The Ministry is committed to inclusive work practices and culture. As a member of the New Zealand public service, the Ministry bases appointments on merit, while recognising the employment aspirations of Māori, ethnic and minority groups, women, and people with disabilities.

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Cost-effectiveness

Cost-effectiveness is a measure of how well an organisation uses its inputs to achieve its desired outcomes. As noted earlier in this report, it is difficult for a policy ministry to establish a causal relationship between its outputs and the achievement of outcomes. This is because outcomes are frequently impacted by the actions of numerous organisations and individuals. Notwithstanding that, the Ministry is committed to increasing its overall effectiveness.

The government undertook a Review of Expenditure on Policy Advice in 2010. The review provided, at a high level, a view on the Ministry’s capability and cost-effectiveness. The Ministry had good management information data and was able to provide the review committee with reliable data on the Ministry’s policy expenditure.

The Ministry monitors its policy quality through its engagement of the New Zealand Institute of Economic Research (NZIER) to undertake policy quality review and benchmarking assessments. The Review of Expenditure on Policy Advice Committee also found that the cost-effectiveness of the Ministry’s policy advice could be enhanced and that its costs were higher than some other organisations. The Ministry is participating in a Treasury led benchmarking pilot that will provide the Ministry with additional information on how it can improve the cost-effectiveness of its advice.

The Ministry utilises its entire staff as a single resource to be applied as needed to its work programme initiatives, and has refined its staff allocation processes to make this less time-consuming and more efficient. Where the Ministry does not have the capacity or capability to undertake a component of a particular initiative, it contracts for the required services. The Ministry applies standard public service procurement policies. Potential contracts with a value of $100,000 or more (excluding GST) are included on the Government Electronic Tender Service and are competitively tendered. Contracts with a value between $50,000 and $99,999 require at least three written quotations. The Ministry also uses ‘preferred supplier contracts’ to maximise the value for money that it receives from its commercial procurements.

We also voluntarily participated in the government’s Better Administrative and Support Services Programme. This provided the Ministry with benchmark data for comparative organisations. The results of that work helped to inform the Ministry on whether it needed to make any adjustments in its human resources, finance, and corporate and executive services.

During 2010/11 the Ministry established six headline indicators for the government’s long-term outcomes for transport and is looking to develop a further two headline indicators. The Ministry’s contribution to those long-term outcomes is set out in the annual Statement of Intent. The Ministry reviews its key priorities on a quarterly basis to ensure that Ministry resources are focused on the highest priority initiatives for the government.

The Ministry’s policy advice to government evaluates the cost and impacts of policy options on the government’s objectives. The Ministry is committed to enhancing the quality of its policy advice. During the year we established a regulatory impact statement peer review panel to assess the quality of the regulatory impact statement, independent of those working on the particular policy.

Post-project reviews are also important, and enable the Ministry to capture learnings from individual projects and apply those to future work. The Ministry has placed a greater emphasis on these reviews by establishing mechanisms to share learnings across the Ministry to avoid ‘re-inventing the wheel’.

In the 2011/12 Annual Report, the Ministry will commence reporting on the results of its post-project reviews for its most substantial projects. The Ministry is also placing a greater focus on the achievement of longer-term outcomes and evaluating the effectiveness of longer-term initiatives. The implementation of the Safer Journeys Road Safety Strategy and its associated action plan over the coming years will provide the Ministry with the opportunity to undertake a longer-term evaluation of the effectiveness of the overall Safer Journeys programme.

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