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Chief Assurance Officer

Mō tēnei tūranga mahi | About this role

  • Permanent senior (tier 3) position
  • Responsible for overseeing assurance and risk management for the organisation
  • Implementation of risk management strategies for operational areas

New Zealand's Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) is a key advisor to the Government and Parliament, and is New Zealand's legislative drafting and publishing office. The Legislation Act 2019 gives PCO a clear leadership role for stewardship of New Zealand's legislation.

This newly developed senior position will ensure that all business-critical processes including H&S, risk, compliance, finance and IT have the appropriate embedded procedures and controls. The role will:

  • oversee assurance of organisational performance in these critical areas;
  • implement risk management strategies, evaluate potential risks and exposures, and determine how to effectively minimize those risks; and
  • provide risk assurance to the Executive Leadership Team and the Audit and Risk Committee

To be successful in this position, you will be suitably qualified, and have assurance experience across a broad range of business functions.

This is an outstanding opportunity to join a professional and highly respected organisation where you will have a high degree of autonomy, a supportive and open-minded ELT and an organisation keen to move to the next level.

Entry to New Zealand from all countries remains strictly controlled to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. You may only apply for this role if you have the right to work in New Zealand. For information about New Zealand work or residence visas, please visit

For more about the role, see the position description below or download as a PDF (643KB).

Applications will only be accepted if they include the PCO application form and a letter of application sent to

Applications close Monday 4 October, midday

How to apply »

Position description

Position Details
Position Title Chief Assurance Officer
Team/Branch/Group Business Services
Reports to Deputy Chief Executive Business Services
Dotted reporting line to Chief Parliamentary Counsel
Direct Report Nil
DFA level TBC
Location Wellington
Date September 2021
Our Purpose

The Parliamentary Counsel Office (PCO) is New Zealand's law drafting office. It is responsible for:

  • drafting New Zealand Government Bills (except Inland Revenue Bills) and Legislative Instruments
  • publishing all New Zealand Bills, Acts, and Legislative Instruments, both in hard copy and online on the New Zealand Legislation website.

The PCO is constituted as a separate statutory office by the Legislation Act 2012. The PCO is under the Attorney-General's control or, if there is no Attorney-General, the Prime Minister.

What We Do

We work with others to make legislation that is fit for purpose, constitutionally sound, and accessible to all users.

Great law for New Zealand image

Our Structure

The PCO has four business groups: Systems and Stewardship, Drafting, Access and Digital Strategy, and Business Services.

The Chief Assurance Officer reports to the Deputy Chief Executive Business Services and (in keeping with Industry practice) has a dotted reporting line through to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel.

Position Purpose

The Chief Assurance Officer is a senior role that provides leadership and direction on risk and assurance to ensure the PCO is a healthy and compliant organisation that effectively manages its business, and meets all relevant obligations. This role works closely with the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) and across all parts of the PCO to achieve this.

The Chief Assurance Officer will monitor and provide assurance to the ELT that all business-critical processes (safety, risk, compliance, financial etc.) have the appropriate embedded procedures and controls, and that organisational performance in these critical areas is being achieved. They have access to all parts of the organisation to provide and obtain specialist advice and support for the implementation of new standards and processes across our contract management, procurement, information services, document management and governance functions as required. This role is responsible for delivering appropriate levels of risk assurance to ELT, Audit and Risk Committee and our broader authorising environment. In addition to the above, this role will:

  • have leadership for ensuring a strong health and safety culture is embedded, and assuring compliance with PCO’s health and safety obligations
  • drive organisational uplift in privacy and protective security capability maturity
  • provide assurance of the PCO’s approach to business continuity and planning
  • be responsible for ensuring the implementation of PCO’s risk management strategies, evaluating future potential risks and exposures (particularly in high-spend financial areas like technology), and determine how to effectively manage those risks
  • work closely with project and operational teams to provide assurance that projects with technology solutions are appropriately designed to minimise delivered risk.
Key Relationships

Internal key relationships are:

  • Members of the Executive Leadership Team
  • Staff of the Business Services Group
  • Other PCO staff
  • Audit and Risk Committee
  • Other relevant internal governance groups.

