31 Mar 2015

Super-ministry proposes job cuts

7:41 pm on 31 March 2015

The Government's super-ministry is proposing to cut 65 jobs in a restructure.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)'s head office in Wellington

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE)'s head office in Wellington Photo: Argosy

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) changes have been disclosed through a leaked internal document.

The ministry was formed through the merger of four government departments in 2012 and its first review last year was scathing of its performance.

The leaked staff consultation document said 26 new positions would be created in the restructure and 91 positions disestablished.

In the document, MBIE chief executive David Smol said he understood that change came with uncertainty.

But he said there were some things that were not working as well as they could.

"Since we formed in 2012, we have been working towards creating an organisation that can deliver a positive impact on the economy," he said.

"We have achieved a great deal to be proud of but at the same time there are some things that are not working as well as they could.

"I established the Building a High Performing MBIE programme in January 2015 because I saw a need and an opportunity for MBIE to step up in several areas.

"With regard to our structure there was widespread agreement that MBIE needs a better integrated, leaner and more flexible and responsive mode of operation to build a consistently high performing MBIE, and that is the basis of this proposal."

Public Service Association national secretary Richard Wagstaff said many of the agencies in the ministry had undergone constant restructuring for more than a decade.

"Restructuring is often the answer that employers come up with to improve their performance," he said.

"It doesn't always result in better performance, of course, and the rate of restructuring has become chronic in the public sector."

Mr Wagstaff said the proposals would make staff at the ministry very anxious.

The recommendations on structure, as listed in the document, were:

  • Move to two policy-focused groups, from the current three, in order to bring together interdependent areas of work, building on the synergies in the existing groupings.
  • Move some service delivery functions from policy-focused areas into Market Services to align more compliance and investigative functions.
  • Create a small Office of the Chief Executive to act as a strategic advisor to me [David Smol] and house key outward-facing strategically important programmes that support me in my outward-facing capacity.
  • Establish a Chief Financial Officer position, as a member of SLT [senior leadership team] and reporting directly to me, to ensure MBIE's financial challenges are given the appropriate focus and to support driving strategy into financial decision-making.
  • Create a single Internal Partners group to be responsible for working with SLT to implement MBIE's operating model and for ensuring that MBIE's business groups can access services and advice that enable them effectively to deliver their work programmes. This group would also be responsible for leading MBIE's transformational work programme.

The proposals will be confirmed by the end of May.