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Silo mentality must be broken down

25 October 2000 Media Statement

Silo mentality must be broken down if gaps are to close, says Maharey

Breaking down the silo mentality within the public service is essential if the Government is to seriously tackle social exclusion, says Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey.

Addressing a public sector policy forum in Wellington this morning, Mr Maharey said that Government agencies had to become much better at working together and recognising the interconnected nature of social problems. Examples of the type of coordination which should be emulated across the public service are the monitoring arrangements agreed by Cabinet to assess the progress of the Government's employment and closing the gaps strategies.

"Traditionally the welfare state has been based around the imperative to separately tackle individual aspects of social exclusion such as ill-health. For example, policies designed to improve health have focused on the health system, rather than the social or socioeconomic determinants of health such as unemployment, overcrowding and other aspects of poverty.

"A recognition of the interconnected nature of social problems requires a new approach to the welfare state."

Mr Maharey said that the challenge for the Government agencies is to move beyond the public service contracting model focused on outputs to a strategic model focused on policy outcomes.

"Adopting a 'whole of government' approach will be challenging for the public service, which has been separated into clearly defined 'silo' agencies for well over a decade.

"However the Government is determined to keep faith with the electorate and close the gaps which divide our society and we will need to utilise all the resources of the state effectively if we are to succeed," Steve Maharey said.

ENDS

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