a team, an innovation team, that actually supports new thinking right across our organization and I think that’s helping us to place, to feel more free and open about new ideas.
And more recently, we have a team focused on safety by design. So thinking about different ways of doing work, and designing safety into working environments and practices from the outset, which is something that’s getting real traction with groups that we work with in industry.
We partnered recently with Dairy New Zealand around crushing injuries, a significant number these that happen in dairy sheds during milking in the dairy industry.
And so we contracted Dairy NZ to undertake research, which included a customer design phase and that was carried out over a year. And it’s provided a whole raft of information that’s now going to help support their design of milking sheds.
So the next phase is to use that information to take it forward into a design space, also with Dairy NZ. And we’re also supporting an innovation competition at New Zealand field days, looking for engineering solutions to combat crushing injuries, so we’re really excited about what might come out of that.
Now I think that leads us really nicely onto Better Work. And so Better Work is a concept or an aspiration about a way that we want to talk with people, that’s really very much in development at Worksafe.
So, as I’ve said, you know, we’ve made some real improvements in health and safety performance, but it is plateauing, and our harm rates are still high.
We know that many businesses find this a difficult topic to engage with both from a technical discipline perspective, but also it’s not something that often gets people excited.
And so we think there’s an opportunity for us to open up a different conversation, a conversation about work and about what better work environments for our people look like.
Now there’s some parallels to safety too, some of you might be familiar with that concept which is a conversation about thinking about the things that go right 95% of the time, rather than spend more of our time focusing on the 5% of things that go wrong, because there’s a huge amount that we can actually learn in that space, and also invites a really different conversation about safety and wellbeing.
So with Better Work, we’re wanting to explore ways of having conversations about, as I said before, how work is designed and done, which of course has flow on benefits for health, safety and also benefits for the business bottom line.
And in effect, it’s a way for us to reframe some of our health and safety conversations. Now this is very much early days, but I guess just
to be clear, this isn’t a choice between Worksafe pursuing better work in performing what will always be important to us in terms of our regulatory enforcement functions, there was and always will be be a place for both those things.
But it’s about opening up the ways that we can come to different spaces and engage with people. And essentially, it’s a journey we’re on and we’re really excited to see where these conversations might take us. Thank you.
Ian Caplin: Paula, thank you very, very much indeed, that’s a terrific presentation, and members of the audience, as with all the presentations of that sort of calibre, you’ll always have your favourite bit or bits, there’s so much there.
Please feel free to drop the questions in or any comments in the Q and A box. I’m just, I’ve been scribbling away there listening to Paula, there’s, there’s all sorts of things.
And I think one of the, one of the things just looking at my own notes, Paula is, you were talking about, in effect, come rain or shine, the genuine and I underline that word, and I think you did too, genuine, two way engagement between the regulator, the regulated party, industry or the stakeholder and almost when you were touching upon the Covid situation, you were pointing to entrepreneurialism, as I saw, it and saying, we had these relationships there already.
And I know when we looked at this in the Inland Revenue presentation back I think in episode three or four and Richard Philp on that presentation agreed that some of these relationships, about which we’re being entrepreneurial, could be hiding in plain sight. Was it very much like that in, in the Worksafe situation that you described?
Paula Knaap: Yes, I think that’s right Ian, I mean obviously this has happened over a period of time. But I think it’s about, I think it’s about recognising that we can just have different conversations with people that we’re probably already dealing with, and I think Ian, as you say, we are already having those conversations, but it’s how can we supplement those conversations that we’ve always got to have, about the position of ourselves as a regulator and what needs to be done and what the bottom line looks like, but actually, what are the aspirational conversations we can have.
And I think the other part of it that’s really important that often gets forgotten is how fantastic it is when you can be on the ground with these groups and you can really learn something more than you knew about their own position, about the things that make life difficult or the things that they aspire to achieve or where you have common ground.
And by learning and knowing those things, you can bring that back into your organisation and to your broader government system and think differently about the way that the work we do, all of our work and we think about this, and we use this knowledge and understanding as well, in terms of our regulatory interventions.
So I think that’s a really important part to add in as well. It’s as much us learning from others, out in the sector and being very, very fortunate that we have their significant expertise and generosity in many cases in feeding into this work that we do.
Ian Caplin: Yes. And it’s interesting. I mean, immediately I get flashbacks to the presentations in episode two with the safer credit and also with Fiona Hutchison on the regulatory stewardship presentation. It’s about the institutional humility of the agencies, different from just gathering intel about, you know, your regulated parties.
It’s, it’s the agency effectively admitting it can learn too. Let’s go straight to the question, so we can have conversations elsewhere as well. Question from Paul here. And by the way, members of the audience, you can vote. If you do thumbs up on the side of the questions, they can whizz around the screen and you can rank them and watch me zap about as well.
So Paul’s question, in an earlier slide Paula, you made reference to Worksafe’s investment in its own infrastructure. Question is: what are the key elements of infrastructure that support your regulatory function?
Paula Knaap: that’s a really good question and it’s a whole range of things. So as I said, we’re on a journey. So this is no by no means a
presentation about an organisation that thinks, we’ve got it all right, because we don’t.
