Specific advice for the business practices of Crown Entities

Statement of Intents and Good Employer Reporting

Being a ‘good employer’ is vital to ensuring that an organisation can deliver on its stated outcomes and can manage for results.

This section offers practical guidance on how the 'good employer' intentions can be included in the Statement of Intent. An example of a 'good employer' plan and report (PDF) or (Word), as well as a report template (PDF) or (Word), can be found by clicking on the links. 

The Annual Report

It is a legislative requirement that a Crown entity must report on compliance with its obligation to be a ‘good employer’ (including its equal employment opportunities programme) in its Annual Report (S 151 (1) (g)).

'The first Annual Report to report fully against the SOI under s150 of the Act will be produced at the end of 2007 for the 2006/07 financial year.' [1]

At the very least, the Annual Report should include a big picture summary of the organisation’s ‘good employer’ report.  This could be a reference to the main points, with a hyperlink that takes the reader to the more detailed report. The summary might briefly refer to:

  • the organisation’s ‘good employer’ strategy and how it is aligned with the broader business strategy,
  • the major activities relating to the strategy,
  • the performance indicators being used, and
  • progress made.

It is not recommended that the organisation simply repeat the text in the Act, claiming that they have met their obligations to be a ‘good employer’ and has an EEO programme in place. There needs to be some demonstration of this or link to evidence that supports this claim.

The Treasury has developed guidance for Crown entities on compiling Annual Reports and Statements of Intent here. Audit New Zealand is compiling a ‘model’ Annual Report. 

Statement of Intent 

In order to incorporate the 'good employer' intentions in your Statement of Intent, the SOI requires the inclusion of the following: 

Timeframe

'The SOI provides a high-level, succinct, strategically-oriented description and explanation of an entity's operating intentions and performance expectations over the medium-term - usually a three to five year period. It provides the base against which the entity will later report in its Annual Report (s150 and s151).' [3] It also provides an explanation of how it intends to achieve results and 'measure the progress made, the challenges it will face and the implications for its capability.' [4]

The medium-term plan is likely to require year-by-year adjustment to take account of lessons learned and changes in the operating environment. As well as a medium-term plan, the SOI needs to include details on the plan for the year ahead. This will typically be more specific and provide more detailed performance information. It also provides an explanation of how it intends to achieve results and 'measure the progress made, the challenges it will face and the implications for its capability.' The medium-term plan is likely to require year-by-year adjustment to take account of lessons learned and changes in the operating environment. As well as a medium-term plan, the SOI needs to include details on the plan for the year ahead. This will typically be more specific and provide more detailed performance information.

'Crown entities should keep these two components separate so that the medium-term focus and coherence of the SOI is maintained. At the same time clear linkages are needed between the two to assure readers that the entity's annual and medium-term plans are properly aligned, and that progress is being made in year one towards meeting the Crown entity's medium-term objectives.' [5]

The process of writing the SOI provides an opportunity to plan and declare what the entity will do:

  • over the next three to five years and
  • over the next 12 months

to ensure that it is a ‘good employer’.

The SOI description of what the Crown entity will do, and explanations of how it will be done, form the base against which the entity will later report.

Capability

It is not a legislative requirement that Crown entities must refer in their SOI to being a ‘good employer’ or having an EEO programme. However, being a 'good employer' forms a critical part of capability, which does need to be referred to in the SOI. [1]‘Essentially, more non-financial information is required and the SOI now covers outcomes, impacts, objectives and capability - as well as outputs.’[2]

The most appropriate part of the SOI to outline what Crown entities plan to do in regard to their ‘good employer’ obligations is in the section described in the Act in 141 (1) (e). This covers how the entity proposes to manage the organisational health and the capability of the entity. The SOI guidance for Crown entities states 'capability is what an organisation needs in terms of access to leadership, people, culture, relationships, processes and technology, physical assets, and structures to efficiently deliver the outputs required to achieve the Government's goals.' [6]

The guidance goes on to state that 'This section provides a straightforward description and discussion of the Crown entity's organisational health and the management of key elements of the Crown entity's capability (now and in the future) within the available resources, including plans to develop or change any specific type of capability'.

