Part 6: Questions to consider

Reflections from our audits: Service delivery.

Although the public sector delivers reasonably good public services for most people, there is no room for complacency in the face of people's rising expectations and rapidly changing and increasingly complex needs. To serve everyone well, the public sector needs to build on its strengths and embrace the opportunities presented by the information-rich, technology-driven, and joined-up modern environment, enabling services to be delivered in varied, innovative, and more cost-effective ways.

Our public sector has many strengths to build on. The committed people who work in it are one of its biggest advantages. As a country, we are often viewed by others as innovative and resourceful, with a great willingness to do things differently.

The personal connections between people make the difference between a mediocre service experience and an exceptional service experience. Public entities need committed and capable people with the right skills, training, information, and tools to deliver good services. These people need to be inspired and empowered by leaders who value initiative, place trust and confidence in them, and listen to, and learn from, the experiences of those they provide services to.

There are always challenges. The strengths of public entities mean that they are prepared to meet these challenges and to work together and with others in different ways to deliver the highest quality of public services possible into the future. We hope that these questions for public sector leaders and people working in and with public entities will encourage discussion about how the public sector can rise to the challenges and opportunities of the future. These 12 questions are not exhaustive and might prompt others:

  • What can you do differently to ensure long-term successful delivery of public services?
  • What scale and range of services are needed in different places across New Zealand?
  • How can public entities transform delivery of services through digital working, to bring a "step change" in services?
  • How can you involve and empower people, families, and communities in designing, planning, and delivering services?
  • How can you use and share data and information to design, plan, and communicate about service delivery?
  • How can public entities share, use, and make available information that enables their people to deliver the best services?
  • How should public entities work together and with others to deliver connected and integrated services?
  • How can public entities work successfully with the private and voluntary sector to meet changing public service needs, collectively making best use of their capacity and capability to deliver value for money?
  • What is needed to maintain clear and proper accountabilities for services delivered jointly?
  • What are the best measures of service performance and how should services be benchmarked to provide accountability and inform improvements in service delivery?
  • What future capacity and capability do public entities need to deliver really good services?
  • How can public sector leaders inspire and lead people to deliver high-performing and continuously improving public services?

Delivering public services also relies on good governance and proper accountability, which is the focus of our theme for 2015/16. There are important principles to governance and accountability that public entities should act on consistently. We will report our reflections on these principles next year.

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