- 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 Strategic Direction
- Operating Intentions
- Organisational Health and Capability
- Managing Risk
- Departmental Capital and Asset Management Intentions
The Nature and Scope of our Functions
The efficient and effective delivery of public services makes a significant difference to New Zealand’s success. SSC ensures that State Services agencies are well placed to carry out government policy and meet the needs of New Zealanders.
The State Services are made up of 29 Public Service departments, four non-Public Service departments, the Reserve Bank, 91 Crown entities (approximately 200 Crown entity subsidiaries and about 2,435 school boards of trustees) and 36 other entities listed in the Public Finance Act 1989. About 220,000 people work in the State Services – including 45,444 in the core Public Service departments. This represents around a quarter of New Zealand’s real economy, which makes ensuring maximum effectiveness and impact from their combined efforts and closely managing the costs critical to our country’s economic health and social well-being.
SSC has a range of statutory and non-statutory roles relating to the operation and performance of the Public Service, State Services and the wider State sector.
SSC provides leadership to the State Services to help them perform strongly and with high levels of integrity. These two factors must be present if government and the public are to have confidence in our public institutions.
The leadership role is supported through our administration of the State Sector Act 1988, the Protected Disclosures Act 2000 and the Crown Entities Act 2004 (with the Treasury) and five other minor Acts.
SSC is responsible for driving improvement and change across the system and is accountable for ensuring the success of Better Public Services.
The State Sector Act 1988 describes the principal functions of SSC. These can be grouped into six main areas:
System design: to review the machinery of government across all areas of government. This includes the allocation of functions to and between agencies; the creation, amalgamation or abolition of agencies; and the coordination of the activity of agencies. It also includes providing advice on management systems, structures and organisations in the Public Service and Crown entities.
Agency performance: to appoint chief executives of departments, to negotiate their conditions of employment and to review the performance of each department, including the chief executive.
Leadership development: to promote and develop senior leadership and management capability in the Public Service.
Employment negotiations: to negotiate conditions of employment of employees in the Public Service and school sector, and to be consulted by agency heads of certain other parts of the State sector.
System-wide people management: to promote and develop personnel policies and standards of personnel administration for the Public Service (including equal employment opportunities and advice on training and career development).
Maintaining system trust and integrity: to strengthen trust and integrity across the State Services by ensuring integrity across New Zealand’s State Services is measured, integrity principles are embedded in all of SSC’s work supporting the sector, and by providing advice, publishing guidance and actively promoting integrity principles and good practice to employees within the State Services (except Crown research institutes) on matters affecting integrity and conduct.
Changes to the State sector legislation
In 2012 the State Sector and Public Finance Reform Bill was presented to the House of Representatives by the Minister of State Services, Hon Dr Jonathan Coleman. The Bill is an omnibus bill aimed at strengthening the management of the State sector and public finances. The Bill has three parts: amendments to the State Sector Act 1988; amendments to the Public Finance Act 1989; and amendments to the Crown Entities Act 2004. SSC is supporting proposals for the State Sector Act 1988, and, in conjunction with the Treasury, the Crown Entities Act 2004. The Treasury is supporting amendments to the Public Finance Act 1989.
The State Sector Act 1988 has not been reviewed as a whole since its enactment. The Bill makes a number of amendments to ensure that the State Services can be reshaped so that they are fit for purpose in today’s environment and into the future. The amendments provide a wider range of public sector management tools which will encourage greater collaboration across agencies and looks to improve leadership across the system, sector and at agency level.
Some of the significant amendments to the State Sector Act 1988 and Crown Entities Act 2004 include:
strengthening the State Services Commissioner’s role in leading the State Services
extending the responsibilities of chief executives, particularly to consider matters relating to the collective interests of government, and stewardship of the Crown’s medium to long term interests
a new organisational arrangement called a departmental agency, which will operate within the policy and funding framework of a host department, but have operational autonomy
strengthening the alignment of Crown entities by amending the collective duties of Crown entity boards, to ensure that a Crown entity performs its functions ‘in collaboration with other public entities where practicable’
supporting functional leadership by expanding scope for the use of whole-of-government directions
strengthening the role of the Minister of State Services by enabling the collection of information from Crown entities relating to the Minister’s portfolio interests in system-wide capability and performance.
In addition there are a number of technical changes aimed at improving the clarity and the operation of the legislation.
The Bill is due to be passed in the latter half of 2013, with the focus for SSC moving to implementation of these amendments.