Quote of the week
“…any assertion about the value of a reform may be open to challenge…”
— Mark Prebble
The New Zealand government and public service went through major reforms from 1986-1994. Some work has been done to find out whether these reforms have resonated with Kiwis, and it has shown that the drivers of citizen satisfaction with governments down under reflect what we know here in Canada.
Citizen satisfaction with government appears to break down into two categories, according to a New Zealand academic report: service to the public and openness in how public activities are operated.
The first reminds us that citizen views of government are tailored in part by how public servants behave and the degree to which they reflect a culture of service. The second reflects the demand for honesty and probity in how government operates.
Way back in 1998, the original Citizens First work was done by Treasury Board’s Service and Innovation sector along with provincial and municipal partners. It learned that citizens, in fact, rated specific government services higher than those of the private sector.
More relevant to future government efforts to improve service, it put forward the drivers for citizen satisfaction: timeliness, knowledge and competencies of staff, courtesy/comfort, fair treatment and outcome. In short, like New Zealand, it was showing that if you could create a culture of service in the public sector, you would improve citizen satisfaction with government.
The next wave of service improvement will be as a result of digital technology. Over two-thirds of government agencies foresee improvements in process and efficiency due to better use of data. That, along with the ability to tailor – through technology – service to the needs of the individual citizen, should lead to the next generation of service improvement.