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Companies Office Gets Top Award For Innovation

The Companies Office has won the top award in the KPMG Innovation Awards for the Public Sector for their work in putting the information and services of the office on line.

The award was presented to the Companies Office by the Acting Minister of State Services Hon Maurice Williamson at a function in Wellington tonight (eds 6.15 pm at the Park Royal Hotel).

The judges said of the Companies Office entry, " The Companies Office on-line service is a leading-edge introduction of e-commerce to New Zealand companies, achieved with remarkable efficiency in an area where digitisation can be fraught with risk.

" The Office has not only solved these technical problems but has apparently dealt effectively with the associated change and cultural issues. The benefits in terms of service are substantial and available to other organisations able to take up the challenge of this degree of innovation."

Projects could be submitted in one of three categories: central government; local government; and crown entities. The winner of the supreme award was selected from the three category winners.

The Companies Office also won the award for best entry in the central government section, with an entry called E-Conference from the Ministry of Science and Technology being judged the runner up. The two other finalists were one from the Departments of

Education, Health and Social Welfare for the Family Start programme and the Performance Management System from the New Zealand Army.

In the local government category the award went to the Manukau City Council for its entry The Changing Face of Manukau. The judges commented, "It is the first time that we are aware of that a New Zealand city has brought together a complete overview of its area and has explicitly linked these indicators to the well-being of its citizens.

" The report is a resource both for the community it describes and those providing services to it such as central government. It is both a frank assessment and in our view a necessary step in a strategy for tackling the problems of local development. The report is well-written and presented and - despite being sometimes depressing reading - positive and forthright in its tone. It is a model for other local authorities to follow."

The runner up was the BioNICS environmental data collection system entered by the Auckland Regional Council. The two other finalists were entries from the Otorohanga District Council and the Clutha District Council. In the crown entities category the winner was Transit New Zealand for their entry on Performance Specified Maintenance Contracts. The judges were impressed by Transit's approach of " focusing contractors on good roading outcomes rather than the completion of specific projects, and sharing benefits with road maintenance firms.

PSMC has the potential to significantly improve efficiency in roads maintenance. The principles of PSMC have considerable potential application in other government contract work." The runner-up was an entry from South Auckland Health for its Manukau SuperClinic Call Centre.

The two other finalists in this category were both from the health sector: Waikato Health for its Linkage programme and South Auckland Health for a Credentialling programme.

Entries were judged on four criteria - innovation; effectiveness; the significance of benefits, and the ease with which the systems and processes can be transferred to other bodies.

The awards attracted 35 entries from all parts of New Zealand. From these twelve finalists - four in each of the three categories - were shortlisted.

" We knew that there were a lot of interesting and exciting developments taking place in public administration and management, says Rebecca. Boyack, Partner Government Advisory Services at KPMG. " Setting up a system where innovation and enterprise is rewarded is one important way of recognising those who are leading the way. "

" KPMG is a knowledge based company, so seeking to stimulate fresh thinking, and to recognise, laud it, and to give the successful innovators some prominence is a natural part of our approach, " she says.

An independent panel of judges selected the finalists and choose the category winners and the supreme award winner. They were:

* Rob Laking - Director of the Master of Public Management programme at Victoria University of Wellington who convened the panel;

* Dr Andy West - Chief Executive of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, who's also president of the Association of Crown Research Institutes;

* Carol Stigley - Chief Executive of Local Government New Zealand; and

* Dr Bill Robertson - former Director General of the Department of Survey and Land Information

The judges said, "The entries we reviewed were imaginative in their use of modern technology and management systems but also in their recognition of the special issues of managing relationships with staff and outside stakeholders in the complex and often challenging environment of modern government. New Zealanders expect a lot of their governments, whether local or national, in terms of efficient and effective service. It is a pleasure to be able to report that, on the evidence of these entries, today's public servants are rising to this challenge."

KPMG sponsored the awards and with its partner, the New Zealand Institute of Public Administration developed the idea from the 1998 international initiative involving the Commonwealth Association of Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) and KPMG.

The winners in each category receive a cut crystal trophy, $ 1,000 and a certificate. The overall winner receives a cut crystal trophy, $ 3,000 to travel to the CAPAM Conference which is being held in South Africa next year and a certificate.

ENDS....

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