2018 GDS Index Methodology

As a result of a number of new and emerging issues that came to our attention while completing the 2018 GDS Index we have rewritten our original 2015 Methodology. It is important to note that we have not fundamentally changed the processes or outputs, but have instead restructured it for greater clarity, and to explain how we have dealt with the more challenging aspects of deciding when a department document is a GDS. The Methodology is currently published in draft. We welcome any feedback. We will issue the final publication in late May.

Before undertaking our next GDS Index update, possibly later in 2019, we will take a closer look at our definitions and processes. We would therefore welcome your feedback on the 2018 GDS Index Methodology on these two points as well. Thank you for your interest.

A: Definition of a government department strategy (GDS)
The Methodology defines government department strategies as follows in the blue box below.

B: Past methodologies
The methodology has been applied twice: firstly for GDSs in operation as at 30 June 2014, and secondly for GDSs in operation as at 30 June 2015. Annexes to previous methodologies include:

Annex 4 – 3 November 2015
Departments responded faster to our OIA requests for this update, possibly because they only needed to review what had been published in the last 12 months. However, there were still a few departments that were slow to respond and a few cases where we made further changes after receiving the OIA response. The reasoning is explained below:

  1. Community in Mind, Hei Puāwai Waitaha – a flourishing Waitaha: Strategy for rebuilding health and wellbeing in greater Christchurch (CERA)

CERA did not include this strategy in their OIA response; however, we have chosen to include this strategy because it meets our definition of a GDS. It is also mentioned throughout CERA’s 2014 Statement of Intent and the CERA’s 2014 Annual Report which we interpreted as further reason to include the strategy.

Note: This strategy is now archived during the 2018 GDS Index update as CERA was disestablished in 2016.

     2. Tertiary Education Strategy 2014–2019 (MoE)

This strategy was included in MBIE’s OIA response, but we have not included it as an MBIE strategy because this GDS already featured in the GDS Index NZ under the responsibility of MoE. Where two departments share a strategy, the first one listed after ‘published by’ on the strategy document is the department that we assume has overarching responsibility. Going forward we will also mark these ‘shared strategies’ in the Index.

Note: This was actioned for the 2018 GDS Index with an indication of which strategies are ‘jointly held’.

  1. Strategy to 2040: He kai kei aku ringa: The Crown-Māori Economic Growth Partnership (MBIE)

This strategy was included in the Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puni Kōkiri)’s OIA response, but we have not included it as a Ministry of Maori Development (Te Puni Kōkiri) strategy as this GDS already featured in the GDS Index NZ under the responsibility of MBIE. This strategy is led by the Māori Economic Development Advisory Board which is ‘responsible for on-going stewardship, monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of this strategy’. However, MBIE states on their website that they are the government department responsible for this strategy.

Note: The 2018 GDS Index update includes information on the history of the GDSs. It was confirmed in MBIE’s and TPK’s OIA responses that the GDS is solely MBIE’s and not shared with TPK.

  1. The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS)

In Annex 2 of the GDS Index (see Annex 2 below) we stated that we would include this strategy in our update of the GDS Index. However, as we scored this policy statement it was decided that we would not include it in our analysis as it would be so disadvantaged in the ranking system – it did not need to explain ‘why’ only ‘how’ under law. Policy statements are required under the Resource Management Act 1991 to adhere to a particular form and therefore they do not need the elements that other GDSs do.

Note: This means that National Policy Statements have been excluded from the 2018 GDS Index; a list of these statements can be found here. There are three instances in the 2018 GDS Index where the term ‘policy statement’ is used. They are the Strategic Defence Policy Statement, Government Policy Statement on Land Transport and International Development Policy Statement. Although these documents are called policy statements they are not National Policy Statements and are included in the 2018 GDS Index as they meet the Institute’s definition of a GDS.

Other decisions made that may be of interest include:

  • Inclusion of the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority as a government department.

Section 27 of the State Sector Act 1988 states: ‘The Public Service comprises departments (and any departmental agencies that are part of those departments)’. A list of the organisations that make up the public service are contained in Schedule 1 and 1A of the Act. Schedule 1 lists 28 organisations. Schedule 1A contains the newly established Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority as a departmental agency. As at 1 July 2015, Schedule 1 lists 28 departments and Schedule 1A lists one department agency. Together these make up the 29 organisations that are the public service and are therefore the focus of the Institute’s work on government department strategies. To learn more about where the public service sits within the context of central government agencies, in this July 2015 Guide.

Note: The 2018 GDS Index found that CERA (which formed part of DPMC) was disestablished in April 2016.

  • Use of government department titles

For consistency we have used the names of government departments as they appear in Schedule 1 and 1A of the State Sector Act 1988. Of concern was the absence of a macron in the title for the Ministry of Maori Development and that Te Puni Kōkiri was not recognised as part of the department’s name in the Act. We believe the legal titles should be updated to reflect the current titles in use by departments (or the current titles in use reflect what is in law). Our preference is naturally to embrace the Māori language.

Note: Schedule 1 and 1A of the State Sector Act 1988 (as at 31 December 2018) indicate there are now 32 government departments. New Zealand Security Intelligence Service, Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, Oranga Tamariki—Ministry for Children and Te Kāhui Whakamana Rua Tekau mā Iwa—Pike River Recovery Agency were added after 1 July 2015.

Annex 3 – 30 March 2015
The Institute has developed the concept of a strategy wheel in order to clearly show the relationships between strategic instruments and the institutions implementing them. The wheel shows how within the public policy system there are three components which work together – institutions, instruments, and information systems. Learn more about these on the strategy wheels page.

Annex 2 – 30 March 2015
The New Zealand Coastal Policy Statement 2010 (NZCPS) is a new addition to the list. In our opinion it does meet the definition of a GDS in operation as at 30 June 2014. The reasons why it was missed is possibly due to DOC (as part of their OIA response in June 2014) considering it was a government strategy (rather than a department strategy) and the title not containing the terms ‘strategy’ or ‘plan’. In retrospect, after further discussion with DoC staff, we consider the policy statement is a strategy and therefore should be included in the profiles list so that it can be easily identified. However, it has not been analysed, scored or ranked against the other GDSs. By including the GDS in the profile list, we have ensured that it will be included in future indexes. This means if we were to undertake the research again, there would be 137 GDSs (not 136).

Note: For the 2018 GDS Index, this decision was overturned, see Annex 4 above. 

Annex 1 – 30 March 2015
The National Civil Defence and Emergency Management Strategy 2008 was initially under the responsibility of the Department of Internal Affairs. However, on 1 April 2014 it was transferred to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. This means if we were to undertake the Index analysis again, the sector averages would be different, as this change resulted in the GDS moving from the Māori, Other Populations & Cultural Sector to the Finance and Government Administration Sector. This also means that the department averages would be different, as this change resulted in the GDS moving from DIA to DPMC.

Note: For the 2018 GDS Index, information is included regarding the transfer of GDSs between departments.