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OGP ideas from Wellington Workshop 22 June 2021

Responsiveness

What do you think public participation should look like?

What sort of tools or methods can help people have their say? How can we reach a wide range of people with diverse views and experiences?

  • Citizen assemblies – planning them for climate change – are organising one in Porirua with Ngāti Toa and Mana College Youth and Wesley Community Action, Porirua Council– working out framework now.
  • 350 hui re how Tiriti partnerships should work and citizen assemblies are being set up under that.
  • More of them – people asking for them.
  • UN strategies – public consultation is essential – common values – deliberate democracy – involve people.
  • Request for all-of-govt consultation clearing house - means that the responses are held centrally and are enduring for re-use.
  • Problem – concerned citizens write and do oral submissions to many agencies and hear its “outside scope” and will be referred to officials – what happened to those ideas – they need a home and response – have it on an open govt. platform – eg questions at select committee. Officials at select committee pick up thing referred to agencies – they should be captured in a…
  • Things getting lost – staff leave – things get lost – or clear response if nothing is going to be done. Capture it somewhere transparent.
  • We don’t really know how many groups around the country are getting involved and consulted – who is being consulted?
  • Piggyback on comms channels like covid vaccine outreach going through community groups and languages – question is there money to do it? More money to translate for deaf community – people don’t know what they could be consulted on.
  • Many groups try to contribute and get no feedback on decisions and what happens, and they give up need to include people with disabilities, without computer, ex-prisoners, people not voting etc.
  • Not a democracy when individuals are asked for individual views – need to discuss – need an informed public discussion – not informing people what govt have been doing.
  • Need NZ sign language translations of the OGP plan – e.g. having a video signing the plan and voice cover and captions.
  • 25% of people in NZ don’t have access to the internet.
  • Champions, navigators, translators, navigators from within communities to bridge the gap between excluded communities, the rest of the community and government.
  • Expertise for excluded communities to connect and participate.
  • Extend model for Covid – reaching into all communities.
  • Add and link to ogp.govt.nz to the opengovepartnership.nz.
  • Ogpnz – twitter – put link on there.
  • Have a workshop or webinar at the end to report back on the commitments that come out of the ideas.
  • a review of complaints processes
    • fit for purpose?
    • Culturally accessible?
  • Meta analysis of complaints to sport systemic problems.
  • Develop a model for diverse advisory groups who get paid.
  • Generally, questions are framed within the status quo.
  • Overcome obstacles for meaningful koha practices – cash not fuel vouchers
  • What does it mean to have “no wrong door” or a “Single source of truth”?
  • How can govt build on relationships and whānaungatanga, instead of starting at step 1 with every new challenge?
  • No incentives to connect info and people, take info from people.
    • Efficiency, pay the community for their time
      • Participation doesn’t exist in volunteer hours under capitalism.
  • Find safe way of building/sharing citizen insights across govt.
    • Stop reinventing wheel on daily basis.
  • Find a way to apply consistent service design approaches across govt.
  • introduce rigour into public participation practice.
  • ensure real service design is done vs current practice of old-fashioned consultation just being called ‘service design’.
  • ban the phrase “co-design” (no one is actually doing it)
  • persistent open shore/repository of feedback and ideas
  • ensure consultation method cover range of modern communication channels.
  • policy and legislation should include “rules as code” approaches.
    • do more.
    • share skills.
    • build common language and terms.
  • tap into the experience and knowledge that is in CAB and areas of govt policy and services that can be improved.
  • service Aotearoa, integrated front door, omnichannel, for serving people to navigate govt.
  • reinstate Public Service communities of practice around public participation.
  • all services and policies should require engagement as part of their compliance measures.
