Progress under the 5 Papa Pounamu focus areas
The Commissioner of Inland Revenue, Naomi Ferguson, is Functional Co-Lead for Diversity and Inclusion in the Public Service. She co-leads Papa Pounamu, a steering group of 12 public sector chief executives driving a programme of diversity and inclusion across the Public Service. Over the last year we have progressed work under 5 areas designated as priorities by Papa Pounamu.
1. Cultural competence
Māori-Crown relations - building cultural competence
Inland Revenue’s approach to building capability to be a better Treaty partner is through Māhutonga. A key element of the approach is a strong focus on capability uplift, aligned to the capability framework devised by Te Arawhiti.
We have provided learning programmes to support Māori cultural competence (te reo Māori, tikanga Māori and Te Tiriti o Waitangi) for some time. We’re in the early stages of developing a capability-focused training programme for our people, Te Arapiki, that will help deliver te reo Māori training appropriate for our various roles. This focus is supported through our Whāinga Amorangi plan for 2021-22.
A key driver for Te Arapiki is Te Mata o Te Arero (our te reo Māori language plan). This plan seeks to actively support the revitalisation of te reo Māori and the use of it in our workplace. The plan underpins our contribution to Maihi Karauna, Government’s Māori Language Strategy.
We will contribute to the Government’s goals and aspirations for te reo Māori through the following.
- Te reo and tikanga Māori is valued by our people and has equal status as English here.
- Our te reo capability development is aligned with the Government’s Maihi Karauna strategy and Te Arawhiti te reo Māori capability expectations.
- Te reo Māori is supporting our Māhutonga strategic approach to integrate te Tiriti o Waitangi and Māori worldviews into Inland Revenue.
- We have the te reo Māori capability to support delivering services to Māori.
In May 2021, we piloted and launched Mana Āki. This programme was developed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. It supports learners to reflect on the ways we think about and interact with people from different cultures, either with each other, or with our customers.
2. Addressing bias
More than 3,100 of our people, including all people leaders, have completed online training to build awareness and mitigate unconscious bias. This refers to assumptions in favour of, or against, a thing, person or group in comparison to another that can influence our interactions and decisions.
Inland Revenue recognises that unconscious bias can impact us all, and the importance of our people understanding it, recognising it and knowing how to address it. This awareness supports leaders to make decisions that help us continue to build a diverse and inclusive workplace. Unconscious bias training is now a mandatory part of induction for new starters here.
Inclusive leaders are critical to making our people feel like they can bring their whole selves to work. We’re supporting leaders to be inclusive through a combination of actions and learning.
We embrace inclusion through our day-to-day work, for example through flexible working, supporting employee-led networks, and proactively understanding and acting on the experience of our people.
In addition to our focus on unconscious bias and cultural competence, wellbeing and resilience has been a particular area of focus. Over the last year, all our people leaders completed mental health awareness training, applying that learning by reflecting with their teams on how to build an inclusive team culture.
Inland Revenue’s leader forums have focused on their roles, our future, vision and values, resilience, mental health and wellbeing. These are all central to our strategy of ensuring leaders can support their people from all walks of life to deliver their best work.
4. Employee-led networks
Employee-led networks play a significant role in creating inclusive workplaces. They provide a sense of belonging for our people and often contribute to the attraction and retention of diverse talent.
Inland Revenue has a long history of people-led networks. In 2019, we re-established our diversity and inclusion employee-led networks and have been providing more centralised support to the networks.
While our people can create a network themselves, there are 6 that form part of our Diversity and Inclusion Strategy. They’re supported by having an executive sponsor, coaching, time allocated to and dedicated funding for their involvement, and by taking part in cross-agency networks.
Our networks promote and support the goals and needs of the people they represent - they’re often a voice for our people and customers.
Our people have set up diversity and inclusion networks
- Māori Network
- Tagata Pasifika Network
- He Toa Takatini Rainbow Network
- Women’s Network
- Diversability Network
- Multicultural Network
5. Building relationships
Building a diverse range of purposeful relationships that are positive and inclusive is a priority for us. These relationships encourage diverse perspectives, value different worldviews, avoid assumptions and help to mitigate bias. We do this in several ways.
- Our Whanake learning and development approach supports the one-to-one relationship between people leaders and their people.
- The unconscious bias training completed by our leaders helps to foster positive relationships.
- Our employee-led networks provide a sense of community for people and support positive peer relationships. The networks are also increasingly involved in supporting work with customers. For example, our Tagata Pasifika Network has been proactive in improving the awareness and understanding of donation tax credits across the Pasifika community.