Establishing a Public Health directorate within the new Health System

At Nimbl Consulting, we are passionate about helping organizations identify their goals, optimize business operations and develop actionable plans to achieve sustainable competitive advantages and long-term success.

The Challenge and Opportunity

On July 1, 2022, a public health directorate was created within the government to oversee all public health and population health policy, strategy, regulation, intelligence, surveillance, and monitoring. Its significant responsibility includes providing advice to Ministers on all matters related to public health.

In August 2021, Nimbl was asked to mobilise and deliver the Establishment Programme for the public health directorate and help set the agency up for success.

Our Mahi (work)

Combining our Strategy & Operating model expertise within our Programme Management capability, we facilitated the design of the strategic intent and operating model blueprint as well as supporting stakeholder relationships across other entities within the reformed public health system.

We quickly forged deep relationships with the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) to become a credible and trusted partner.

We set out to tell a story:

  • The why – the Strategic Intent

  • The what - the Operating Model

  • The how – Ways of working (Mahi Tahi)

We took a highly collaborative and co-design focused approach to work within the broader Health Sector. This ensured that we designed a fit for purpose solution that met the needs of a reformed Health System, with a focus on improving inequitable outcomes.

To inform and guide our mahi, we established cross-sector SME working groups. Additionally, we established a Tiriti & Equity Oversight Group to ensure that our deliverables were fit for purpose and pro-equity.

We gained insights from across the health sector by establishing working groups of SMEs (subject matter experts). Additionally, we established a Tiriti & Equity Oversight Group to ensure that our deliverables were fit for purpose and pro-equity.

We also formed a 'Connector Group', comprising team members from across the directorate who acted as change agents on our behalf. They tested our deliverables and instilled buy-in from the ground up.

Our Impact

  • Designed and created ‘Pou Whirinaki’ the strategic intent and foundational blueprint of the organization.

The foundational documents were built with a strong focus on equity. The strategic intent and operating model were designed based on the structure of a wharenui, which holds cultural significance in storytelling. This metaphor is also linked to the broader systems reforms happening.

The structure of the wharenui represents Te Pae Tāwhiti, which includes broad directions, key threads, pathways for actions, and functions.

  • Created an accountabilities framework for each sector entity within the new public health system outlining key responsibilities and necessary critical controls.

The development of this framework was guided by the Mātauranga Māori, which explores shared values and principles (Kawa), the interconnections of various frameworks and their contribution towards the goals of individuals, families, and communities (Whakapapa), as well as the impact of these efforts on broader determinants of health and well-being (Aronga Māori).

  • Developed organisational ways of working to embed systems and behaviours that foster collaboration across individuals and teams within the new functional structure.

  • Introduced programme management tools and templates, including risk registers, internal commissioning documents, project scoping documents, communications guides and organisational governance.

  • Created an induction guide and delivered onboarding presentations. Our work focused on improving equitable outcomes for individuals and their whanau. Public health should form a cloak of protection around them. Just as kākahu (traditional cloaks) are handed down intergenerational, public health represents the work of those who have come before and is for those who will come after.

These efforts ultimately led to the successful transition of 200 individuals to a new directorate within the public health sector. The directorate's purpose is to work as part of the broader health sector to achieve Pae Ora where people, their whānau and communities are enabled and supported in achieving their health and wellbeing aspirations, and equitable health outcomes.

Our Skills

  • Strategy and Operating Model Design

  • Project Management

  • Workshop design and facilitation

  • Collaborative approaches to working (e.g., cross-functional teaming)

  • Stakeholder engagement and communication

Get in Touch

If you're looking for a truly people focused transformation partner then get in touch. We'd love a kōrero about how we could work together.

Visit us online at or email us at [email protected]