The ministry hasn’t succeeded in its intention to become “client-centric” – it lacks the customer voice
Uncertainty, high staff turnover, negative behaviours, poor relationships, invisible leadership, retreat into “silos” and poorly communicated priorities.
Those problems are described in the State Services Commission’s review of the Ministry of Health, revealing the ministry has a big task ahead to repair damage and become the health system’s clear leader.
The commission’s reviewers were told “universally” that the ministry’s relationships were at an all-time low.
The commission’s latest five-yearly review report was released today, just days after the resignation of chief executive and director-general of health Chai Chuah.
Mr Chuah was first appointed as acting boss in November 2013, becoming permanent 16 months later.
Titled Performance improvement framework review for Ministry of Health, the report says the ministry has not taken a systematic approach to its priorities. This is despite the new direction of the New Zealand Health Strategy (2016) and two years of restructuring under Mr Chuah.
Leadership is invisible in the ministry and across the system, the reviewers find.
They say the executive leadership team (tier 2, below Mr Chuah) spent considerable time “working on itself” and failed to use the managers in the third tier.
“[I]nstead, each ELT member has continued to work through their own lines. Now there is evidence of disengagement at tiers 3 and 4.”