Using the G-REG Operational Knowledge training as a stepping stone in your career

Are you working for a government agency involved in regulatory work and looking to climb the career ladder?

Are you struggling to build your career pathway and get the professional development you need?

The new Government Regulatory Practice Initiative (G-REG) Operational Knowledge qualification could be the stepping stone you need to open new doors.

How G-REG can help develop your career

The G-REG qualifications are designed to break down barriers between agencies and equip staff with transferable skills, allowing them to move across agencies. They enable anyone in the regulatory system to see how the knowledge, skills, and processes followed by a parking warden, for instance, may be transferred to a maritime officer role.

Operational Knowledge (Level 4) was launched in April this year and is the second step on the G-REG learning pathway. It builds on the knowledge gained in the Core Knowledge (Level 3) qualification which provides a broad overview, common language and understanding of the New Zealand regulatory system.

Completing Operational Knowledge will increase your knowledge and understanding of regulatory best practice. This not only shows your dedication and professionalism but also means you’re equipped to manage more complex roles or cross-agency projects – which makes you an asset to any organisation. The G-REG training isn’t compulsory for regulators either, so those who have it will stand out from the crowd, both amongst their colleagues and in the recruitment space.

Operational Knowledge is built to suit your busy work life

Government agencies realised the difficulty many regulators have with hectic work schedules and trying to maintain a healthy work/life balance. So, when it came to developing the G-REG Operational Knowledge qualification, they created a flexible solution that is self-paced, based online, and backed up with in-house support from specialists. This flexibility allows people to train when it suits them, without leaving the office or being locked into strict schedules.

About the qualification

Operational Knowledge develops a stronger understanding of regulatory compliance through the application of real-life case studies. The course also covers the legal framework required for work across a range of agencies.

The course is one of five in the Initiative aiming to achieve regulatory compliance excellence. It strives to have all individuals as part of the regulatory system understand each other’s roles and how they are connected. It is vital for a regulatory practitioner to understand why a job is being done in a certain way. The knowledge gained on the course will increase engagement with the regulatory sector and the community of regulatory practitioners; allowing further input and understanding to better individual and sector capabilities.

So, what does New Zealand get from our regulators being more productive and engaged in their roles and career development? Simple, better regulators will mean better regulation, keeping New Zealanders safe and improving our economic and social wellbeing.

What next?

G-REG is the first of its kind world-wide. Be a part of the transformation of New Zealand’s regulatory system and at the same time use Operational Knowledge as a stepping stone towards where you want to be in your career.

If you’re interested in finding out more visit the Skills website or talk to your L&D manager.

Mike Stone – Director of DIA’s Anti-Money Laundering Regulatory System

Mike Stone started his career in the health sector before spending 13 years in the New Zealand Police predominantly as a serious crime Detective. He finished with New Zealand Police as a Serious Crime Investigation Instructor at the Royal New Zealand Police College before moving to the Department of Internal Affairs.

In his time with the Department, Mike has held roles in Charities Investigation, managed the National Identity Investigation Team and is currently the Director of the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) Group that is responsible for supervising a wide range of entities who have AML/CFT reporting obligations.”

We spoke with Mike regarding G-REG and here’s what he had to say. You recently expanded from regulating around 950 reporting entities to more than 6000. What role has G-REG played during the expansion of your scope?

Along with casinos and a range of financial institutions, from 1 July 2018 we now supervise lawyers and conveyancers. Accountants, real estate agents, racing and betting services and some high value dealers are being added in phases from 1 October 2018, which will bring our total up to more than 6,000 entities.

DIA’s AML Group helps businesses comply with the law, monitors and assesses money laundering and terrorism financing risks in their sectors, and ensures businesses have preventative measures to minimise the risks they face. Our regulation of these sectors involves a lot of cross-agency work, and G-REG helps us with our shared regulatory language.

As a modern responsive regulator, we need a professional body, qualifications, and communities of practice. G-REG and the Core Knowledge Qualification give us a solid foundation to build on as we grow and respond to an evolving and complex environment.

What does G-REG mean for your people?

G-REG, with the ability to progress through levels, gives our people a pathway for further professional development as well as the recognition they deserve for their prior experience and organisational knowledge. Our vision is for the AML Group to foster highly skilled professionals and enhance New Zealand’s regulatory workforce. Ongoing professional development is a key component in developing our pool of mobile, skilled, diverse, and flexible practitioners. A focus on regulatory theory allows us to keep ahead of the curve and build capability: the right people with the right skills at the right time. G-REG’s promotion of regulation as a profession inspires our people with their career progression.

