Updated 15 April 2011 with the Cabinet Paper and Minute bringing forward the merger of the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry to 1 July 2011.

This page also includes papers on three mergers agreed in 2010: New Zealand Food Safety Authority and MAF; National Library and Archives New Zealand with the Department of Internal Affairs; and the Foundation for Research Science and Technology and the Ministry of Research Science and Technology into a new department (the Ministry of Science and Innovation).

Introduction

Since March 2010, Cabinet has considered a number of papers presented by the Minister of State Services on changes to improve State Services performance. In the preparation of any Cabinet paper, a range of options are discussed with relevant Ministers and officials before a specific recommendation is put to Cabinet for their decision. To learn more about Cabinet and the Cabinet decision making process view this page here.

Links to Cabinet papers and minutes that have been approved for release are provided in the following tables.

Improving Performance in the State Sector (Merger of the Ministry of Fisheries with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry)

Date

Cabinet paper

Cabinet minute

6 April 2011

 

Paper bringing forward the merger of Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

 

Agreement to bringing forward the merger of the Ministry of Fisheries and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry [EGI Min (11) 6/8]

10 Mar
2011

 

Improving Performance in the State Sector [CBC (11) 14]

 

Improving Performance in the State Sector [CAB Min (11)10/3]

Reports on machinery of government changes agreed March 2010

Date

Cabinet paper

Cabinet minute

9 August 2011 July 2011 report on financial implications of State Services amalgamations agreed in March 2010   [ECC (11) 31 July 2011 report on financial implications of State Services amalgamations agreed in March 2010  [ECC Min (11) 10/1]

23 Nov 2010

 

State Services Amalgamations: Financial Changes for the 2010 October Baseline Update and Future Updates

 

State Services Amalgamations: Financial Changes for the 2010 October Baseline Update and Future Updates [ECC Min (10) 19/3]

27 July 2010

State Services Amalgamations: Authorisation of Financial Changes for the October 2010 and February 2011 Baseline Updates

State Services Amalgamations: Authorisation of Financial Changes for the October 2010 and February 2011 Baseline Updates [ECC Min (10)11/1]

26 May 2010

Implementing Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance: Legislative and Financial Implications [DOM (10) 32]

Implementing Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance: Legislative and Financial Implications [DOM Min (10) 7/2], confirmed by Cabinet on 31 May 2010

22 Mar 2010

 

Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance [CAB (10) 118]

 

Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance [CAB Min (10) 10/21]

8 Mar 2010

 

Lifting the Performance and Service Delivery of State Sector Agencies [CBC (10) 13]

 

Lifting the Performance and Service Delivery of State Sector Agencies [CBC Min (10) 4/8]

Information released on 21 June 2010 by the Treasury relating to changes in the science sector is also available at  www.treasury.govt.nz/publications/informationreleases/mg/science .

The Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has a page on their website about the amalgamation of National Library and Archives NZ into DIA. See: www.integration.dia.govt.nz .

The State Sector Management Bill for the legislative changes required to amalgamate the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology and the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology into a new organisation (the Ministry of Science and Innovation), and to amalgamate National Library and Archives NZ into DIA, is available at : www.legislation.govt.nz/bill/government/2010/0193/latest/whole.html?search=ts_bill_state+sector_resel&p=1%5Cldlm3166911

The amalgamation of the New Zealand Food Safety Authority with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry took place on 1 July 2010.

Discussion

Background papers released on 1 October 2010

In November 2009, a draft Cabinet paper was tendered to the Minister of State Services for consideration which recommended that the Minister agree to either one of two options presented for structural change to Archives NZ and the National Library, namely that these entities be amalgamated into a new, stand alone Public Service department (supported by Archives NZ and the National Library) or that the two entities be amalgamated into the Department of Internal Affairs (supported by the State Services Commission).

An annex to the paper (Annex 2) detailed these proposals.

Also:

Comment from the National Library. This paper sets out the Chief Executive of National Library's comments of 15 February 2010 on the options being developed in the drafting of the Cabinet paper 'Lifting the Performance and Service Delivery of State Sector Agencies'.

Briefing to the Minister of State Services, 22 March 2010. This briefing sets out the option of National Library becoming a Crown Entity and goes on to discuss governance arrangements for Archives functions in other jurisdictions.

Paper to Cabinet

In March 2010, Cabinet considered proposals for structural and non-structural changes in the State Services, presented by the Minister of State Services in the Cabinet paper Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance. Cabinet decided:

· the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology and the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology will amalgamate into a new department

· the National Library and Archives New Zealand will amalgamate with the Department of Internal Affairs

· the New Zealand Food Safety Authority will amalgamate with the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry.

Cabinet also:

· noted and/or agreed to a number of non-structural changes to improve government services to citizens and businesses, including:

  • establishing a Social Sector Forum (convened by the chief executive of Ministry of Social Development) to coordinate activity across the social sector and
  • strengthening the Border Security Governance Group by establishing a formal Border Sector Ministerial Group (Ministers of Customs and Immigration, and Minister for Biosecurity) to provide leadership and direction, ensure coordination and drive the sector work programme

· invited the Minister of State Services to report back to Cabinet on implementation of the change proposals

· noted that the issue of ensuring the Chief Archivist will continue to have the relevant statutory powers and functions will be considered further in preparing the legislation to give effect to the proposals.

In the interests of transparency, the Minister of State Services and the State Services Commissioner have agreed to provide information (including the public release of documents) that demonstrates the policy and decision-making process that culminated in the Cabinet paper and Cabinet decisions.

The Cabinet paper Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance can be viewed here (PDF 309.9k) and the Cabinet Minute here (PDF 314.8k).

Development of 'Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance'

The Cabinet paper, Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance, reflects several months of analysis, consultation and consideration of complex issues relating to the machinery of government and the role and functions of the affected agencies and departments. It is not feasible to summarise every document or discussion on potential structural and non-structural changes to the machinery of government here. However, the important steps in the process of considering structural changes proposed in Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance are summarised below.

During 2009 and early 2010, the State Services Commission and the Minister of State Services highlighted the drivers and objectives of change, and shared a variety of potential options for structural and non-structural change in the State Services with relevant Ministers and chief executives of relevant agencies.

Ongoing dialogue between the State Services Commission, the Treasury, the Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet, relevant Ministers and relevant department and agency officials continued in order to develop specific options for structural change proposed for:

· Archives New Zealand / National Library of New Zealand / Department of Internal Affairs

· New Zealand Food Safety Authority / Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry

· Ministry of Research Science and Technology / Foundation for Research and Technology / Ministry of Economic Development.

On 8 March 2010, the Minister of State Services presented a paper to the Cabinet Business Committee (CBC), which had power to act on behalf of Cabinet while the House was in recess. This paper:

· outlined the current context and articulated problems to be addressed through the structural change options being proposed

· outlined the expected results, costs, savings, legislative impacts, and risks and mitigations for implementing each of the proposed options

· included a summary of feedback received on each of the proposed options

· summarised the issues considered in developing each of the proposed options.

The CBC requested additional information, and referred the matter to Cabinet without making any specific decisions on the recommendations of the paper. The Cabinet Business Committee paper Lifting the Performance and Service Delivery of State Sector Agencies can be viewed here (large file - PDF 3M) and the Cabinet Minute here (PDF 123.6k).

On 18 March 2010, the State Services Commissioner launched an investigation into the unauthorised release of government information relating to the proposed structural changes for the State sector. For more information on this inquiry, click here.

The Minister of State Services presented the 'Next Steps in Improving State Services Performance' paper to Cabinet on 22 March 2010. This paper has previously been released and can be found here. Cabinet considered the paper, and Cabinet decisions are recorded in the Cabinet Minute found here.

Implementation

The Minister of State Services has reported back to Cabinet on implementation of these changes, including legal requirements to bring about the changes. Following Cabinet approval for drafting instructions, two Orders in Council relating to the amalgamation of New Zealand Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry were gazetted on 30 April 2010. They are the State Sector (New Zealand Food Safety Authority) Order 2010 and the Ombudsmen Act (Schedule 1 - New Zealand Food Safety Authority) Order 2010 . This amalgamation happened on 1 July 2010.

A further paper was submitted to the Domestic Policy Committee on 26 May 2010, confirmed by Cabinet on 31 May 2010, concerning legal requirements for the amalgamations of Archives NZ, National Library and Department of Internal Affairs; and of the Ministry of Research Science and Technology and Foundation for Research Science and Technology). This paper includes information on financial implications of the amalgamations. The Cabinet paper (PDF 915.7k) and the Cabinet Minute (PDF 123.6k) can be viewed here.

Affected departments and agencies are implementing change management programmes to aid the transition.

About the machinery of government

In this context, the machinery of government refers to the State Services Commissioner's role to advise government on the:

  • allocation of functions to and between departments and other agencies
  • creation, amalgamation, or abolition of departments and other agencies
  • coordination of activities of departments and other agencies.

To learn more about the functions of the State Services Commissioner, view this page here.

To learn more about the machinery of government, view this page here.

To learn more about the departments and other agencies in New Zealand's State sector, view this page here.

For information on the role and powers of Ministers, view this page.

When deliberating on any potential changes to the machinery of government, a number of factors are taken into consideration, including:

  • findings and recommendations of any reviews relating to the functions or structure of an agency, department, or sector (group of agencies and departments)
  • the employment term of the chief executive (it is common to review the structure of the agency, department or sector towards the end of a chief executive's fixed-term employment agreement, so that any potential changes might be considered prior to reappointment decisions, or before the recruitment and appointment of a new chief executive)
  • the priorities of the government of the day.

Government priorities

The Government is interested in improving front-line service delivery, and delivering better, smarter services for less. Specifically, the Government has reiterated the need to identify savings and efficiencies to enable viable delivery of services now and in the future, particularly given the tight fiscal environment. The Government has also expressed a desire to reduce 'back office' costs in order to free up resources for front-line service delivery.

In the preparation of any Cabinet paper, a range of options are discussed with relevant Ministers and officials before a specific recommendation is put to Cabinet for their decision.

To learn more about Cabinet and the Cabinet decision making process view this page here.

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