  • public reporting on PSA measures, esp. public engagement on policy and service design
    • public reports of policy impact
  • public persistent backlog of issues/opportunities so people do not have to continuously prioritise impacts.
  • partner with CAB and non govts, not just asking.
  • in order to be responsive, the public service must draw on experience and knowledge of public servants’ delivery of services. Formal participation and governance structures
  • deliberative democracy has been shown to be very effective in answering OGPs problems and hear the divisions between groups. We need action on using these processes in central and local government.
  • secret shopper for government call centre responsiveness -> answer the phone promptly! IRD/WINZ need to more agile
  • It’s like fitting square pegs into round holes. Answering what should participation should look like is hard when Māori and Pasifika think differently.
  • System is built on having complaints process. A review of all complaints processes connected to legislation would be good.
  • A culturally accessible complaints process is needed. Research from 6 years ago showed Māori and Pasifika use of complaints process was low. Many don’t want to be seen as complainers, you must complain within 30 days or importantly the processes handle individual complaints which doesn’t highlight systemic weaknesses. In totality it could be extremely valuable, independently it doesn’t have weight.
  • State of Victoria put in a regulation for the State and Territories that they must now use citizen assemblies as one of the mechanisms. We could do this and use legislation to strengthen systemic change. Then it won’t be up to particular roles or people in agencies.
  • Every time they have a policy come out Office of Ethnic Affairs comments but that isn’t enough.
  • There could be a project management office. In the UK they do it more like this while here it’s up to individual teams and experts different patches. The new Public Service Act should encourage this, maybe Public Service Commission could lead it.
  • There has been research done on a Ministry of Public Input. Politicians know what lobby groups want but not what the public think, have Ministry to figure it out.
  • There are Cabinet Manual limits on what engagement can be done. Review these and strengthen them.
  • Cabinet Manual is not fit for modern day, it needs to allow for a wider range of consultation.
  • There could be a staff induction for public servants in anti-racism training.
  • In some countries there is a public servant school which could be good. However, you would also need to watch for it making people more homogenous depending on who’s leading it, how much conformity is taught. It could reduce diversity of thought so it would be nice to have a balance.
  • UK has a more school type approach for public servants verses a closed shop.
  • There used to be a large public servant community of practice on public participation with regular meetings of 150-200 public servants. State Services Commission had one on digital participation.
  • Lead in times for planning engagement need to be longer, it’s impossible to do it right if you don’t plan for adequate time from the very beginning.
  • You need to look at who needs to be in the room. Look at the Oranga Tamariki procurement process which was completely turned on its head. You had Iwi, service designers etc together.
  • Look at the Service X model for New Zealand, it is being used in New South Wales and Canada. No matter what agency or department you are your message is Hi welcome to service Aotearoa, how can I help you? Not get out of my queue. It gives people a consistent experience. Service model for the front end bureaucracy of government. You get the same service and culture regardless of the politics of the. Your job is to serve and give them the best experience. Someone could be walking away from a bad personal experience thinking that was the first friendly place I’ve encountered in government. Then they can be referred to the refuge etc.
  • A service model is also more in line with kaupapa Māori, with focus on relationships, dignity, whakawhānaungatanga. Ask who are the people and how can we keep their trust? It can’t happen instantly, but it flows from positive experiences.
  • Local government is an even more appropriate partner for service model as people interact with them every day.
  • Government needs to stop seeing people as just service users. Engage with other knowledge systems, Māori knowledge system particularly but there are more.
