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Appendix 1 – Performance Improvement Framework

In 2011, the State Services Commission reviewed Statistics New Zealand as part of a central agency initiative to help senior leaders drive performance improvement across the state services. The review assessed our performance and identified priority areas for action.

The report is on the State Services Commission website, The appendix table summarises the review’s recommendations and the progress we’ve made so far.

Appendix table

Our progress towards Performance Improvement Framework recommendations
Recommendation Progress to 30 June 2013
1. Develop and get early agreement with central agencies to the milestones that they will monitor on behalf of the Government and with the Treasury to the triggers for the continued funding for Stats 2020. Break the 10-year programme into thirds to sharpen early delivery of results, while retaining some flexibility in the details of out-year commitments. 

We agreed with central agencies on an approach for monitoring Stats 2020 milestones. This approach includes an independent review of the programme, ongoing monitoring of specific milestones which are refreshed each year, and quarterly reporting to central agencies. All milestones for the 2011/12 year and the 2012/13 year were met. We have provided quarterly progress reports to central agencies.

2. Flesh out the vision for Stats 2020 in detail that explains what the future will look like for the various stakeholders and when.

We developed a detailed roadmap for the first stage of Stats 2020 by identifying key outcomes that we should achieve at the end of each year. 

We developed a ‘transformation’ visual, which is a graphical representation of the internal vision for Stats 2020. We updated the page on our website that explains our strategic direction and the priorities and focus areas of Stats 2020. We created external-facing publications have carried Stats 2020 information.

3. Strengthen HR functioning including:

  • Embedding an effective HR management and leadership function
  • Finalising a remuneration strategy to support the organisational transformation
  • Strengthening performance management application
  • Introducing an enhanced remuneration banding structure. 

In November 2011, an independent review of our People Strategy concluded that we made a huge effort in completing the detailed planning to support the Stats 2020 transformation programme.

Since then we have:  

  • deployed a new performance management system which includes core behaviours in performance agreements
  • installed a new job evaluation system and remuneration strategy
  • achieved a nomination as one of the finalists of the Human Resources Institute of New Zealand Public Sector awards for the submission ‘Stepping out and walking the Stats talk’.

4. Strengthen change management capacity, including:

  • Change management budgeting
  • Further development of the strategic CFO function to:
    • support Stats 2020
    • contribute to a wider integrated performance reporting system
    • build in to the management systems advanced and robust methods for managing assets, liabilities and multi-year budgets.
  • Internal and external key performance indicator finalisation backed by routine and prompt monitoring and reporting.
  • Internal understanding and ‘buy-in’ by staff through strengthened cascading of messages from the top through all levels of management in regard to what transformation means for them.
  • Implementation of external assurance to support the Chief Executive.
  • Enhanced organisational strategic risk management. 

We established the Culture and Change business unit in the 2011/12 year, which began implementing the culture and change programme initiatives.

Over the 2012/13 year we have maintained a relationship with Mt Eliza Business School who facilitated workshops for the senior leadership team on change leadership.

The Terms of Reference for the Audit and Risk Committee have been revised to include provision of independent advice on the likelihood of the current approvals, processes and capability succeeding in achieving the commitments, deliverables and goals contained within Stats 2020.

Strategic risks are now part of the basis for the highest level programme risk register operated by the Transformation Office. Strategic risks are consequently monitored and reported on during the year.

A steering committee has been established to oversee the organisation’s Business Information and Performance initiatives.

5. Ensure robust management (internal and external) of the three strategic papers going to Cabinet before June 2012.

In March 2012, Cabinet endorsed the recommendations of our papers on the census transformation and on Tomorrow’s Official Population and Social Statistics programme.

We lodged the Independent review of the Statistics New Zealand People Strategy with the Officials’ Cabinet Expenditure Control Committee in November 2011. In May 2012 we reported back to the Cabinet Committee on State Sector Reform and Expenditure Control on our progress with our People Strategy.

The Cabinet Economic Growth and Infrastructure Committee considered the Tier 1 statistics paper in June 2012, and agreed to the revised list with only one amendment. Cabinet agreed to this list in July 2012, and endorsed the overall framework.

The Cabinet Appointment and Honours Committee approved the re-appointment and a new appointment to the Advisory Committee on Official Statistics in November 2012. 

6. Extend the vision for Official Statistics System management responsibility and impact, including strengthening partnering with the Treasury; reviewing the Advisory Committee on Official Statistics (ACOS) value for money; and giving consideration to strengthening and better utilising the Statistics Act 1975 to better empower the Official Statistics System leadership role of the Government Statistician and Statistics New Zealand.

We continued to work across government through our involvement in the Better Public Services programme. From November 2012 two senior advisory staff were seconded to the BPS project team at MBIE.

