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Maharey outlines year ahead for Work and Income

19 July 2000 Media Statement

Maharey outlines year ahead for Work and Income

Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey appears before the Social Services Select Committee today to outline the challenges the Government has set for the Department of Work and Income this financial year.

Releasing the Department's Purchase Agreement for the period 1 July 2000 to 30 June 2001, Mr Maharey said the key priorities for Work and Income are to improve its service delivery and organisational culture, as signalled in the Government's response to the Hunn report, while pushing ahead with delivering important changes to social assistance and employment policies.

"A line has been drawn under the first 18 months of the Department of Work and Income. A second phase of organisational development is now underway to implement the Government's response to the Hunn report. These changes are fully detailed in the Department's Purchase Agreement for the coming financial year which I have now signed with DWI Chief Executive Christine Rankin.

"Our benefit changes shift the focus of the Department's work with beneficiaries from compulsion to facilitation, from compelling people into make work schemes to assisting people into real jobs.

"Regionalisation of the delivery of Work and Income services will allow Regional Commissioners to be responsive to local needs and to boost the Department's employment focus.

"New incentives this year will focus the Department on the central importance of achieving its employment targets. The Government has agreed that DWI can submit a case for additional resources if it exceeds the targets we have set it for assisting difficult-to-place people into stable employment.

"Other key changes in the Purchase Agreement include:
 changing the Department's culture as part of restoring public and stakeholder confidence;
 specific targets for the achievement of the Department's achievement of stable employment outcomes for Mäori and Pacific peoples;
 improving the operation of the Department's benefit control and debt recovery processes; and
 improved accountability arrangements between the Department and the Minister through additional and more in-depth reporting requirements.
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"The Government is confident that we have provided clear and unambiguous expectations to DWI about the changes we expect from the Department," Steve Maharey said.


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