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Better Public Services: Frequently Asked Questions

View Frequently Asked Questions here.

Innovative thinking from New Zealand's public sector

There are many examples of where the public sector has thought about things very differently and found innovative solutions to today's challenges, improving results for New Zealanders across a broad range of areas.

The following case studies are intended to provoke thinking on how the benefits of innovation could be harnessed across the wider public service.

You can download PDFs in our series of case studies to find out more.

Issues Papers

A Secretariat supported the Better Public Services Advisory Group as it formulated its advice to the Government in 2011. The Secretariat was made up of people from Treasury, the State Services Commission and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.  The Secretariat prepared papers on some of the critical issues for strengthening the delivery of public services. You can download these issues papers below:

Best-Sourcing Public Services - August 2011
Every day in New Zealand, millions of taxpayer's dollars are spent to deliver vital public services. This paper explores ways in which best-sourcing can help drive better public services, some possible principles for determining when it is most useful, and an assessment of current usage, including the potential barriers to greater use.

The Core Elements of New Zealand’s Public Sector Management Model as Originally Formulated - July 2001
Analysis of the 1980s public sector model and the thinking behind it, including insights and lessons that can be applied to improving public services today.

Background papers

A number of background papers, prepared for Ministers to prompt consideration of a range of ideas for improving public services, have been released in anticipation of, and in response to, requests from the public.

Please note, certain information in these papers has been withheld under one or more of the following sections of the Official Information Act:

  • 9(2)(a) - to protect the privacy of natural persons, including deceased people
  • 9(2)(f)(iv) - to maintain the current constitutional conventions protecting the confidentiality of advice tendered by ministers and officials
  • 9(2)(g)(i) - to maintain the effective conduct of public affairs through the free and frank expression of opinions

In preparing this Information Release, the Secretariat has considered the public interest considerations in section 9(1) of the Official Information Act.


A Modern Business Model for Government

A discussion paper prepared for Ministers in October 2010, which outlined a possible set of principles for creating a more dynamic and responsive state sector that:

  • Improves the public's experience
  • Is more coordinated
  • Is better at assigning resources to priorities
  • Brings a longer run focus into decision-making
  • Reduces clutter and delivers better results and better value for taxpayers

Smaller and Better: Redefining Public Service for the 21st Century

In February 2011, joint agency officials provided a report to the State Sector Ministerial Group entitled "Smaller and Better: Redefining Public Services for the 21st Century". 

Aide memoire on Contestability

In June 2011, joint agency officials provided an aide memoire to the Minister of Finance, setting out their early thinking on contestability (best-sourcing). You can read how thinking has progressed in the Secretariat's August paper.

Literature and Resources

Local and international information and resources about state sector reform: