Progress continues on public service targetsState Services Deputy Prime Minister
The latest update of the Government’s Better Public Services initiative shows significant gains continue to be made, though challenges remain in achieving these ambitious goals, Finance Minister Bill English and State Services Minister Jonathan Coleman say.
The Government today published the latest six-monthly progress report on its 10 Better Public Service Result areas.
The programme began in 2012 when Prime Minister John Key announced goals in 10 challenging areas including reducing long-term welfare dependency, increasing immunisation, reducing rheumatic fever, reducing violent crime and re-offending, and increasing Level 2 NCEA pass rates.
“The result areas were chosen to make a meaningful difference to the lives of all New Zealanders, with a particular focus on the most vulnerable and hard to solve problems,” Mr English says.
“The progress report shows most result areas are on track, and some areas - increasing infant immunisation, reducing crime, and reducing re-offending - are ahead of where they need to be to meet their targets.
“We have always said these targets would be ambitious and that progress would not always be even and consistent. The Government remains focused on addressing the most challenging issues affecting New Zealanders.”
Dr Coleman says the public service is demonstrating it can adopt new ways of working to achieve results.
“The report shows that the public service is delivering better results for New Zealanders by increasing collaboration and adopting innovative ideas,” he says.
“For example, we have seen a number of agencies come together effectively to deliver the Auckland-wide Healthy Homes Initiative, ensuring that Auckland families of children at risk of rheumatic fever have a package of housing-related measures to reduce health risks.
“This is the kind of practical frontline joined-up response that the public expects, and that the Government requires of the public service to improve the lives of more New Zealanders.”
The public service is also more engaged with communities to achieve results. For example, the Ministry of Education, in partnership with Te Puni Kokiri and the Ministry of Pacific Island Affairs is engaging with families to ensure students are encouraged and supported by their community to understand the significance of NCEA.
The six-month progress report shows infant immunisation continues to progress well with 91 per cent of 8-month-olds fully immunised.
The total crime, violent crime and youth crime targets are expected to be reached ahead of the target date. The recorded crime rate is now at its lowest level in 33 years.
Reducing welfare dependence is ahead of the expected target. The Ministry of Social Development has driven action by using data effectively, ensuring that welfare support is invested where it will make the biggest difference.
While hospitalisation for acute rheumatic fever increased slightly in the year to June 2013, a lot of work is being undertaken to reach the target of reducing incidence of the disease by two thirds by 2017, including new initiatives put in place last year.
Reducing assaults on children showed a small increase, with 4.3 per cent more cases of physical abuse reported in the year to September 2013 compared with the previous year. The data is known to fluctuate, and a better understanding is required before trends can be identified.
The full-year Better Public Service results are due to be published in July.
The six-monthly results to the end of December 2013 can be found at: www.ssc.govt.nz/better-public-services