  • Train policy professionals to engage better. Enforce reporting on public engagement including the gaps.
  • You need to show where ideas end up, so often they fall into a black hole and its impossible to track them down. You could use citizen assemblies and ensure the ideas were filed appropriately.
  • You don’t always have to start from scratch with engagement. Use what you’ve learnt and build on it otherwise people get discouraged after you come engage for the 4th time.
  • Have a publicly available backlog of ideas, a persistent backlog. This would give others the chance to talk about ideas and with other people. We could collectively solve problems.
  • Persistent repository of bugs and features. CAB is constantly finding these and refreshing their website. They should be resourced better to pass this information on as it’s a universal service.
  • Government doesn’t know how to come together to have a relationship with CAB. CAB has a huge amount of data and regularly update their FAQs.
  • CAB data is important, look at it with MSD vulnerability reporting, see the trends.
  • Government websites say they’re a single source of truth, but they need more work.
  • Even if a government service was perfect there is still always a proportion of the public who is scared of their children getting taken or who don’t trust the government. You still need a non-profit sector who is supported for them to go to. Government could be a much better partner to non-profit. They ask for data when they could be helping the sector. What does it mean to have no wrong door?
  • No one knows how to report how to report online harm to government. No ones there to be a concierge.
  • A department can’t just shut down phone lines because then another department will get hit. It’s like cancelling hospital waiting lists, they’re still there if you don’t report them.
  • There is info that should be reported. Insurance is a black spot. If there are crashes in the same spot again and again the police say to talk to your MP not the council as its the best way to get heard.
  • I don’t like how “In the Public Service Act, responsiveness is described as what the public service does to understand and meet people’s needs and aspirations, including how it works with New Zealanders when designing policies and services. 1. What do you think this public participation should look like?” is framed. The public should decide what the participation should look like. It’s unlikely to be one idea.
  • Once government has got info, say what you’re going to do with it. Acknowledge the gift they gave you.
  • Get widely varied opinions on topics. They’re going to contradict each other sometimes and one group might not understand the other but we must try and acknowledge everyone’s decisions. In the end we can’t be responsive to every idea because there must be a decision in there somewhere.
  • Not transactional but relational is what need with engagement. There needs to be more time and more understanding.
  • Need transparency – say some ideas couldn’t be incorporated. Just say this is what we’re going to do and why. There are a vast spectrum of interests, can’t cater to them all.
  • Methodological issues so people may not accept they’ve got everything they’ve wanted but they’ve been talked to up to a point.
  • New Zealand is an outlier, slow at adopting practices that are commonplace elsewhere at local and national level. Increasingly detrimental decision making processes and governance. Who gets to set the agenda.
  • Public service does most of the agenda setting.
  • Responsiveness of public servants – would we better if we involve the actual public servants more in the design of the services. They can tell you how to deliver services. Many actually deliver the services. Participation in the workplace is crucial. They have crucial knowledge.
  • Co-producing needs to go further, how do the actions start to form? PWC post it notes are pretty but what is the actual implementation of that?
  • Listen to public servants within the public service. It shouldn’t just be a monolith of the Minister and a few others. Public servants also volunteer and have different contexts. There is a lot public servants can’t say but they have valuable perspectives.
  • There are advisory groups on mental health and bullying etc look at the EU and international context. You could have this on policy development for certain cabinet papers. Get perspectives broader than what you’re used to. Get back to being relational.
  • There should be working groups at a national level with all sorts of layers within the system. It can’t just be one level.

