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Public sector capability survey ticking time bomb

19 November 2010

Media Statement

Public sector capability survey ticking time bomb

The loss of staff and institutional memory, and the continuing increase in stress and decline in morale in the public sector is a ticking time bomb that will see a decline in the quality of services that New Zealanders receive in the future, Grant Robertson Labour State Services Spokesperson said.

"The latest State Services Commission Human Resource Capability Survey released yesterday shows that the number of redundancies doubled in the last year," Grant Robertson said.

"Worse still the average length of service of those made redundant was 13 years, three years longer than the previous year. The loss of institutional memory and experience of these people will have serious consequences. In the 1990s similar things happened and the quality of public services declined."

"The survey also shows that public sector wages declined as private sector wages increased. While the restraint in the public sector is admirable it will be putting pressure in terms of retaining staff. We already know from other surveys that morale in the public sector is at an all-time low as public servants cope with indiscriminate cuts to jobs and services," Grant Robertson said.

"What is lacking from the government is any kind of vision for the future of public services. What public servants and other New Zealanders need is a picture from the government of how public services will develop to meet the needs of the 21st century. This means a focus on breaking down silos in the public sector and creating greater opportunities for public engagement and the use of new technology. It also means investing in the people who provide services.

"Sadly National is fixated on playing with numbers and trying to look tough through indiscriminate cuts. It will not deliver the quality of services we all want," Grant Robertson said.

ENDS

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