PART 2: Annual Report of the State Services Commission
2005/06 has been a year of significant growth and development for the State Services Commission (SSC). The role of the SSC has expanded to support my extended mandate to set standards of integrity and conduct across the State Services and to provide strategic leadership and coordination of the Development Goals for the State Services.
In order to support this expanded leadership role, there has been significant organisational change to the SSC. The year began with the launch of a new branch and management structure and a range of programmes have been implemented since that time to develop our organisational culture and grow the skills and knowledge of staff.
I am pleased with the progress that has been made to date, as we evolve our culture, capability and work practices in line with changing expectations of our contribution to improving standards and performance across the State Services.
Under the provisions of the State Sector Act, I am required to:
- appoint and employ Public Service chief executives on behalf of the Crown;
- review the performance of Public Service chief executives on behalf of their responsible Ministers; and
- investigate and report on matters relating to departmental performance.
I am supported in these responsibilities by the Deputy State Services Commissioner who provides leadership to all aspects of chief executive appointment and performance management, and the Deputy Commissioners, each of whom, with the exception of the Deputy Commissioner Corporate Services, is responsible for the relationship and performance management of a number of allocated agencies.
Over the last year we have significantly reviewed and strengthened:
- the relationship management model to improve the quality of engagement with Public Service agencies
- the approach to Public Service chief executive performance management, and
- the capacity and capability of the team of State Services Performance Specialists who assist Deputy Commissioners in assessing and assisting Public Service chief executives and senior managers in their efforts to lift departmental performance.
We have also completed a review of our established approach to performance management. Improvements identified and implemented as a result of this work include a more comprehensive and tailored approach to the induction of new Public Service chief executives and greater emphasis on the setting of annual performance expectations.
In 2006/07, the SSC will be placing increased emphasis on integrating chief executive performance management with evaluation of agency contribution to the Government's themes and the Development Goals programme.
Shared outcomes with Central Agencies
During 2005/06 we have continued to work on a range of joint projects with colleagues from the other central agencies - the Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The three agencies jointly proposed that opportunities to further improve collaboration and alignment be identified as part of the Government's Expenditure Review programme launched in March 2006. The Central Agencies Review is in process, led by a team of external advisors, and a report to Ministers is expected in the first quarter of 2006/07.
Treaty Information Unit
I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the completion of the highly successful Treaty of Waitangi Information Programme designed to raise the level of public knowledge of the Treaty of Waitangi through the provision of factual and balanced information. Initiatives organised through the programme included a travelling educational roadshow attended by tens of thousands of New Zealanders, community workshops and the distribution of quality educational resources for schools. Since its launch in April 2004, a quarter of a million visitors have accessed the Treaty of Waitangi website.
The year ahead
An effective State Services is integral to New Zealand's economic and social performance. The SSC's focus on improving standards and performance across the sector is on-going. Our goals are long-term and will evolve over time. This report represents a snapshot of progress made over the last year, what we have done, how we have organised ourselves and how we have engaged with others across the State Services.
I am pleased with progress to date, but there is much work still to be done and the SSC will continue to fulfil its mission of providing leadership and coordination to the Development Goals programme to realise the Government's overall goal for the State Services:
A system of world class professional State Services serving the government of the day and meeting the needs of New Zealanders.
I would like to thank all SSC staff for their contribution to making this happen. I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of the Advisory Committee on State Services in supporting leadership and coordination of the Development Goals. This group, Public Service chief executives and private and local government people, has provided important support and momentum to the Development Goals programme.
State Services Commissioner
Mark Prebble, State Services Commissioner
Tony Hartevelt, Deputy State Services Commissioner (Performance Management Branch)
Iona Holsted, Deputy Commissioner (Development Branch)
Julie Craig, Deputy Commissioner (Governance Branch)
Laurence Millar, Deputy Commissioner (Information and Communication Technologies Branch)
Suze Wilson, Deputy Commissioner (People Capability Branch)
Bethia Gibson, Deputy Commissioner (Corporate Services Branch)
David Shanks, Chief Legal Advisor
A new branch and management structure for the SSC was in place from 1 July 2005. The new branch structure has been designed to support the State Services Commissioner in fulfilling all aspects of his mandate. In particular, the structure has been aligned to the SSC's role in providing leadership to the Development Goals.
