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Commission calls for EEO targets for the Public Service

Human Rights Commission calls for EEO targets for the Public Service

Government chief executives need to institute EEO targets says EEO Commissioner Dr Jackie Blue.

Her comments follow the release of the Human Rights Commission publication “What’s working? Improving Equal Employment Opportunities in the public service”, Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO).

“EEO targets need to be the way forward for New Zealand. Unfortunately we’ve not seen huge progress in the advancement of women, Maori, ethnic minority and disabled workers as mandated in the 1988 State Sector Act,” said Dr Blue.

“This is in spite of good efforts by the State Services Commission whose staff have been monitoring EEO compliance through its annual Human Resource Survey. Government chief executives need to institute EEO targets for their ministries.”

Dr Blue is concerned there is no critical analysis of survey results or even vaguely inspirational statements. She believes that just as targets worked for the DHBs, they can work for the public service.

“Targets focus the mind and mean that conversations happen, often for the very first time with key stakeholders charged with achieving the targets,” said Dr Blue.

“It won’t happen overnight and a memo to the HR department to improve EEO won’t cut it either. There needs to be clear leadership from the top, staff buy in and wider issues tackled such as recruitment and promotion pathways”.

Dr Blue said EEO practices as set out in the 1988 Act are even more relevant today.

“For organisations to provide better public services in a fiscally tight environment there is indisputable proof that providing EEO makes for happier employees, more satisfied consumers while boosting productivity and innovation,” she said.

“I am aware of some departments, such as the Ministry of Defence and Treasury who are making great in roads and I am confident that over time their stats will improve.”

“To ensure progress across the entire public service, I am looking forward to working with the States Services Commission: we simply can’t afford to wait another 25-years.”


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