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Lessons learned from unprecedented public sector survey

5 September 2013

Lessons to be learned from unprecedented public sector survey

The Public Service Association says an unprecedented survey of public sector workers and their views about their workplaces should be used by organisations to benchmark their own performance and make improvements.

The survey was conducted jointly by the PSA and Victoria University’s Industrial Relations Centre.  It canvassed workers’ views on a range of issues around their working lives and the organisations they work for.  Almost 16,000 PSA members across 349 public sector organisations responded.

It also sought to gauge how public service agencies are dealing with pressures to be more innovative, flexible and efficient in a bid to meet the government’s Better Public Services agenda.

“This survey is the largest of its kind ever undertaken and as a result provides a solid measure of organisational performance across the public sector,” says PSA National Secretary Brenda Pilott.

“It also comes at a time when public sector organisations have been facing government budget cuts, restructuring and have been under a lot of pressure to do more with less.  That is clearly reflected in the survey.”

The majority of respondents said they worked more than their contracted hours and on average worked an extra six hours a week.  The survey said that 83% of those who put in additional hours don’t’ get paid for them and 47% said they had too much work for one person to do.

Brenda Pilott says “many organisations did perform well in terms of their workplace processes, practices and worker experiences, but interestingly those that didn’t were more likely to have had frequent restructuring, higher workloads, less job security and more bullying.”

Overall the survey shows public servants are motivated and committed to their jobs but have a weaker commitment to their own individual organisations.

“We believe this survey provides a unique and valuable insight for public sector agencies into how effective they are, from the perspective of their own staff.  We would urge them to tap into the information and make use of it to make meaningful change,” says Brenda Pilott.

The Workplace Dynamics in New Zealand Public Services report is being launched today (Thursday 5 September) at 6.15pm at the Public Sector Conference which is being held at  Rutherford House, Victoria University, Wellington.  Spokespeople will be available.

A copy of the report is here.


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