Statistics New Zealand is one of the nine lead agencies for Result Area 9: Business Facing Services and is a member of the cross agency steering committee and the Result Area 9 management group. Comment and advice has been provided on BPS Cabinet papers and initiatives, including the BPS Seed Fund and BPS progress report.

We have been advising on the implications for the use of administrative data and survey collection activity from the introduction of the NZ Business Number.

The Government Statistician’s purchase advice for government statistical production for the fiscal year 2012/13 and 2013/14 was accepted by Budget Ministers for consideration. 

We scanned the Statistics Act 1975 and identified two possible amendments which have been submitted into the 2013 Statutes Amendments Bill process.

We commissioned an external review of OSS governance, which showed that ACOS’ role and purpose was clear and its structure and membership were fundamentally sound. ACOS evolved over the year to enhance its value and advice to the Minister of Statistics. However, there is potential to further strengthen the role of OSS partners in the leadership of the OSS.

The Government Statistician was appointed to Treasury’s external panel to test its analysis of the Crown’s long-term fiscal position.

7. Strengthen Statistics New Zealand organisational management, including:

  • Continue to strengthen internal governance, including: concluding planned effectiveness reviews and implementing enhancements; and finalising outstanding governance composition and/or modus operandi for existing governance structure.
  • Implement processes and disciplines that will future-proof (during and post-Stats 2020) ongoing IT asset repair and maintenance/replacement, upgrade and enhancement.
  • Further embed a key performance indicator-based active performance culture and capability throughout the organisation, including staff development to support this.

A new position of Deputy Government Statistician Transformation was created in 2013. The Deputy Government Statistician Transformation (currently a three-year executive position) chairs the Transformation Programme Board. This Board is tasked with leading the coherence and integration of the programmes of work to deliver the transformation vision.

Improvements to our performance culture and information continue, driven through the Business Intelligence project and supported by other projects within the Business Information and Performance Programme of work.

A second Independent Quality Assurance assessment of our Stats 2020 transformation programme was conducted in May 2013 (following the initial assessment in 2011/12). The report identifies strong senior management ownership as a strength of the programme, and is positive about the new governance arrangements. The recommendations in the report are under action.

We completed an external review of procurement and we will reposition our procurement function across the organisation to add more value and seek savings.

We continued to develop the long-term asset management plan and the activity-based costing project is also underway.


8. Finalise and transparently communicate guidelines for external access / eligibility / cost / dissemination / reach for data and statistical information.

Amendments to the Statistics Act 1975, extending the Government Statistician’s discretion to allow wider access to microdata were enacted in August 2012. The extension of discretion has been communicated to interested parties.

In June 2013 we launched a new service that provides secure access to microdata, and allows researchers to use microdata without travelling to a Statistics New Zealand office.

Since we introduced the accredited researcher scheme in November 2011, we offered 11 researchers accreditation and 10 have accepted.

We continued to participate in the Open Government Information and Data Re-use Project.

9. Demonstrably lead and add value to the government-wide statistics profession. 

We offered regular OSS seminars that attracted both internal and external users of official statistics. This series delivers 10 seminars annually, drawing on local and international speakers.

We offered state sector employees the opportunity to do individual modules of the National Certificate in Public Sector Services (Official Statistics). This course helps policy analysts and advisors deliver high-quality quantitative analysis.

The Statistical Education team was developed a draft strategy ‘Building Official Statistics Capability through Education and Training which identifies Māori, government and the media as priority user groups of official statistics’.

10. Finalise and communicate the organisational scope (internally and externally) in regard to the Statistics NZ story telling/analytical value-add role. 

Dynamic graphs have been delivered and were used for the first time in the Accommodation Survey: October 2012 information release. The Interactive Population Pyramid was released in February 2013.

Statistics New Zealand’s ‘How to tell a story using statistics’ won the WriteMark award for Best Plain English Document in the Public Sector/NGO category

Research on the levels of analysis and interpretation that different customer groups need from Statistics New Zealand was completed. Guidelines for the analysis and interpretation of statistical data were also completed for implementation next year. 


11. Give consideration to implementing sustainable ‘blue-sky’ research and development processes to support ongoing organisational innovation, which will support fundamental business system changes.

We continued working on our Research Priorities and Planning project, which is part of Stats 2020. The project has identified no gaps in the research being undertaken against what is needed at this stage to support the Stats 2020 programme. No long-term gaps have been identified.

The Business Efficiency Team was established to capture, monitor, and support efficiency opportunities in Statistics New Zealand that sit outside of the Stats 2020 initiative programme of work. The Business Efficiency Team will be able to provide the organisation with greater awareness of the Business Improvement Programme and support Business Units to seek assistance and submit requests for new efficiency and improvement projects.


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