In 2007 the State Services Commission (SSC) began a programme of research to find out more about New Zealanders' experience of public services1. This included the Drivers Survey2 which successfully identified the key factors (or drivers) that have the greatest influence on New Zealanders' satisfaction with, and trust in, public services3. The most effective way to improve satisfaction with public services is for agencies to focus on these key drivers.
To measure how well public services are performing in relation to the drivers a biennial all-of-government national survey called Kiwis Count4 was launched in 2007. In addition, the Common Measurements Tool is available to agencies to measure satisfaction with their own services. Together, the Kiwis Count survey and the Common Measurements Tool let agencies know how they are doing in improving the areas that really matter to New Zealanders, and where to focus resources so they have the greatest impact. However, improving New Zealanders' experience of public services is not only about knowing where to improve, but understanding how to improve.
Understanding the Drivers is a qualitative research project that expands our knowledge and helps us to understand what the drivers mean to New Zealanders. Their views have provided us with a wealth of information to assist public service agencies to become more user-focused and accessible, and to improve the service experience of New Zealanders. This summary highlights some of the main results and explains what they mean for public services. The full research report is available on the SSC website at
Understanding the Drivers was carried out for the SSC in 2008 by UMR Research. Forty focus groups were held across the country with the following groups: general public, Māori, Asian, Pacific, young people (aged 15-30 years) and participants that live in rural provincial areas.
This summary provides some highlights of the research findings. It then presents an overview of the drivers of satisfaction, including some generic service improvements. This is followed by a look at what each of the specific drivers mean and what can be done to improve satisfaction for that driver. The suggested improvements have come from the research participants. The summary also includes the key themes arising from the discussions around the drivers of trust.
Finally, the summary identifies other approaches for acting on the results and where else to go for more information.
1 For more information about the New Zealanders' Experience research programme visit
2 For full report see
3 'Public services' is used throughout this summary report and is the term most widely understood by New Zealanders. The term means all services provided by the government. Public services therefore relates to central and local government, tertiary institutions, schools and hospitals.
4 For full report see