Annual Report 2012

Organisational health and capability

We are finding better, smarter ways to be a stronger organisation for our clients and staff.

Our people

We have approximately 9,500 employees – just over 20 per cent of the public service. Through our network of 300 locations, we have a presence in nearly every community in New Zealand.

Who we are

We are committed to an organisational culture in which staff are supported and people are put first. This year we are taking another look at our culture and checking in with our people to ensure we have got this right.

Staff engagement is an important indicator of how we are going as an organisation. In April 2012, we completed our third nationwide staff engagement survey which was run independently by Gallup. The last survey was in 2010 and our results for 2012 showed a slight improvement.

From the survey, we have identified two question areas for an organisation-wide focus and each team will be responsible for taking improvement actions.

We have dedicated Engage champions and a project team helping to continuously build staff engagement.


We aim to have a diverse workforce that reflects the whole community. The table below shows our diversity compared to the public service as a whole.

Organisational health and capability graph

Source: MSD and State Services Commission data.

As at 30 June 2012, 64 per cent of all our managers and 55 per cent of our senior managers are female.

Looking after each other

Partnering with the Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC)

In 2011/2012, we maintained our secondary level accreditation from ACC. This means we receive significant discounts on levies in exchange for taking responsibility for management practices that keep our employees safe at work and for maintaining claims, should an injury occur.

Over the last three years, we have reduced the average cost of claims to the Ministry. We have achieved this by better return-to-work outcomes resulting in fewer days away from work, and by improved health and safety initiatives to reduce the seriousness of the claims, such as the Pain and Discomfort programme.

Over the past three years, we have also worked more closely with ACC around the non-work injuries of our employees. Better engagement with staff and allowing them to fulfil alternate duties has helped them to get back to work earlier. Improvements in the way we manage the non-work related injuries of our staff has resulted in a reduction of about 85 per cent in the number of lost hours and has saved us in excess of $1 million over this period.

Our secondary level accreditation confirms our commitment to ongoing improvements in health and safety and managing return-to-work programmes.

Working together better

Industrial relations

We recognise the importance of positive and stable industrial relations in supporting a modern, innovative and high-performing organisation. Across the Ministry, we have more than 6,400 staff on five separate collective employment agreements.

Our Modern, Innovative and Productive Public Services Agreement with the Public Service Association (PSA) confirms our positive working relationship. This agreement records our shared commitment to working together with a joint focus on areas such as innovation, productivity and value for money. It also outlines the processes for engagement and the development of our joint work programmes.

We set up joint working parties with the PSA on:

  • unplanned absence management
  • managing workloads across the Ministry
  • implementing the productivity dividend in Work and Income, and Students, Seniors and Integrity Services to staff who have achieved productivity and innovation standards.

The National Union of Public Employees (NUPE), which represents a small number of employees, works with us to address matters of mutual interest.

We also work with the PSA and NUPE on:

  • collective agreements
  • employee participation in health and safety.

The PSA has more than 6,000 members and 500 delegates across the Ministry.

Collective agreements

We successfully renegotiated and settled two of our five current collective agreements at the start of 2011/2012. These were:

  • the PSA Child, Youth and Family Collective Agreement
  • the NUPE Child, Youth and Family Collective Agreement.

We kept the State Services Commission fully informed throughout the negotiations to ensure the terms of the agreements aligned with the Government’s Expectations for Pay and Employment Conditions in the State Sector.

The PSA and NUPE Child, Youth and Family collective agreements cover more than 2,000 people.

Employee participation in health and safety

We have an agreement with the PSA and NUPE for employee participation in health and safety. Among other things, this agreement facilitates the continuous improvement of the health and safety system through open communication across the Ministry. The agreement was signed by all parties in June 2012.

We promote excellence in the management of health and safety in the workplace for all of our employees.

Developing our leaders

We provide a range of development opportunities to build our leadership capability and succession planning. In 2011/2012 these opportunities included:

  • Managing the Political Context, which is our breakthrough, experience-based learning programme that allows participants to live ‘a day in the life of a Chief Executive.’ We have started making this available for other agencies across the public sector. The programme was recognised with the HRINZ State Services Commission Public Sector Award for excellence and commitment to improving human resources within a public sector organisation, as well as with the 2011 IPANZ award for Improving Performance through Leadership Excellence. More than 200 participants have now completed the programme.
  • The Emerging Leaders programme, which is designed for high-performing individuals who have been identified as having the potential and aspiration to move into their first management or leadership role. A number of other agencies are now participating in the Emerging Leaders programme. Since the launch of the Ministry-wide programme in 2009, 140 employees have participated.
  • The Te Aratiatia programme, which is aimed at supporting Māori and Pacific high-performing individuals to move into their first management or leadership role. Since its launch in 2002, over 100 Māori and Pacific staff have graduated from Te Aratiatia.
  • The Te Aka Matua programme, which currently supports five Pacific and Māori managers who will complete their masters degrees in Public Management from Victoria University of Wellington in 2013.
  • Leadership Development Centre Fellowships, which target senior leaders who are recognised as opinion influencers and demonstrate the potential to progress to more demanding roles, and bring improvements in agencies and across the public sector. Two of our senior leaders received fellowships and plan to use the award to participate in leadership programmes that will build on their existing knowledge and skills.

Our leadership programmes are about finding talented, motivated individuals and supporting them to succeed.

Developing specialist expertise

Our wide range of responsibilities requires us to have staff who are experts in their chosen fields.

Social workers

We have a professionalisation programme to help social workers in Child, Youth and Family to become qualified and registered.