Responsibility for planning and implementing initiatives in relation to each Development Goal resides with a Deputy Commissioner and a branch. However, just as the Development Goals encourage greater collaboration and cooperation between State Services agencies, staff across the SSC's branches have developed new approaches to working together to enhance leadership and coordination of the Development Goals programme.
Each Deputy Commissioner has relationship and performance management responsibilities for a number of Public Service agencies, and each has regional responsibilities.
Performance Management Branch
The branch is responsible for providing leadership in relation to all aspects of chief executive appointment and performance management and for ensuring that the performance management system supports the achievement of all six Development Goals. The Performance Management Branch has overall responsibility for monitoring progress towards and ensuring the achievement of the Development Goals.
The branch is also responsible for developing and maintaining, in conjunction with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury, a set of shared outcomes for the three central agencies.
The Development Branch has responsibility for working towards the Accessible State Services Development Goal. The branch's primary focus is to provide an overview of the accessibility, responsiveness and effectiveness of State Services and advising on future development priorities.
The branch also reports on progress against all the Development Goals and provides advice within the SSC about how to ensure that the regional dimension of State Services performance is understood.
The Governance Branch has primary responsibility for working towards the Trusted State Services and Coordinated State Agencies Development Goals.
The branch provides advice to the rest of the SSC and to public sector agencies on matters relating to public sector administration, including:
- leading the design and implementation of programmes and initiatives supporting the SSC's leadership role on integrity and conduct matters
- leading the development and application of the Cabinet Fees Framework
- providing advice to the State Services Commissioner and government agencies on machinery of government, accountability and public management.
Information and Communication Technologies Branch
The Information and Communication Technologies Branch has primary responsibility for working towards the Networked State Services Development Goal.
The branch is responsible for:
- delivering the Government's vision for e-government
- managing and maintaining the e-government strategy and supporting policy programme
- designing, developing and operating government-wide shared infrastructure and services
- providing advice and monitoring of government investments in IT systems and associated knowledge management matters.
People Capability Branch
The People Capability Branch has primary responsibility for working towards the Employer of Choice and Excellent State Servants Development Goals.
The branch is responsible for ensuring the State sector has world-class practices in matters related to the employment and development of public servants and State servants.
The branch is also responsible for the:
- senior leadership and management development strategy
- State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme
- Mainstream Supported Employment Programme
- activities of the Public Sector Training Organisation.
Corporate Services Branch
The role of the Corporate Services Branch is to ensure that the SSC has the capability necessary to support and facilitate the achievement of the Development Goals. This includes ensuring that the SSC develops the right organisational culture, the necessary resources and appropriate systems and processes in place to deliver the right things at the right time, while meeting its statutory obligations as an employer and Public Service department.
The Corporate Services Branch employs people with specialist expertise in finance and planning, people and organisation development, knowledge and information services, facilities management and communications.
The Commissioner's Office supports the State Services Commissioner. The Legal Section is part of the Commissioner's Office and is responsible for ensuring the Commissioner has ready access to legal advice concerning the exercise of the State Services Commissioner's statutory powers.
The SSC employed a total of 199 employees (170 permanent and 29 fixed term employees) at the end of June 2006, an increase from 143 the previous year. In addition, the SSC continued to engage a significant number of contractors- primarily in support of activities within the Information and Communication Technologies Branch. The Statement of Intent 2005 identified that a major programme of capability development would be a significant priority for the 2005/06 year. This has included increasing the organisation's capacity to support the State Services Commissioner in delivering on his extended mandate and enhancing the leadership role of the SSC in the development and implementation of good public sector management practice. Recruiting appropriately skilled and experienced people to fill newly created roles in relation to the Development Goals has been a particular challenge in a tight labour market. However, all key roles were filled by the end of the year.
