Public Services Satisfaction

November 27th, 2012 at 7:00 am by David Farrar

The left have complained bitterly about the reduction in staff numbers in the public service, and have claimed fewer staff mean inferior services. Putting aside the lack of fiscal reality of their stance, the latest SSC survey of public satisfaction with services shows that you can keep costs under control, and improve performance. Some extracts:

  • Overall satisfaction up from 68 in 2007 to 74 in Sep 2012
  • Passports & Citizenship 79 (+2)
  • Border Services 78 (+7)
  • Environment & recreation 76 (+4)
  • Health 73 (+4)
  • Social Assistance and Housing 73 (+5 from 2009)
  • Local Govt 73 (+4)
  • Education and Training 71 (+3)
  • Taxation & Business 70 (+8)
  • Justice & Security 68 (+5)

And some individual indicators:

  • Public Hospital Outpatient Services 73 (+5)
  • Stayed in public hospital 75 (+4)
  • Family Services/Counselling 73 (+8)
  • The Police 69 (+5)
  • Emergency 111 Services 82 (+5)
  • Getting a benefit 64 (+5)
  • NZ Super 84 (+9)
  • Tax Inquiries 66 (+7)
  • Company reg/returns 77 (+6)

Overall some pretty good improvements.

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20 Responses to “Public Services Satisfaction”

  1. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Does this actually measure anything of significance? Is it like the Gallup ‘engagement’ surveys that departments inflict on their own staff?

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  2. Nigel Kearney (1,016 comments) says:

    Further improvements are possible. For example, they could increase my level of satisfaction with the ease of getting a benefit and it wouldn’t require any staff at all.

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  3. bhudson (4,740 comments) says:

    @mikey,

    Why yes it does. It shows that public perception of services is improving. Despite any staff reductions which might have taken place.

    It shows that National’s initiatives for better public services and better value for money in the public service is working

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  4. mikemikemikemike (325 comments) says:

    Have you got the figures for actual dollars saved and whether that exercise has been worth it?

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  5. alloytoo (544 comments) says:

    The public perception also distances the public from labour.

    The disconnect between perceptions and allegations must be jarring.

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  6. nasska (11,575 comments) says:

    There may be an inverse proportion at play here, ie for every thousand of the Public Service exited expect an additional 1% of public satisfaction.

    Keep pruning the parasites!

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  7. flipper (4,077 comments) says:

    A load of self-serving bullshit frim the dinosaur SSC.

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  8. Elaycee (4,393 comments) says:

    So, despite the predictions by the public service unions et al that the sky would fall in with any reduction from the huge numbers of public servants, there has actually been an improvement in public perceptions… Well done. TICK.

    But I doubt there’d be any change to the perception that too many public servants spend too much time in non productive activities…. :D

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  9. queenstfarmer (782 comments) says:

    Does this actually measure anything of significance?

    LOL – yeah, the exact question you would be asking if the figures showed a DECLINE in satisfaction, eh mikenmild? :-D

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  10. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    All of which only goes to show the danger of generalising DPF.

    The only Govt Depts I’ve had face to face dealings with in the last 12 months have been the DIA (via their service centre in Featherston St) and the IRD (via their office in Molesworth St) and I found them both excellent.

    Although in the case of the IRD, the excellence was all credit to the one girl on the front desk in an otherwise deserted ground floor office, who unflappably served one righteously angry small-time capitalist after another. Her conditions are shit house, and whatever they’re paying her, it’s not enough.

    On the other hand, a mate of mine worked a few years ago as one of fourteen in the internal comms team of one of the big Departments, and he said it was an absolute joke, any four of them could have done the work, and invariably by 10am smoko he had cleared his in tray and then all they needed to do for the rest of the day was appear busy and the supervisors would be happy.

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  11. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Mmmm very! interesting David.

    If you peruse the comments (above) you will note “their general skepticism” for the findings of the SSC survey. Count me in on that!

    My interest is in Local Government and the SSC survey is (a). Misleading and (b). Misguided on LG. And Why? Because the survey asks for LG responses to approaches that respondents have made apparently to “their Council”.

    Now we all know every Council differs in its service levels so unless the Council ITSELF produces survey results of its! scores the averaging-aggregation results of the SSC urvey are of very limited use. Also look at the 5 questions asked.

