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Reviews focus on improving govt service delivery

Reviews to focus on improving govt service delivery

State Services Minister Trevor Mallard today announced that Cabinet has agreed to reviews of the smaller population ministries, and to a review of information communication technology across the education sector.

“This is another step in our efforts to improve the way the Government does its job. We want to do all we can to improve the delivery of government services for New Zealanders,” Trevor Mallard said.

“The scope of the reviews will depend on the needs in each case, but in general will consider how the sectors are arranged, how they work together, and share capability.

“I do not expect the review process, or the results, to be a ‘one size fits all’ approach. The issues in each case are different.

“Traditionally, reviews about how government agencies work have focused almost entirely on structural change, and rearranging the machinery of government. In some sectors, re-organisation may still prove to be appropriate. I do not, however, envisage widespread structural change.

“The reviews will recommend ways to improve the Government’s effectiveness in delivering public services for New Zealanders. They will also seek to identify opportunities and new approaches for working together.”

There are several options to encourage better ways of working and to bring agencies closer together. These include:

agreement among departments and other agencies on their respective roles and contributions to achieving positive results that are beyond the scope of a single agency, and which therefore require a multi-agency approach; ‘circuit breaker’ teams involving members from several agencies working together on difficult issues; developing common standards and compatible information systems; and setting up networks of agencies around areas of regional or common interests. The reviews will encompass the Ministry of Youth Affairs and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, and information technology across the education sector. The review teams are expected to report mid-year.

“Population ministries such as the Ministries of Youth Affairs and Women’s Affairs need close effective working relationships with other agencies but by virtue of their size face challenges in maintaining the necessary capability. We hope the lessons learned from the reviews of these ministries will help other small agencies.

“The Government considers the work of these ministries to be important and the reviews will look at ways their work can be better supported.

“The review of infotechnology across the education sector will explore ways agencies can work together using ICT.

“There will be further reviews announced during this year and next,” Trevor Mallard said. Sector reviews were suggested in the Government’s 2001 appraisal of New Zealand’s public management system, the Review of the Centre. This recommended, among other things, a series of initiatives to address fragmentation and improve alignment of state sector agencies with Government objectives. The State Services Commission will lead the work programme in consultation with relevant agencies, the Treasury and the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. “This is important work and so I have invited the Ministers of Finance and Labour to join me in a Ministerial team to stay close to the work. We will keep our Cabinet colleagues briefed on progress.

“A decision has already been made to integrate the Early Childhood Development agency into the Ministry of Education.

“We want all the government services that deal with early childhood education under the one roof. This is to ensure the effective implementation of the ten-year early childhood education strategy – one of this Government’s top priorities,” Trevor Mallard said.

For the Review of the Centre reports http://www.ssc.govt.nz

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