In addition, turnover has continued to grow in the last year - at the end of June 2006 staff turnover was 25% compared to 17% for the previous year. Departures are closely monitored and SSC is responsive to feedback received through the exit interview process.
As part of an on-going culture change process staff were given opportunities to provide opinion on what is required to ensure the SSC is a valued place to work. The SSC undertook an Employee Engagement Survey in March 2006 and this provided a baseline for the future. Following the survey, all staff and managers were involved in action planning to address
specific aspects of their workgroups. Improving staff engagement will keep SSC moving towards its goal of being an employer of choice.
Following the implementation of the new organisational structure, the SSC identified the need to bring together people in line management and relationship management roles, and encourage them to develop a shared and deep understanding of internal issues as well as issues in the wider State Services. The internal Leadership Forum concept has been a successful initiative, with two forums being held in the past year.
Equal Employment Opportunities
The SSC continues to address the priority areas identified in its current Equal Employment Opportunities Plan. In the past year our main areas of focus have been:
- building a positive working environment
- addressing changing staff requirements regarding remote working and work/life balance
The SSC continues to ensure equal employment opportunities principles remain embedded in its day-to-day management practices and operating processes. While no significant new initiatives were introduced during 2005/06, the SSC participated in the wider Public Service review of the Equal Employment Opportunities Policy to 2010: Future Directions of EEO in the New Zealand Public Service5. The SSC also undertook, for the first time, a Pay and Employment Equity Review to see how gender affects employment in the SSC. A series of follow-up actions has been developed as a result of this review.
The Development Goals programme aims to lift the performance of the State Services and improve New Zealanders' experience of State Services.
In Part 1 of this report, it was noted that the successful realisation of the Development Goals will need active support from State servants across the State Services.
The SSC has been charged with driving the Development Goals programme, and the following pages outline the major work programmes initiated over the 2005/06 year to progress achievement of each Development Goal.
Although the SSC's contribution to each Development Goal is reported individually, the goals are strongly linked, and providing leadership and coordination to the overall programme has required staff to adopt new collaborative approaches to working, both within the SSC and with other agencies.
The SSC has responsibility to provide strategic leadership to the Development Goals programme, to share good practice and facilitate collaboration between government agencies and, in some cases, to directly implement initiatives that will progress achievement of the goals.
The SSC also has a key role in monitoring performance of the State Services against the goals. The evaluation process described in the State of the Development Goals Report 2006 and outlined in Part 1 of this report, will provide the basis of on-going monitoring of progress against the 2007 and 2010 milestones.
The State of the Development Goals Report 2007, which is planned for publication by the end of October 2007, will report on progress against the goals, including achievement of the June 2007 milestones. This report will also provide an opportunity to refresh the goals and milestones ahead of the planned 2010 report.
1 Employer of Choice
The first priority for the SSC in relation to the Employer of Choice goal has been the development of a People Capability Strategy. Over the next three to five years the People Capability Strategy aims to:
- support government agencies so they have the necessary people capability and capacity to meet the Government's expectations, and
- ensure the State Services are well placed to attract and retain staff in the face of competition and changing expectations.
The strategy was developed in consultation with the Advisory Committee on State Services, human resource managers from the nine largest Public Service departments and the Public Service Association.
Projects have been established and project managers appointed for a number of new initiatives, including State sector employment brand research, syndicated procurement of an Employee Engagement Survey and the development of a guide to best practice recruitment tools.
State sector employment brand research
A research project has been scoped to test the perceptions of job seekers towards the State Services and to identify the personality and psychographic attributes of people who are positively or negatively disposed to working in the State Services. This research will provide a baseline measure of perceptions of the State Services as an employer of choice, which can be re-tested over time to gauge the impact of the Employer of Choice initiatives. It will also inform planning for collective and individual agency initiatives to promote the State Services as a career destination.