External key relationships are:

  • Other government departments
  • Other risk and assurance practitioners and government-wide risk and assurance forums
  • External audit and risk committees
  • Audit New Zealand
  • Parliamentary Services.
  • Key PCO partners and government practitioners.
Key Accountabilities and Deliverables

Responsibilities of this position are expected to change over time as the Parliamentary Counsel Office responds to changing needs. The incumbent will need the flexibility to adapt and develop as the environment evolves.

Key accountability or deliverableIndicators of success
Senior Leadership

Work collaboratively with the Business Services Group and the Executive Leadership Team to support the achievement of PCO outcomes

  • Represents whole of organisation views and ensures external interactions are in the best interest of PCO to achieve its objectives.
  • Develops an assurance work programme to provide assurance to the ELT that key organisational risks are being well-managed.
  • Carries out routine internal audits and monitoring and report to the ELT and staff on internal performance against key measures.
  • Works with DCE Business Services to define the outcomes and outputs expected of the Group to deliver on PCO’s strategic direction.
  • Contributes beyond core functional area to enhance overall effectiveness.
Risk Management
  • Leads the development and implementation of enterprise wide risk management frameworks, systems, processes and structures to strengthen PCO’s assurance and compliance obligations and effectively manage exposure to risk
  • Ensures that risks and controls are identified, documented, assessed, managed and reported
  • Assists in developing and leading a culture of risk awareness, ownership and control through upskilling and educating the organisation
  • Uses the risk management framework to maintain a comprehensive register of all current and emerging risks having or expected to have an impact on the business (both internal and external risks).
  • Works with the business units to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities for the identification, assessment and management of risks through the implementation of risk mitigating action plans
  • Provides expert advice and support to internal high risk areas such as technology solutions to ensure risk is effectively managed
  • Leads the support of the PCO’s Audit and Risk committee
  • Researches and monitors national and international trends in risk and assurance practices particularly in the government sector, shares, and applies these learnings where appropriate
  • Provides high quality advisory and assurance recommendations to lift the maturity of processes, policies and human resource capabilities.
  • In conjunction with the Executive Leadership Team develops action plans to address weaknesses in the obligations / control environment and ensure that these action plans are executed effectively, monitoring progress and results
  • Provides assurance over privacy and security with the consideration of the Protective Security Requirements to ensure PCO’s compliance
  • Provides assurance over PCO’s Business Continuity Plan
Health and Safety
  • Ensures that health and safety requirements are understood and adopted within the business, including by leading the development of the education and training framework
  • Works closely with the business units to implement and enhance the health and safety culture at PCO
Relationship Management

Manage constructive working relationships with work colleagues and external stakeholders to enhance understanding and cooperation needed to achieve desired results

  • Participates as an active member and contributes knowledge and expertise needed to achieve PCO outcomes.
  • Develops effective working relationships with Executive Leaders and Managers internally and externally in order to transfer knowledge and learning to the PCO.
  • Develops effective working relationships with stakeholders
  • Tests the effectiveness of stakeholder relationships using a range of appropriate measure and processes (including stakeholder feedback) and makes adjustments to deliver improvements.
Personal Leadership

Provide leadership that engages and motivates others to succeed and develop, and proactively share experiences, knowledge and ideas.

