Friday 13 October 2023

Fattening a lamb?

New Zealand has a lot of job search websites. 

MSD thinks it needs to build its own job search website for beneficiaries. 

I don't know whether they're serious about this or are fattening up a lamb to sacrifice when an incoming MoF asks for budget cuts. 

Kate MacNamara has some details

The Government has pushed ahead with a $36 million job search platform for beneficiaries, despite Treasury warning of the plan’s dubious value for money.

A March report to Finance Minister Grant Robertson repeatedly noted that officials did not support funding the employment platform: “The Treasury has a different view on the scope of Horizon One. We do not support funding to develop a digital employment platform within Horizon One, whereas MSD [the Ministry of Social Development] considers this a critical part of Te Pae Tawhiti,” the document, released under the Official Information Act, said.

A Treasury spokesperson said the agency had not changed its view since the report was written.

The employment platform – a key purpose of which will be to match prospective employees and jobs – was funded through Budget 2023, and is part of the first phase of the MSD’s multi-billion dollar Te Pae Tawhiti programme of change. It is aimed at improving the digital provision of the agency’s services.

I'd put in an OIA on this one back in August, but in keeping with the Hughesean Spirit of Public Service, MSD punted the request until after the election, nominally for consultations, but almost certainly because they didn't want the stuff out before the election. 

I expect MSD wants the fattened lamb to be ready for sacrifice after the election, not for a political talking point before the election when the Minister of Finance likes to pretend there is no fat out there. 

This was my August OIA request:

Dear MSD,

I understand that MSD has proposed a platform that would match potential employers with beneficiaries seeking work. 

I’d like to know more about the proposal. I’m particularly interested in knowing what problem the platform might solve that isn’t already solved by, Student Job Search (, or other alternatives. 

Please provide:

1) Any documentation prepared in support of a funding bid for a job search platform for beneficiaries. I am particularly keen on anything addressing problem definition, where other platforms already exist to match workers and employers;

2) Costings for the development and deployment of such a platform, including relevant risks and timelines;

3) Any advice received from Treasury or DIA on the proposal, including minutes from relevant meetings;

4) Any information regarding whether the proposal was reassessed subsequent to signalled cutbacks in overall expenditure. Was the proposed project’s value-for-money reconsidered as the fiscal outlook changed after BEFU?

I've put in a request to the Ombudsman about what counts as proper consultations that could delay an OIA – particularly one that could prove politically sensitive and helpful for voters in an election campaign where agencies are claiming there’s no fat to trim. 

No comments:

Post a Comment