Active Citizenship and Partnership

What do you think would encourage more active citizenship and partnership in New Zealand?

How well do people understand how to get involved? If they do want to get involved, what are the barriers? And what information do they need to participate?

  • How do people engage and ensure their voices are heard?
  • Idea of focusing on ‘citizenship’ problematic. Issues around how big the definition is?
  • Who decides who gets to set the curriculum on citizenship in schools?
  • For policy to work -> has to come back to democracy. What concept of democracy is being used to relate to active citizenship? People immediately go to electing people.
  • Are there issues that we need to consider around what form of decision making is used?
  • Moving away from current form of elected members and interactions with parliament through petitions and submissions and could more towards mediator parliament from representative parliament.
  • Democracy is not just around elections. Workers often don’t have ability to be engaged in matters related to their work -> strengthen involvement in policy making, partnership on matters related to your work environment.
    • Workplace democracy must be considered a crucial part of active citizenship.
  • Lived experience = initiatives utilising it need to be more rooted/established to get the best of people and ideas around the table
  • Accessibility a big issue -> a lot of those who move to NZ (e.g., deaf refugees) have real issues with accessing information
    • Not enough information or deaf individuals coming from overseas to be able to move through the citizenship process. Govt needs to be aware of lack of information available for the deaf community and the limited accessibility options available.
  • Important question – how will does govt understand how others want to get involved? Lack of understanding needs to be addressed by government.
  • A lot assumed in the questions – there is an onus on individuals to get involved for many, with busy lives, this is on us.
  • What would encourage more partnership in NZ? Te Tiriti is a good place to start. Often in government, no real intent to have active partnership. It becomes “talking to” or “engaging” not “partnering with”.
  • Need to switch to default of partnership not ‘dipping in and out’ on particular issues.
  • Turn it over -> ask community to tell govt and govt to listen.
  • Encouraging more active citizenship – a lot of people discover this through local engagement and involvement first.
  • Local govt could govt more guidance on how to engage. Examples include engage on different days/times childcare etc wrap around services that leave people empowered to contribute rather than burdened -> could make toolkits for local govt to use.
  • Videos translated into different languages with subtitles on how the system works, increased use of subtitles and interpreters.
  • Highlight “if they do want to get involved” ->about motivation. All people are helping others in different ways. People get involved -> is govt accessing it?
  • Living wage, 20 – 30 hour working week will encourage more active citizenship.
  • No wrong door is needed. Siloing and out of scope mentality makes people give up.
  • Joined up data would allow more efficiency but balanced with not using data for any other purpose than what it was given for or shared between agencies.
  • Be clear on what data is being collected, the purpose, and who will see it. Without this transparency can lead to distrust for government.
  • Provide options why govt wants to talk to other organisations, using your data. If you can gain trust through transparency, individuals are more likely to engage and feel empowered.
  • LinkedIn type system/audit trail where you can see how your data has been used by government -> every time you give info, there should be a way you are notified if that info is then shared.
  • How can you make govt simpler/easier to interact with? Want to be able to easily access govt with views.
  • Question of what is in it for me? If you can’t see the benefit for yourself, you’re unlikely to engage.
  • Make connections between what you’re trying to engage in and its relevance to the people you’re trying to engage with. If active citizenship involved being engaged in civil society, govt nee to partner with Civil Society orgs to achieve this. Citizen’s advice bureau is a key organisation for partnership with grass roots civil society.
  • Need to communicate with people where they’re at -> both locally and in terms of understanding.
  • We need to know what we mean by ‘active citizenship’ – shared understanding.
  • People’s capacity to engage.
  • People can’t see the impact.
  • Shared definition of active citizenship.
  • Capacity is the biggest barrier. People, most people, do not have the time so we need to
    • Paid engagement.
    • Citizen juries
    • Civic duty in public service
  • Why not have 5% or 1% of public service roles be demographically balanced citizen population
  • Policy/jury duty opps.
  • Tensions in participatory vs representative democracy.
  • In terms of information – people are already suffering information overload. Active citizenship is likely a nice to have for many people and then ignored.
  • In terms of capacity to engage – people are already being asked to engage with a multitude of different projects and are likely suffering from engagement/consultation fatigue.
  • Even if local narratives make it to policy-makers, there are questions as the whether they are heard by policy-makers with the power to shape policy around those narratives.
  • Engage active citizenship through collectives rather than individuals.
  • Original purpose of OIA was to support people to participate in gov, how do we get back to that purpose, rather than it being limited to accountability mechanisms.
  • Public reports of public engagement of all depts.
  • Differing power - engage with groups like CAB for engaging with citizens, not just lobby groups or direct to citizens.
  • Teach and require multidisciplinary user centric, public engagement on policies and services from all departments.
  • Active citizenship needs to be about public participation in governance, not just democracy or OIA.