And for the future?

G-REG gives us a baseline of core capability as we move into an era where greater workforce flexibility, diversity and capability is required. The regulator of the future needs skills that are cross-boundary: entrepreneurial, collaborative, innovative, and digitally savvy. The ongoing shift from box-ticking, output-driven regulation to a focus on systems, co-design and achieving cross-agency outcomes will bring Regulatory Stewardship increasingly to the fore, and G-REG has an important role to play in facilitating collaboration across regulatory agencies to develop a professional, highly skilled public service.

Why a team administrator loves G-REG

We recently spoke to Adele Brown from Maritime New Zealand about her involvement with G-REG Core Knowledge and how it is aiding her in her compliance work.

What do you do at Maritime NZ?

I’m the team administrator for the Intelligence and Planning team in Compliance. Before that, I was the office manager for a cyber crime team in the police.

Where are you up to with G-REG?

I’m doing number four (Regulatory Compliance Activities) of Core Knowledge. The last one was really hard I thought because it’s legal and I’m not a legal person. But it was really interesting.

What do you find interesting about it?

Learning how government works, how central government and local governments work. It relates to real life as well, not just work. I like this stuff, that’s why when I left the police I knew I’d have to join the government.

Day to day, is it helping you at all?

I find it really helpful because I’ve had to hit the ground running and have had to train myself in lots of areas and get on with the job. So, while I’m getting on with the job and learning lots of new things, I might not be learning about the actual organisation and what we do. It’s like working in accounts in a restaurant, when all you see are the accounts and you might see the menus but you don’t see how the cook presents it; all you know is that it’s a restaurant, and people eat there some times.

So, that’s what I thought about this job. I didn’t know everything that we did, even though I had researched it on the internet for the job interview. What Maritime NZ does is a lot bigger than I thought!

G-REG has actually broadened what I know and see. It’s made me understand a lot more why we have investigators and what they’re looking for – I don’t understand everything yet. There are regulations that ships have to pass in health and certification; I don’t even dare go there as there’s so much to learn. I didn’t know there were so many issues on ships. Now I can see why they’re all talking about it. It’s amazing for me.

What clicked for you?

I think it was the compliance modules because they were about investigations, but the legal one was really interesting and that helped, because from our process investigations could go to legal, depending on what they’re going to do; whether it’s going to court or issuing infringement notices or something like that. I now know that it doesn’t just stop with us!

Sid Wellik talks about why G-REG is critical for lawyers

We recently spoke to Sid Wellik from Maritime New Zealand about G-REG and its importance for lawyers.

How does G-REG help you from a legal perspective?

As lawyers, it broadens our perspective. We as lawyers look at things in categories of law. For example, there’s contract law there’s criminal law, there’s administrative law. While compliance staff may think of compliance in a broader term, lawyers may tend to think of that as just administrative law (i.e. people exercising statutory power) or it’s criminal law, (i.e. prosecutions). And we’ll see those as discrete subsets of the framework of the law.

What G-REG is doing is looking at compliance – as if a person was looking at the light reflected form a different angle out of a prism. It’s saying ‘What are we trying to achieve here?’ We have these things called statutes, which are really regulatory frameworks. How do we actually implement those and do we achieve the policy objective, which is the underlying idea behind the legislation? The only way we can achieve that policy is to have people “on the ground” actually doing stuff, and that’s compliance staff. So G-REG assists us to ask the question ‘what’s the compliance operating model?’. That informs which decisions are actually made.

I’ve been a government lawyer for over 15 years. I was at Crown Law and other government agencies. I was also in the private sector. Before I worked at Maritime New Zealand, I’d never heard about a compliance operating model before. I’d never heard about compliance theory before. What G-REG does is allow you to see the law in the broader context of what an organisation is seeking to achieve. Understanding a bit about regulatory theory is really important because it helps put into context what you’re trying to achieve.

How does that help with your day-to-day work?

From a legal perspective, if someone says ‘What do I do in this situation?’ The law says: well here are your six options. There are rules to follow to do any one of those things lawfully. But how do you know what you want to do? Well the law’s not going to tell you which option to choose. The law’s going to say those are six valid legal options. If you follow the right processes and have the right evidence to support them; you can make whatever choice you want.

Regulatory theory helps people think deeper: so, now I know, through my understanding of compliance theory and my knowledge of my compliance operating model, which one of those choices I think is best to make. For lawyers to understand that decision-makers are thinking in that way is really helpful. It helps a lawyer see things in a wider context, than just a legal perspective.