Syndicated procurement of an employee engagement survey
Planning was progressed during the reporting period to facilitate the syndicated procurement of a research-based employee engagement survey product. Employee engagement is the degree to which an employee is intellectually and emotionally committed to the goals of their organisation and workgroup. The greater a person's level of engagement, the more likely they are to apply their best efforts to their work and the greater the likelihood of them remaining with the organisation. Research undertaken by The Gallup Organization has identified that organisations with high levels of employee engagement experience lower turnover, better productivity, better customer loyalty and other manifestations of superior performance.6
Driving up engagement levels is an effective and well-proven way to drive better organisational results. The process is most effective when the focus of management effort is put on implementing improvements once the survey results are known. As agencies move to implement the survey during 2006/07, the SSC will provide strategic support and advice upon request.
The SSC will use aggregated organisations' results to evaluate progress against the Employer of Choice goal and to inform strategy development and programme planning.
Best practice recruitment tools
The majority of government agencies are making use of structured interview techniques and psychometric tools to support recruitment. However few agencies report having clear protocols regarding the appropriate use of psychometric tools or that they are undertaking on-going analysis to determine their predictive validity. The SSC is supporting better practice in recruiting through the development of a guide to best practice recruiting tools.
An important aspect of the SSC's work programme has been engaging with agencies to communicate the Employer of Choice Strategy, share good practice and influence take-up of the strategy initiatives across the State Services.
- 2005/06 was a very successful second year of operation for the State Sector Retirement Savings Scheme, a voluntary retirement savings plan for State sector employees. Total membership at 30 June 2006 was 33,333, an increase of 17% on the previous year. A 'Super Week' promotion was held in May 2006.
- The Mainstream Supported Employment Programme celebrated 30 years of facilitating the employment of people significantly disadvantaged by disability. The programme facilitates the creation of two-year placements within the State sector and provides support to programme participants and employers. The 30th anniversary was marked by the publication of a book chronicling the history and successes of the programme.
- A second Internship Programme was coordinated to build the reputation of the State Services as an employer of choice for new graduates. The Internship Programme offers selected tertiary students meaningful work experience and exposure to different areas of government work during their summer holidays. 42 interns were placed at 13 agencies and feedback from both the students and the host agencies was highly favourable.
- A team of young SSC staff promoted State Services careers during May 2006 at Careers Fairs held by the universities of Auckland, Waikato, Massey, Victoria, Canterbury and Otago. These promotions provided an umbrella presence for all government agencies, many of which were not able to invest in running their own booths. A new brochure, One Service, Thousands of Careers, was distributed, and feedback rated it as an effective marketing tool.
- A review of the New Zealand Government Jobs Online website was undertaken and priorities to develop it as a modern, effective job site have been identified7.
The year ahead
Attention is now being focused on further developing ways to deliver the Employer of Choice Strategy and to measure progress against the Employer of Choice goal. A range of projects have been prioritised for implementation during 2006/07.
2 Excellent State Servants
During 2005/06, the SSC provided strategic leadership to this goal through the development of an Excellent State Servants Strategy to support government agencies working collectively and individually to develop their employees for excellence. The strategy was developed in consultation with the People Capability Sub-Committee of the Advisory Committee on State Services and Human Resources (HR) managers from Public Service departments, including the nine largest departments.
The strategy identifies key initiatives for which the SSC will be providing leadership and, in some cases, directly delivering. Key programmes include the organisation of leadership forums, facilitating a professional development programme for HR-professionals and managing a syndicated procurement process to select a research-based behavioural competency model.
The following are the main initiatives in the People Capability Strategy relating to the Excellent State Servants goal.
The SSC has used a range of forums to bring together key groups, in particular chief executives and senior leaders from across the State Services, to facilitate "conversations that matter" - discussions that allow participants to gain new insights and build a sense of a community of understanding. This programme is an important component of the SSC programme to develop senior leaders in the State Services.
Professional development for Public Sector HR professionals
The SSC takes a lead role in lifting the capability of HR professionals within the State Services and enhancing organisational capability in strategic HR planning. Monthly forums were organised for State Services HR practitioners through the reporting period. A four-day course on strategic HR management for the State Services was run in partnership with the Human Resource Institute of New Zealand.
