annual report

Organisational health and capability

In the last year, we began building the capability of our people, processes and systems required to deliver our strategic direction. Steady progress through the year means we are better positioned to become the integrated and client-centred organisation that we aim to be.

Our strategic direction and medium-term priorities are centred on becoming an integrated, intelligent client-centred organisation. This requires strong and effective functions and leadership.

Simplifying business processes

Simplification project

The Simplification programme of work is about making business processes for transactional services more efficient and client-centric, releasing resources from transactional service provision to outcome-focused activities, and capturing the right data to support other processes.

We are introducing changes in stages over three years. Over the last year we have focused on simplifying processes for current clients. We are progressively rolling out an improved digital experience for current clients who are applying for financial assistance and support. The first set of initiatives to help our clients transact online included:

  • allowing doctors to lodge medical certificates with the Ministry electronically, which will remove more than 400,000 transactions per year from our service centres
  • using voice-enabled technology changes in contact centres to increase capacity
  • developing the MyMSD online tool to make it easier for our clients to interact with us online using a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer

promoting the benefits of online services to staff, so they are confident about promoting our digital services to clients and can help clients learn how to do things for themselves online.

Service Delivery Learning Initiative

In May 2014 we launched the Service Delivery Learning Initiative at our site in Durham Street, Christchurch. We explored and tested what works in terms of making things simple and straightforward for clients and for ourselves by streamlining transactions and integrating the delivery of services at the frontline.

We will continue to draw lessons from the initiative to improve future service delivery.

National Office relocation

We are moving our National Office to a new campus at 56 The Terrace, Wellington in late 2016. The move gives us the opportunity to design a new, flexible work environment that encourages collaboration, innovation and better ways of doing things. It will be a physical representation of the integrated organisation we aim to be.

Our move is part of the wider Wellington accommodation programme being run by the Property Management Centre of Expertise. Cabinet approved the joint agency procurement plan and business case, along with the choice of 56 The Terrace, in November 2012.

In preparation for the move we have been prototyping new office layouts, building digital ways of working to help us manage our records, and reducing office clutter to ensure we only take what is needed to the new campus.

Information Communication Technology (ICT) platform

Technology advances have given us new ways to engage with our clients and stakeholders.

Over the last year, we successfully completed the Data Centre Migration programme and moved our entire technology infrastructure into two of the best data centres in New Zealand.

We also supported the Centralised Housing Unit by setting up the associated IT infrastructure and services needed to support a contact centre. The project, which is a New Zealand first, allows calls to be transferred from one government department to another while preserving the caller’s identity and call routing information.

This means that clients do not need to re-identify themselves when being transferred, or repeat the purpose of their call, which will save time and money in the long term.

Over the next year we will be revising our ICT Strategy and Action Plan. We will develop a strategic technology framework that will help us to:

  • use digital technologies to support new service delivery models that will result in an intuitive experience for staff and clients
  • provide stable core systems, investing in modern, flexible and ‘digital ready’ core IT applications
  • maintain high-performing workplace capabilities, ensuring staff have the right tools to achieve greater efficiency, productivity and safety
  • develop and maintain high-quality IT services and solutions, improving the quality of IT service delivery through robust controls and processes, assurance and risk management, and innovative sourcing foster a highly capable IT workforce to ensure our staff have the skills to deliver technologies in new ways to achieve our business priorities.

Improving the use of data

We are strengthening the way we use data and analytics so we can make informed decisions that target our services more effectively.

In the medium term we are aligning our transaction systems with those of other agencies to foster efficiencies. Work with Statistics New Zealand’s Integrated Data Infrastructure and the Vulnerable Kids Information System has already begun.

Information Management Strategy

People must be able to trust us to keep their personal information safe and secure. They must also have confidence in our stewardship of information because it is a public asset. People must be able to trust us to use our information assets for the good of New Zealand and to do so wisely.

