The Government response
from The Jobs Letter No.127 / 14 July 2000
Last month, the government announced details of its response to the Ministerial Inquiry into
the Department of Work and Income (DWI, or Winz). Social Services and Employment Minister
Steve Maharey hopes that an increased focus on employment and greater regional flexibility will mark a
new beginning for the department.
Maharey says the new Department of Work and Income purchase agreement and the Chief
Executive's performance agreement will together reflect the Government's expectations of the
department. Maharey: "A line is drawn under the first 18 months of the Department of Work and Income. Now
we move forward. The increased regional employment focus, moving the Community Employment
function to the Department of Labour, improved services to Maori and Pacific people, and a more
responsive organisational and public service culture
add up to a significant new start."
As a first step, Winz Regional Commissioners will have to introduce a range of alternate
employment approaches from 30 November this year, as part of the wider changes to service delivery in the
future. Winz CEO Christine Rankin also has been required to produce a "change management plan", to
be presented to the Ministers of State Services and Social Services for their consideration by the middle
of this month.
Some of the specific requirements the Ministers are now expecting from Winz include:
The "Culture" of the Department
Improve collaboration and consultation with key government agencies
Commit to informing, involving and consulting with clients, stakeholders, local government,
iwi, advocacy groups and other key community groups, both nationally and regionally
Modify corporate and business language
Continue the recently introduced probity programme to ensure that staff act prudently in
spending taxpayer money, and that sound and frugal economic management is maintained
The Controller and Auditor General will be asked to include a property audit in the next audit
of DWI and include this information with his audit report for 2000
Revise performance indicators to ensure consistency with the purchase agreement and the
publish performance indicators and results on the Department's website
To ease workload pressures, investigate the feasibility of a nationwide rollout of the
Application Line pilot that allows clients to register and apply for entitlement through an 0800 number. Moving
the bulk of the application process to the call centre allows case managers to spend more time with clients.
Give Regional Commissioners immediate authority to move to specialised case management
of work tested and non-work tested client groups if they consider that this will relieve staff workload.
Improve ways for frontline managers to be informed of and discuss changes
Improve the capability of staff to work effectively with clients and targeted groups.
Provide better opportunities for staff to have their say.
Strengthened collaboration through a Chief Executive's forum involving the Chief Executive of
the Department of Work and Income, the Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Policy (MSP), and
the Secretary of Labour and their senior teams for information sharing and progress reporting.
In respect of the Department's Maori Strategy, the Chief Executive of the Department of
Work and Income will work with the Department of Labour (DoL) and Te Puni Kokiri (TPK) on
monitoring progress of the agreed strategy.
For implementation of the benefit advocacy group changes, the Chief Executive will work
with the Chief Executive of MSP.
An existing senior officials group will continue work on increasing the employment focus of
the Department. This may be expanded to include officials from TPK and the Ministry of Pacific
The Ministers of State Services and Social Services and Employment will receive regular
reports on progress, and after one year the Minister of Social Services and Employment will review
progress made in implementing the two year plan to change the culture and approach of the Department
and report back to the Government.
Services better tailored to local needs (e.g. work brokers will be able to adopt a regional
focus rather than a site specific one where this suits the needs of the region better)
Specialisation of services to better meet needs of clients (e.g. greater understanding and
knowledge of the needs of particular client groups)
More appropriate service to client groups (e.g. provision of services by Maori for Maori,
whanau case management)
Partnerships with communities that maximise the collaboration/co-ordination between the
department, other agencies and local community groups
Increased community involvement in the direction and priorities of each region
Services to Maori and Pacific job seekers
Work with DoL and TPK to develop a strategy for Maori that is aimed at improving
employment prospects for this group. Possibilities under consideration include:
a specific "demonstration region" focusing on achieving improvements in Maori employment
a specific "demonstration region" focusing on achieving improvements in Pacific employment
testing alternative forms of case management within Department of Work and Income designed
to deliver services in a more appropriate manner to Maori and Pacific job seekers and to focus
greater case management resources on the most disadvantaged job seekers.
improving the capacity of Department of Work and Income staff to work with Maori and
Pacific job seekers, beginning with an examination of current staff training programmes
testing the contracting out of the full range of Department of Work and Income
employment services to Maori and Pacific providers.
Source Press Release New Zealand Government 20 June 2000
"Govt. Responds To The WINZ Inquiry"
- CHRISTINE RANKIN UPBEAT
Speaking on the TV1 Holmes show, Christine Rankin said she was upbeat about the
proposed changes to the structure and direction of the organisation. She does not believe her responsibilities
were diminished as she still has responsibility for 5,000 Winz employees. Rankin argues that the
department has performed well in recent times, doubling the amount of people it put into work, despite "a
very difficult 24 months." However, she admits there is "room for improvement."
Rankin told Holmes that she tries her best to ignore the personal attacks made against her in the
media by politicians, students, and unemployed groups. She also says she would not refrain from wearing
short skirts and long earrings
as these matters are irrelevant to her performance.
Source TV 1 Holmes Programme 20 June 2000; Scoop News 21 June 2000 "Rankin Upbeat About WINZ Changes" by
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