  • Get clear definition of types of engagement and pressure to deliver genuine collab, not comms.
  • Actively engage with different (esp Māori) knowledge systems in policy and service design.
  • Could be problematic with definition of citizenships excludes non-citizens. Refer in conversation as active people.
  • Capacity – supply chain of consultation but most citizens are busy, even if have heard of the consultation.
  • Paying for jury duty etc – what about 1 year citizenship duty – 1% public sector jobs to spend time on issues you care about.
  • People don’t know about the opportunities to participate.
  • Treaty protocols not followed – not working in a foundations, principles way – acknowledging Te Ao Māori if Māori participation.
  • NZ Council of Women: have volunteers to look through lens of members to interpret and breakdown the consultation role of organisations interpreting.
  • Can’t think of everyone as an individual to participate, you need interest group to break it down -> model to go where people are. A.C = going to people, working for them, through consulting in places and using language that works for individual groups to bridge the disconnect.
  • Need to frame topics in a way that works for the audience.
  • Need to help people to connect the dots on how topic is relevant to them.
  • AC is thought of through democratic lens crisis in citizenship – is the form itself problematic in creating some of the crisis in AC? Even if presented in a way that works -> can end in view of what is going to change? -> need to see the impact.
  • Supply and demand: need to change demand how to train policy teams in demonstrating how engaged and tested policy and service with public before implementation – currently not a requirement but should be.
  • Engagement with public narratives don’t come through in policy. Often a check box exercise instead of meaningful engagement -> needs a clear definition and toolbox. Without clear def can end up with policy doing what they want.
  • Could take guidelines for iwi engagements and useful all public -> go early, be authentic.
  • Co-design: undermine yourself if set outcomes before you start
    • A fundamental issue = people don’t know what active citizenship means
    • Shared definitions of AC that are understood by all
    • Explanation is describing involvement in communities not involvement in democratic process
    • Citizens should be into playing an active role in govt and policy design. AC is not just voting and holding govt to account
    • A lot of people living in NZ aren’t citizens – use of active citizenship isn’t inclusive of all in NZ
    • Enshrine co-design so we change the way we do things rather than just doing the same with new language.
  • Don’t have long enough lead in times for projects/programmes to have public participation -> put into leg -> citizens assemblies -> which equates to a positive system change -> a central repository for the info/data/intel -> ministry of public input? -> review and strengthen/update? Cabinet? Manual? -> why isn’t there a way to view systemic complaints? -> are there systemic roots to seemingly individual complaints? -> develop standards and expertise across govt in public participation and engagement – conducting min public or assemblies to bring NZers opportunity to deliberate on policies and service design before it is cemented -> use overseas examples eg Victoria State in Australia – local govt. act requiring consultation/including deliberate democracy -> generate more of a consensus between view points.
  • Don’t have long enough lead in times for projects/programmes to have public participation -> put into leg -> citizens assemblies -> which equates to a positive system change -> a central repository for the info/data/intel -> ministry of public input? -> review and strengthen/update? Cabinet? Manual? -> why isn’t there a way to view systemic complaints? -> are there systemic roots to seemingly individual complaints? -> develop standards and expertise across govt in public participation and engagement – conducting min public or assemblies to bring NZers opportunity to deliberate on policies and service design before it is cemented -> use overseas examples eg Victoria State in Australia – local govt. act requiring consultation/including deliberate democracy -> generate more of a consensus between view points.
  • OGP to add to their 4th national plan – support he citizens assembly on climate change in Porirua, treaty based partnerships between Mana whenua (Ngāti Toa), the Porirua community and planned – Porirua city council. Ngāti Toa (Te Rūnaga o toa Rangatira) and Te reo o ngā tāngata/The people speak are organising there in partnership. This could be an OGP case study. Evaluated and could result in a toolkit, and case study for Parliament to see and Aotearoa to experience.
  • People talking and listening with each other. To come to an informed decision to inform government is what is needed. This is very different from asking individuals what they need and choosing between.
  • Disability is an afterthought! Strengthen the commitment to 100% accessible websites and offices.
  • All cabinet papers should include a section on citizen engagement for example use of co-design in service design.
  • Create a fund for local government to access to pilot (participatory budgeting) must include a independent evaluation as part of any pilot.
  • Revamp the treasury’s citizens budget formal breakout sectoral level data – source of funding, uses of funding by sector.
  • Broaden and strengthen tripodal engagement (plus i.e. add stakeholders) to foster partnership and implement in partnership (not ad hoc but integral and continuous)
  • Go to where people gather.
  • Meaningful engagement scepticism?
  • OIA
  • Share definition of active citizenship.
  • Capacity to engage.
  • Clean up election financing!
  • Active citizenship is essential in making a society a democracy. Without it, it is not a democracy.
  • People in their workplaces must be informed, consulted and involved in decision making, just like with government elections etc.
  • People getting involved in their local communities and democracy must include people in their workplaces.

