16 March 2012
Key Notes: Better Public Services
In this issue of Key Notes, I share the basic outlines of what we're doing to improve public services. I also pay tribute to Jock Hobbs. It was with great sadness that I learnt Jock lost his long battle with leukaemia this week. We'll all miss him very much.
Click here to watch my special video journal on changes to public services.
Focusing on results for you and your family
Yesterday I delivered a Better Public Services speech in Auckland outlining how the National-led Government will improve services, reduce costs and deliver better results for you and your family.
We expect our public sector to be innovative, efficient, and focused. That means health care you can rely on, quality education for our children, a strong justice system, welfare supporting those who need it, and better overall business interaction with government.
We'll be requiring the public sector to focus on delivering the results that really matter to New Zealanders.
In my speech, I outlined three major changes for the public sector:
A new results-driven focus
We've set 10 results we want achieved over the next three to five years. We know achieving some of these may be challenging, but I make no apology for having high expectations of our public service.
Our results fall within five broad themes, which are:
- Reducing long-term welfare dependency
- Supporting vulnerable children
- Boosting skills and employment
- Reducing crime
- Improving government interaction with New Zealanders.
I've appointed Ministers to lead each result, and public service chief executives will be accountable for real progress against our results. You can read more detail about each of the 10 results here.
Many of the results fall between or across the responsibilities of individual government departments. That's part of the reason they are difficult. Achieving results means changing the way the public sector works.
We'll announce specific and measurable targets within each of the 10 areas by 30 June this year, and we'll regularly report progress in each area.
Resetting the cap on core government administration numbers
In my speech I also announced that we will reset the cap on positions in core government administration to 36,475 full time equivalent positions (FTEs). We're already operating under this number and we intend to remain under it.
This is something we campaigned on at the election last year, so we're delivering on that promise.
Placing a cap on staff numbers worked extremely well in our first term of Government and was successful in turning around a huge increase in public service numbers under the previous Labour government.
Our revised cap won't include those at the frontline such as teachers, police, hospital staff, and prison officers.
Creating a new Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
The third change that I announced was the creation of a new business-facing government department - the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
We're going to do this by merging the functions of:
- The Ministry of Economic Development
- The Department of Labour
- The Ministry of Science and Innovation
- The Department of Building and Housing.
The new Ministry will make it easier - and simpler - for Kiwi businesses to engage with government. It's also going to help us drive another of the priorities I have for this year - to build a more competitive and productive economy.
Saying goodbye to Jock Hobbs
It was with great sadness that I learnt Jock Hobbs lost his long battle with leukaemia this week. I knew Jock well, and I always enjoyed talking and laughing with him. My thoughts are with Jock's family and many friends at this difficult time. He was a fine New Zealander and an asset to the game of rugby. We'll all miss him very much.
From my diary
Next week I'm heading back to Wellington for Parliament, after a busy recess week.
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