This year we developed and adopted an Information Management Strategy to guide and direct staff behaviour and practice in respect of how they manage information. The goals of the Strategy are to ensure that:

  • information is collected for a defined purpose
  • personal information is secure and is shared safely
  • non-personal information is open and accessible
  • the value of information is maximised
  • information is used to inform high-quality decisions.

Strengthening governance arrangements

To support our strategic direction of becoming a single, cohesive agency with intelligent service delivery, we strengthened our governance arrangements to support whole-of-Ministry decision-making.

The Leadership Team

Our Leadership Team is made up of our Chief Executive, Deputy Chief Executives (DCEs) and Chief Policy Advisor, and has collective responsibility for ensuring the Ministry’s organisational health, capability, and capacity to deliver services and achieve outcomes.

Enhancing our governance arrangements

In 2014/2015 we implemented a new structure of governance committees to support strategic decision-making across the Ministry.

The Information Management Governance Committee provides oversight and governance of Ministry-wide information management and ICT matters.

The Finance and Portfolio Governance Committee provides oversight and governance of Ministry-wide finance and portfolio matters.

The Corporate Capability Governance Committee provides oversight and governance of Ministry-wide workforce, workplace and corporate capability matters.

The Policy and Cross-Social Sector Committee provides oversight and governance of social services strategy and key policy projects, including those with cross-Ministry and inter-agency implications. This Committee also makes sure we keep a strong, strategic link between operation, policy and governance.

Enterprise Portfolio Management Office

In July 2014, we established an Enterprise Portfolio Management Office (EPMO). EPMO provides an enterprise-wide view of the Ministry’s entire portfolio of projects and programmes. The portfolio visibility helps ensure we are investing in the right areas, by prioritising, sequencing and making informed decisions about which projects and programmes we invest in. EPMO will help us achieve expected business benefits and work towards strengthening core project and programme capability across the Ministry.

Over the last year, we introduced the Treasury Better Business Case model as standard across all projects. We also launched the Ministry’s Project Management Framework, which sets out how projects are initiated and successfully implemented. We delivered a series of planning and business benefit workshops to help build project management capability across the Ministry.

EPMO and a Ministry-wide view of projects are relatively new. Over the next three years we hope this will help us strengthen investment decision-making, manage project and programme delivery more consistently and to a higher standard, and realise intended business benefits.

Independent advisory committees

Two independent advisory committees provide expert advice to the Ministry.

The Work and Income Board is responsible for providing independent advice about how the Government’s welfare reforms are being implemented.

The Risk and Audit Committee supports the Chief Executive by providing independent advice and challenge on risk, internal control and assurance matters. The Committee has up to four independent members, one of whom is Chair.

We also support the Expert Panel for Child, Youth and Family (CYF), which is responsible for overseeing the development and implementation of a new operating model to modernise CYF.

Complaints, reviews and resolutions of grievances

Historic Claims

The Government is committed to settling by 31 December 2020 all historic claims of abuse or maltreatment that relate to the State’s care of children or young people prior to 1993.

In 2014/2015, we received 272 claims. As at 30 June 2015, 1,015 claims were current.

In May 2015, the Government announced a new ‘fast-track’ option to address the backlog of historic claims received. Many people with unresolved historic claims of abuse in state care are being given the option of a fast-track settlement, or to continue with the normal process.

As at 30 June 2015, settlement offers had been made to 398 claimants in the first phase of the fast-track settlement process, and 73 percent of these claimants had accepted their offer.

Benefit Review Committees

Benefit Review Committees provide independent reviews of clients’ applications, income support or pensions.

In 2014/2015, 4,782 benefit decisions were reviewed. Of these, 1,321 were resolved by a Benefit Review Committee. The Committee’s review confirmed 81 percent of the original decisions, varied 7 percent and overturned 12 percent.

Chief Executive’s Advisory Panel on Child, Youth and Family Complaints

This panel responds to complaints related to CYF that are escalated to the Chief Executive. It is made up of independent members who are appointed on the basis of their credibility, community standing and professional respect.

In 2014/2015, we received 50 requests for a review by the Advisory Panel. Eighteen of these requests were outside of the Panel’s jurisdiction and two requests were withdrawn.

