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Survey Backs Up Commitment To Public Service

6 November 2001

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard says the State Services Commission’s latest survey on employment in the Public Service shows the Government is keeping its promise of rebuilding the Public Service.

Trevor Mallard released the report, Public Service Human Resource Capability 2001, today.

“The survey shows core staff numbers in the Public Service have increased for the first time since the late 1980s, with 23 departments reporting a rise in staff numbers over the past year. In total, more than 2,000 new permanent employees in a wide range of occupations are now serving the public – many of them in the health area following the moving of the Health Funding Authority into the Ministry of Health," Trevor Mallard said.

“In addition, the survey reveals that redundancies in the Public Service are at the lowest level since the beginning of the State sector reforms with 282 staff receiving severance payments over the past year, down from 780 in the previous year.

“Collective bargaining in the Public Service has increased over the past year, in part due to the incentives provided by the Employment Relations Act to settle long-standing disputes. This year 52% of public servants were on collective employment agreements, up from 47% last year.

“The Public Service continues to employ a diverse workforce. The survey shows the proportions of staff who are Maori or Pacific peoples are well above the level found in the wider labour force. In addition, the gender pay gap in the Public Service narrowed over the past year from 8% to 6%, once the age and occupation distribution of women are taken into account.

“The survey shows an unexplained drop in the number of Public Service staff with a disability, and the State Services Commission has been tasked with investigating this change and providing guidance to departments. This year the Government launched the first New Zealand Disability Strategy. One of the objectives of the strategy is to provide employment opportunities for people with disabilities and I am looking to government departments to provide leadership in this area.”

“Over the last year the State Services Commission has been analysing the results of a ground-breaking survey of career progression in the Public Service. The survey revealed information about public servants’ career aspirations, their access to training and development opportunities, factors that might have helped or hindered their career progression, and what, if anything, had prevented them from applying for a more senior position. Early next year the State Services Commissioner will release a report of the survey results.

“When this Government took office we promised the New Zealand public that we would put the ‘service’ back into the Public Service. I am pleased that this survey shows we are now on the path to rebuilding a strong State sector tasked with delivering a high standard of service to the New Zealand public.

“I am confident with a more stable workforce within the public service is also helping with the Government’s aim to reduce the number of consultants within departments,” Trevor Mallard said.

A copy of the report is available at: www.ssc.govt.nz/documents/hrcreport2001.pdf

Ends

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