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Strengthening The State Sector

31 December 2001 Media Statement

State Sector agencies of the future will need to be more in touch with the needs of citizens with an increased focus on flexibility and working together, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

Trevor Mallard today released details of the findings of an advisory committee to review the core of the state sector and how it can be strengthened to serve the public more effectively. Cabinet has agreed to a raft of recommendations that set out a work programme to make changes.

“This is not about aggressive change – the Advisory Committee concluded the public management system provides a reasonable foundation for the future, but needs to improve in several important areas. The report sets out a considered and long-term approach to shape the state sector in a way that better serves the public.

“The review has outlined ways in which we can be more focused on the needs of citizens, address the issue of fragmentation in the public service and encourage strong leadership.

“For example, government departments will be asked to set up inter-agency teams to deal with operational matters that cross over into each other’s areas. There is a focus on doing this in the regions. The work being done in Northland to address housing issues is an example of how such an approach can work well. We need to repeat that success in other areas.

“Over time there will be a move to fewer State sector agencies, with a stronger emphasis on working together. But this will be a gradual and careful process. The Government wants a state sector which is more interested in the quality of service and delivery than structure”.

Recommendations adopted by Cabinet include:

 The establishment of networks of related agencies to better integrate, policy delivery, and capability-building in the State Sector

 Agreement in principle to changes in the accountability and reporting systems to pit more emphasis on achieving high level objectives and priorities.

 An increased focus on training and development available to public servants

“A lot more work will be done over the next six months to develop the changes Cabinet has agreed to,” Trevor Mallard said.

The report is available at: www.executive.govt.nz/minister/mallard/ssc

Ends

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