    Anodyne? You bet! Where are the gutzy public interest posers like … Are you getting value for your rates? … Do you believe your Council acts democratically? … Can you tell if your Council is financially sustainable? … and so on. Ask dumb questions … Get dumber answers.

    Finally, only a small number (16 out of 80 odd) NZ Councils are presently involved in any form of disciplined-moderated performance improvement program. Says it all really!

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  12. Key is our man (890 comments) says:

    Now wait for the Greens and Labour to say this survey is biased blah blah blah

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  13. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    Out of all 18 that DPF listed -the LOWEST was 64% satisfaction – and it was for ‘getting a benefit’.

    That means that 75% of kiwi’s love big government services!

    As Hemingway said about NZ –

    COMMUNIST!

    Applying the capitalist West’s Black-Sholes Theory – Keys in the money for the next election! :cool:

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  14. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    That means that 75% of kiwi’s love big government services!

    As Hemingway said about NZ –

    COMMUNIST!

    :roll:

    It’s a performance review of the government departments, not a political poll.

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  15. hinamanu (2,352 comments) says:

    $2 million trade training funds slashed for Weltec.

    Tutors worry youth will turn to crime: Dominion Post

    Right …..

    This is just confirming opportunities are definitely being sabotaged no matter how many tin foil hats you tell me to put on

    The govt is also in the process of scrutinising polytechs financial holdings around the country. There is going to be a plunder because as Nomi Prins said…it takes a pillage.

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  16. Dave Stringer (188 comments) says:

    “$2 million trade training funds slashed for Weltec.”

    Thank goodness, how many more manicurists, film, TV and stage make-up artists, massage therapists, etc., etc., do we really need in this city, AND FOR GOODNESS SAKE, they have a course that teaches people how and when to turn the road control lollipop from stop to go! (I wouldn’t be surprised if you needed a BA to get into all of those the way the paper mill is working in tertiery education these days.

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  17. Harriet (4,972 comments) says:

    RRM#

    Can’t you read big S socialism into those figures ? – Like I said the LOWEST was 64% SATISFACTION for ‘getting a benefit’.All other services were SIGNIFICANTLY higher. 17 of the services listed are TAX FUNDED.

    That doesn’t just mean that those who were polled are currently on the dole either, it could have included all 100% being on a ‘benefit’[wff maybe?] at some point in their lives.It could also mean that the other 36% wanted MORE money when they are on a benefit and crossed ‘disatisfied’ on the form/interveiw.

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  18. RRM (9,932 comments) says:

    17 of the services listed are TAX FUNDED.

    I think you’ll find that ALL of those services listed are tax funded. It’s a review by the STATE SERVICES COMMISSION. You know what they are and what their job is, right?

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  19. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    What a load of rubbish. I was sorry that I couldn’t reply earlier to bhudson@7.53am, but I had to rush to work.
    These sorts of survey-based measures are an insult to the intelligence of the taxpayers who have to pay for them. They are as outrageous at the ‘engagement’ surveys foisted on the employees of government departments.
    DPF browses the report, picks a few questions where the results are up over the last quarter and announces ‘some pretty good improvements’.
    WTF is this survey pretending to measure and how do we even know the right questions are being asked? It might be good to know if visitors to National Parks are happy with the service they received; but are taxpayers asked if they think that DoC is doing its more important tasks well?
    There is the important subsidiary point that none of this data is persuasive. If you think that the government’s approached to ‘better public services’ is great, than you will likely find these results confirm your opinion. If you think it’s a load of rubbish; you’ll probably agree that 73% of these statistics are completely meaningless.

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  20. lazza (381 comments) says:

    Could’nt have put it better “myself” mikenmild … “These sorts of survey-based measures are an insult to the intelligence of the taxpayers who have to pay for them.”

    Is there any hope for us in seeking improvements of service and performance from our Public Sector with the prevailing pervasive uncritical acceptance of such “surveys”?

    Try getting anything meaningful from the self-serving surveys being dished up by Auckland Council f’rinstace. There is nigh on zero by way of metrics or benchmark reportage of their performance made public. Just PR feelgood froth and fluff that the MSM wrap up in their coverage. Forget the critical analysis.

    It would be encouraging if our regulators (like the OAG) chimed in with better performance measurement disciplines (and surveys) to accompany Local Government Reforms … committee stages in the House at the minute. Then! we might get somewhere.

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