The Ministry is committed to inclusive work practices and culture. As a member of the New Zealand public service, the Ministry bases appointments on merit, while recognising the employment aspirations of Maori, ethnic and minority groups, women, and people with disabilities.
Cost-effectiveness is a measure of how well an organisation uses its inputs to achieve its desired outcomes. For policy agencies, such as the Ministry, demonstrating cost-effectiveness remains a challenge as it is difficult to establish the causal relationship between our outputs and progress towards our outcomes; outcomes are frequently impacted by the actions of numerous organisations and individuals. For example, to improve road safety outcomes the Ministry led legislative changes to increase the driving age from 15 to 16. But actual reductions in the road toll will arise through a number of actions by other parties, including education and enforcement of the new driving age.
The Ministry is constrained in its ability to affect transport outcomes in a number of ways. First, the Ministry is only one player in a very large transport system. The Ministry is responsible for approximately $30 million of transport expenditure a year, out of total government transport expenditure of approximately $3 billion a year. Secondly, while the Ministry has an important policy advice role, it does not have service delivery levers with which it can influence transport outcomes. Finally, the Ministry does not have complete control over the work it undertakes. The choices of the government of the day rightly have a significant influence on our annual work programme.
New approach to assessing Ministry effectiveness developed in 2012
For the Ministry, the question that we need to be able to answer is, ‘Are we doing the best job that we can with the resources available to us?’ In preparing our 2012-15 Statement of Intent, the Ministry developed a new approach to answering this question by focussing on its:
- input management
- quality management
- work programme management
- outcomes management
Staff time, along with their skills, experience and knowledge, is the Ministry’s main resource. We need our staff to value their time and get the most from every hour. To support this approach, we apply project management disciplines to our policy projects. We establish project timeframes and identify milestones that we can manage projects against to ensure projects do not consume more resource than is needed. We are also trialling internal hourly rates to drive robust decisions about whose, and how much time, is allocated to certain projects. We are looking to develop new performance management measures for different aspects of our work to enable us to benchmark our performance and then lift our productivity.
We manage the quality of our work through our quality of policy advice standards. Each year we have a sample of our policy advice papers independently audited by the NZIER. This audit not only provides us with an independent view on the quality of our advice and areas that we could focus on for improvement, it also enables us to see how the quality of our advice compares with other government agencies. In addition to the independent audit, we assess the quality of our advice using the following measures:
- 100 percent of regulatory impact statements are assessed as ‘meets’ or ‘partially meets’ the required standards
- 75 percent of policy advice briefings are accepted first time by the Minister (a new measure for 2012/13).
Work programme management
Our annual output plan is a statement of the results that the Minister wants from the Ministry. We manage the Ministry as a single resource to deliver on the whole output plan programme, and we record the actual percentage delivered in our annual reports.
Delivering on the individual projects in the output plan enables the Ministry to achieve its intended impacts and, through them, make our contribution to the intermediate and long-term outcomes. Our intervention logic sets out the links between our outputs, impacts, intermediate and long-term outcomes.
The Ministry monitors the progress that the whole of the transport sector is making towards the identified outcomes. While our impacts contribute to this, it is not always clear whether the Ministry’s contribution can be singled out from other factors and, even if it could, it is likely to be too costly to undertake. So we use our outcome indicators to focus on the overall progress being made, and use a range of mechanisms to identify opportunities for us to make further contributions where needed.
Key Ministry performance management measures
The key performance management measures that the Ministry established for 2012/13 are set out in the table below, along with our 2011/12 performance against those measures where data for 2011/12 is available (some of the measures are new and so data for 2011/12 is not always available).
|Input management||2011/12 result|
|75 percent of policy projects managed within timeframes and allocated resources||Data not available for 2011/12, however, 90 percent of the overall work programme was delivered during the year|
|75 percent of policy project milestones delivered each quarter||Data not available for 2011/12, however, 90 percent of the overall work programme was delivered during the year|
|30 percent of staff time allocated to the Minister's priority projects||24 percent|
|New Zealand Institute of Economic Research's audit of policy advice papers assesses average score for papers as 7.5 or better||Mean score of 7.3 in 2012 (up from 6.9 in 2011)|
|100 percent of regulatory impact statements are assessed as 'meets' or 'partially meets' the required standards||100 percent (three meet and three partially meet)|
|75 percent of policy advice briefings are accepted first time by the Minister (a new measure for 2012/13)||Data not available for 2011/12|
|Work programme management|
|95 percent or more of output plan delivered as agreed with the Minister||90 percent of output plan delivered as agreed with Minister|
|95 percent or more of Ministry impacts achieved through delivering underpinning projects||Data not available for 2011/12|
|Results of transport sector progress on intermediate and long-term outcomes published at least annually||Published annually in Ministry of Transport annual report|
|Ministry reviews outcome indicators that show less progress is being made and considers whether further Ministry action is needed||Scheduled for review in December 2012|