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Jonathan Coleman

28 August, 2012

“Kiwis Count” shows increased satisfaction

New Zealanders are increasingly satisfied with the frontline public services they receive according to the latest Kiwis Count survey released today by State Services Minister Dr Jonathan Coleman.

The State Services Commission’s Kiwis Count survey, which measures satisfaction with 42 frequently-used public services, revealed an overall increase in the service quality score.

“This improvement in people’s overall satisfaction with public services is an excellent result considering the fiscal restraints under which the government has been operating since the last Kiwis Count survey, three years ago,”said Dr. Coleman. 

The survey results recorded the overall service quality score for public services rising from 69 points in 2009 to 72 points this year.
  
“One of the government’s four priorities is to provide better public services and this result shows we are delivering on that commitment,” Dr Coleman added.

The largest improvements in service quality came from the services ‘Importing Goods into New Zealand or Customs Duties’ and ‘New Zealand Superannuation’. Both increased by nine points.  The survey shows satisfaction with 10 other services also significantly improved since 2009.

‘Applying for or receiving a student loan or student allowance’ was the only service that showed a significant decrease in the service quality score, dropping from 59 points in 2009 to 52 points in 2012.

The survey findings are based on the experiences of 1,121 New Zealanders who completed the survey between February and June 2012.

“In future Kiwis Count updates will now be published on a quarterly basis, with the next set of results scheduled for release in November,” said Dr Coleman.

The latest Kiwis Count report can be found here: www.ssc.govt.nz/kiwis-count-update-aug12

 

Kiwis Count background.

 What is Kiwis Count?

The Kiwis Count survey is carried out by research firm Nielsen for the State Services Commission and was adapted from the Canadian government’s Citizen First survey.

 The first Kiwis Count survey was undertaken in 2007 and was repeated in 2009 as a point-in-time survey.  The purpose of Kiwis Count is to accurately measure New Zealanders’ experiences of public services, measure progress and identify opportunities to improve service delivery. Respondents are asked about 42 different public services, all provided by government organisations or local authorities.  Why does the SSC undertake Kiwis Count surveys?

Understanding New Zealanders’ experience of public services is an essential first step towards improving service delivery for New Zealanders.  The SSC adopted international best practice research aimed at focusing public servants’ attention on what really matters to New Zealanders using public services.

Why are SSC doing this survey now? The survey has been run previously in 2007 (www.ssc.govt.nz/kiwis-count-research-survey) and 2009 (www.ssc.govt.nz/kiwis-count-2009). Running it now provides us with up-to-date information. The refreshed format and process means that we can report on the findings sooner, and ensure the survey includes questions and sections that are relevant and useful to government services both provided and in design now.  What are the changes to Kiwis Count this year? 

Kiwis Count has changed from a point-in-time survey to a continuous survey with survey invitations sent out each month. This means that there is always data coming in. We’re aiming to report the results quarterly, based on a six month rolling average.

 What are the benefits of the changes? 

Results more relevant to when responses were provided.
The change to a continuous survey format will result in more timely reporting of data - more relevant to when the responses were provided.

Information for public sector organisations to respond more readily. 
Survey results will be available sooner than the comparable information from previous Kiwis Count surveys which will assist public sector organisations to respond more readily to the findings.

Better able to track changes in services.
The new format can also be responsive to changes in services and different modules will be able to be added to focus on particular areas. For example, the current survey has a module on the channels that people use to contact organisations and/or access services. Respondents are asked about the methods they have used and their preferences when looking for information or transacting with public services. This module was asked in 2009 and is included again to enable us to look at changes in behaviour over the past three years.

 How are respondents chosen? A random sample of names is taken from the electoral roll.

How many people take part?

The first quarterly update is based on the 1,121 people who completed Kiwis Count between February and June 2012. At least 500 people will take part every quarter and around 2,000 every year.

Can someone complete the survey on behalf of someone else, such as for someone with a disability or an elderly family member?

If an invited participant is unable to complete the survey then someone else can complete it on their behalf but the experiences or opinions recorded must be those of the person invited to take part in Kiwis Count. To make sure we hear the views of a cross-section of the population, it is important the person who was sent the survey provides the responses to the questionnaire.

Is the information supplied kept confidential?

Yes. Individual information supplied in the survey remains confidential. Individual responses are combined with everyone else’s and are not identifiable.

Nielsen is bound by the Market Research Professional Code of Practice which prohibits them from identifying any person who takes part in a survey unless they have that person’s permission to do so.

Only the data programmers and researchers working on this project can see individual responses.

The online survey is hosted on the Nielsen website, which has advanced security measures to protect both any loss and misuse of the information under their control on the site. The survey data is encrypted and cannot be read without the correct software even if it could be accessed.

Is SSC confident that there has been no privacy breach in the Kiwis Count  survey? 

Yes.  The State Services Commission, and their research partner Nielsen, are confident that no privacy breach has occurred or indeed can occur in the Kiwis Count survey. Reminder postcards sent from SSC to survey participants were mentioned in the media recently. No privacy breach has occurred in relation to these postcards nor is it possible for any breach to occur.

How are the usernames and passwords generated? 

The username and password are generated by Nielsen, our research provider, not by the survey participants, and are unique to this survey.  There is no way these can be used to access personal information.  If someone other than the named individual was to log-on to the survey they would find a blank survey form, there is no pre-populated information. 

How is the survey data used?

The respondents’ experiences with and perceptions of these services are used to produce the data that represents the New Zealand public’s levels of satisfaction and opinions.

Government organisations and local authorities use this data to improve both the services they provide and how they provide them. The ways they do this can include agencies considering the results and making changes within their organisations, or using this data with other evaluations, such as the Common Measurement Tool (CMT) (http://www.ssc.govt.nz/common-measurements-tool), so they can better understand how well their services work for the public.

  • Jonathan Coleman
  • State Services