Working paper

Outcomes Focussed Management in New Zealand - A Background Paper (WP 01/05)

Authors: Chris Ussher and Andrew Kibblewhite*


"Outcomes" can be broadly defined as the results of Government interventions. Considerable effort, both in New Zealand and overseas, is focussing on ways in which information on outcomes can be better integrated into public policy decision-making.

This paper outlines the environment for outcomes focussed management in New Zealand and discusses some innovative examples of the use of outcomes in public management. It provides a background for further work focussed on integrating the use of outcomes in public management.

The first part of the paper describes both how outcomes can be used and how outcomes are used to influence decision-making in New Zealand. It traces through the use of outcomes at various stages of the decision-making process, from whole-of-Government strategy setting and the budget process, to departmental planning processes. It also notes where there are opportunities for greater use of outcomes.

The second part describes some innovative examples of the use of outcomes in public management in New Zealand. It examines the use of:

  • outcomes by the Department of Corrections to focus expenditure on rehabilitative interventions more effectively;
  • outcomes-based funding arrangements for employment programmes by the Department of Work and Income;
  •  an outcomes-based model by the Land Transport Safety Authority that predicts the road-safety outcomes of various combinations of interventions;
  • outcomes measures in the Biodiversity Strategy to monitor progress halting the decline of New Zealand's indigenous biodiversity; and
  • outcomes targets in the Māori Education Strategy.

* This paper was originally prepared as New Zealand's country paper for an OECD Expert Meeting on Outcomes Focussed Management in Paris on the 18-19 January 2001. A slightly modified version was used as a background paper for a presentation by Andrew Kibblewhite at a conference on "Managing Successful Policy Reforms" in the Wellington Town Hall on the 14th of February 2001. The authors would like to thank Roger Waite, Linda Cameron, Tony Bliss, Tony Gavin, Grant Baker, Mary-Anne Thompson, Tom Berthold and David Galt.