Transparency and Accountability

What would you like to see happening differently to encourage greater transparency and accountability?

  1. Who should be involved?
  2. How would that make a difference to you and others?
  • Citizens assembly
    • Facilitated well.
    • Working for the whole community
    • Getting views from everyone in the room
  • Co-design vs consultation
    • “we’ve already made the decisions” vs “we want you involved in the process from the beginning”.
  • Easy for Parliament of the day to take their own approach.
    • What degree of openness and transparency do we require for this not to happen?
  • “All government employees must include their name on every email!”
  • Ability to download full contracts dataset for All of Gov
  • Contract’s data must be published like in Australia
  • Discrepancy of the term volunteer
    • Making visible number if hours, amount of volunteers
  • Procurement – transparency and accountability vital
  • Listening to the voices of representative bodies and responding to that
  • All gov policies, programmes and services reports, business cases, must include wellness measures.
  • Get rid of exemptions around procurement reporting on GETS
  • Govt accountable to responding to community voices
  • System change and doing things differently
  • Current system able to be gamed if algorithms are used, or if consultation are targeted by interest groups
  • True diversity of representation by appropriate selection rather than those are already engaged
  • All of these promises are nothing unless they are accessible
  • One OIA entry point to request an OIA and see where other OIA requests have been made
  • Transparency of how select committee submissions are analysed and reported
  • Reporting ono whole of govt budgets
    • Who is doing the work?
    • Volunteer usage?
  • Commissioning and procurement models need to be broadened to be more accountable
  • People in parliament can’t be expected to know what people around the country are thinking/how they are being impacted
    • Need public engagement
  • Citizens coming together and finding common ground – telling gov what they have decided instead of asking many individuals what they want and trying to make it work
    • Clear information
  • How to prevent future gov backing away from citizen engagement?
    • When something is successful, it isn’t always protected by law – figure out what’s working, and how we ensure those processes stay in place
  • com/publicnoticesNZ
  • Transparency – centralise proactive cabinet paper releases – make them searchable and indexed
  • Recognition of unpaid labour in achieving govt priorities more broadly
    • Letting CAB pick up slack in lieu of funding services
  • All gov services must include easy, appealability, include legal of decision
  • Major legislative (sound security act, etc) must be available publicly as code to test against gov services and systems for legality
  • “no wrong door” for info provision or requests
  • Contractors/labour hire companies need system for holding them accountable for services they need to deliver
  • Transparent during procurement/commissioning process
  • Accessibility
  • Accessibility of information (things hidden in websites etc)
    • Diversity in groups here
    • Workshop accessibility – signing up, knowing where to look, having to email in etc
  • Open govt workshops in prisons
  • Issue reporting across budgets
  • Accountability of commissioning
    • Use of volunteers, NGOs etc
  • Transparent about method
    • Making data available
  • Can’t replace humans with machines – need to be transparent
  • People’s assembly
    • Listening to voices coming through from representative groups and being held accountable for actioning
  • System level change
    • Horizontal vs vertical
    • Everything has to look across
  • OGP process aligned with budget
    • How to ensure other agencies feeling the same responsibility for OGP plan that they haven’t contributed to
  • Making sure the money is used for what service is promised/agreed
    • Accountability
  • Declare volunteer hours
    • Discrepancy across agencies/definitions of ‘volunteer’ etc
    • Where does the money go?
  • Tensions between building trust and accountability – focus on accountability is often associated with “navel gazing/inward looking” to allocate indicators and often elements to show accountability and lose sight of building trust
  • Accessibility of contract data from govt agencies
  • What happened to open data?
  • Managing the interpretation of laws – can challenge these interpretations.
  • Finding common ground with people and getting excited about the change they can create.
  • Every public facing email have a name and number on it to hold the public servant accountable.
    • ogpnz@publicservice – names in email!
  • Cabinet manual could complicate public consultation.
    • Change advice/processes for consultation
  • Fronting in communities – ongoing engagement (not just one-offs)
  • It doesn’t matter how transparent or accountable a process is if it isn’t accessible!
  • Invest in better servers in NZ.
    • Local
    • Secure
    • Ethical
  • Transparency – what is missing in departmental report is how they sorted through all the submissions to select committee and came up with themes.
    • analysis tools
    • How do they sort through everyone’s ideas – transparency around whole approach
  • Providing community/citizens with same information govt and councils have before they begin citizen assembly.
    • Mechanisms for engagement
  • Citizens being well informed, understanding how to look after whole community.
    • Consultation fatigue
  • Financial incentive to stay involved/heard vs community groups not as directly involved/affected – hard to keep up with consultations/forums.
    • Mechanisms to free up people
  • Who should be involved? Whoever is being impacted?
  • Create a centralised repository for all OIA requests and responses.
  • Create a centralised curated repository for all amid reports of public agencies, within the consolidated crown (ensure machine readable) create a parallel reposition for all local govt annual reports.
  • Put treasury CFIS net data (monthly) online (in machine readable format). For citizens and analyst to review
  • Transparency and accountability must be an integral feature of commissioning services.
  • Put the review on the OIA on the immediate agenda. Extend the OIA to parliament and officer of parliament.
  • Government accountability is not to answer to the people but to enact the collective will of a well-informed public and to act for the good of the whole community.

Other ideas

  • Public sector must look at how to support electorate to navigate fake info, like deep fakes