I’ve blogged before on the Government setting five year targets in a number of areas for both itself and the public service. Not only is this a fairly radical refocusing of the public service from outputs to outcomes, it is politically a brave thing for a Government to do. I can not recall any past Government actually setting concrete targets it wants to be measured against.
Hopefully it will lead to alternate Governments going into an election with not just policies about what they want to do, but actual outcomes they want their Government to achieve if elected. And I don’t mean general ones like “close the gaps” but specific such as “reduce the unemployment rate by 25% in three years”.
The National-led Government has now released specific targets, for its ten five-year goals. The targets are:
- Reduce the number of people who have been on a working-age benefit for more than 12 months
- Reduce those on Jobseeker Support for more than 12 months by 30%, from 78,000 to 55,000
- Increase participation in early childhood education
- By 2016, have 98% of school entrants having participated in early childhood education, up from 95%
- Increase infant immunisation rates and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever
- 95% of eight months olds to be immunised, up from 83%
- reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever by two thirds to 1.4 cases per 100,000
- Reduce the number of assaults on children
- Halt the 10-year increase in child abuse, and reduce the current numbers by 5%
- Increase the proportion of 18 year olds with NCEA Level 2 or equivalent
- Increase the proportion achieving NCEA Level 2 from 67% to 85%
- Increase the proportion of 25-34 year olds with advanced trade qualifications, diplomas and degrees
- Increase the proportion of 25 to 34 year olds having advanced qualifications from 52% to 55%
- Reduce the rates of total crime, violent crime and youth crime
- Reduce the crime rate by 15% – 45,000 fewer crimes a year
- Reduce the violent crime rate by 20% – 7,500 fewer violent crimes a year
- Reduce the youth crime rate by 5% – 600 fewer young people appearing in court
- Reduce reoffending
- Reduce the reoffending rate by 25%, meaning 600 fewer prisoners and 18,500 fewer victims of crime
- NZ businesses have a one-stop online shop for all government advice and support
- Business costs of dealing with government reduce 25%
- KPIs for Government services to be developed
- NZers can complete transactions with government easily in a digital environment
- 70% of transactions with government can be done online, up from 24% currently
Now I don’t think anyone should expect all 14 specific targets to be achieved. That would be a near miracle. But what NZers will be looking for is at least some of them being achieved fully, and all of them to have progress and move in the right direction. The 2014 election will provide an opportunity for people to judge if they think the achievement to date has been satisfactory.
As I said above, I hope these specific outcomes and targets will become a feature of all future governments.