Part 2: Reporting on the outcomes we seek

Annual report 2018/19

At the top of our performance framework, as shown below, are the three outcomes that we seek to influence. We want Parliament and New Zealanders to have trust and confidence in the public sector. To achieve this, the public sector has to perform well and be accountable.

Our strategy describes how we plan to influence these outcomes through strengthening our core work, and also focusing on work that will help to achieve more impact from what we do. In early 2018, we changed the emphasis of our work to respond to changes in our operating environment and better position ourselves to influence the outcomes we seek.

We also reprioritised areas of our Organisation Development Plan to ensure that we have the capability, systems, and organisational culture to support our work.

Next is an overview of our achievements during 2018/19 against our strategic priorities. In the pages that follow, we set out the indicators we use to assess our progress towards our outcomes.

To improve the performance of public organisations and the public management system in which they operate, we:

  • responded to proposed reforms of public accountability and published 10 submissions to influence thinking about system changes;
  • substantially completed a discussion paper setting the scene for our future work on public sector accountability; and
  • started work on consolidating our insights about performance reporting to influence improvement in the way that public organisations report their performance.

The three outcomes that we seek to influence.

To more actively share our insights about what "good" looks like so that public organisations can improve, we:

  • revised our website to better promote our good practice guidance; and
  • updated and published our good practice guide on severance payments.

To ensure that we continue to improve the impact from our core work, we:

  • prepared an engagement and impact plan for every performance audit, inquiry, and major piece of discretionary work;
  • improved our audit planning processes through providing more targeted and timely advice; and
  • improved our work programme planning by enabling wider contribution to the planning process.

To ensure that we have the capability, systems and organisational culture to enable us to deliver our work, we:

  • modernised all our people and capability policies, including finalising our People strategy;
  • reviewed aspects of our remuneration and reward system to ensure that our processes are fit for purpose;
  • developed a submission for further Crown funding to address our demand, impact and capability needs; and
  • implemented many of the findings from the independent effectiveness and efficiency review of Audit New Zealand.

Progress against our outcome indicators

Although overall progress against our outcome indicators was mostly maintained or improved in 2018/19, we consider that there is no room for complacency. Public organisations must continue to improve how they account for the public resources they use, meet the high standards of governance and integrity expected, and continue to improve their performance.

As one of a number of influencers in these areas, we will continue to play our part in influencing these important outcomes.

Outcome 1: Parliament and New Zealanders have trust and confidence in the public sector

Our indicators Progress
Worldwide governance ranking

(Worldwide Governance Indicators)
Worldwide governance ranking.
New Zealand has consistently ranked above the 90th percentile for all six dimensions of the World Bank's Worldwide Governance Indicators over the last three years. The results for 2018 are not yet available.

Source: World Bank.
Levels of trust in public services

(Kiwis Count survey)
Experience-based trust Experience-based trust.
Perception-based trust Perception-based trust.
Overall, New Zealanders' levels of trust based on their personal experience and trust based on their perception of the public service brand have improved over time.

However, there are statistically significant lower results for Māori. For example, in 2018, trust based on experience was 80% overall, but 70% for Māori.

For perception-based trust, the 2018 overall result was 50%. For Māori, it was 35%, with the gap between Māori and non-Māori increasing by 9% since 2012.

Source: State Services Commission
Corruption score and world ranking

(Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index)
Corruption score and world ranking.
With a score of 87 out of 100, the most recent results show that New Zealand's public sector ranked as second least corrupt in the world after Denmark.

Although the 2018 score was a slight decline from the previous three years, New Zealand remains one of the top-performing countries in the Index.

Source: Transparency International.
Integrity ranking

(International Civil Service Effectiveness Index)
Integrity ranking.
Results for the University of Oxford's 2019 International Civil Service Effectiveness Index show that the New Zealand public sector ranked first on integrity compared to the 38 other countries reviewed.
Source: University of Oxford.

Outcome 2: An accountable public sector

Accountability for the use of public resources is critical. For Parliament and New Zealanders to have trust and confidence in the public sector, public organisations need to provide reliable, meaningful, and timely information so that they can be held accountable.

Each year, we examine trends for these aspects of public sector accountability, including timely and reliable information, sound management, and good governance. We show a high-level summary of the results across our indicators below. Overall, the results show that public sector accountability for public resources is at levels consistent with previous years.

Our indicators for timeliness and quality Progress
Audits completed on time Audits completed on time .
We use audits completed on time as a substitute measure for public organisations completing their reporting within statutory time frames.
Public release of annual reports

(for local authorities only)
Public release of annual reports.
More local authorities are meeting their timeliness obligations for public release of their annual reports. These results are reported for the previous financial year.
Unmodified audit opinions Unmodified audit opinions.
We use unmodified audit opinions as a substitute measure for reliable information. An unmodified audit opinion means that our auditors considered that the public organisation had fairly reflected its performance in its reporting.
Our indicators for sound management and good governance Progress
Management control environment results Management control environment results.
Financial information systems and controls results Financial information systems and controls results.
Service performance information and associated systems and controls results Service performance information and associated systems and controls results.
For public organisations in the central government sector (excluding schools), our auditors use a framework to assess each organisation's management control environment, and financial systems and controls.

For some public organisations, we assign grades: needs improvement, good, or very good.

Auditors recommend improvements to ensure that there are effective internal controls for sound management and good governance, and to help entities manage risks.

Results show a relatively consistent and strong position for management control environment, financial systems and controls, and service performance information and associated systems and controls.

Outcome 3: A high-performing public sector

Our indicator for public service quality Progress
Quality of public services
(Kiwis Count survey)
Quality of public services.
Since 2007, a sample of New Zealanders has been surveyed to measure satisfaction with a wide cross-section of public services through the Kiwis Count survey.

New Zealanders hold public services in reasonably high regard, and there has been steady improvement in the satisfaction trends since 2007. The average overall service quality score for 2018 is 77 (out of 100) across the 43 services.