  • Models exemplary management and leadership behaviours that align to our ethics and values.
  • Creates a sense of vision, engages and motivates people to participate, and makes things happen.
  • Fosters an open, collaborative environment that encourages quality, innovation, ongoing learning and knowledge sharing.
Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Shows leadership of commitment and strong understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the principles: partnership, participation, and protection.
  • Establishes and maintains effective professional relationships by demonstrating commitment to ongoing professional learning and development of personal practice relating to Te Tiriti o Waitangi.
  • Continues to develop understanding of Te Tiriti o Waitangi and continues to develop knowledge of Tikanga Māori and the appropriate usage and accurate pronunciation of Te Reo Māori.
  • Demonstrates commitment to bicultural partnership in Aotearoa, working effectively within the bicultural context.
  • Actively participates in the partnership relationship with Māori.
Safety and Wellbeing

Manages own personal health and safety, and takes appropriate action to deal with workplace hazards, incidents and near misses

  • Manages own personal health and safety, and takes appropriate action to deal with workplace hazards, accident and incidents.
  • Ensures own and others’ safety at all times.
  • Complies with relevant safety legislation, policies, procedures, safe systems of work and event reporting.
  • Reports and investigates all incidents/accidents, including near misses in a timely way.


Leadership Success Profile
PCO is moving to the Leadership Success Profile, as set out by the Public Services Commission, for all of our people leader positions. Please refer to the Leadership Success Profile expanded guide for further explanation of each capability required for this role. 
Navigating for the future

Leading strategically
Think, plan, and act strategically; to engage others in the vision, and position teams, organisations, and sectors to meet customer and future needs.


Leading with influence
Lead and communicate in a clear, persuasive, impactful, and inspiring way; to convince others to embrace change and take action.



Enhancing organisational performance
Drive innovation and continuous improvement; to sustainably strengthen long-term organisational performance and improve outcomes for customers.


Enhancing system performance
Work collectively across boundaries; to deliver sustainable and long-term improvements to system and customer outcomes.


Identifying and developing our talent

Enhancing people performance
Manage people performance and bring out the best in managers and staff; to deliver high quality results for customers.


Developing talent
Coach and develop diverse talent; to build the people capability required to deliver outcomes.


Enhancing team performance
Build cohesive and high performing teams; to deliver collective results that are more than the sum of individual efforts.


Making it happen

Managing work priorities
Plan, prioritise, and organise work; to deliver on short and long-term objectives across the breadth of their role.


Achieving through others – matrix version
Effectively delegate and maintain oversight of work responsibilities; to leverage the capability of others to deliver outcomes for customers.


Leadership character

Show curiosity, flexibility, and openness in analysing and integrating ideas, information, and differing perspectives; to make fit-for-purpose decisions.

Honest and courageous
Deliver the hard messages, and makes unpopular decisions in a timely manner; to advance the longer-term best interests of customers and New Zealand.

Achieving ambitious goals
Demonstrate achievement drive, ambition, optimism and delivery focus; to make things happen and achieve ambitious outcomes.

Self-aware and agile
Leverage self-awareness to improve skills and adapt approach; to strengthen personal capability over time and optimise effectiveness with different situations and people.

  • Tertiary level qualification in business, human resources, or operations management
  • Relevant industry or technical qualifications or certifications.
Personal specifications
  • 8-10 years’ experience leading a risk and assurance function in a medium to large organisation
  • A proven strong track record of building positive engagement on risk management and assurance across organisations, bringing a practical and meaningful application of risk management and assurance that is focused on enabling smart risk taking to achieve better business outcomes
  • Strength and expertise in collaboration & influencing skills, showing high intellect and strong personal integrity and ethics and ability to communicate an intended viewpoint and convince others to accept the viewpoint
  • Strong knowledge and experience in leading and developing enterprise risk management and assurance frameworks, processes and systems, including effective reporting
  • Highly developed conceptual and technical skills to gain insights, and understand and advise on gaps and opportunities
  • Extensive experience in building and maintaining effective relationships with other executive leaders, staff and key stakeholders both internal and external
  • Clear written and verbal communication skills to effectively engage with key stakeholders at different levels
  • Proven financial acumen
  • High level of understanding and direct experience of government processes, systems and tools, and agencies' priorities
  • Experience chairing and/or facilitating meetings
  • A good knowledge of the machinery of government, and public sector issues is desirable
  • Proven ability to communicate about technical and or complex issues in ‘plain language’ and in a way that other managers and staff across the business can relate to
  • Demonstrate the ability to maintain composure and work effectively under pressure.

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