29 August 2012

The ‘spirit of service to the community’’ seems to be in a satisfactory condition if ‘Kiwis Count’ data is a measure.  The latest survey provides some encouraging information about public experiences of government services.  Despite the tightening circumstances, the outcome focus of agencies – the commitment to effectiveness in giving the support that their service users want – would appear to be getting good results.

Kiwis Count shows that the satisfaction trend is improving.   When the survey was first conducted in 2007 overall satisfaction levels at 68% were very close to the Canadians – the survey tool is an adaption of the Canadian model. That improved in 2009 to 69%, equal to the best result in Canada, and on yesterday’s published results New Zealanders now have a average 72% satisfaction with the range of public services assessed by the survey.

The State Services Commission commentary on the survey indicates that the better rated satisfaction measure related to the service being  “…’ an example of good value for tax dollars spent’. On a five point agreement scale, with 5 being ‘Strongly agree’, 73 percent of respondents rated the value for money of their most recent experience as either a four or a five (up from 55 percent in 2007). This change in the public’s rating of value for money, combined with the increases for the other drivers, contributed to the increase in the overall service quality score…”

The health of the spirit of service may perhaps be more heartily diagnosed if the survey respondents had shown  greater improved appreciation of some of the other factors – that the service experience met  expectations, staff were competent, you were treated fairly, staff did what they said they would do ,and that your individual circumstances were taken into account.

The corelation between experience of public services and the Performance Improvement Framework of agencies will be an interesting one to explore.  An uninformed view would suggest that they are mutually supporting.

I wonder why, in the Kiwis Count questionnaire, the spelling differs between a fishing license  and a driver’s licence?