Agencies find being piffed is not much fun
13 March 2012
The Performance Improvement Framework report on the Ministry of Economic Development was released yesterday by the Central Agencies. The reviewers’ traffic light assessments have been added to the collated results of the 14 previous PIFs. The agencies “piffed” to date are mainly Public Service Departments, but include three Crown entities (NZTA, NZTE and Standards NZ). The commentary on the results is that they reflect an agencies’ “fitness for purpose … rather than an absolute benchmark” and that a moderation process has been used to “ensure consistency is maintained across a wider set of reviews”.
The purpose of the PIF is to help chief executives improve agency performance. In addition, the common framework enables comparisons between agencies on their effectiveness in delivering on government priorities, core business and organisational management, including leadership, direction and delivery, external relations, people development and financial management. These characteristics are expressed in a complementary way in the standards of integrity and conduct for the State Services, with obligations incorporating requirements to be responsive, accessible and effective, and objective, careful and efficient. The Cabinet Manual uses the expression “the principles of public service” – of being fair, impartial, responsible and trustworthy. The terminology varies; the obligations to good government are unchanging.
There are 18 PIF matters rated by “traffic lights”. The collated results suggest that areas of greatest strength in the State services are in financial and asset management. Areas of substantial weaknesses are in management efficiency, vision, strategy, leadership and governance.
The MED traffic lights compare well with most other agencies; not scoring as well as MSD, IRD and TPK but substantially better than MFAT, NZTE and MPIA. These latter three collectively were assessed as “well placed”’ in only 10 of 54 elements. None of these three was rated as “strong” in any element.
Treasury sits about the middle of the PIF ratings, being neither “strong” nor “weak” in any of the 18 assessed elements. MSD with seven “strongs” and no “weaks” is the best rated.