I also think the material on intelligence models is really interesting. How do we use information to best use our resources. The law will tell you when you’re using those resources, what you need to do in order to take action, but it’s not going to say which groups to target. Understanding that that’s the model your organisation uses is really helpful.

Is a common regulatory language important?

I think the idea of speaking a common language is great. One of the ideas that has been around government for a while is regulatory stewardship. How do we look after our regulatory stock, our regulatory frameworks? How do we look after them in a better manner, in a more efficient manner? G-REG has a working group on that, and is assisting with developing a common language.

How does that help you as an individual lawyer?

I’ll give you an example. In one case we issued statutory notices to a PCBU under the Health and Safety legislation. The recipient of those notices appealed to the District Court. This looked like a straightforward case. However, the judge disagreed with us. When we analysed the case and were deciding whether to appeal, the question that our Chief Executive raised was: are we taking a whole of system view? That’s one of the things about regulatory stewardship. That’s one of the things that G-REG is working on. How does a court case that we’re working on affect the whole of the system of that area of the law? G-REG is one of the mechanisms to get these concepts to people. It enables us to progress the law together.

In time I can have those conversations with my counterparts in other legal teams and they will know exactly the context of why I’m talking to them. They will appreciate that I’m not seeking their agreement or approval, but we want to work together for the public good. We will know that we are working off the same page. So, G-REG is a long term vision. That’s why I’m involved.

G-REG is about building a profession of regulators, and government lawyers are part of that profession. Lawyers need to understand that wider context.

Do you know if many lawyers are involved?

As far as I am aware, not many. Our internal legal team are all doing the G-REG Core Knowledge qualification, or have done it. Generally, here hasn’t been a specific focus on lawyers. That being said, some G-REG secretariat members had a meeting with the Solicitor-General earlier this year, and the Solicitor General’s on board. She wants Crown Law to be involved. She can see the real value of G-REG.

Personally, I think it’s critical for lawyers who work in government. Otherwise, we’ll just get left behind. Other people will be charging ahead with these ideas and we won’t see the full scope of the environment in which we work.

G-REG teaches a Scotsman NZ’s regulatory language

Davis White is a Senior Trading Standards Officer at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), protecting consumers by ensuring the accuracy of weights and measures. We talked to him recently about how he got involved with the Core Knowledge qualification.

How long have you been working with regulation?

I have been working with, and enforcing, regulations for over 13 years. My experience would be over 16 years if you include my university studies, as these were specific to the work that I do as a Senior Trading Standards Officer and Legal Metrology Advisor, which involves the scientific study of and regulation of measurement. Ultimately my job is to ensure that the quantity of any goods purchased by a consumer is accurate.

When did you first hear about the G-REG qualifications and what were your thoughts?

It was either at a team meeting or an email from my manager informing us that we would be taking part in the pilot of the Level 3 Qualification, with MBIE one of the first to join the qualification. Having moved from Scotland to New Zealand the G-REG modules gave me a greater insight into the New Zealand legal system. Getting information from experts in the field was great, as without this qualification I would have had to do my own studies.

How has gaining the qualification impacted your day to day work and why do you think it is important?

It hasn’t had a large effect on my day to day work, as I found a lot of the information was common knowledge to me, due to my current role and previous experience. But I can see the benefit of getting everyone on the same page and speaking the same regulatory language. For those new to regulation, or who lack an understanding of the regulatory system in New Zealand, it’s a really helpful base of knowledge to ground yourself in and build your regulatory career.

If you’re interested in finding out how the G-Reg Core Knowledge qualification can help build career pathways for yourself or your teams, click here.

Opening up pathways across government

As a senior stakeholder advisor at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, Christine Ammunson can see immense value in the New Zealand Certificate in Regulatory Compliance (Core Knowledge) (Level 3).

Core Knowledge opens up pathways across government to expand her career, builds greater understanding between central and local government with a common language, and allows her to get her service to the public recognised as a regulatory professional.

Like many others in government, Christine has a passion for supporting her community whether from the marae, her church, in the sports team she supports, or professionally – working for Government with the support of the G-REG qualifications is an extension of that.

“As a government employee you are there to serve the public. It’s about serving your whanau, it’s about serving your community. We’re not faceless bureaucrats – we’re people who want to do well for our country and this qualification helps us to be the best at doing that.”

As Christine shows, Core Knowledge isn’t useful just for those on the front line, but for everybody in government or in government facing roles.

Get your talents as a regulatory professional recognised and ask your manager about signing up to Core Knowledge today.

Christine Ammunson Video Blog: The impact gaining a G-REG qualification had on my life.

Click here to learn more