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Statement of Intent 2013 - 2017 - HTML version

Issue date: 
Thursday, 16 May 2013
Issue status: 
Version note: 

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet: Statement of Intent 2013 - 2017

Presented to the House of Representatives Pursuant to Section 39 of the Public Finance Act 1989

G.48 SOI (2013)

ISSN 1176-2217

Statements of Responsibility

Ministerial Statement of Responsibility

I am satisfied that the information on future operating intentions provided by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet in this Statement of Intent and the Information Supporting the Estimates is in accordance with sections 38, 40 and 41 of the Public Finance Act 1989 and is consistent with the policies and performance expectations of the Government.

Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister

May 2013

Chief Executive Statement of Responsibility

In signing this statement, I acknowledge that I am responsible for the information contained in the Statement of Intent for the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. This information has been prepared in accordance with the Public Finance Act 1989. It is also consistent with the proposed appropriations set out in the Appropriations (2013/14 Estimates) Bill, as presented to the House of Representatives in accordance with section 13 of the Public Finance Act 1989, and with existing appropriations and financial authorities.

Andrew Kibblewhite
Chief Executive

May 2013

Sara Brownlie
Chief Financial Officer

May 2013

Supporting the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Prime Minister is the political leader of the government and the country - and New Zealand's main public “face”. The Prime Minister is also the Chair of the Cabinet, and is responsible for the effective operation of executive government. These roles combine political and executive responsibilities. DPMC provides the Prime Minister with advice and assistance in the following two categories:

Issues that are the direct responsibility of the Prime Minister

The Cabinet Office provides free and frank advice and support on constitutional issues relating to the conduct of executive government - including during elections and transitions between administrations - and issues associated with the operation of the Cabinet system. The Department also provides a stream of assessments and advice to the Prime Minister to support his intelligence and security responsibilities.

Issues that arise across the full range of government business

DPMC provides a continuous flow of advice to the Prime Minister on major and daily issues, along with oversight of wider-government activity and access to information and assessments on national security issues. DPMC works with the Treasury and SSC to draw together departments in support of the Government's priorities, to focus agencies on providing options for action, to ensure implementation of agreed programmes and policies, to drive for enhanced agency performance and to deal effectively with issues that affect the nation. DPMC also provides, through the Cabinet Office, the secretariat support for decision-making by the Cabinet and its committees.

Administrative support to the Prime Minister

A totally separate body outside of DPMC, the Office of the Prime Minister, advises the Prime Minister and is the primary point of responsibility for managing political issues and relationships with other political parties and for providing administrative and media support. It also prepares replies to parliamentary questions, and deals with Official Information Act 1982 requests and other correspondence.

Introduction from the Chief Executive

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) exists to support New Zealand's Governor-General and Prime Minister in the conduct of their responsibilities, and to ensure the effective conduct of executive government by the Prime Minister and members of the Cabinet. It provides a broad range of services including policy advice; national security and intelligence coordination; secretariat and coordination services to Cabinet, its committees and the Executive Council; support services to the Governor-General and maintenance of the official residences. DPMC is also part of the Corporate Centre (together with the Treasury and State Services Commission [SSC]) which provides leadership to agencies across the State sector.

There are many challenges facing New Zealand in the coming years. These include building a more productive and internationally competitive economy; returning the Government’s budget to surplus and reducing its debt; rebuilding Christchurch; delivering better public services to New Zealanders; and ensuring that New Zealand, its people and its national interests are protected from harm.

The Prime Minister and Ministers have placed high expectations on the Department to rise to these challenges, to seek new and better ways to deliver services and to be focused on results that matter for New Zealanders. As Chief Executive, I, with my senior managers, will lead a team of highly skilled and dedicated staff who are open to change and innovation in how we operate, both internally and externally.

In Budget 2013 some new investment has been provided to DPMC, primarily to enhance our leadership and coordination of the national security sector. This is necessary to maintain effectiveness and build organisational resilience. As recent events have unfortunately shown (eg, the Canterbury earthquakes, Pike River mine disaster, Rena grounding), natural disasters and other unforeseen events and circumstances do occur. The current system is well placed to manage a single national emergency. But more depth is required to ensure the appropriate resilience is being developed, so that DPMC’s staff and systems are able to respond effectively to multiple national emergencies or crises, in New Zealand or offshore.

