Speaking out and contracting out

Develop an express and public cross-government policy formally permitting those receiving public funding to speak out on significant public issues without facing any form of retaliation.

Why the contribution is important

Contracting out has not prevented the state trying to control the right of workers in those organisations to speak out.  Research by Grey and Sedgwick, Victoria University of Wellington in 2013, found that 15% of survey respondents agreed that their funding agreement with the government restricted their organisation’s capacity to make public comment on government policy and research.

A 2014 survey of its members by the New Zealand Scientists Association on the proposed Code of Public Engagement, found that nearly 40% of the survey respondents agreed that they had been prevented from making a public comment on a controversial issue by management policy or by fear of losing research funding.

The risk is that New Zealand loses the plurality of knowledgeable and informed voices of experts and citizens who are the voices of their communities, which are critical to open and well-informed decision-making by government.

by DairneGrant on August 24, 2016 at 10:09AM

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  • Posted by JanRivers August 24, 2016 at 21:45

    This was a prompted question in the ECO OGP survey. The question asked : How important is it to have clear cross-government policy to allow public servants and those receiving public funding to speak out on significant public issues whilst retaining legal protection from reprisals?
    This was regarded as essential by 73.08% of respondents and important by a further 19.23% of respondents.
  • Posted by engage2_Facilitator August 24, 2016 at 22:37

    Thanks for suggesting this action. This matter also came up at the Christchurch workshop and closely aligns with some of the other suggestions.
  • Posted by Kay August 25, 2016 at 00:21

    Associates in the health sector have been prevented from commenting on potentially dangerous situations because of gag clauses in contracts and fear of losing income. This is stressful for them and potentially risky for others in the health system.
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