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Organisational Health and Capability

Good organisational health and capability will ensure we can deliver on our commitments. Resource constraints mean we put our resources to best use by targeting activities that maximise impact. A major focus for our organisation for the next three years is to ensure long-term sustainability. We believe we need to lift our performance to achieve this.

In the next year, we will continue to review and develop our organisational capability strategies to enable us to have the right systems, processes and technology, and also people with the right skills, to support our activities and improve our cost effectiveness.

Our people

Our people need statistical and subject-specific knowledge skills to carry out more sophisticated analysis and develop new conceptual frameworks and measures. Project management skills and relationship management and influencing skills are also very important for our organisation. All skills are in short supply and we face significant capability risks.

In 2008/09 we will focus particularly on developing and implementing an action plan for our new People Strategy. The plan will provide a five-year programme of key initiatives for us to achieve our goals of:

  • Exceptional leaders.
  • Influential connectors.
  • Expert professionals.
  • Intelligent communicators.

Some of the capability shortfalls outlined in the 2006/07 Annual Report persist today. It is difficult to recruit suitably qualified and experienced staff, particularly in Wellington. This, combined with a short length of service for core staff (half of our people have less than three years’ tenure), limits productivity and impacts on the institutional knowledge that is key in producing official statistics and leading an Official Statistics System.

Over the next three years we will undertake initiatives such as:

  • Reviewing our recruitment strategy to ensure it is well-targeted to meet future needs.
  • Developing a management and leadership programme to attract, develop and retain high-performing and committed staff.
  • Implementing professional development initiatives to deliver a best practice field collections model, and set up a specific unit to conduct methodological research.
  • Articulating career paths to identify role requirements, core skills and knowledge, to allow progression planning for employees within the department and for the wider Official Statistics System.

Our systems and processes

Producing official statistics requires a high-quality statistical infrastructure to support the collection, analysis, storage and dissemination of vast amounts of data. In the long term, we aim to have a world-class statistical system with a technological platform that meets the organisation’s needs for long-term sustainability. In undertaking this work, we are building on good foundations. The access provided by Inland Revenue to tax data enables us to maintain an up-to-date view of the population of businesses. Correspondingly, our long history of building our household surveys on a detailed analysis of census meshblock data enables us to target our samples efficiently.

Technology platform

Up-to-date technology is important for the cost-effective collection and production of statistics. A number of the technology platforms within our current statistical systems are past their useful life. A reliance on short-term fixes and an inability to conduct new analyses or make improvements to existing systems creates production quality risks and can result in delays to the release of statistics.

The mix of dated systems and lack of investment in new systems means we have inadequate data on the real cost of maintaining and sustaining a knowledge-based organisation. A key requirement is significant investment to ensure timely and quality statistics are delivered over the coming years. To ensure the investment is targeted to represent value for money, we will integrate our future asset requirements into a long-term asset management strategy that considers our operating environment and future sustainability needs.


A standard enterprise architecture will ensure we can build a portfolio of standard solutions and components consistently documented at a business, user, and technical level. We will continue with our long-term strategy to streamline and standardise our systems to:

  • Create a number of standard, generic end-to-end processes for collection, processing, analysis, and dissemination of statistical data and information.
  • Employ a disciplined approach to data and information management.
  • Adopt an enterprise-wide technical architecture as a framework.
  • Ensure the sustainability of our statistical system.

The ability to progress these areas is both conceptually and technically challenging, however, we continue to progress towards delivering practical benefits and minimising risk, albeit at a slower rate than planned due to financial constraints.


Field collection

We adopt a range of methodologies to collect data from different sources. Field interviews, undertaken by approximately 150 field staff, collect information for a range of key economic and social statistics. In an effort to provide best practice field collection methods, we have initiated research to seek and ensure that field collection systems and processes support a ‘best practice’ model, with collectors able to readily adapt to changes in the nature and volume of workload demands while effectively engaging with the increasingly diverse composition of New Zealand society.

