|Economics and Related Studies
|Performance, Strategy and Finance Officer
|Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police
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A day in the life of a Performance, Strategy and Finance Officer in New Zealand
My career history
When I graduated from York in 2008 I joined the Government Economics Service through the Civil Service Faststream, with a job at HM Revenue and Customs in London as an Assistant Economist. My duties included modelling the effects of the tax system on businesses.
In 2009, I transferred to the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit, based in the Treasury, as a Policy Advisor. This involved reporting to the ministers on the performance of the Labour Government's package of anti-recession measures. Following the election of the Coalition in 2010, I helped develop the new Government's performance management and transparency framework.
In 2011, I was seconded to the Pacific Islands Chiefs of Police, an NGO based in Wellington, New Zealand. I am responsible for the organisation's finances, business planning, and performance reporting, and I support the Executive Director to develop its overall strategy.
Where I hope to be in 5 years
I will return to the Treasury from my current secondment in 2012. I hope to be promoted in the relatively near future.
One of the great things about a career in the Civil Service is the breadth of work you could be doing - so I will just say that I hope to be working on something interesting!
My advice to students considering work
I would highly recommend taking advantage of the courses available through the York Award - I only took one (the Enterprise Scheme), and wish I'd taken more. They cover the sort of skills employers pay thousands of pounds to develop - so being able to demonstrate you already have them is a huge plus on the CV.
What I do
As I work for a very small organisation (with 5 staff), my role is very wide-ranging. Most of the time I am based in the office, but I have some opportunity to travel to Pacific Islands - for instance, in June 2011 I presented to a conference of women police officers in Papua New Guinea.
My day-to-day responsibilities include:
- applying for funding from potential donors, such as government aid departments and the UN.
- reporting on our performance to donors and members. This requires developing performance metrics, running surveys, and drafting narratives.
- developing the organisation's strategic plan and annual business plan.
- managing the organisation's finances, including by producing invoices and financial reports.
Skills I use and how I developed them
Through working for the Prime Minister's Delivery Unit I developed a knowledge of performance management in the public sector, in particular developing robust performance measures. This was a real 'selling point' to my current employer, as being able to demonstrate performance to our donors using hard data is very important in the current economic climate.
Economics helps develop an analytical frame of mind - in my current role it has been this, rather than any specific knowledge, that has been particularly useful. Being able to use evidence, including statistics, to back up an argument is something economists tend to be particularly good at.
Being reasonably proficient using Excel is essential (if a bit tedious) in any job involving a lot of numbers.
My role as JCRC Treasurer was really useful in developing money management skills.
I've also found the skills I developed from taking part in the York Enterprise Scheme essential for the business planning side of my job.
What I like most
Working for a small organisation means I have a lot responsibility. Working for a larger organisation can sometimes make you feel like a small cog in a big machine.
What I like least
The transactional side of my job can be repetitive - producing invoices is only so interesting.
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