Part 7: Resourcing to support implementation

New Zealand Defence Force: Resetting efforts to reduce harmful behaviour.

The level of resource assigned to initiatives sends an important message about the priority that work is given in an organisation. Adequate resourcing is needed to fund the programme team and to support changes to facilities and infrastructure. It is also required to ensure that the programme can access the right expertise.

We expected to see adequate staffing, resources, and suitable expertise assigned to effectively implement Operation Respect.

Summary of findings

In our view, insufficient resourcing has been provided for Operation Respect. We acknowledge that the new strategy and plan (including roles and responsibilities) need to be progressed before decisions can be made about how much additional resource is needed and where it should be directed. However, additional expertise in organisational development, sexual harm, and culture change is needed for the development of the strategy and plan. This expertise is also required to support leaders and facilitate organisational discussions about inappropriate and harmful behaviour.

After the 2020 review, we do not think that there was enough consideration given to the type of expertise that was required to take the programme forward. During our audit, we saw that efforts were made to engage additional expertise. This now appears to be making a difference.

Operation Respect needs adequate resources

Operation Respect was provided more resources after the 2020 review (for example, a new Military Lead role was created). However, multiple people, including senior leaders, told us that there was a lack of adequate resource to support Operation Respect. We were told that implementing action plans relied on the goodwill of people who are already overworked. This is not sustainable.

Operation Respect's activities have been funded by the Safety Directorate budget. In our view, the programme needs its own dedicated budget that will allow the strategy, once developed, to be implemented successfully.

In our view, resources are immediately required for:

  • design of a new data and information system; and
  • additional culture change/organisational development and sexual harm expertise.

Once the strategy and plan has been finalised, NZDF will need to determine what resource is required for successful implementation, and ensure that this resource is provided.

It is important that sufficient priority is given to Operation Respect in each service. In our view, one way to ensure that a service-led approach is successful is for each of the services and Joint Forces to have their own Operation Respect Programme Lead.

SAPRAs are also needed. The number of SAPRAs has increased since the 2020 review – for example, the Devonport Naval Base now has two SAPRAs, and Woodbourne Air Base has its own dedicated SAPRA. Although this is positive, there is still not a SAPRA at every camp and base. In our view, work is needed to understand workload and provide appropriate resourcing to ensure that there are enough SAPRAs assigned to each location.

Specialist expertise is needed to support Operation Respect

The kinds of behaviour changes sought through Operation Respect are complex. Designing the organisational approach needed to bring about change requires the right expertise. In our view, the organisation has not had enough of the right expertise to guide this work.

In our view, culture change/organisational development expertise and sexual harm prevention expertise are both needed to support the development of Operation Respect's strategy and plan. NZDF has recently engaged additional expertise to work on the new strategy. We consider this a step in the right direction and encourage NZDF to ensure that expertise of this nature remains in the organisation.

Specialist expertise with experience in sexual harm prevention is required to help NZDF understand the risks for sexual harm, and to work with senior leaders to develop effective ways of talking about it. To provide that, NZDF needs to have more harm prevention resources in the organisation. More practical guidance about how leaders on camps and bases can engage in harm prevention activities and identify and assess risks is needed. Providing this guidance and support requires more resourcing than SAPRAs are currently able to provide.

In our view, there is an opportunity for the Operation Respect programme team to become the "hub" for knowledge and expertise in harmful behaviour. To develop this kind of hub, the expertise we refer to above would need to be a core part of the programme team.

Recommendation 10
We recommend that the New Zealand Defence Force provide resources to ensure the programme team can access appropriate expertise:
  1. in organisational development/culture change to support development of the strategy and plan;
  2. in sexual harm (including characteristics, drivers, prevention, and response) to assist in developing the strategy and plan and work with senior leaders;
  3. to develop a plan for improving data collection and information management related to inappropriate and harmful behaviour; and
  4. in harm prevention to equip leaders with the tools and skills they need to carry out their responsibilities for Operation Respect.
Recommendation 11
We recommend that the New Zealand Defence Force determine what resources will be required to successfully implement the strategy once it is developed and regularly review resourcing to ensure that it remains adequate.