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Poor Methodology In ODA Report

PSA Media Release 11 September 2001

Poor Methodology In ODA Report


"A consultants' report into the future management of New Zealand Official Development Assistance (ODA) showed poor methodology", the two unions representing the staff in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said today.

The two unions – the Public Service Association (PSA) and the Foreign Service Association (FSA) – were commenting on the release of the report "Towards Excellence in Aid Delivery" and associated decisions by the Government.

The two unions welcomed the Government's decisions aimed at improving ODA delivery but took exception to some comments in the review report itself which were critical of the ODA programme and staff involved in its implementation.

PSA National Secretary Richard Wagstaff said many staff had expressed unhappiness with the methodology and approach of the consultants. In particular comments in the review report attributed to staff of the Ministry were not properly checked for their accuracy or context. "The impression conveyed in the report is that staff themselves were critical of the overall performance of the programme. In reality staff are proud of past efforts and achievements although supportive of reforms in some key areas".

FSA President Stephen Jacobi regretted that the consultants had not issued a draft report for staff to comment on prior to finalising their recommendations. "This would have been an easy enough thing to do – particularly when the consultants claim to be concerned with good process as a guiding principle for future ODA delivery".

The two unions also said that staff comments about organisational improvement in the Ministry had been used selectively and quoted out of context in the report. "Our unions are actively involved with the Ministry's management in a range of projects aimed at improving the way the Ministry works. It would have been preferable to have presented these projects in their proper context. As it is, the Ministry and its staff stand condemned for exploring how to do things better".

Richard Wagstaff said union members supported improving public service delivery across the board. "Unions are partners with the Ministry in this process. Although the Ministry had kept unions informed of progress with the review, the consultants did not specifically seek union input."

The PSA and FSA have recently concluded with the Ministry a new collective employment agreement which includes enhanced partnership and consultation arrangements reflecting the spirit of the Employment Relations Act. "Our unions look forward to discussing any employment issues raised by the changes to ODA delivery with the Ministry's management".

ENDS

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