Annual report 2011 mandatory image

More people get into work and stay in work

People are better off when they have a job. It is better for them individually, for their children and for their communities. The job market has remained tougher than expected. We have helped people to get into jobs and stay there.

Helping people find jobs

Responding to the economy

By adapting our services, we kept ahead of projected unemployment numbers. At 30 June 2011, 56,264 working-age people were receiving an Unemployment Benefit. This is down from 62,085 in June 2010, and nearly 10,000 below forecast. Eleven per cent more people cancelled their main benefit compared to the previous year. The decrease in people receiving an Unemployment Benefit has not led to the number of people on other benefits increasing. Over the same period, the levels of both Sickness Benefit and Invalid’s Benefit remained essentially unchanged.

To achieve these results we:

  • redirected resources to work closely with industry associations and large employers to generate employment and training opportunities for clients
  • enhanced our Job Search Services to get people back into employment faster
  • adjusted our approach to deal with more skilled clients who have not previously been our clients.

New Zealand’s recovery from the global economic crisis has been slower than initially anticipated.

Getting people back into work faster

Our Job Search Service quickly reconnects people with the labour market. At the outset, people are required to attend a Work for You seminar. This introduces them to local job information, job-search activities, one-on-one case management and group workshops.

Youth have been hit particularly hard by the recession, and they have been a key focus for the year. Of the 54,630 jobseekers aged 18–24 years who attended a Work for You seminar, 51.3 per cent did not go onto a benefit within 28 days. This exceeded our target of 35–40 per cent.

Some clients needed more intensive case management. Others only required a ‘light touch’ service from us to find work and could do their own job searches supported by Job Connect. Job Connect, our nationally-based employment telephone service, made 45,000 proactive outbound calls in 2010/2011. It also listed 16,700 jobs and placed more than 2,000 clients into work.

We talk to people about work from their first contact.

Generating employment opportunities

Following the Work for You seminar, we adjust the level of service depending on a client’s need.

This year we have worked directly with 86 industry partners and employers to generate employment and training opportunities for clients and to address skill shortages.

We supported our partners to take on 3,268 of our clients through programmes such as:

  • Straight to Work which provides employees specifically trained to entry-level industry requirements.
  • Skills for Growth which is a payment that contributes to the training costs of a new permanent employee aged 16–24 years to a Level 2 (or higher) New Zealand Qualifications Authority accreditation.

Sixty-one per cent of the participants were aged 16–24 years.

Employment support for disabled people

The Mainstream Employment programme provides a support and subsidy package to employers. Through the programme, we placed 319 people with disabilities in work across the state sector in 2010/2011.

This year we have also supported the Employers’ Disability Network to take a leadership role in employing disabled people and better serving disabled clients in the private sector. With our help, a Disability Employment Summit was organised to bring together members of the Employment Disability Forum, the Employers’ Disability Network and government agencies to agree on a Disability Employment Long-term Strategy.

We manage the Mainstream Employment programme.

Welfare Reform

Welfare Working Group

We provided secretariat support to the Welfare Working Group who were tasked with taking a fresh look at the problem of long-term dependency on the welfare system. Since the release of the Welfare Working Group’s 43 recommendations in February 2011, our policy teams have been developing policy options to assist the Government’s response.

Future Focus

During 2010/2011, we developed and implemented the Future Focus policy changes. The package was introduced in September 2010 and included:

  • a part-time work test for Domestic Purposes Benefit-Sole Parent clients with children aged six years and over
  • a requirement for clients on the Unemployment Benefit to reapply after 12 months and undergo a comprehensive work assessment
  • graduated sanctions when obligations are not met
  • a new requirement that repeat applicants for one-off hardship payments are referred for budget advice
  • more frequent medical assessments for Sickness Benefit clients in the early stages of receiving a benefit
  • incentives for clients to work by increasing the benefit abatement threshold.

In May 2011, a work test was introduced for clients on the Sickness Benefit who are able to work part-time. Clients receiving Sickness Benefit for more than 12 months now have a compulsory review.

Since the launch of Future Focus, more Domestic Purposes Benefit-Sole Parent clients have left benefit to enter paid work. By 30 June 2011, 5,374 Domestic Purposes Benefit-Sole Parent clients with part-time work obligations had cancelled their benefits. This was a 24 per cent increase over the same period in 2009/2010.

By 30 June 2011 there had been 7,423 cancellations of unemployment-related benefits as a result of the 12 month reapplication process and just over 120,000 referrals to some kind of budget activity as a result of the new hardship model.

Almost 345,000 New Zealanders were affected by Future Focus policy changes.

Over 5,000 Ministry staff received training and communications on Future Focus.

Our services are easy to access and streamlined

Services Online

Our My Account service was launched in December 2010. This service is for clients on the Unemployment Benefit to access their personal information, view their contact details, and book, change or cancel appointments online. More than 68,000 benefit applications and more than 20,000 appointments have been submitted online. Clients can also check their eligibility for assistance using an eligibility calculator.

In 2010/2011 we installed self-service kiosks in 24 Work and Income sites so that jobseekers can look for work and access other online services.

Self-service kiosks will be rolled out to all remaining Work and Income sites by July 2012.

Streamlining our Services

This year we maintained the gains of 30 per cent more work each day from previous Lean Six Sigma projects. This has allowed us to shift resources from transactions to engagement with clients to help them get jobs. We undertook 35 Lean Six Sigma projects to test new efficiency models before their wider implementation.

We continue to use the Lean Six Sigma methodology to improve the quality of client services.

2010–2013 Statement of Intent Performance Indicators

More people get into work and stay in work




The average cumulative time that Unemployment Benefit jobseekers, who exit a main benefit into work, spend in employment over the course of a year will be 36–38 weeks

39.3 weeks

New measure for 2010/2011.

This result reflects our focus on helping people to move from the benefit system into employment and supporting them to stay there.

This is largely through enhancements to the Job Search Service which included increased proactive engagement with Unemployment Benefit clients.

The average cumulative time that work-ready Domestic Purposes and Sickness Benefit clients, who exit a main benefit into work, spend in employment over the course of a year will be 36–39 weeks

36.2 weeks

New measure for 2010/2011.

This year work-ready Domestic Purposes and Sickness Benefit clients have spent on average 36.2 weeks in employment. This result reflects our enhancements to our services so we are better placed to support work-ready Domestic Purposes and Sickness Benefit clients to move into employment and keep them there longer.

The proportion of Work for You seminar youth attendees (aged 18–24) who do not require a benefit within 28 days of attending the seminar will be 35–40 per cent

51.3 %

New measure for 2010/2011.

This result reflects the positive impact the Youth Opportunities package and the enhanced Limited Service Volunteer programme has had on this age group.

Annual report 2011 mandatory image

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