News and Information
Better Public Services: Frequently Asked Questions
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.
Case study #1: ROCKON gets results - but it's not rocket science
A highly successful inter-agency tactic for tackling truancy is "not rocket science, it's simple. Just get the right people together at the right time for the right purpose."
Case study #2: Services pull together at The Pulse
The Pulse, a one-stop-shop for Whangarei's young people and families, has attracted international attention as an innovative multi-agency response to community needs.
Case study #3: Kia Wharite: a multi-agency environmental project
Iwi, landowners, the rural unemployed, tourists, and the North Island brown kiwi are among those who stand to gain from a unique partnership between the Department of Conservation and Horizons Regional Council in the Whanganui National Park.
Case study #4: Inter-CAD mobilises multi-agency response
Successfully building an electronic bridge between New Zealand's emergency services was a complex challenge that owed as much to inter-agency collaboration as it did to technical innovation.
Case study #5: NZ Police partners with the Deaf community
New Zealand Police broke new ground when it unveiled its 111 texting service for the Deaf and Hearing Impaired in 2010.
Case study #6: Court processes move beyond the courtroom
Hearings are moving through the country’s courts faster and more efficiently thanks to the Ministry of Justice's new approach to recording and transcribing evidence. It's also made the courtroom experience more positive for witnesses, victims and those working in the justice system.
Case study #7: NZ Defence Force prizes innovation
From soldiers serving in the Sinai to clerical staff at Wellington’s Defence House, defence force personnel are using an online innovation forum to directly shape the way the military works.
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.
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".
- Executive Summary
- Principles for Change
- State Sector Agencies (Present)
- Crown Entities Review: Summary of Change Proposals
- Smaller and Better: due diligence
- Departmental Review: Summary of Change Proposals
- Project Plan
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:
- Performance.gov shows progress on the United States administration's efforts to create a government that is more effective, efficient, innovative, and responsive.
- The British government's Open Public Services White Paper (July 2011) outlines the intended direction for the UK public service.
- The Scottish government's report on the Future Delivery of Public Services (June 2011).
- Scotland Performs measures and reports on progress of government in Scotland in creating a more successful country, with opportunities for all to flourish through increasing sustainable economic growth.
- Singapore PS21 encourages a Public Service that is responsive, flexible and innovative.
- Australian Capital Territories (ACT) review of the state's public services (September 2010).
- Victoria University's Institute of Policy Studies work on identifying the longer-term public policy challenges facing New Zealand, and directions for reform of the public management system to support new ways of working in response to the challenges. (2010-2011)
- Latest updates on the Australian Public Service reform program and the projects it encompasses.
- The Accenture Institute for Health & Public Service Value has published a range of reports on how the public sector can deliver better value to customers.
- Institute for Health and Public Service Value
- Institute for Health and Public Service Value - research programmes
- The Work Foundation’s research on Public Value conducted between 2006 and 2008 in the UK.