All of you who’ve played a part in achieving the Better Public Services targets can feel rightfully proud of the difference you’re making. I think that what’s been achieved is really inspiring.
Last week’s announcement of a new set of 10 targets makes this a good time to look back at how far we’ve come.
Over the past five years we’ve seen agencies knuckle down and work together around what we call results, or desired outcomes.
It’s important to remember that the BPS programme is dealing with some pretty important and complex stuff. Issues like ensuring kids are safe and healthy. Getting them into education. Reducing levels of crime. Getting people off benefits and into work. Making it easier for people to access public services they need.
But the gains are there to see. More kids are getting immunised. Fewer kids are being physically abused. Participation in early childhood is on the increase. About 40,000 fewer working age people are receiving benefits compared with three years ago. That’s a whole bunch of things that change lives.
The bit that really matters is how you’ve gone about making this happen. The problems that BPS addresses are problems that cross agency boundaries. And you’ve stepped up and dealt with that. We’re seeing cross-agency collaboration happen in a way that we’ve never seen before.
As public servants you’ve been asked to take collective responsibility for helping the most disadvantaged New Zealanders to have better lives. The real improvements across the 10 targets show the impact your work is having.
In case you didn’t catch up with it, in his pre-Budget speech last week the Prime Minister applauded your efforts. First, he noted that the BPS targets are challenging, and that they demand a lot of public servants. Second, he went on to comment on the skill, dedication and commitment of our teachers, nurses, doctors, police, social workers, Corrections staff, NGOs and other public servants.
It is great to see that sort of positive recognition of the work you’re doing.
Tackling the BPS targets is about a new way of working. It’s about teamwork. So let me know how it’s gone for you. Let me know what we can do to make joined-up services work even better.
The direction of travel is spot on, but we are learning our way forward a bit here.
I know you’re up for it.