Archive for the ‘public service’ Category

Waste In Government Expenditure

December 8, 2008

The previous Government used to get upset when we suggested that there was waste in Government expenditure.  They should have listened harder.  There are two good examples in today’s Dominion Post.  At local government level we have have an inquiry having to be called in Auckland because the Auckland Regional Council put ratepayer money into the football game played at the weekend by LA Galaxy.  Why was a Council putting any money into this type of venture?  Is this core Council business?

Second we read about an inquiry having to be called by the SSC into its relations between a contractor and the SSC over the Government Shared Network project. 

We pointed out to the previous Government that they should be paying particular scrutiny to the area of Government IT expenditure when it was revealed last year that expenditure across departments was over $1 billion a year. 

Total government operating expenditure on information and communication technology (ICT) was $1.1 billion, and total capital expenditure was $0.6 billion in the 2006 financial year.

Personally I believe that it would be possible to halve that expenditure (freeing up $500 million a year) without many people noticing that anything had changed.

Yes Minister?

December 7, 2008

Michael Laws suggests today that the real enemy of the new Government is the public service.

Like rust, New Zealand’s civil service never sleeps. And like rust, it silently corrodes ministers’ ambitions and aspiration. Forget the global credit crunch: this new government’s enemy is already within.

I tend to agree, but it is a pretty dumb public servant who doesn’t yet reaalise how much their world has changed. 

CEOs got the clear message from John Key earlier in the week about wanting change.  And change John Key will get.  For the public servants who don’t deliver the change will be their jobs.  Rsik aversion, caution, obviscation will not be tolerated.  This Government wants results, and fast results.  Those uncomfortable with the requirement to take some risk to deliver the desired outcomes, those unwilling to adopt private sector management systems, those unwilling to contemplate the adoption of clear and measurable performance targets should go now and let those willing to deliver on the new Government’s expectations to come through and implement change.

Initial feedback I am receiving from a range of Ministers is that in the first few weeks of the new Government most senior public servants have not yet fully grasped the extent of change that is required.  This is a bit worrying, as from what I hear major change is needed in pretty much all departments.

Anyone in any doubt should find out what happened to the proposal that 22 officials travel to the climate change meetings in Poland.  The asumption was it was business as usual.  Bad call………………

Trans Tasman On The Public Service

December 5, 2008

Yesterday’s Trans Tasman has some very interesting commentary on the new Government’s attitude to the public service.  The comments on capability and on evidence that some in the Public Service don’t realise the new Government’s detrermination to do things differently should be being read by all public service managers.  We quote the operative paragraph

It appeared to Ministers there is a reluctance to recognise a new Govt has taken office and is setting the bar at a different level. Many public servants may be under the mistaken impression this was to be a no-change administration, picking up where Labour left off, an impression fostered by the media’s constant reiteration during the election campaign there is little difference in the policies of Labour and National. National has insisted it wants to maintain stability and good process, all of which is meant to be unthreatening to the public service. But National’s core message is the whole country including the public service needs to change and lift its game. What this means is a team of Ministers, led by Key, used to private sector, hit-top-gear standards, expecting the same from the public service. Under the previous administration, there was little innovation in the public service, which now seems gun-shy