We’re developing, again, we’re still learning as we go. But I think there’s a range of key elements. I mean, of course it’s having the right people and being able to invest in bringing in those people having the capabilities that helped them to stay connected with the skills that they bring when they come in.
So those investments and training are always going to be important. I think we’re very, very fortunate that we found ways of being able to invest in the kinds of things that I’ve talked about. So these partnership initiatives and abilities to go out and do things like work in partnership and sponsor and create new things, you know, they, they don’t come cheap.
So we have to think really carefully about how we’ll spend that, how can we do that in the most cost effective way, but also being really conscious of the difference it’s going to make and the ability it will make to help us get into more conversations and generate more change.
But I think, and also, of course, you know, we all know, we need to have the right structures in terms of technology. During Covid, it was incredibly important for us to be able to connect. But I think the big thing is actually the way that the organisation works. I think the way that we think about and connect to one another and our operational model.
So I talked about the strategy piece earlier on in the slide, and you know, our aspirations and how all of that is set up. Now coming out of that we also developed a target operating model. And then again, building on that, that’s become what we call Taura Here Waka, and that’s something I’m happy to share with people later if they’d like to see it.
But that’s the way that we will work internally and how we will try our best as any government organization, I think, grapples with this, because we have a lot of things going on. How do we make sure that we don’t work in our silos, that we truly do work across our organization and that we’re learning internally as well. And we’re setting ourselves up to be successful, that we’re really clear about the key aspirations that we have, the key things that we want to achieve. And we’ve got the right people from right across the business and then taking that out to our external connections to help us achieve those.
So I think that piece in terms of actually understanding how you want to operate, and from my perspective, this is something that’s important to me, the culture of the organisation and supporting that, is incredibly important as well.
Ian Caplin: Absolutely, it goes to wellbeing, our episode eight. And I think also, it goes to, the members of the audience, this one’s up on the website if you haven’t seen it, want to see it again, what particularly Rob Scriven with CAA with Mark Von Motschelnitz as well, was saying in episode five about their internal career structure effectively and general structure, that everybody is a steward, and in a sense, before one can work across, one needs to work across inside.
Paula Knaap: That’s right.
Ian Caplin: We’ll go to another question. Thank you, Wendy, good to see your questions once more. Can you say a bit please Paula, more about a Better Work initiative, and Wendy’s question is what’s different about this to perhaps what’s already happening in the workplace?
Paula Knaap: Yeah, I mean, that’s actually a really interesting point because, I think, probably for some of us, we feel like it’s a bit of a journey that we have been on for a while, it didn’t have that label and for me, having those conversations about how we can work together differently are vital to creating change.
So I think, I think, was it Wendy, is right about that. I think what is different is that there’s a real desire by the organisation to sort of create this as a bit more of a movement, and to be able to, in some spaces and we’re really, this is a really testing conversation, we’re figuring out when it’s the right place and space to be talking more about Better Work and less about health and safety.
So that’s the kind of transition, and it’s actually quite a brave translation, it’s something that our Chief Executive, Phil Parkes is talking to a lot of stakeholders about and sounding it out. So it really is, as I say, it is about all of those things. And it is about thinking about the ways that we work, how can we do things differently. What goes right, but it’s actually talking less about, let’s have good health and safety practices, but let’s have a really, let’s have a better work environment. And what are all the components that, you know, that create that.
And underpinning all of that are those things that are really important to creating positive outcomes for health, safety and wellbeing here. I hope it’s clear, it’s probably as clear as I can be. Because it really is a concept that’s we’re just starting to talk about it, and this side of Covid.
Ian Caplin: I think it is clear. And I think it’s pretty clear that it’s it’s a wicked problem in some ways, and just, again, Wendy. And I think, you know, Wendy’s carrying the Democratic votes in terms of her questions. I will accede to democracy. Wendy says: what sort of capabilities, I guess, with this in mind, in part, but also generally, do you think that modern regulators need to take on the new aspects of how we’re working in the field? Now, I guess that’s also inclusive of new patterns of work that Worksafe institutionally might have to meet in a regulated sector, but also just more generally, people, regulators work differently. You know, in the 1980s, you’d need a different set of capabilities. Frankly, in the Noughties you would. 10 years ago it was a different situation.
What you think the capabilities are in a nutshell, that the modern regulator, that we’ve spent 10 webinars at 45 minutes each, listening to my jokes occasionally, talking about; what do you think they need in a nutshell, Paula?
Paula Knaap: Yeah. Well, obviously, you know, when we think about those technical capabilities and knowing how to navigate that space, that’s always going to remain mission critical, but I think what, and more and more, we need more of, right across our organizations, are people who really do have that ability to build rapport, to build relationships and trusted relationships.
You’d navigate that fine line between being able to actually step into really difficult conversations and be the regulator, but at the same time can still bring a sense of empathy and humility.
That we’re prepared to listen and we’re prepared to know, in the right forums, you know, that we don’t bring all of the answers to the table. So for me, those are the things that I think are shifting and changed.
