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In 2015 we refreshed the framework to better reflect how agencies are building and delivering their services around a clear understanding of their customers. The refresh has put the customer, and how we deliver value to customers and New Zealanders, at the heart of the framework. To support this we have developed a new Critical Area, Lead Questions and Lines of Enquiry, and made adjustments to existing Critical Areas, Lead Questions and Lines of Enquiry.
We have:

  • acknowledged the Four-year Excellence Horizon as a component of the framework
  • changed the Lead Questions for the Results Critical Area: Core Business
  • added a new Critical Area within Organisational Management: Delivery for Customers and New Zealanders.

This was the fourth upgrade 1 to the PIF since its launch in 2009.

Acknowledging the Four-year Excellence Horizon

The Four-year Excellence Horizon was developed in 2011 as a separate ‘summary’ section at the front of PIF Agency Review reports and Self-review reports. It provides a distillation of the findings, themes and conclusions about the priority areas for performance improvement, given the contribution New Zealand needs from the agency and its current and medium-term context, issues, risks and opportunities. The important role of the Four-year Excellence Horizon is made explicit in this refresh of the framework.
Government agencies that are required to produce a Four-year Plan need to ensure that the plan shows how the agency is responding to the Four-year Excellence Horizon and the commitment the agency made in its response to its Agency Review.

Changing the Lead Questions and Lines of Enquiry for delivery of Core Business

In this refresh, the Lead Questions for Delivery of Core Business have been upgraded to make explicit that the Core Business of State sector agencies is to deliver value for customers and New Zealanders, in accordance with each agency’s purpose. The focus and ratings for each Core Business area have changed from ‘effectiveness’ and ‘efficiency’ to ‘value to customers and New Zealanders’ and ‘increased value over time’. Where relevant, Crown entity monitoring and regulatory stewardship are to be rated as Core Business areas of each agency.

Adding a new Critical Area: Delivery for Customers and New Zealanders

A new Critical Area, Delivery for Customers and New Zealanders, focuses on the ‘who’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ of an organisation’s purpose, strategy and design. Some new concepts have been added: Customer; Value to Customers; Value to New Zealanders; Value Proposition; and Operating Model. These are explained in the ‘PIF Concepts’ section of Core Guide 1: What is the Performance Improvement Framework?

Consequential changes to the framework

Adding a new Critical Area has led to other adjustments to the framework’s structure. These are:

Critical Area: Leadership and Direction

There has been some refinement to the Elements for Leadership and Direction (previously known as ‘Leadership, Direction and Delivery’):

  • Purpose, Vision and Strategy – the Lead Question on purpose, vision and strategy has been amended to focus on how well the agency’s purpose, vision and strategy are understood. How the agency goes about defining and articulating its purpose, vision and strategy is important in ensuring deep understanding and engagement by staff and stakeholders.
  • Leadership and Governance – an existing Lead Question on aspects of collective leadership and direction has been amended to encourage examination of the leadership’s capability and capacity to implement change.
  • Structure, Roles and Responsibilities – this Element has been removed and replaced by Operating Model, a new Element in the Critical Area of Delivery for Customers and New Zealanders.
  • Critical Area: Delivery for Customers and New Zealanders

This Critical Area contains one new element: Customers. Three other Elements have been moved from other parts of the framework: Operating Model; Collaboration and Partnerships and Experiences of the Public. These use, and expand on, existing Lead Questions.

Critical Area: Relationships

This Critical Area (previously ‘External Relationships’) highlights the strategic relationships of trust and confidence that agencies must build and maintain to make their best contribution to the delivery of public services.
Other external relationship Elements have been moved to the new Critical Area: Delivery for Customers and New Zealanders with updates to the Lead Questions and Lines of Enquiry.

Critical Area: Financial and Resource Management

One Element, Improving Efficiency and Effectiveness, has been removed, as relevant Lead Questions and Lines of Enquiry address this topic in Core Business; Review; Customers; Experiences of the Public and Financial Management.

Other changes to how the framework is used
  • In addition to refreshing the framework, we are moving to a new way of using it across the State services. Instead of a regular three-year cycle, prioritisation criteria will be used to decide where the PIF Agency Review will be used. We will use it:
  • to support new chief executives in the first 12 months of their tenure
  • upon their reappointment (if needed)
  • where there is change in an agency’s operating environment.
  • Our new approach enables us to ensure the framework is used at a time when its insights will be the most useful for agencies and their chief executives, and keeps the PIF engagement purposeful rather than routine.

1The first upgrade to the PIF Model was the inclusion of the Four-year Excellence Horizon in October 2011. The second was the Strategic Financial Management upgrade in December 2012. The third was the Better Public Services upgrade in January 2014. The most recent is the Customer Refresh in December 2015.

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