GDS Index

New Zealand's government department strategies under the microscope

Welcome to the GDS Index.

The GDS Index aims to illustrate how New Zealand might strengthen government department strategies (GDSs) to be more effective, responsive, measurable, comparable and durable through public consultation, engagement and ownership. If government departments make the content of GDSs more useful, these strategies’ users will be better able to assess their quality and, where appropriate, to work with government to deliver better outcomes more cost-effectively.

The GDS Index ranks each of the GDSs in terms of essential information. The Index does not rate the strategy as such; it rates the strategy document’s provision of essential information and clarity of communication, so readers can then assess the strategic approach for themselves. Each GDS is reviewed against the Scorecard (see above) to determine how well it articulates each of six elements. The Institute regularly updates the GDS Index so that information can be measured, analysed and tracked over time.

Due to COVID in the office, we will gradually be uploading the working papers and Index over the next week (once staff return to work).

This week (11–15 July 2022) we will be publishing three more papers on our website in final draft:

  • Working Paper 2022/02 – Lists of Government Department Strategies Between 1 July 1994 and 31 December 2021;
  • Working Paper 2022/03 – Scoring Tables Collating and Ranking Government Department Strategies in Operation as at 31 December 2021; and
  • Working Paper 2022/05 – Best Practice: Guidance for policy analysts preparing government department strategy documents.

By Monday 18 July 2022, we hope to have the last three Analysis papers published on our website in final draft: 

  • Working Paper 2022/04 – Analysis of Government Department Strategies Between 1 July 1994 and 31 December 2021; 
  • Working Paper 2022/07 – Analysis of Climate Change in Government Department Strategies as at 31 December 2021; and
  • Working Paper 2022/08 – Analysis of Poverty in Government Department Strategies as at 31 December 2021.

We will leave a number of pages in final draft over the next few months in case we have any further changes or analysis to add. If you have any suggestions of points of clarification, please email us at dk@mcguinnessinstitute.org.

Thank you for your interest,

Wendy McGuinness

GDS Index Handbook

Order the 2021 Government Department Strategies Index Handbook – He Puna Rautaki below ($44.50 inc. GST and postage in NZ).

GDS Index Tables

 2021 GDS Index launch webinar

Definition of a Government Department Strategy

GDS Index definition

Scorecard

The Scorecard is used to assess the content of a GDS document and whether this content is sufficient for a reader to assess the quality of the strategy. It is not used to assess the quality of the strategy.

GDS Index Scorecard

Letters to MPs and Chief Executives of government departments

Letter to MPs

Download (PDF, 284 KB)

Letter to CEs of government departments

Download (PDF, 217 KB)

2021 GDS publications

Government Department Strategies Index Handbook –
He Puna Rautaki

June 2022
Download (PDF, 25MB)

Working Paper GDS Index Methodology

Methodology

The Methodology explains why the Institute produces and publishes a GDS Index and how, in detail, the 2021 GDS Index was created. This working paper will be published in final draft on Monday 4 July 2022.

GDS Index Handbook Image

Complete Lists of GDSs

The Lists paper provides different lists of GDSs in the 2021 GDS Index. This working paper will be published last alongside Working Paper 2022/04 – Analysis of Government Department Strategies Between 1 July 1994 and 31 December 2021.

Scoring

The Scoring paper provides the detailed scoring and ranking for each GDS within the 2021 GDS Index. This working paper will be published in early July 2022.

Analysis

The Analysis paper outlines the main observations from the Institute’s most recent analysis of GDSs in the 2021 GDS Index. This working paper will be published last alongside Working Paper 2022/02 – Lists of Government Department Strategies Between 1 July 1994 and 31 December 2021.

Working Paper GDS Index Methodology

Best Practice

The Best Practice paper is intended as a guidance document for policy analysts when preparing strategy documents. This working paper will be published in final draft on Monday 4 July 2022.

Strategy Maps

The purpose of the Strategy Maps paper is to catalogue and collate all strategy maps that the Institute has identified within GDS documents during research for the 2021 GDS Index.

Download (Final Draft) (PDF, 15 MB)

Analysis of Climate Change

The Climate Change Analysis paper outlines the explicit and implicit mentions of climate change within GDS documents from the 2021 GDS Index. This working paper will be published in early July.

Working Paper GDS Index Methodology

Analysis of Poverty

The Poverty Analysis paper outlines the explicit and implicit mentions of poverty within GDS documents from the 2021 GDS Index. This working paper will be published in early July.

BACKGROUND: Previous GDS Indexes

2018 GDS Index
On 2 May 2019 the Institute published the 2018 GDS Index. For the first time the Institute also published the Government Department Strategies Handbook – He Puna Rautaki (see below). At the 2019 launch Wendy McGuinness discussed why government department strategies are important corporate documents, the process the Institute took when conducting the research, and the obstacles and challenges experienced. This work is intended to contribute to a broader discussion about how to build strategic capability in the public service. See Wendy’s presentation slide show from the launch.

The Institute found 148 GDSs in operation as at 31 December 2018 and rated each of these against the Scorecard. PDFs and their final scores can be found in Table 1 below. The highest-scoring GDS on the 2018 GDS Index was A Biosecurity Science Strategy for New Zealand (October 2007), published by the Ministry for Primary Industries. See the table of the archived GDSs.

 2014 and 2015 Index
The 2014 GDS Index, 2015 GDS Index and 2018 GDS Index can be found below. Of the 413 GDSs that have appeared on the GDS Index, 265 have been archived (see the archived table). The remaining 148 GDSs are operational.

PUBLICATIONS: Previous GDS Indexes