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Deciding on a cross-cutting theme for 2012/13

Please note: The time for submitting comments has passed. We are now considering which theme to proceed with.

Last year, the Auditor-General Lyn Provost announced that she wanted to identify a cross-cutting theme to underpin the audits and other work carried out by her Office in 2012/13. Her challenge was to identify a theme that would:

  • make a lasting difference for New Zealand and the public sector;
  • be an umbrella for a range of related issues and initiatives;
  • call upon most of our audit products; and
  • involve people throughout the public sector and beyond, such as the academic community, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector.

Since then, a lot of people inside and outside the Office have been putting forward ideas and discussing the merits of hundreds of possible themes. This included workshop sessions in June and July, involving people from throughout the public sector, and including students and our own auditors and staff.

Seven themes to choose from

Of the huge array of worthwhile ideas and themes, seven themes have been chosen for further consultation during October. Lyn will decide the final theme in November so that we can complete the necessary planning and research before starting work on the cross-cutting theme during 2012/13.

Please let us know your thoughts on the seven themes and any useful work you think we could do on your favourite themes by Friday 21 October 2011.

The themes are:

  1. Putting service to New Zealanders first
  2. Governing for better public organisations
  3. Working together as a public sector
  4. Tomorrow’s needs – is the public sector ready?
  5. Results for "NZ Inc"
  6. Meeting the needs of individual citizens
  7. Focus on technology

For the chosen topic it is probable we will select audits in sectors/groupings such as:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Justice
  • Transport
  • Energy
  • Youth
  • Safety

Public sector reputation

Here’s the big picture of the sort of thing people have told us about so far:

Big picture

Questions relating to each theme

1. Putting service to New Zealanders first

  • How are the best service delivery mechanisms determined?
  • Are entities focusing on the sustainability of services?
  • Does the public sector understand the improvements needed?
  • Is the public sector operating efficiently to deliver what New Zealand needs?
  • Are the choices and trade-offs adequately managed?

2. Governing for better public organisations

  • What are the implications of the current and changing shape of public sector?
  • Is the incentive framework right and fit for the future?
  • Do organisations have the right platforms for governance?
  • What promotes better decision making?
  • What are the ingredients for organisational success?

3. Working together as a public sector

  • Does entity collaboration improve cost-effectiveness and value for money?
  • Does it help us innovate for better results?
  • What are the barriers to “joined up government” and how are they being addressed?
  • What is good practice in working with private and NGO communities?
  • What are the implications of a changing public/private divide?
  • Where are the good examples of linking and collaboration?

4. Tomorrow’s needs – is the public sector ready?

  • Is planning connected between entities, including infrastructure planning?
  • Where do we need/want to go?
  • Assessing the state of the public sector – is it good for another few years?
  • How robust is our information on the overall results for New Zealand?
  • Long-term planning and capability - what is being done and is it good enough?
  • Is the prioritisation of needs/resources appropriate?

5. Results for "NZ Inc"

  • How effective is the public sector at improving the country’s economic wealth?
  • How effective is the public sector at improving living standards?
  • What are most important regulation matters that New Zealand ought to consider?

6. Meeting the needs of individual citizens

  • How is New Zealand performing with inequity?
  • How robust is our information on the overall results for New Zealand citizens?
  • Long-term planning and capability - what is being done and is it good enough?
  • Is there enough flexibility in the system to meet individual needs?

7. Focus on technology

  • What are the service delivery points of contact with the public?
  • Do entities have a focus on future needs and trends, such as use of social media?
  • Is there efficiency and effectiveness in entities’ choices about where, how, and by whom services are delivered?
  • Where are the innovative approaches?
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