NSW State Plan – What it means for business

NSW Premier Morris Iemma today released The State Plan, A New Direction for NSW which will guide the delivery of government services in NSW over the next ten years.

This Hawker Britton Occasional Paper concentrates on certain aspects of the Plan of particular interest to business and provides some analysis of the Plan’s implications for how the private sector does business with government.

The Plan can be read in full at http://www.nsw.gov.au/stateplan

The Structure of the Plan

The Plan outlines 14 long term social, economic and environmental goals for NSW under five broad areas.

Rights, Respect and Responsibility
  • Keeping people safe
  • Building harmonious communities
Delivering Better Services
  • Healthy communities
  • Students fulfil their potential
  • A high quality transport system
  • Customer friendly services
Fairness and Opportunity
  • Strengthening Aboriginal communities
  • Opportunity and support for the most vulnerable
  • Early intervention to tackle disadvantage
Growing Prosperity Across NSW
  • NSW: Open for Business
  • Stronger rural and regional economics
Environment for Living
  • Securing our supply of water and energy
  • Practical environmental solutions
  • Improved urban environments

Under these goals, the Plan identifies 34 policy priorities which will drive the actions and decisions of Government in the pursuit of those goals.

For each of these priorities specific, measurable targets have been set, which will be used to track and judge the Government’s progress. The Plan includes a comprehensive explanation of the statistical basis for each of these targets and how progress will be measured.

The Targets

The specific and measurable targets in the State Plan provide the private sector with a valuable tool for working effectively with the NSW Government. These targets will play a role in guiding Government procurement decisions. They can be seen as a public equivalent of the Treasury Results and Services Plans.

Businesses interested in working with Government should be cognisant of the Plan’s targets and their statistical bases, clearly stated in the Plan, and identify how their proposal will assist the Government achieve these goals. This should be included in any proposal or tender response, separate to the business case.

Stronger Accountability Mechanisms

The State Plan includes an emphasis on stronger accountability with the clear allocation of responsibilities and a private sector-style framework.

While the Premier has overall responsibility for the Plan, each priority has been allocated to a Lead Minister and a Lead CEO based on the agency with the greatest capacity to deliver the priority. Partner Ministers and Partner CEO’s will also be identified based on their agency’s capacity to contribute towards delivering the priority.

Figure 38: Accountability Framework, NSW State Plan
Figure 38: Accountability Framework, NSW State Plan

Lead Ministers will be responsible to the public and within Cabinet for Government performance on the priority. They will also be responsible for coordinating with their Partner Ministers, providing strategic direction and oversight, and ensuring the agencies are working together effectively.

Lead CEO’s will be accountable to their Minister and the Premier. The CEO’s performance agreements will reflect this responsibility. Annual CEO performance reviews will be coordinated by the Director General of the Premier’s Department. ‘Blind’ peer feedback amongst CEO’s will also be coordinated by the Premier’s Department to provide frank and comprehensive input to the performance reviews.

Independent Advisors

In a first for NSW, two independent experts will be appointed as advisors to the Cabinet committee responsible for implementing the Plan. Dr John Stuckey, former managing partner of McKinsey’s management consultants, and Professor Brian McCaughan, President of the NSW Medical Board have been appointed to provide independent advice to the Government.

The new Cabinet Standing Committee on State Plan Performance will comprise the Premier, Deputy Premier, Treasurer and two other senior ministers.