- Title page
- Foreword from the Minister of State Services
- Introduction from the State Services Commissioner
- Chief Executive Statement of Responsibility
- The Nature and Scope of Our Functions
- Our Operating Environment
- Our Strategic Direction
- Our Medium Term Measures of Success
- Operating Intentions
- Organisational Health and Capability
- Departmental Capital and Asset Management Intentions
Our Operating Environment
There are approximately 226,000 State servants, comprising 10% of New Zealand's workforce. They are spread across 35 Public Service departments, 350 other agencies and approximately 2,600 school boards of trustees.
The State Services have a critical role to play in New Zealand's economic recovery. Where we collectively focus our efforts and expenditure has a real impact on the functioning of the economy, and to New Zealanders' daily lives. The State Services Commission and all other agencies of the State sector are operating under a climate of ongoing fiscal constraint, with the Government's predicted return to surplus lagging some years behind New Zealand's return to economic growth. The medium-term financial outlook implies that many State Services agencies will receive no increase in their budget baselines for a considerable period. The 'core administration' of government will be much more financially constrained than it has been for some time. Any new money we are able to devote to public services will be invested in priority frontline services and, even here, increases will often be smaller than those of the past decade.
The fact of financial constraint does not mean that we should assume that reductions are inevitable in the quantity or quality of necessary services that Government and citizens value. Both Government and the public have high expectations of the services they receive from the State. Research tells us that many New Zealanders expect public services to provide a higher service quality than the private sector, and rightly so. Taxpayers put a great deal into the State Services and expect a world class service even if the funding increases of the past few years cannot continue.
These challenges are necessitating a fundamental change in how we think about public services and what we are able to deliver. Agencies, including the Commission, will have to deal with fixed or falling baselines and make tough calls about what we do and don't do. Many activities will have to stop, and we will have to find ways of working more effectively.
Not only will we need to do business differently, we will need to recruit and retain quality staff in order to do our business well. We need engaged and motivated staff in order to lift productivity and improve services for the public. To achieve this we need leaders with a depth and breadth of experience. This requires us to look at the broadest range of candidates when appointing Public Service chief executives. We will also need to ensure that our agencies are actively developing their own talent in a way that meets current and future requirements.
Our increasingly diverse population will require changes to employment and people management practices and further consideration of how to deliver services in a targeted and effective way to customers with increasingly different needs. Continued technological change and shifting expectations from both employees and the public mean that government agencies need to make smart choices in the use of technology as both an enabler and as a service delivery channel.