Syndicated procurement of a research-based behavioural competency model
A behavioural competency model is a tool to assist HR practitioners and operational managers in aligning employee behaviour with an organisation's strategic intent. Behavioural competencies include such things as delegation, motivating others, composure, strategic agility, priority setting and negotiation.
Planning has been progressed to facilitate a syndicated procurement process to select a research-based and commercially advantageous competency model for agencies to use. Agencies will determine their own deployment strategy, however the SSC will provide advice and support and will actively promote the sharing of learnings.
In addition, the SSC has worked with agencies over the reporting period to share good practice and encourage uptake of the Excellent State Servants programme initiatives. Individual briefings have been held with representatives from 33 agencies to build the SSC's understanding of each agency's people capability plan and strategy, and their understanding of the SSC's People Capability Strategy, the rationale for it and initiatives within it.
- 2005/06 saw a 70% increase in the numbers of registered trainees and modern apprenticeships through the Public Sector Training Organisation, which continues to develop a proactive leadership role in learning and development in the government sector.
- As part of the leadership forum programme, two conferences, titled Devcon 2005, were held in Auckland and Wellington to bring together and introduce new ideas and developments to chief executives and senior leaders from across the State sector. The conferences were attended by 588 senior managers, the vast majority of whom reported the conference to be a useful event.
- Over the reporting period 32 new participants joined the Executive Leadership Programme operated by the Leadership Development Centre. The Leadership Development Centre is governed by a board of Public Service chief executives, which includes the State Services Commissioner.
- The State Services Commissioner represented the New Zealand Government on the Board of the Australia and New Zealand School of Government. The SSC successfully negotiated the Emerging Issues Project with the School of Government, Victoria University of Wellington. This initiative is part of the Strategic Tertiary Alliance between the SSC and Victoria University of Wellington that was implemented in 2003. The Emerging Issues Project involves 32 agencies, mainly from the Public Service, contributing funding over a three-year period for targeted research on public policy issues.
The year ahead
Over the 2006/07 year, the SSC will be progressing key initiatives in the Excellent State Servants Strategy. Progressing the syndicated procurement of a behavioural competency model, and supporting its implementation by agencies, will be a major priority.
Planning has been initiated for an evaluation of progress against the Senior Leadership and Management Development Strategy, to be undertaken in 2008.
During 2006/07 SSC will continue to promote the Executive Leadership Programme to a diverse range of senior State servants across New Zealand. The Leadership Development Centre will pilot a Māori Coaching and Mentoring Programme, Maranga Tira, in the first quarter of 2006/07. It is intended that the pilot will run for nine months with 20 participants. At the end of this time, it will be evaluated and a decision made whether to proceed and, if so, in what form.
3 Networked State Services
The Networked State Services goal is about the use of technology to transform the provision of services for New Zealanders. Its realisation will also enable State servants to more easily and securely communicate, collaborate and share information online.
Over the year the SSC has continued to lead the development of strategy and policy to support the Networked State Services goal. The E-government Strategy, which outlines work programmes to be implemented across the State Services, was updated following consultation with Public Service chief executives, chief information officers and key individuals from information technology industries.
E-Government Interoperability Framework
The SSC has also continued developing and operating all-of-government standards and infrastructure to build a comprehensive and coordinated approach to the management of information and communication technologies (ICT). The continuing development of the E-government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) is a key component for enabling ICT development across the State Services8.
The e-GIF framework and standards are a key component for enabling New Zealanders to access multiple services delivered by one or more government agencies via the Internet. Ultimately, users (if they choose) will be able to provide information to government once, with the data being seamlessly shared between agencies where appropriate and agreed.
An innovative example of the use of interoperability standards is the integrated service offered by the Companies Office - a unit within the Ministry of Economic Development - and the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). This service allows New Zealand citizens to incorporate a company and apply for an IRD number online, in a single seamless transaction that interacts with both agencies, requiring the user to provide the information at a single point and only once.