Ian Caplin: Thank you for that, Paula, and I think it really leads in very nicely to Dan’s question which says; love the people as the solution. Were there any cultural barriers to overcome though, in finding that people as the solution idea, and if so, how did Worksafe deal with it?
Paula Knaap: I’m just, do you think that, just wanted to test: is that people as the solution, cultural barriers internally, or are we talking about taking that work out further?
Ian Caplin: I think, I think it’s really possibly both, the idea that people and relationships are the solution in the way that you’ve described, let’s take it from that frame of reference, the idea of perhaps redefining the way that we work, and perhaps the kind of the cultural barriers that might automatically kick in, because it’s something new and you know it can be tricky.
Paula Knaap: I think that’s a little bit like what we spoke about just just prior to this, that it’s that evolution of a regulator in terms of
having the courage to say that we don’t have all the answers, and knowing that actually, that if we put our trust in others, often those things will, you know, emerge to the surface and then at that point we can bring in all of the wonderful technical expertise that we have, to actually try and bring it together and wrap that up into an intervention that’s going to work for everybody.
So, I would say that yes, actually, with all of these types of initiatives, you know, we’ve had to have an internal dialogue about the regulator, that we are the regulator that we want to be and what does that really mean, because it’s easy to have conversations that say, this is where we want to go, that we want to see people as our solution and we want to be brave about stepping out into those spaces. But sometimes when it comes to working through the internal process, like everybody, we have those processes. So everything we do has to run through a whole range of measures in terms of return on investment. And, you know, a legal view and all those sorts of things.
And sometimes that does come down to the space of, is this the space we should be stepping into. I think in the early days, absolutely. There were a lot more people who didn’t think that it was a space that regulators should be stepping into.
But I think time has told the story that we’re sort of heading in the right direction with this. And I think it’s a place that a lot, of a lot of regulators, a lot of modern regulators are heading or are wanting to head. And I think, meeting people, meeting people in the community and making them part of those solutions is the place that we need to go if we’re going to do our job better.
So yeah, there were, there were. And I think it was just about actually, trying to understand what those concerns were, so that you could best navigate those by thinking, well actually, those were the concerns, then maybe this is how we can test these things out in a safe way.
And then once we had a bit of success with things and we’re comfortable with it, and we all start to get a bit more comfortable that it fits within the ambit of our role, then that gives you the ability to take things a little bit further. So I think you’ve always got to be a bit careful and a bit measured.
And you know I’m always a fan of having some really big ideas that you won’t actually execute because maybe they do go a step too far, but you can bring those in, and bring them to a space that actually helps you to do something really great at the right level.
Ian Caplin: And I think that’s a lovely place to leave it at the end of this conference series. Paula Knaap, thank you very much indeed. Very much the words of a modern regulator and thank you to all of you, members of the audience, and all of you that have asked the questions across these webinars and all the previous contributors who have taken part in this suite of 10 conference webinars, which will very soon find themselves more fully on the G-Reg website, half of them are up already.
I anticipate next week that the second half will be up as well. Just in time for you to either refresh your memory or perhaps watch them for the first time.
I’d like to think of a number of people just within the G-Reg community that really makes these webinars possible as, as well as those who I’ve just said thank you to.
To Kathryn MacIver, the Director of G-Reg, who does a lot of work, both in front and behind the scenes to make sure that G-Reg is out there and understood in the right way, and also to production team, to Mariam and Felix for making this series of webinars work seamlessly.
And also to a number of other unnamed people, who know who they are, right across the sector who really believe that working better together is not just a nice to have, but in the era of regulatory stewardship, quite a critical essential.
Now members of the audience, we’d love to hear from you. Feedback thoughts, ideas, please do go to the G-Reg website and drop us a line through there, let us know what you’re thinking, what we could do to help and stay in touch. It’s very much a multilateral dialogue.
I just channel my inner Mars bar once more, and there is a legitimate point in it, because I’ve believe in the United Kingdom, it actually forms a basket of consumer items on which retail price economic indexation are made and that’s not lost here, because what it’s saying is that Mars Bars are essential to the economy.
Regulation is soft infrastructure, central to the economy and it’s been very much part of the case of this conference, not just in troubled times, Covid times, but also in peacetime, maintaining a good regulatory infrastructure, soft infrastructure is something that we ought never to turn our eyes away from.
I do just recall now to see how we’re getting on in the poll and just ask Mariam to see if we have any more data on that. How much has this webinar helped you become an even more modern regulator. If you haven’t filled that poll in, please do.
And I don’t know if we have time, just in the closing seconds, to see where we are on the state of play of that. I’ll give you a couple of seconds, members of the audience, to pop your thoughts in. And it may well be Mariam, if we can see what the result is so far.
Okay. Well, I think it’s an overwhelming positive there, which is very heartening to us, and I hope, it’s also heartening to you. And with that, members of the audience, it’s time to close the series. Once more, thanks very much for tuning in and until perhaps next time, from all of us here on the G-Reg team, stay well and ka kite ano, thank you very much.