Our short-term priorities

Each year, we set out our priorities in our annual plan. This is a summary of that content.

In the next few years, our work will focus on:

Improving outcomes for New Zealanders

Our work in the next three years will aim to better understand how well the public sector is improving the lives of New Zealanders. We’ll be looking at:

  • achieving reductions in family violence;
  • improving housing outcomes;
  • improving health outcomes;
  • improving education outcomes; and
  • improving outcomes for Māori.

Achieving reductions in family violence

Family violence is widely recognised as a complex problem. It persists despite the efforts of successive governments, many government agencies, and the numerous community organisations working with those who are either harmed by or perpetrators of violence.

During the next three years, we’ll examine how well a joint venture has been set up to reduce family violence. We’ll also continue to increase our understanding of the overall family violence problem, its costs to society, and whether the system (all the relevant organisations, working together) responds in ways that will lead to significant and sustained reductions in family violence.

See our collection of work on family violence

Improving housing outcomes

Adequate and affordable housing is crucial for social and economic well-being. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Development has assumed the leadership role of the housing system. It has also embarked on a new “place-based” approach of targeting interventions more closely to regional and local needs. For this to work in practice, central and local government will need to co-operate closely.

We’ll look at how the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is overseeing the housing system and how central and local government agencies are working together to deliver good housing and community outcomes – including for people at greater risk of living in unhealthy homes.

See our collection of work on housing

Improving health outcomes

All New Zealanders interact with the health system at multiple times in their lives. The health sector is the second largest area of government spending but faces significant financial pressures. District health boards, in particular, have inequalities in access and outcomes for particular populations and are expecting to undergo significant reform.

We’ll look at how the Government responded to the report on the New Zealand Health and Disability System Review and, if appropriate, comment on the proposed reforms.

We’ll also look at how well the Ministry of Health supports district health boards to deal with their financial challenges and how the Ministry and the Treasury work together to support the health sector to be financially sustainable.

See our collection of work on health

Improving education outcomes

New Zealand needs a stable and strong education system that keeps all children engaged.

School attendance rates are declining and there are long waits for learning support, particularly early intervention. Some outcomes for Māori and Pasifika learners are worse. We’ll look at the effectiveness of interventions aimed at improving educational outcomes.

Our work will look at how the education agencies and other public organisations partner with Māori to develop programmes and interventions intended to improve outcomes for Māori learners.

We’ll also look at the financial sustainability of New Zealand’s tertiary education institutions (TEIs). TEIs were financially vulnerable to changes in participation rates by international students before Covid-19.

See our collection of work on education

Improving outcomes for Māori

Parliament has set new requirements for the public service to strengthen capability to engage and work in partnership with Māori. Our work in the next three years will focus on the public sector's effectiveness in improving outcomes for Māori.

We’ll commission some research to find out what effective public accountability looks like for Māori. We’ll also look at how effectively Whānau Ora is supporting whānau to improve their lives, building on our work in 2015.

We’ll look at how effectively public organisations are meeting the obligations in Treaty settlements. Meeting those obligations is fundamental to improving outcomes for Māori and for developing a positive and enduring relationship between the Crown and Māori. We’ll also look at how the public service is building its capability and capacity to work in partnership with Māori.

See our collection of work on kaupapa Māori

Public accountability

An effective accountability system is critical to New Zealanders’ trust and confidence in the public sector and in government.

We’ll look at the Government’s plans to report on its well-being agenda, how well prepared it is to meet sustainable development goals, how the public accountability system is working for Māori as well as communities in general, and influencing public sector reforms to strengthen accountability to Parliament and the public.

We’re staying focused on the fundamentals, such as how well public organisations manage procurement, how major infrastructure and other significant spending decisions are made, and how well public organisations plan for the future.

We’re also going to be paying more attention to integrity and ethics matters. For example, we’ll be carrying out audits to see how well integrity matters are managed. We’ll also be creating resources to help leaders create an appropriate “tone from the top” and a supportive integrity framework.

Keeping New Zealanders informed

It is important for the public sector to inform New Zealanders about issues that matter to them in ways that are meaningful. Performance reporting is how New Zealanders can see the value they’re getting for the rates and taxes they pay.

We’ll be looking at how the public sector is accountable to communities and asking specific communities about what is important to them about the services they receive. We also want to expand the information that we provide about public sector performance and explore how we can make that information more relevant to different communities.

Sharing what “good” looks like

We’re in a unique position to identify and share examples of good practice to support improvements in public organisations. We also have an important and influential role as an information broker, connecting organisations to share experiences about what works.

We’ll focus on supporting and strengthening our relationships with the chairpersons of audit and risk committees. Those independent audit and risk committees are a vital partner in supporting public organisations to perform at their best.

We also want to better understand the challenges public organisations are facing. We want to provide more targeted information, giving the right support at the right time.

We’ll continue to update our suite of good practice guides, but we’re also looking at other ways we can encourage public organisations to share their experiences with each other, including running more forums where members of the public sector can share experiences, make connections, and access resources to help them implement improvements in their own organisations.

See our good practice section

Response to Covid-19

Our work on the Government’s response to Covid-19 focuses on tracking the spending and whether it was appropriately authorised, describing what happened, evaluating the response, and looking at the recovery planning.

We intend to provide clear and independent information to Parliament and the public about the effectiveness of the Government's response to Covid-19.

We’ll look at how individual public organisations responded – how they continued to deliver services and keep staff working through a period of disruption. We’ll provide an independent and balanced view of what went well and what didn't, so public organisations can learn from each other.

See our collection of work on Covid-19