Government Logon Service
During the year, the SSC completed the build of the Government Logon Service. For New Zealanders and businesses that choose to access government services online, the Government Logon Service will allow the use of a single logon across multiple services without identity data being exchanged between agencies. This will improve ease of use, convenience and security for citizens and businesses; offer affordable access to high-quality authentication technologies to agencies; and deliver significant cost savings across government. The service has recently completed testing and is currently beinga implementated by government agencies.
As well as the completion of the Government Logon Service, the programme delivered a suite of Authentication Standards earlier this year. The standards will improve the quality and consistency of each agency's authentication strategy9. They were published earlier this year.
Agency support and engagement
Another priority for the SSC over the reporting period has been to support collaborative and individual agency efforts to progress initiatives to achieve e-government goals. The SSC continued to work with Public Service senior leaders, service delivery managers and IT practitioners to develop common policy approaches and standards in relation to the use of technology and promote the use of e-government infrastructure, systems and services.
- The Government portal (www.govt.nz) offers New Zealanders access to grouped services from a range of Government providers, across a range of channels (for instance: portals, websites, in person, call centres). The portal received almost two and a half million visits over the year, with over half of those visits resulting in referrals to other government websites.
- The initial design phase for the Government Shared Network (GSN) has been completed. The Government Shared Network will enable government agencies to communicate, collaborate and share information at high speed, securely and cost effectively.
- A new version of the Public Sector Intranet was implemented in June 2006. The Public Sector Intranet is a secure website through which all government employees can easily and securely collaborate and share information. It supports cross-agency collaboration, a sense of community and shared interests, and acts as a knowledge bank for the State Services. At 30 June 2006, employees of 32 Public Service agencies and 11 government agencies in the wider State Services, had access to the Public Sector Intranet.
- The Syndicated Procurement Project was successfully transferred to the Ministry of Economic Development on 30 June 2006, with 143 agencies actively participating in one or more of the 28 syndicated contracts. Agency savings have exceeded targets, with total savings to government over the last three years estimated at $9.6 million. Syndicated procurement deals have been established with Microsoft, Vodafone and Telecom and are being actively managed by the SSC on behalf of all government agencies.
- As at 30 June 2006, a total of 50 Shared Workspaces were supporting information sharing and collaboration by members from 126 public sector agencies including local government authorities, health authorities and tertiary education institutions.
The year ahead
During 2006/07, the SSC will continue to develop and promote strategy and policy to progress the Networked State Services goal.
The continuing development of all-of-government e-government standards and infrastructure will be a priority as we move towards implementation of the GSN and the all-of-government Authentication Programme.
The SSC will continue to engage with agencies to facilitate alignment with and usage of e-government infrastructure, systems and services.
4 Coordinated State Agencies
This goal is about ensuring that the total contribution of government agencies is greater than the sum of its parts. It is about government agencies demonstrating improvement through the Managing for Outcomes, including joint outcomes and other shared accountabilities across clusters of agencies. It is about State servants supporting coordination in pursuit of results and working together.
SSC's primary contribution over the reporting period has been to promote and provide leadership to ensure the joint pursuit of joint outcomes are contributing positively to New Zealanders' experience of State Services.
The SSC has been collaborating with other central agencies, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury, and chief executives coordinating agency contributions to Government's three themes announced in March 2006 - economic transformation, families - young and old, and national identity - to ensure that the public management system supports Government's priorities.
During the year, the SSC worked with the Treasury to update guidance to departments on managing for outcomes and supported agencies in collaborating to achieve joint outcomes.
Crown entities are a large part of government and are critical to improved public sector performance. SSC, with the other central agencies, has an important role at a system level in promoting Crown entity performance. With the Treasury, the SSC produced guidance for Crown entities on managing for results10 and producing statements of intent11. The SSC coordinated quarterly meetings to share best practice between the departments that monitor Crown entities. The SSC produced, with the Treasury, guidance for these departments in their roles of supporting Ministers' engagement with Crown entities (covering the key areas of board appointment and induction, strategic direction and planning, and performance monitoring and reporting).
In addition, advice was provided to Ministers and departments on machinery of government, including the allocation and coordination of functions to and between the agencies.
