4 Overall performance
The overall quality score for public services in 2009 was 69, a small but significant improvement over the 2007 score of 68. A small improvement is a good result given the challenging environment public services were operating in - a change in government, a global financial crisis and an influenza pandemic, among other things.
The Kiwis Count survey data has been analysed to produce a single service quality score. However, there is no one target score which can give confidence that public services are meeting the needs of those who use them. More important is the comparison of scores across the years to give an indication of whether or not New Zealanders' experience with public services is improving.
There was some improvement across all the drivers of satisfaction but two areas made particularly significant improvement. In 2009, people were more likely to say that the service was an example of good value for tax dollars spent, and to agree that the service met their expectations.
As can be see below, people expressed more trust in public services in 2009 than two years before. 2009 saw an improvement in all the elements of trust, with most progress being in made in the areas of 'public services that meet your needs', 'public servants treat people fairly' and 'confidence that public servants do a good job'. Around 3% more people agreed with the three statements above in 2009 than in 2007.
New Zealanders have high expectations of their public services and many expect public services to provide a higher service quality than the private sector. However, there was a slight softening of expectations between 2007 and 2009 with fewer people expecting a higher level of service from public services than from the private sector. 2009 also saw a slight increase in the proportion who found the quality of public services higher than that of private services.
Overall expectations remain very high. This is vital information since the most important driver of whether New Zealanders are satisfied with a public service is that the service experience met their expectations.