Development of statistical methodology

Statistics New Zealand has established a new unit dedicated to the development of statistical methods. The group aims to provide a structure to the methodological research within our organisation and improve the alignment of that research to organisational priorities. Ongoing statistical methodological development needs are identified and delivered through this unit.

Improving information management

The information management unit was established as part of the recent organisational restructure. We aim to take a visible leadership role to:

  • Foster higher professional expectations among all staff about how information assets are managed.
  • Meet legislative requirements.
  • Facilitate more efficient information sharing across the organisation.

Over the next three years, a mix of initiatives will drive desired behavioural and cultural outcomes to deliver:

  • Standards and policies for information management.
  • Training and learning materials on good information management, and on locating and using information assets.
  • Systems and tools to automate and simplify information management tasks.

Government-wide initiatives: State Services, Equal Employment Opportunities and Sustainability

In developing our capability objectives and programmes, we recognise the strategic context provided by the State Services Development Goals to guide our business decisions including how we operate, develop, and contribute to the State sector.

As a public sector employer, Statistics New Zealand provides equal employment opportunities (EEO) in line with current government requirements. The department’s EEO profile is diverse and its maintenance is an ongoing strategic business planning initiative. Over half of the core and fixed-term staff are female. Staff ethnicity is varied with 56.7 percent identifying as New Zealand European, 13.4 percent as British and Irish, 13.9 percent as Asian and Indian, 5.4 percent as Māori, 2.6 percent as Pacific Islanders, while the remaining 8 percent are a mix of other ethnicities and non-response.

The age profile of the department is spread: 24 percent of staff are under 30 years of age; another 24 percent are between 30 and 40 years of age; 21 percent are between 40 and 50 years of age; 17 percent are between 50 and 60 years of age; 6 percent are over 60 years of age, and 8 percent have not provided their age.

During 2007–2008 the department undertook a Pay and Employment Equity Review (PEER) focusing on gender equity against three indicators: rewards, participation, and fair treatment. The PEER project was completed in early 2008 and a report tabled for the steering group’s consideration. The next step is the preparation of an action plan which, together with the PEER Report, will be presented to the Statistics New Zealand Board by the end of 2007/08. Findings will be reported in the 2008/09 Annual Report.

Finally, we acknowledge the government commitment to a carbon neutral public service. We are one of the 28 stage two core public service agencies that will be on the path to carbon neutrality by the year 2012. A recent audit has helped us understand the nature and size of our emissions in each of our three operating locations. We have been able to benchmark our main carbon producing activities (eg transport is responsible for 56 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions, energy for 43 percent, and landfill is responsible for 1 percent). We will continue to undertake activities to reduce our organisation’s emissions.

How we will demonstrate success in achieving this?

Statistics New Zealand will assess organisational health and capability through the performance measures outlined in table 5.

The primary measures of this section are staff engagement with Statistics New Zealand and the number of errata and amendments issued.

Table 5

Monitoring progress toward organisational health and capability  
 Priority Statements of success    Measures  Targets
 People  Statistics New Zealand is considered a desirable place to work  Employee engagement rates  Benchmark
 Median tenure of staff  Increase by 5%
 Unplanned turnover  Benchmark
 Statistics New Zealand has the right people with the right skills  Vacancy rate  Benchmark
 Relationships  Strong and effective relationships with our stakeholders, Official Statistics System partners, respondents and users  Positive perceptions of the health of relationships  80% of feedback is positive
 Systems and processes  The cost to produce statistics decreases, while quality and sustainability are maintained
 Cost per output  Benchmark
 Proportion of outputs produced without subsequent errata or amendments  99%
 Proportion of time spent capturing and processing data versus the time spent analysing data  Benchmark
 Improvements are made in energy efficiency, and in monitoring and reporting of sustainable activities  Meets the requirements of the Govt3 Sustainable Practice Action Plan  Meets requirements
 Meets the requirements of the Carbon Neutral Public Service Reduction Plan  Meets requirements
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