Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The knowledge

For some time now, we’ve been trying to do something we thought would be very simple, that was to get some basic background information about the staff of Creative New Zealand. We asked CNZ for a list of senior managers and front line staff along with their educational qualifications and job experience. Now, as the reorganization of CNZ advances, the caliber and expertise of the staff becomes even more important. Their roles are going to change from committee feeders to outward looking advisors and assessors for the much slimmed down Council. 

Currently staff information under the heading 'Who we are' is wrapped up in Team descriptions that are so general they give no sense of what people are responsible or accountable for. This sort of thing, "The Strategy team works to identify strategic issues and opportunities across the arts sector. This team has the capacity to address sector, pan-arts, and art form strategies and issues." 

The good news is that CNZ’s Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright promised us last month that the senior staff details will be up on the CNZ web site by the end of April and the front line staff shortly after that. The slidey news is that he added the following caveat, “Essentially we would not compel staff to release specific information about their achievements or work experience as the public interest in this information does not outweigh the privacy considerations noted above.” He is referring to the favourite bolt-hole for questions sent to CNZ, The Privacy Act of 1993. 

Is the information that a publicly paid advisor for the visual arts previously worked in an art gallery really a matter of privacy and something the public have no right to know? 

We’ll find out on Friday.

The Long March - The other OTN stories about trying to get staff info from CNZ
April 2007: Private lives go here 
February 2008: Section (9)(2)(a) go here
November 2009: Being private in the public service go here