The Panel heard 20 complaints during the year.

Working with the Ombudsman

In 2014/2015, the Ombudsman received 174 complaints under the Ombudsman Act 1975 and 65 complaints under the Official Information Act 1982 about the Ministry. Of the investigations finalised:

  • no Ombudsman Act complaints were upheld
  • four Official Information Act complaints were upheld.

Our people

Our workforce needs to be flexible and agile, with both general and specialist skills and capabilities that can be easily deployed to respond to changing demands and priorities.


Leadership has been identified as the single most critical driver of successful change in the State sector.

In conjunction with the State Services Commission, we established a Leadership and Capability Development and Deployment Strategy to provide a State sector-wide approach to talent management and leadership development. The programme aims to help individual leaders know more about themselves, to assist Chief Executives to build capability in their own organisations, and to provide the Commission with a view of talent across the sector.

To support this, we began identifying critical roles for the Ministry and developing an internal strategy that will allow us to recruit, manage and develop staff in these roles. We also put in place an internal talent management approach for second and third tier roles, which will be extended throughout the Ministry by 30 June 2017.

Developing leadership

We provided a range of development opportunities to build our leadership capability and succession planning which included:

  • Emerging Leaders, a programme designed for high-performing individuals who have the potential and aspiration to move into their first management or leadership role. Since its launch in 2013/2014, 200 employees have participated.
  • Te Aratiatia, which supports Māori and Pacific high-performing individuals to move into their first management or leadership role. Over 150 Māori and Pacific staff have graduated from Te Aratiatia since its launch in 2002.
  • Te Aka Matua, which supports five Māori and Pacific managers every three years who will complete their masters degrees in Public Management from Victoria University of Wellington. The latest intake was in late 2013 and the next is scheduled for 2016.
  • MSD Study Awards, an opportunity for our employees to pursue a significant learning and development programme of their choice that will benefit both themselves and the Ministry. Up to 10 of these awards are available each year.
  • The Team Leader Programme, a suite of five workshops providing first-time team leaders with core management and leadership skills. Since its introduction in 2011, 108 participants have completed the programme.

The Leadership in Action programme, for experienced frontline managers from across the Ministry. Much of the learning in this programme comes from watching simulated situations that a manager typically faces. Over 320 managers have completed the programme.


Equal Employment Opportunity

Our Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) policy demonstrates our commitment to supporting and promoting equality and diversity within a positive work culture based on respect, fairness and valuing individual difference. The graphs below show our demographic background.

Figure 11: Diversity statistics by gender.
Source: State Services Commission Public Services Report 2014 and Ministry of Social Development statistics.
Figure 12: Diversity statistics by ethnicity.
Note: MELAA refers to Middle Eastern, Latin American and African ethnicities.
Source: State Services Commission Public Services Report 2014 and Ministry of Social Development statistics.

The 2013 Human Rights Commission EEO Survey identified that our policies and practices have led to positive outcomes for Māori employees.

In 2014/2015, we continued to remove barriers for disabled employees by developing an online resource of accessibility information for disabled employees, their managers and colleagues. We have also been working on improving the accuracy of impairments data by making it possible to update data online.

Diversity statistic

In 2014/2015:

  • in our senior management team
    • 58 percent were female
    • 13 percent were Maori
    • 3 percent were Pacific peoples
    • 1 percent was Asian.
  • the average age of Ministry staff was 44.6.
  • the average length of service was 9.8 years.

Positive and stable industrial relationships

We have a strong relationship with the Public Service Association (PSA) through the Modern, Innovative and Productive Public Services Agreement (MIPPS), which continues to provide a productive and stable industrial relations platform. Over 6,000 of our 10,000 staff are members of the PSA.

In 2014/2015, we worked alongside the PSA on change initiatives that impact our work environment and workforce. This included the review of Family and Community Services (now known as Community Investment), the realignment of Work and Income, StudyLink, Seniors and Integrity Services, and the response to the Ashburton tragedy.