Statement of Responsibility
In terms of the Public Finance Act 1989, I am responsible, as Chief Executive of the Ministry of Transport, for the preparation of the Ministry of Transport’s financial statements and statement of service performance, and for the judgements made in them.
I have the responsibility for establishing and maintaining, and I have established and maintained, a system of internal control designed to provide reasonable assurance as to the integrity and reliability of financial and non-financial reporting.
In my opinion, these financial statements and statement of service performance fairly reflect the financial position and operations of the Ministry of Transport for the year ended 30 June 2009.
Acting Chief Financial Officer
30 September 2009
Maintaining and Developing Capability
A new approach to working
The Ministry of Transport, as the government’s principal transport policy adviser, must provide excellent policy advice, direction and information.
During the 2008/09 year, the Ministry reviewed its structure and capability to ensure that it provides the best possible service and advice to its Ministers and other stakeholders. We also developed a set of goals for how we wanted the Ministry to develop over the next two years.
As a result, on 1 September 2009, the Ministry implemented a new structure and approach to working that is modelled on professional services firms. This will allow our workforce to be more flexible and more able to meet the demands of this very busy portfolio.
Under the new approach, each policy staff member will be part of a sector team where our transport knowledge and expertise will be developed, but staff will also regularly work on assignments in project teams that reflect the mix of work and priorities sought from us each year.
In November 2008, the Ministry undertook the UMR biennial survey of stakeholders and found that our relationships with stakeholders were generally more positive than they were in 2006. By and large, stakeholders are reasonably happy with their relationship with the Ministry and enjoy working with Ministry staff. We remain committed to ensuring this engagement is effective because understanding stakeholder interests is key to our being effective in our role.
To ensure that we continue to develop staff and organisational performance, the Ministry has reviewed its training for policy advisers and developed a career pathways model. This will help advisers to identify core training programmes to assist them to develop as policy analysts. In 2007/8, we also instituted an annual independent review of our policy advice. This was done by the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research and the aim is to identify ways in which we can improve the policy advice we provide to Ministers. The 2008/09 review has shown an improvement in the quality of work produced, with the median being 7.0 out of 10, whereas the previous year’s result was 6.5. While this is pleasing, we acknowledge that there is still work to be done.
The Ministry has reviewed all of its finance, information technology, security and human resource polices to ensure that they meet best practice and audit requirements.
We have continued to improve our information technology infrastructure. Our intranet has been redeveloped to incorporate booking for online training, our website has been rebuilt and the Electronic Document Management System is now ready for roll out across the Ministry. This system will ensure that we meet Public Records Act standards by 2010.
At the end of the financial year there were 174.25 full-time equivalent staff members, and the turnover settled to 18.07 percent which was down from 22.73 percent in the previous year.
Managing our budget
The government is experiencing a difficult fiscal environment. We are committed to doing our very best to ensure the Ministry delivers value-for-money, and does not make demands for additional funds during this difficult period.
Over the next three years, the Ministry’s departmental funding will decrease by nearly $4 million with the cessation of some medium term project funding. In addition, the Ministry has unavoidable cost increases arising from existing commitments in relation to staff costs (salaries), building and other expenses. Essentially, we have to cut about 12 percent from the operational budget.
We have cut costs by reducing expenditure on travel, communications, international conferences and entertainment, freezing recruitment to reduce staff numbers and making all contract and consultant funding internally contestable. We are confident the Ministry can manage within existing resources and our new way of working will ensure we deliver value-for-money.