Building a safer and more prosperous nation requires that New Zealand and its national interests are protected from harm. An increasing number of security issues do not respect national boundaries. In particular, the globalised world that brings New Zealand so many advantages also brings us harm in the form of electronic intrusions and cyber crime, potentially threatening our critical national infrastructure and the intellectual property of our businesses. The National Cyber Policy Office was established within DPMC last year to lead the development of cyber policy advice for government. The Department will be committing the appropriate resources to support the development and implementation of robust cyber security strategies across government. Key objectives include equipping New Zealand's cyberspace effectively, so that it can respond to threats, achieving a greater understanding in both the public and private sectors of how they can contribute to cyber security and the enabling of economic activity and prosperity through a secure national infrastructure.

Over the next four years we will be increasing DPMC's policy capability on intelligence and security. Our focus will be on strengthening policy capability across the sector and mitigating risks on key issues. We will work in other agencies to rebuild trust in the intel community, make the work of the intel community more relevant to decision-makers and work more effectively together.

A changed way of working for the Cabinet system is underway with investment in a new electronic platform known as CabNet. This system will use technologies and processes allowing departments, Ministers' offices and the Cabinet Office to work together more effectively in supporting Cabinet and its committees. Implementation of CabNet will require us to work across the State sector on the new Cabinet processes, and to provide improved training to ensure the benefits are realised. These benefits are expected to include enhanced productivity, improved quality of submissions and enhanced security of Cabinet information.

The last few years have witnessed some significant developments at Government House: the completion of a significant (and highly successful) renovation of Government House Wellington; the opening of a Visitor Centre there; and the investiture of a new Governor-General. A key area of focus in the next few years will be making information on the function, powers and duties of New Zealand's Governor-General and Head of State more readily accessible. The Visitor Centre will facilitate the visits of school pupils while also developing its capacity to handle public visits and investigating ways of broadening its appeal to special interest groups. We will be looking to further upgrade the Government House website, and consider how best we can provide more information on the international dimension of the Governor-General's activities.

As noted earlier, DPMC will work differently in the future. It will share, with the Treasury and SSC, a collective responsibility for the success of the State services. Within the Corporate Centre, DPMC will play a key leadership role in supporting the implementation of the Better Public Services programme. Better Public Services is fundamentally a different way of thinking about State sector performance. It is about how well the system as a whole is serving the needs of citizens (rather than a narrow focus on the performance of individual agencies) and reflects a commitment by the State sector to work much more collectively. Accordingly, we will work closely across other agencies to make sure the State sector is doing everything necessary to achieve the challenging Better Public Services targets Ministers have set (across critical areas such as supporting vulnerable children, boosting skills and employment and reducing crime).

The Central Agencies Shared Services (CASS) is also an example of Better Public Services in action, joining up effort across agencies to reduce the overall costs of back office functions. CASS has already benefited DPMC in providing a more resilient, comprehensive and robust delivery of core corporate services functions, which had gradually deteriorated over a number of years owing to reprioritisation to cover front line activities.

Finally, we want to demonstrate DPMC's value proposition to our stakeholders and the State sector at large. Our Department is underpinned by the specialist expertise and strong performance of our individual business units and is united by a shared commitment to help the Governor-General and the Prime Minister carry out their responsibilities to the highest standard possible. To further improve upon this we will be looking to develop greater collaboration and innovation across the organisation, to support our shared purpose of advancing - to the very best of our ability - a confident, well-governed and secure New Zealand. This year's Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) review of the Department, and the development of an action plan in response to it, will also be important opportunities for us to further demonstrate improved performance.

This new focus on the way we work and how we measure achievement for ourselves and State sector agencies will help us continue to provide the highest standards of day-to-day advice and support to our stakeholders - the Governor-General, Prime Minister and Ministers - and ultimately the people of New Zealand.

Andrew Kibblewhite
Chief Executive

Last updated: 
Friday, 17 May 2013

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