12 November 2013

The Victoria University School of Government awards ceremony last night included an address by the Deputy Prime Minister. He spoke of academic input into structures needed for effective government.   The Kiwis Count findings updated last week confirm strengthening public perceptions of the quality of the State Services and significant increases in levels of trust in agencies. These results are a testament to the engagement of frontline staff.  They show a focus on solving problems. That is what good government is all about.  But he wanted less separation between academics and agencies, from policy makers and government.

He spoke of the Better Public Services goals providing transparency and public accountability. He echoed a theme of previous speeches to public sector audiences – of using resources effectively.  The solo mothers are known, as are the names of the children in care and those failing to read, the prisoners at the gate, and those on the invalid’s benefit. There are substantial savings to be made in remedying these situations. Use of information may be the way. Agencies hold massive amounts of information;  the way they use it is what marks their difference.  Solutions will lie in using that information. What we need are ethical and practical applications to deal with these challenges.

He acknowledged that no one had all the answers.  That’s where research can help.  He admired the intellectual effort and personal commitment of people like the evening’s award winners. “Show us what works – and there is no limit on what we will spend.”

The Kiwis Count June 2013 Quarter results show overall satisfaction has steadily improved over the past six years. In the last 12 months, satisfaction with public services improved from 72 to 73 points and trust in public servants ‘to do what is right’ increased from 67 points in 2007 to 77 points in 2013.

The Kiwis Count summary indicates that –

  • In the last 12 months, satisfaction with public services has improved again.
  • There has been a steady improvement in overall satisfaction with public services over the past six years.
  • The overall service quality score for the June quarter 2013 is 73. This is one point higher than the June quarter 2012 result and five points higher than when it was first measured in 2007.
  • The quality of service score for three services significantly increased in the June 2013 quarter.
  • Since measurement began, there is a 14 point spread between the service with the most improvement to the service with the least improvement.
  • Thirteen NZ services have a service quality score that match or are above the comparable Canadian service “best in class” score.