Digital Executive Board Terms of Reference
- The Digital Executive Board was established on 8 September 2022, under the Public Service Act 2020.
- The overall objective of the Board is to oversee and coordinate delivery of the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa. This will include leading and driving implementation of the Digital Strategy, and aligning and coordinating strategic, policy, planning and budgeting activities for the departments that support the Digital Economy and Communications portfolio.
- Following the 2020 Election, the Prime Minister established the Digital Economy and Communications portfolio. In announcing this portfolio, the Prime Minister indicated her objective was to pull together the many separated strands of government digital activity, creating a Digital Strategy for Aotearoa and supporting the rollout of new technology across New Zealand.
- The Digital Economy and Communications portfolio is supported by multiple government agencies, each with their own areas of focus and priorities. While these agencies have made good progress in working together, the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications does not have a single body to own and drive delivery of the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa. Further, there are gaps in the Government’s digital programme where no agency is taking the lead.
- The potential benefits for Aotearoa New Zealand of digital and data-driven technologies are huge. Digital technologies are a powerful enabler, able to drive innovation and productivity across all sectors, facilitate better education and health services, contribute to tackling challenges such as climate and energy, and support social interaction and cultural expression. But these benefits will not be achieved without proactive, ongoing, joined-up effort. The Digital Executive Board will provide a dedicated forum for stronger and more enduring coordination and alignment of the Government’s digital programme.
Purpose and accountabilities of the Board
- Section 25 of the Public Service Act 2020 defines the purposes of an interdepartmental executive board. Drawing from this statutory purpose, the members of the Digital Executive Board are jointly accountable for:
- leading and driving implementation of the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa
- aligning and coordinating strategic, policy, planning and budgeting activities for the departments that support the Digital Economy and Communications portfolio (Department of Internal Affairs; Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment; Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; Statistics New Zealand)
- supporting these departments to undertake priority work and cross-agency initiatives in the digital area.
- The Board will be responsible for aligning and coordinating activities within the Digital Economy and Communications portfolio where there are shared agency interests. A work programme will be agreed with the Minister on an annual basis.
- The Board also has accountabilities as a departmental chief executive that include, but are not limited to:
- stewardship and strategic direction
- performance of the Board and secretariat
- legislative compliance.
- Individual agencies in the Digital Economy and Communications portfolio will retain sole accountability for how they deliver services and specific functions of their respective agencies. For example, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment remains accountable for regulating the ICT sector and overseeing the rollout of fast broadband initiatives.
- Individual agencies will also continue to be responsible for the fiscal management and financial sustainability of their agency. However, the Digital Executive Board will have regard to how the portfolio as a whole can be efficiently and sustainably funded.
Ministerial responsibilities and reporting relationships
- The Minister responsible for the Board is the Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications.
- Members of the Board are jointly responsible for the operation and performance of the Board and the reporting of progress to the responsible Minister (Section 28 of the Public Service Act 2020).
- The Board members are jointly responsible to the Board Minister and will work together to manage trade-offs between agency and portfolio priorities to provide collective advice to the Minister.
- The Board will ensure its work programme is coordinated across agencies within its remit, including agencies with digital responsibilities that are not formally members of the Board.
- The Board Chairperson and the Director will coordinate the day-to-day relationship with the Minister on the operation and performance of the Board’s functions.
- Under Section 29 of the Public Sector Act 2020, the Public Service Commissioner selects the members of an interdepartmental executive board from the chief executives of the departments that are included in the board’s remit. The Commissioner may also appoint 1 or more independent advisers to the board.
- The Commissioner has selected the following chief executives as members of the Board:
- Statistics New Zealand
- Department of Internal Affairs
- Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
- Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
- The Commissioner will also appoint an independent adviser to the Board.
- The inaugural Chair of the Board is Mark Sowden, Chief Executive of Statistics New Zealand. He is appointed for a 2-year term.
- The Department of Internal Affairs will be the servicing department for the Board, and will host the Board Director and staff.
Role of the Director
- The Board will appoint a director to:
- lead the work of the secretariat
- keep minutes of Board meetings, communicate Board decisions and report on performance
- manage the relationship with the Minister’s Office
- make decisions under delegated authority.
Quorum and meeting procedure
- A majority of the 5 members of the Board need to be in attendance for the meeting to be in quorate. Board members may send delegates with the agreement of the Chair.
- Meetings will be held monthly in person or by audio-visual means.
- Any conflicts of interest should be declared at the beginning of each meeting.
Senior officials group(s)
- Senior officials may be convened as needed to support the Board.
- The group(s) may support and facilitate the progression of the Board’s work programme. This activity may include:
- developing a work programme
- providing progress updates of the work programme and addressing any emerging barriers on the work programme
- supporting the implementation of the Board and secretariat functions.
- The costs associated with the Board will be funded through fiscally neutral baseline adjustments from member agencies into an appropriation administered by the Department of Internal Affairs.
- The Board will agree the annual budget and the share of funding to be provided by each agency.
- The Terms of Reference will be reviewed after the first year of the Board’s operation. They can also be amended at any other time, with the agreement of the Board and in consultation with the responsible Minister.
- The Minister for the Digital Economy and Communications has set the following priorities for the portfolio in the 2022 calendar year. An overarching priority is the successful finalisation, publication and implementation of the Digital Strategy for Aotearoa:
- Rural Connectivity: Announcement of a Rural Connectivity Improvement Programme
- Digital Divide: Announcement of a multi-year and multi-agency work programme to tackle the Digital Divide
- Cyber Security Uplift Package: Development of a package of options for the Minister to consider and consult that may include items under the 4 streams identified in the Cabinet paper
- Digital Identity Trust Framework: Establishment of the framework and first tranche of accredited providers
- Measuring the Value of the Digital Economy: Development of a set of measures to measure the digital economy.