The year ahead
Over the next year, the SSC will continue to set expectations and support the chief executives of agencies charged with coordinating agency contributions to the Government's themes.
5 Accessible State Services
This Accessible State Services goal is about enhancing access, responsiveness and effectiveness, and improving New Zealanders' experience of State Services.
The goal is focused on improving the attention that State Services agencies pay to New Zealanders' expectations and experience of service delivery. If agencies are increasing their capacity to learn from New Zealanders' views of what works, and what does not, in terms of access to, responsiveness and effectiveness of services, then those services are more likely to make a difference for and meet the needs of New Zealanders.
During the year the SSC undertook a pilot study relating to access to and responsiveness of services in Rotorua. The Rotorua Research Pilot contributed information about the Accessible State Services Goal for the State of the Development Goals Report 2006. The results of the pilot were also published in a separate report12.
With all the caveats applying to small pilot studies, the findings from the Rotorua research indicated that government agencies use a combination of formal and informal systems to identify those people not accessing services to which they are entitled, and those not fulfilling their obligations.
The research found that there are multiple ways that the public access services. For example, young people accessing Career Services use text messages on the Internet. However, both the agencies providing the services and the users of the services stated that they get more out of a face-to-face visit.
Many people interviewed told SSC researchers that they needed to use an intermediary in order to get the services they wanted. The intermediaries cited included the Citizens Advice Bureau, Community Law Centre, Salvation Army and the local Electorate Office. The research found that, while people knew the correct government agency to go to, they had not always received the help they expected and so had then gone to an intermediary - either on their own or because they had been referred there by an agency.
Barriers to access typically include lack of information, geographic or physical location, financial costs (including the cost of getting to services), ethnic or cultural inappropriateness, lack of access to the Internet, unsuitable opening hours and confusion about which organisation provided the appropriate service. To a greater or lesser extent, the researchers found all of these barriers in Rotorua.
People participating in the study described some call centres as "challenging" and there were comments about the lack of privacy in open plan settings.
The year ahead
Further targeted qualitative research will be undertaken in one or more geographical locations to build on the Rotorua research pilot. New research to enable the SSC to better measure New Zealanders' experience and satisfaction of State Services will also be undertaken.
6 Trusted State Services
As well as being a goal in its own right, strengthening trust in the State Services and reinforcing the spirit of service will be an ultimate outcome of the collective achievement of all the Development Goals.
There are two aspects to the leadership role that the SSC is providing in relation to the Trusted State Services goal:
- working with agencies across the State Services to support them in reinforcing standards of integrity and conduct, and
- measuring New Zealanders' confidence in the integrity of State servants and trust in State Services agencies.
A highlight of the last year was an engagement to find out how integrity and conduct issues were managed in Crown entities. Based on information collected during the engagement with Crown entities, the State Services Commissioner has now decided to exercise the responsibility given in the State Sector Act and set standards of integrity and conduct for employees of Public Service departments and selected Crown entities. The engagement programme and process to develop the code is discussed in Part 1 of this report.
The year ahead
During 2006/07, a survey will be conducted to measure levels of trustworthiness of State servants. The results will be published and areas for development identified.
Work with a broad range of stakeholders will be undertaken to shape standards of integrity and conduct for State servants.
The SSC will work with agencies to assist them in implementing the standards and to provide advice and guidance as agencies work to strengthen organisational integrity.
The SSC will monitor progress against this goal and will be encouraging departmental chief executives and Crown entity chairs to ensure that all their employees maintain proper standards of integrity, conduct and concern for the public interest.
5 Equal Employment Opportunities Policy to 2010: Future Directions of EEO in the New Zealand Public Service (SSC, 1997)
6 Thackray, John. "Feedback is for real", in Gallup Management Journal, March 15 2001. Available online at
10 Planning and Managing for Results - Guidance for Crown Entities (SSC,2005)
11 Preparing the 2006/07 Statement of Intent - Guidance and Requirements for Crown Entities (SSC, 2005)
12 Accessible State Services - Rotorua research pilot report (SSC, 2006)