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The case for a lean, mean government machine

Public sector bureaucrats are often in the line of fire from politicking MPs on the campaign trail or late night callers to talkback radio – and now we can add Art Daniels to the list.

 

Public sector bureaucrats are often in the line of fire from politicking MPs on the campaign trail or late night callers to talkback radio – and now we can add Art Daniels to the list.

The Canadian academic and World Business Capability Congress keynote speaker, soon to visit our shores, says New Zealand’s public service can be a lean, mean machine.

Daniels, a leader in public sector reform and a former Assistant Deputy Minister in the Ontario Government, said the public sector has to keep moving towards a customer service culture, where the needs of the customer direct the service.

He would know. Daniels helped establish the Institute for Citizen Centred Services in his homeland in1998 and says he has witnessed fantastic results when government services are streamlined and centred on a successful holistic end result.

“In Canada government service ratings improving from a low of 48 percent satisfaction in 1998, to 72 percent satisfaction in 2012 – with some services achieving over 90 percent satisfaction.

“As more services are provided online or digitally, results improve as they are more individualised and services are bundled around citizens’ needs.

“For example, the 'lost wallet strategy' means that with one visit to one site, the customer can replace their driver’s license, health card, birth certificate, passport and other identification that had been lost together."

Daniels said the efficiencies save time and money for both the sectors involved and the citizen.

The Canadian, who will be speaking at the World Business Capability Congress from December 5-7 and presenting a workshop on how to create a customer-centered culture in public and private organisations, said recent public sector cutbacks should not stop progress in culture change.

“This streamlining or bundling of services is part of lean government which is cost effective and reduces service time – it’s about moving departments out of silos and toward connected government.”

He said the New Zealand government's initiative Kiwis Count was a step in the right direction.

It partnered with the Institute of Citizen-Centered Services in Canada to provide some of the same research tools and information to benchmark against – here’s hoping we see the same results.