Saturday, July 13, 2024

WorkSafe appointments to strengthen watchdog

Workplace Relations and Safety Minister, Brooke van Velden says three new appointments to the WorkSafe board will strengthen the organisation.

“WorkSafe has faced a number of recent challenges, including accumulating an almost $18 million deficit under the previous government,” says Ms van Velden. 

An independent review by SageBush in 2022 found WorkSafe did not have a clear framework or the tools to assess the value of its activities or guide resource allocation decisions. Further, WorkSafe was not able to describe how its regulatory activities contribute to the achievement of its outcomes. 

“The historical issues with WorkSafe were brought to my attention in my very first briefing as an incoming Minister. Since then, I have worked with the Board’s Chair, Chief Executive, and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment as Crown Monitor to understand WorkSafe’s needs and path forward.”

“It is clear to me that the Board could benefit from strong financial acumen, and I am pleased that these new board members bring a wealth of governance and financial management experience to ensure WorkSafe is effectively performing its core role,” says Ms van Velden. 

The three new appointments – Elena Trout (pictured), Kevin Jenkins and Paul Connell – are for a three-year term filling vacant positions. 

“Elena Trout is an experienced independent director and chair and the current independent Chair of WorkSafe New Zealand’s Audit, Risk and Finance Committee. She has a wealth of governance experience and brings a strong knowledge of public accountability to the board,” the Minister said.

Kevin Jenkins is a finance, governance, and risk professional with a background in the public and private sectors and deep experience in regulation and public sector governance. 

Paul Connell is a finance and governance professional working across a wide range of sectors with extensive knowledge of public accountability, finance and governance practices. 

“I am confident that these appointments will support the organisation to build on the progress that has been made to ensure the entity’s financial sustainability and to address the findings of SageBush review.”

“Ensuring WorkSafe is sustainable and is delivering its core functions is a priority for me, and I will be holding WorkSafe accountable. 

“I have recently announced a wider health and safety consultation, which includes receiving feedback on the public’s experiences with WorkSafe. I want to know whether those who work within the system find their interactions with WorkSafe useful, reasonable, and timely because having an effective regulator is a key part of the health and safety system,” the Minister said.

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