The government has released a report card on its Better Public Service targets:
More young people are achieving higher qualifications, welfare dependency continues to fall and Kiwis are doing more of their government transactions digitally, Deputy Prime Minister Bill English and State Services Minister Paula Bennett say.
The Government today published the latest update of progress against the ten challenging targets set three years ago by the Prime Minister.
“There are now 42,000 fewer children living in a benefit dependent household than there were three years ago. That’s more than the combined populations of Masterton and Levin,” Mr English says.
“Today’s results confirm the Government is making continued improvements to some of the really difficult issues that affect our communities and families, however progress in other areas is slower.
“We are getting a better understanding of the most vulnerable New Zealanders, and we’re willing to pay a bit more upfront to change their lives, because what works for the community also works for the Government’s books.”
Mrs Bennett says the BPS results targets were designed to drive a positive change in the public service and signal a willingness to try new things and work across agencies to have more of an impact in people’s lives.
“Significant progress has been made since the Prime Minister first set the targets in 2012,” Mrs Bennett says.
Since the targets were introduced:
- participation in Early Childhood Education has increased from 94.7 per cent to 96.1 per cent
- the proportion of immunised 8-month olds has increased from 84 per cent to 92.9 per cent
- there has been a 14 per cent decrease in people being hospitalised for the first time with rheumatic fever
- the trend in the number of children and young people experiencing substantiated physical abuse has flattened, after previously being on an upward trajectory
- the proportion of 18-year olds who achieve a NCEA Level 2 qualification has increased from 74.3 per cent to about 81.1 per cent
- the proportion of 25 to 34 year olds with a qualification at Level 4 or above has increased from 51.4 per cent to 54.2 per cent
- total crime, violent crime and youth crime have dropped 17.6 per cent, 9.1 per cent and 37.3 per cent respectively
- the rate of reoffending has dropped 9.6 per cent
- there has been a net reduction of 16 percent in business effort when dealing with government agencies
- 45.8 per cent of government service transactions are now completed digitally, up from 30.4 per cent in 2012.
“We set these targets to stretch the public services to get better results from the more than $70 billion we spend each year,” Mrs Bennett says. “We have always said that some of them will be challenging.
“For example, reducing rheumatic fever remains difficult, but progress has been made. The previously increasing trend for assaults on children has been successfully flattened, but more needs to be done to achieve the target.
“We are making progress in many cases by working with individuals and families to develop services better suited to their needs,” she says.
The government deserves credit for setting targets against which progress can be measured, for working for the most vulnerable and being prepared to spend more upfront to solve long-standing problems.
But these targets aren’t just about the government, they’re about people served by public servants and those public servants who are working to meet the targets.
Education minister Hekia Parata gives credit where it’s due:
Today’s Better Public Service (BPS) update showing the Government is on track to achieve its goal of lifting the proportion of 18-year-olds with NCEA Level 2 is a tribute to the hard work and professionalism of teachers and principals, says Education Minister Hekia Parata. . .
These targets aren’t necessarily destinations, many are staging posts in a journey towards better public services and better outcomes for the people who use them.
The report is here.