Enabling continuous improvement in the performance of transport agencies

The government wants better public services

Delivering Better Public Services is one of the government’s four key priorities for the next three years. This means that government agencies need to focus on improved performance, with services delivered in innovative and more effective ways, within the tight fiscal constraints that the government has to operate in over the coming years.

This includes improved performance from government transport agencies

Regardless of how transport agencies are funded, or how well they may be performing, there is an ongoing need to improve value for money and the quality of the services they provide.

The Ministry of Transport and the four transport agencies are responsible for approximately $3 billion of transport expenditure annually. The government needs to be assured all those agencies are performing well and delivering value for money.

A number of the transport Crown entities also engage with citizens and businesses as regulators. These interactions need to be well managed with a strong customer focus.

The Ministry’s role in improving the performance of government transport agencies

The Ministry advises on the most appropriate transport Crown entity arrangements to meet the government’s objectives for transport. This includes establishing the role and regulatory powers of the entities, and their funding arrangements. The Ministry needs to have a clear understanding of the strategic direction of the entities as they evolve over time, and lead the transport sector when collective action is required.

An important role for the Ministry is to monitor the performance of the transport agencies (as regulators and service providers) and support the Minister to hold these agencies accountable for their performance and delivery of the government’s economic, safety and security outcomes. To do this, the Ministry needs to understand the environment in which the agencies operate and have frameworks in place to be able to assess their performance.

To deliver improved performance by government transport agencies the Ministry will:

  • provide ongoing assurance on the performance of government transport agencies.

Improved government transport agencies’ performance – Ministry impacts and actions

The Ministry’s intended impacts in this area over the next three years, and the projects and activities that will deliver them, include the following:

Impact 8: Ongoing assurance on the performance of government transport agencies

In 2012, the Ministry completed a review of its approach to assessing and assuring performance of government transport agencies. As a result of the review, we are embedding a better articulated approach within the Ministry and with Ministers and transport agencies. We are also developing a more systematic and strategic view on how each entity can improve performance over the medium-term (including seeking the views of agency stakeholders) and considering how best to address the Better Public Services Advisory Group Report.

The Ministry has an ongoing role in supporting the governance relationship between the Minister of Transport and Associate Minister of Transport and the government transport agencies. The Ministry advises the Minister of Transport on board appointments for all the transport Crown entities. The Ministry also advises on the government’s expectations of each entity, and provides specialist advice to the Minister on how the entities are meeting these expectations, including performance, capability and strategic direction. The Ministry provides advice on entities’ regular performance reports, draft statements of intent and annual reports.

We will continue to work with the Civil Aviation Authority and Maritime New Zealand to:

  • establish, in consultation with their industry stakeholders, a sustainable basis for services and funding for these entities going forward
  • ensure these entities have the capability and regulatory settings necessary to be effective and well-performing.

The Ministry is establishing a longer-term programme for formal reviews of transport agency services, capability and funding. This will not only include a schedule of when reviews should be undertaken, but help us to identify possible synergies that emerge from the reviews.

The Ministry also has an important leadership role in ensuring the government’s transport agencies work effectively as a whole.

The Ministry’s Chief Executive chairs a Transport Sector Leadership Group that comprises the Chief Executives of all the transport agencies and state-owned enterprises. This group is working together to ensure a ‘joined up’ approach is taken, when appropriate, to key transport issues. The Ministry will work with the transport Crown entities to develop a shared set of outcomes and measures for the transport sector.

The Ministry will continue to lead the transport Crown entities in exploring opportunities for shared business services, and subsequent implementation. The focus of this work is on business functions that will benefit from a transport sector perspective.

Improved government transport agencies' performance
Outcome measure
95 percent, or more, of government's and statements of intent performance expectations, are met.  This is a new measure. For the Ministry of Transport, 90 percent of its work programme was completed in 2011/12, 98 percent was completed in 2010/11 and 90 percent was completed in 2009/10.  Data for preceding years has not been gathered in this manner across the transport Crown agencies. 
Impact measures - Ongoing assurance on the performance of government transport agencies
Increased ministerial satisfaction on the performance of government transport agencies as a consequence of the timely, accurate, succinct nature of Ministry specalist governance and performance advice. This is a new measure.  We will base our assessment of progress against this measure on six-monthly assessments with the Minister and Associate Minister of Transport. 

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