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 year, our work will focus on:

Improving the lives of 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:

  • Covid-19 response and recovery;
  • achieving reductions in family violence and sexual violence;
  • improving housing outcomes;
  • improving education outcomes;
  • improving health outcomes;
  • efforts to reduce child poverty; and
  • the effectiveness of immigration processes.

Covid-19 response and recovery

In 2022/23, we will complete our work on the all-of-government response in 2020 to Covid-19. We also expect to complete a final review of the vaccine roll-out, with a focus on how well equity issues were addressed.

We will watch developments and could reprioritise our work to respond to emerging issues of public interest.

Achieving reductions in family violence

Preventing and eliminating family violence and sexual violence is a priority for the Government. In 2022/23, we expect to complete an audit looking at how the Executive Board for the Elimination of Family Violence and Sexual Violence is working with the non-government sector. 

We are also looking at the incidence of sexual harm in the workplace, specifically the New Zealand Defence Force’s progress on eliminating sexual harassment and bullying in the armed forces as part of Operation Respect.

See our collection of work on family violence

Improving housing outcomes

We expect to complete the audit we started in 2021/22 looking at how well placed Te Tūāpapa Kura Kāinga – Ministry of Housing and Urban Development is to lead the housing and urban development system.

In 2022/23, we also expect to complete a performance audit looking at how Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities is working with other organisations on significant housing and urban development projects.  Given the housing disparities that Māori and Pasifika experience, we will consider whether and how projects support positive housing and community outcomes for these communities.

See our collection of work on housing

Improving education outcomes

In 2022/23, we plan to examine how effectively the Ministry of Education understands and is addressing educational disparities. We will look at how effectively the Ministry uses information to understand the multiple drivers of educational disparities, as well as how this information has informed the design and implementation of strategies and interventions to address them.

We might also look at some of the existing interventions, how the Ministry is monitoring them, and whether they are delivering results. Our work will also look at how the Ministry of Education is collaborating with other public organisations to effectively support at-risk learners.

See our collection of work on education

Improving health outcomes

In 2022/23, we expect to look at the investment that the Government has made in strengthening mental health services. Recent work by others has monitored the Government’s $1.9 billion investment in mental health services. We have therefore decided to focus on mental health services for young people, given their increasing need for mental health support.

See our collection of work on health

Efforts to reduce child poverty 

In 2022/23, we intend our work to contribute towards the national conversation about what public
organisations are doing to address the complex issue of child poverty. There are several elements that we could focus on, including:

  • reviewing the progress and effectiveness of the Government’s initiatives and to what extent these are making a difference for children, their families, and communities; 
  • looking at how effectively public organisations are working together to deliver the Government’s child poverty work programme; and 
  • the progress the Government has made implementing its Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, including how information is shared with the public in ways that are meaningful and accessible.

Effectiveness of immigration processes 

Immigration is important to New Zealand’s public services, businesses, and communities. It provides skilled workers, reunites families, and brings in students and people on working holidays. In 2022/23, we expect to look in detail at the processing of skilled migrant visas. We want to assess how well Immigration New Zealand’s processes are managed for applicants in this visa category.

Public accountability

An effective accountability system is critical to maintaining trust and confidence in the public sector and in government. Specific work we intend to carry out in 2022/23 will focus on: 

  1. accountability of the public sector to Māori; 
  2. how well the public sector is planning for the future; 
  3. integrity in the public sector; and 
  4. reporting on well-being.

We are also interested in how reforms will strengthen public sector performance and accountability and how these changes are planned, managed, and governed. We intend to keep a watching brief on the accountability arrangements made as part of the major public sector reforms, particularly in health, three waters, and tertiary education.

Keeping New Zealanders informed

Our regular reporting is the main way we can keep New Zealanders informed about how the public sector is performing. In 2022/23, we will continue to carry out:

  1. research on public sector accountability to local and regional communities; 
  2. reporting on sector-level performance reporting; and 
  3. our regular reporting.

We continue to be interested in better understanding what information about public services New Zealanders consider relevant and important. We will continue our work in tracking reported performance across sectors subject to significant reform, such as health, three waters, and tertiary education, and intend to make this publicly available data more accessible.

Sharing what “good” looks like

To improve their performance, public organisations need to understand what is expected of them. In 2022/23, we intend to continue sharing examples of good practice to support public organisations to improve.

After the local government elections in October 2022, we will offer induction sessions to new councillors and provide them with our good practice resources on topics of interest, including managing conflicts of interest. We will also maintain our focus on supporting independent audit and risk committees. We see these committees as critical in supporting public organisations to improve their performance and accountability.

To help improve public sector procurement practices, we also intend to publish a report reflecting on our findings from our multi-year work programme on procurement.

See our good practice section