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Purpose and Governance

Overview

The Productivity Hub (‘Hub’) is a partnership of public sector agencies that is focused on better understanding New Zealand’s productivity experience and the role of policy in improving productivity growth. This document presents the Hub’s purpose and governance structure.

The document is organised as follows:

  •  Section 1.1 sets out the purpose, goals and objectives of the Hub; and
  •  Section 1.2 describes its governance structure.

The purpose and governance structures will evolve and be refined as the Hub gains footing and experience in the research community.

1.1      Motivation for the Hub

Purpose and Goal
The community of researchers working on productivity issues in New Zealand is relatively small and spread across a number of organisations. The purpose of the Hub is to bring people, ideas and research together to get greater scale and critical mass in efforts to unpick New Zealand’s productivity puzzle and improve the contribution of policy to productivity growth.

Ultimately the Hub will be a success if it becomes a place where expertise is brought together and a gravity point for productivity-related research – it becomes a ‘market for ideas’ in relevant policy areas. The fusing of expertise, perspectives and efforts will see scarce resources for productivity research become better coordinated, in turn leading to improvements in the quality of analysis and policy advice in New Zealand on productivity-related issues. This community connectivity will enhance the understanding of productivity and how it leads to greater economic growth and wellbeing of New Zealanders, which increases the likelihood that productivity improvements are made.

Intermediate outcomes
The overarching goal for the Hub, as described above, is to improve the contribution of policy to the productivity performance of the New Zealand economy and hence wellbeing of New Zealanders. To achieve that goal in an efficient and effective way the following three intermediate outcomes are core to the Hub’s work:

  • Connect people – establish a vibrant community for people (across academia, public, private and voluntary sectors) with an interest in productivity research to enable maximum leverage of knowledge and research;
  • Shape research agendas – maximise opportunities to collaborate on and align research work programmes to improve their quality and efficiency, as well as make the best use of scarce resources. It is about jointly identifying a number of key productivity-related research areas that agencies can collaborate on, and then to facilitate work across agencies in a way that minimises duplication and builds synergies. This includes the prioritisation, coordination and funding of current and future research work. It is noted that the Hub’s research agenda is not intended to be exhaustive or directive for work undertaken by each agency; and
  • Disseminate evidence – provide a dynamic platform that allows research, data and analysis to be exchanged; for example, through events and by creating a storehouse for research (analysis, evidence and data).

1.2      Workings of the Hub

Governance Structures
The Hub has three parts. The Productivity Research Board (‘Board’) provides oversight and strategic direction for the Hub. The Productivity Research Leaders (‘Leaders’) act as catalysts in bringing to fruition the Hub’s evolving research agenda and disseminating information across researchers, public-sector agencies and the broader research community according to research needs. The Productivity Research Community (‘Community’) captures all people and organisations with an interest in productivity-related research.
 

 

Board
The Board¹ provides oversight of the Hub’s strategic direction and activities. The Board’s role is threefold:

  • Coordination and oversight – set up a process to synthesise the existing evidence base and identify high-value research areas relevant to productivity. This role also includes monitoring and evaluating how the Hub’s joint research agenda has and should evolve (refer to the FLARE below for details);
  • Prioritisation – prioritise evidence needs (through the FLARE) to ensure there is a clear rationale (policy relevance) and value (impact) from investment in proposed research areas, and consider whether the work is most appropriately driven by the public sector. It will review its prioritisation as research work progresses and/or New Zealand’s policy needs changes; and
  • Promote collaboration – undertake joint commissioning and contributions (money, data or in-kind) to research.

¹ The Board corresponds to the group initially called the Productivity Governance Group (PGG).

Forward Looking Agenda of Research (FLARE)

A core output produced by the Board is a Forward Looking Agenda of Research (FLARE). This will describe a number of key research themes that the Board sees as priorities in the immediate and longer-term. These will be research themes that agencies can productively collaborate on through the Hub Community. (It is noted that the FLARE is not intended to provide an exhaustive or directive list of work to be undertaken by people and organisations partaking in the Hub.) The Hub’s research priorities will be publicly available to encourage the dissemination of research priorities and invite / encourage work to be undertaken by the Community. The FLARE will be updated regularly as the research agenda advances.

Members of the Board initially comprise a senior official from each of The Treasury, Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Statistics New Zealand and the Productivity Commission. It is anticipated that the Board will meet six to twelve times a year. Organisations not currently represented on the Board that have an interest in being on the Board should contact the Hub Secretariat.

Leaders
The group of Leaders acts as a catalyst in bringing to fruition the Hub’s strategic research direction as set out in FLARE. This is about making things happen and includes linking up with the Community according to research needs. The Leaders’ role is threefold:

  • Carry out research – develop more detailed terms of reference for research projects as guided by FLARE;
  • Linking the Community and information sharing – connect the research community in terms of general awareness of FLARE, research projects and setting up working groups, as appropriate; and
  • Sounding board – be a centre of expertise that can advise the Board on research ideas, offer support and peer review to researchers and act as a sounding board.

The group of Leaders initially comprises productivity researchers from organisations represented on the Board as well as the Reserve Bank, Ministry for Primary Industries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

In its start-up phase membership is drawn from public sector agencies but this may evolve as the Hub gains footing in the research community. Organisations not currently represented in the group of Leaders that have an interest in joining should contact the Hub Secretariat.

Community
The Hub Community is open to all researchers and organisations with an interest in productivity-related research as outlined in section 1.1. People interested in being part of the Community should contact the Hub Secretariat.

Secretariat
The Productivity Commission provides the Secretariat and Chairs the Hub; including, meetings of the Board and Leaders. The Secretariat can be contacted via: hubsecretariat at productivity.govt.nz.

The Secretariat assists the Board (for example, with organising meeting activities and the production of FLARE), Leaders and the Community at large (for example, memberships), as appropriate. The Secretariat also provides a regular newsletter (six or twelve editions per year) that relay key events, news and papers related to the Hub to ensure the community is kept up to date. FLARE and newsletters are made available on Hub webpages (see below) and distributed electronically to all members of the Hub Community.

Community Communications Platform

Given that the ethos of the Hub is to bring people and ideas together, ensuring easy and effective communication between members of the Community is pivotal.

The communication and dissemination of research and information across the Community is based on an online platform. The online platform is members-driven and members engage directly (i.e., not through the Secretariat) with the online platform. For queries related to the Hub webpages, please contact info@gen.org.nz.

The Government Economics Network (GEN) will host dedicated Productivity Hub web pages as part of the broader Knowledge Hubs.  Core features of the Productivity pages include:

  • sign-up form for people to join the Community (but this can also be done directly through the Hub Secretariat);
  • document upload, browse and download functionalities for members and by members;
  • discussion board for members to interact with each other; and
  • news feed covering FLARE and upcoming events (meetings, workshops, conferences etc.).