Essential Information on an Essential Issue
23 August, 1999
More Winz Whirlpool
"I do not think any department should charter airlines..."
State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham
"I share the public's irritation and intolerance of ill-considered and inappropriate public
expenditure and I expect it to stop."
Prime Minister Jenny Shipley
"The public service needs a break from the kind of excess she represents. Taxpayers are sick
of egotism and extravagance at their expense..."
Steve Maharey, Labour spokesperson on social services
"Losing her performance bonus is only a small price for Ms Rankin to pay for this sloppy
Muriel Newman, ACT spokesperson on social services
"Overall, Winz is doing a good job in helping hard-to-place jobseekers get off a benefit ... We
still have confidence in Ms Rankin."
Winz Ministers Roger Sowry and Peter McCardle
"By merely reprimanding her over the chartered planes, State Services Commissioner
Michael Wintringham has delivered a very weak message about what is acceptable behaviour for
departmental chief executives..."
Green Party co-Leader Rod Donald
- WINZ AND THE PUBLIC SERVICE WE NEED
Last month saw the public censure of Winz chief executive, Christine Rankin, for her part
in the Wairakei plane charter affair. State Services Commissioner Michael Wintringham says
there was a lack of financial management and "apparent lapses" by Winz in understanding what
was acceptable expenditure on a conference.
He says the incident has not only eroded public confidence in Winz, but all
government departments and agencies. Wintringham: "The cost measured in the damage of credibility
has spread beyond the Department of Work and Income. Clearly these events have
overshadowed government policy..."
Wintringham says Rankin could lose all or part of her $37,500 performance bonus over
her part in the affair. He also has required Ms Rankin to submit a plan addressing the shortcomings
he found in Winz's financial management.
- The Dominion remarks in an editorial: "She keeps her job, and so she should. She has had
a salutary lesson and been exposed to public criticism over this and other aspects of the
department's style (which were not part of Mr Wintringham's inquiry). She knows Winz will be
under close scrutiny from now on, and the only convincing answer to politicians baying for her
blood will be superior performance..."
- The public probably could have expected the affair to end there. Instead, the media
and opposition parties have opened a floodgate of further stories about spending decisions taken
by Winz, and also how the agency is measuring the successes of its operations. The media has
also gone on to raise similar questions on spending decisions by Defence, Social Welfare and
The Secretary for Justice, Colin Keating, has spoken for many government leaders when
he says that the latest incidents mean that the public service will need to get back to basics and
regain the trust of New Zealanders.
- Amidst the media whirlpool dogging Winz, the announcements were made about the
restructuring of the Community Employment Group, the government agency that has been
most responsible for funding community-based, self help and local development projects for the
unemployed. Their work in recent years has focussed on unemployed Maori, women and
disadvantaged rural communities.
As expected, CEG's field workers will now operate directly under the offices of the
13 Winz Regional Commissioners. The Regional Commissioners will have the final say on the
grants and contracts offered to local community groups. There will be a restructured and
scaled-down national office servicing the needs of the network of Community Employment field workers.
And Winz says that the savings made on the restructuring will be "invested in front-line activities".
- In this special issue of The Jobs
Letter, we continue our essential summary of events
in recent weeks
and the emerging debate on "the public service we need".
- CHRISTINE RANKIN
A personal statement on her censure
- SPECIAL DIARY ON MORE OF THE WINZ WHIRLPOOL
... as it unfolded
- VOICES ON THE PUBLIC SERVICE WE NEED
... from the Daily Newspapers
- NEW WINZ COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT STRUCTURE
Regional Management to go in restructure ...
- NEW WINZ COMMUNITY EMPLOYMENT STRUCTURE
The new structure of Community Employment within Winz will see 16 national and 6
regional jobs go from what existed in the old Community Employment Group (CEG). There will be 9
new national and 10 new regional positions (6 full-time equivalents) established, which Winz says
"will provide opportunities for some of the displaced staff..."
Summary of the Winz decisions on the Community Employment role:
The current Community Employment national and regional management structure will
be disestablished and Community Employment Advisors now report to the 13 Regional
The Community Employment National Office support structure will be reduced by 11
positions, 4 of which will transfer to the National Office functions of Evaluation, Service
Delivery-Operations and Contracts. The IT, HR, Finance and Communication activities will be transferred
to their respective functional areas.
A new National Office position of Community Employment Practice Manager will be
established, reporting to the Deputy National Commissioner, and accountable for a team of four
National Community Advisors. The Practice Manager will be responsible for national
co-ordination, promotion of best practice and development and monitoring of Community Employment
The current front line establishment will be increased to incorporate a Team Co-ordinator
role reporting to the Regional Commissioner where Community Employment Adviser numbers
are sufficient to warrant a co-ordination and support role.
Team Co-ordinators and Community Employment Advisors, whilst having a direct line
of accountability to the Regional Commissioner, will have "a dotted line" of accountability to
the National Office Practice Manager.
- What will happen to the money?
Winz says that "contract management capability" is still being developed at a regional
level. Community Employment grant funding, currently held centrally, will be centrally managed by
the National Commissioner's office until such time as systems and regional capability are in
place. Winz envisages this will transfer to a regional level over a four-month period.
The delegated authority for operating funds and grant approvals will then transfer to the
Regional Commissioner. The grant process will continue to have three steps from the Community
Employment Adviser, to the Regional Contracts Manager and then the Regional Commissioner.
Winz says that where "the capacity for high risk or high dollar value grants" remains, the
decisions will need to be signed off at a national level.
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