At 30 June 2012, 1,039 Child, Youth and Family staff members were registered social workers, an increase of 50 from last year. A further 123 social workers had achieved competency, a pre-requisite to registration. In addition, 193 social workers were working towards competency, and 42 social workers were working towards a bachelor’s or higher degree in social work.

In 2011/2012, Child, Youth and Family provided 706 in-house workshops for practice staff and managers. These workshops included those related to the Advanced Safe Strong Practice programme. In all, 7,789 participants attended these workshops.

Case management

At 30 June 2012, 266 Work and Income staff members were enrolled in a qualification programme and there were 50 new cadets in Work and Income sites.

Next year we are looking to launch the Level 5 Public Sector Services qualification to support the extension of service delivery skills to our front line.

Over 2,600 Work and Income staff have graduated with National Certificate qualifications since the programme was set up seven years ago.,

Government Property Management Centre of Expertise

In April 2011, we set up the Government Property Management Centre of Expertise with a focus on three key projects:

  • a national database of commercial property holdings
  • an online workspace for practitioners to share experiences, standard documents and resources
  • a guideline document on the practices required to give effect to the Government’s expectations.

In addition, the Centre of Expertise actively engaged in brokerage and syndicated procurement activities, successfully achieving five major initiatives with significant savings, and providing assistance to more than 30 agencies. It also co-ordinated the seismic assessment guidance process for state sector agencies.

The Government Property Management Centre of Expertise provides a central point for the sharing of best practice, resources and facilities across the public sector.

Value for Money

The Ministry has had a Value for Money programme in place since 2007 to manage its departmental cost pressures through productivity and efficiency gains while improving the quality of services to clients.

The Ministry has undertaken a four-year planning cycle since that time and has managed departmental cost pressures through its Value for Money programme. The first Value for Money programme enabled us to manage $255 million of cost pressures internally over the period 2008/2009 to 2011/2012. We have now developed plans to deliver efficiency savings of $172 million for the four years 2012/2013 to 2015/2016.

In response to the Government’s Efficiency Savings Dividend, we will return to the Crown savings of $15 million a year from 2012/2013, growing to $25 million a year from 2014/2015.

There are three key streams to our four-year Value for Money plan. These are:

  • Investment in online services, which involves the removal of manual processes and the introduction of self-service options for clients. Specific initiatives include:
    • the automation of workflows through digitisation and online applications
    • replacing letters with online notifications, for example using ‘My Account’ and email
    • using Payment Card facilities to make Hardship payments.
  • Improvements in existing processes and removing inefficiencies by streamlining and standardising the fraud investigation process across the country. This has resulted in a 50 per cent reduction in the turnaround time for high-risk fraud cases. Through data matching with Inland Revenue we have increased our capacity by a further 30 per cent.
  • Driving better value from our procurement opportunities. Specific initiatives include:
    • working with the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment to establish a single supply agreement between the Crown and approved suppliers
    • developing a new accreditation and procurement process for suppliers of monitored medical alarms paid through the Disability Allowance. From 2011/2012, this will save us around $8 million a year.

We use the externally-chaired Value for Money Advisory Board to continually review and assess progress against our Value for Money plans.

This year we signed up for All-of-Government Travel, Laptop/Desktop Computers and External Legal Services contracts.

In 2011/2012, we paid approximately $264 million in one-off hardship payments and over $300 million in disability allowances which cover goods and services such as transport costs, special foods, telephone costs, gardening and medical alarms.

Service delivery across whole of government

The Ministry was the lead agency for the Service Transformation programme until March 2012. The programme was established as a collaborative project between the Ministry, Inland Revenue and the Department of Internal Affairs to develop joint service delivery approaches. In March 2012 the programme was transferred to the Department of Internal Affairs as the lead agency. This aligns the programme with the Government’s lead agency for Better Public Services Result 10: New Zealanders can complete their transactions with the Government easily in a digital environment. The programme has now been extended to include over 20 agencies to make progress with this work.

We have worked with the Department of Internal Affairs to develop the action plan for Better Public Services Result 10: New Zealanders can complete their transactions with the Government easily in a digital environment, including a target of 70 per cent of New Zealanders' most common transactions with government being completed in a digital environment by 2017. Action areas will develop consistent approaches to common transactions and will foster initiatives and partnerships that deliver citizen-centric digital services.

Our technology

The majority of our modern business practices are underpinned by technology. We support over 200 systems, which include the provision of payment and services to approximately 1.1 million clients through secure, robust and scalable systems, and a nationwide network.

In 2011/2012, our IT department delivered significant projects to the value of $29 million. Six of these projects were efficiency projects to automate common business functions.

To manage the coming changes to reform the benefit system, based on recommendations from the Welfare Working Group, we have started to look at what changes we need to make to our core service delivery systems such as:

  • the benefit payment system (SWIFTT)
  • our client management system (CMS)
  • job and skills match systems (SOLO and jobz4u).

The changes we make will enhance the systems and help our staff to implement the new service approach under which clients who need the most support get that support. We plan to complete the necessary system changes and tools development by July 2013.

This year our payment systems processed over 45 million transactions totalling $16 billion.

Since 2001, we have successfully delivered over 180 individual IT projects worth over $300 million.

Performance Improvement Framework

During the 2011/2012 year, we have been working through the recommendations from the Ministry’s 2011 positive Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) review. Despite the three-year timeframe of the action plan, we have completed a number of recommendations and have made good progress on the remainder. Enhancing our social work practice and decision making is a long-term commitment.

Annual Report 2012

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