Course 3:

The private secretary training course

The private secretary role has become increasingly important in the modern era.

The nature of the media cycle, the complexities of MMP government, and the rise of the ‘no surprises’ principle, all mean that the expectations on private secretaries has increased significantly in recent years.

This course gives people who have been recently seconded to a minister’s office, intending private secretaries, and people acting as ‘fill in’ cover, the knowledge and skills they need to be effective in the role.

Course overview

The modern day private secretary performs a vital role within the public sector. They are the critical link between agency and minister, ensuring that the information flow is accurate and timely.

For ministers, the private secretary acts as the ‘go to’ person for documents, information, and to convey messages back to officials. For agencies, the private secretary is their eyes and ears in the minister’s office, providing critical information on the minister’s priorities and policy expectations.

Both roles need to be handled with tact. And they require a good understanding of process and the ‘no surprises’ principle.

This course provides training for people in agencies who will work as a private secretary, as well as for those who have recently arrived in the Beehive. It is also excellent for people who will act as ‘fill in’ cover when a current private secretary is on leave.

It explains the different roles of the private secretary and the challenges they face. Participants examine who works in a minister’s office, who the key actors in the Beehive are, the weekly cabinet paper cycle, the legislation programme, and ministers’ parliamentary responsibilities.

Private secretaries are expected to operate effectively from their first day in the job. This course gives them the tools to do precisely that.

At the end of the course you will have a good understanding of:

  • the different roles of private secretaries
  • the challenges that private secretaries face
  • what makes an effective private secretary
  • the different people who work in a minister’s office
  • sources of information and support
  • Cabinet agendas, deadlines, forms, papers, and minutes
  • working with the Cabinet Office, the Parliamentary Counsel Office, and the Office of the Clerk
  • managing the paperwork for Executive Council
  • helping manage the minister’s bills through the House and select committees
  • responses to select committee reports, Law Commission reports, lodging parliamentary papers, and the Statutes Amendment Bill
In-house workshop

This course is only available as an in-house workshop. Please contact us to discuss options.

Excellent course for someone who has little/no experience in the private secretary role. Everything was succinct but informative. Realistic but motivational. Did not gloss over the negatives but didn’t dwell either. Thanks!

course participant

Great! Great teaching style and awesome lunch! Really enjoyed the free and frank convo.

course participant

Excellent value – should be compulsory for all new private secretaries.

course participant

I came here to learn exactly what the role of a private secretary is – I had no idea prior to coming so thought it was great.

course participant

Was an excellent insight into both PS role and parliamentary processes.

course participant

Parliamentary processes have never been explained to me so clearly before! The course has given me more comfort about what goes on over the road!

course participant

Going away feeling more confident heading into minister’s office.

course participant

Great to have discussions with other private secretaries about how they handle difficult scenarios.

course participant