'The description will benefit from the inclusion of measures to add to the reader's understanding of the entity's capability. These might include, for example, trends in recruitment, retention of key staff, the good employer policy, plans and targets for efficiency changes arising from new ways of doing things and from technology investments.'

'The discussion should consider any capability limitations and their impact on the Crown entity's ability to perform its functions and conduct its operations effectively to deliver the outputs and enhance results.' [7]

Although discussion around capability can include how the Crown entity will implement its obligations to be a ‘good employer’ and develop and implement equal employment opportunities, 'the structure of the SOI is the responsibility of each entity, as the document needs to reflect the nature and complexity of each entity's particular functions.' [8]

[6] Guidance and Requirements for Crown entities Preparing the 2006/07 Statement of Intent. Developed by the Treasury and the State Services Commission in consultation with the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, September 2005

A sample SOI Text

Medium-term plan

To assist us to deliver on our stated outcomes, over the next three years we will implement our obligations to be a ‘good employer’ and develop and implement equal employment opportunities for all. This will ensure we position ourselves so we can compete successfully for employees in what is projected to be an extremely challenging labour market over the next 2-3 decades. The people who work for us in the future are likely to be different in their needs, motivations and behaviours than the people in current employment. We intend to ensure our people management practices evolve to be ready for this. Our people are essential to ensure we maintain excellence and a high level of performance and results.

We plan to review our workforce profile, analyse our current situation, identify gaps and issues of concern, take action to address these issues, evaluate the effectiveness of these actions and plan future actions in order to ensure we have eliminated any discrimination and unintended barriers to equal opportunities. This will assist us in ensuring we have productive and talented staff who reflect the wider community. Delivering on our stated outcomes requires excellent leadership, people, culture, relationships and processes to be in place. The success of this objective will be measured by a change in our profile to more closely reflect the wider community and an improvement in staff morale, confidence and relationships in the organisation as well as staff perception of fairness and equity.

Short-term plan

Over the next 12 months we will begin this process by developing and reviewing a profile of the organisation’s staff and analysing its representativeness. We will consult with staff through the EEO Committee, focus groups and a written survey on issues of concern and ideas for improvements. We will conduct a thorough analysis of our profile, HR statistics, existing policies, practices, documents and systems in all areas of the business to audit equal opportunities in recruitment, appointment, development, promotion and remuneration. This will place us in an excellent position to take the most appropriate action (in the following year) to do everything we can to ensure all groups have fair and equal opportunities.

*This is an sample only. Every organisation will want to tailor their plans and the timing of their actions to reflect the nature, complexity and size of each entity’s particular functions. Some organisations may plan to take a series of actions and evaluate those actions within the12 months.

The Good Employer Plan or Report

The Crown Entities Act requires a Crown entity to make its policies that comply with the principle of being a ‘good employer’ and its equal employment opportunities programme available to its employees (S118 (1) (b)).

It is good practice to publish plans as well as results in a comprehensive annual report to staff. This report could be posted on the intranet or emailed to staff. It could also be available on the organisation’s website to highlight for the public the proactive steps the Crown entity is taking to ensure that it is a ‘good employer’.

The report could:

  • illustrate the workplace profile at the beginning of the year and at the end, highlighting any changes
  • outline what the organisation will do or has done over the year to analyse the workplace and each Employment Element
  • establish areas that are working well, and problem areas that need addressing
  • demonstrate what measures have been or will be taken to consult and engage staff in the process
  • outline priority areas for action with indicators of good performance (ie how will the organisation know it has fixed the problem?)
  • describe the actions the organisation has taken or will take throughout the year under each of the Employment Elements to address the issues and problem areas
  • assess the effectiveness of the actions taken and progress made
  • list future actions or remedies the organisation intends to apply.

Templates and Examples

An example of a 'good employer' plan and report (PDF) or (Word), as well as a report template (PDF) or (Word), can be found by clicking on the links.