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Report Of The Review Of Work And Income NZ

MEDIACOM-RELEASE-STATE-SERVICESCOMMISSION

Report Of The Review Of Work And Income New Zealand

The State Services Commissioner, Michael Wintringham, has welcomed the report of the review of Work and Income New Zealand, which was released today by the Minister of State Services.

"The report provides the perspective of an external reviewer - Don Hunn - on the 18-month history of Work and Income New Zealand, and on the current capability and operations of the department. "Mr Hunn sketches out a way forward for the department as it adapts to the newly-elected Government's policies in welfare and employment. I am confident that Work and Income will recognise the points that Mr Hunn makes in the report.

"From my point of view - as the State Services Commissioner - there are also some points in the report that transcend Work and Income New Zealand. There are four major points that are reflected wherever several departments or agencies work collectively to help people who are suffering multiple, social disadvantage. "Briefly stated, those points are: "Supporting collaboration: the report underlines the problems that a government faces in organising the agencies across a sector to work towards a government's objectives, and to do so under a stable and clearly-articulated policy regime.

"Recognising complexity: departments and agencies addressing social problems face particular problems in co-ordination and collaboration because of the range of influences on policy. In other words, the challenge is to organise agencies to reflect the complexity and diversity of the populations they are working with.

"Maintaining public confidence: Mr Hunn emphasises the problem which a department or agency faces when it suffers serious damage to public or ministerial confidence and is unable to recover quickly. Public and political confidence is central to the life of a department.

"Balancing central control and management discretion: the report points towards the tensions that exist between departments' right to manage their affairs efficiently and effectively while embracing standards - designed to maintain public confidence - that are set from the centre."

"The challenge for the State Services Commission is to draw upon Mr Hunn's report to improve the performance of the State sector in these areas. No single solution will address all the questions."

Mr Wintringham said - in response to reporters who have contacted him today - that Mr Hunn's report was not a review of the chief executive's performance. Indeed, Mr Hunn says that in the first few pages of his report, and the report barely mentions Ms Rankin. "I do not intend to take Mr Hunn's report as a review of the chief executive's performance. "Indeed, to do so would be to miss the main point of the review, which is to prepare the biggest single department in the Public Service to implement the new Government's policies."

Ends


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