Saturday, October 24, 2015

Where does it stop?

So much more to be said.... like, individualised savings accounts would bypass a lot of the wrangling collectivised health and social security throws up, particularly of late. Of course that would require an element of compulsion.

And that this micro-management of people's lives isn't really about saving money, at least not in the overall scheme of government expenditure. It's about saving people from themselves. It's the imposition of a prescriptive set of behaviours that the state defines as acceptable, and the suppression of those it does not.

Friday, October 23, 2015

"Breaking the adoption 'taboo' "

A shift in thinking is gathering momentum in Australia as it should here. The same circumstances and questions apply in this country, where thousands of children are in state care next to a low number of adoptions.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

How much CYF resource is wasted?

New data shows a significant drop in substantiated findings of child abuse:

 Yet there were 150,905 notifications in 2014/15 - a  3 percent increase on the previous year.

Only 30 percent of notifications require further action.

16,472 substantiated findings from 150,905 notifications (allowing for some year on year overlap) represents 10.9  percent. Note though that multiple findings can apply to one child, just as multiple reports could apply to one child so it would be incorrect to simply state that 10.9 percent of notifications are substantiated. But you get the picture.

Reports are trending up; substantiations are trending down.

The level of notifications that are unnecessary - perhaps even vexatious - must be very high. Or perhaps the difference reflects a gap between CYF's standards and the community's. Certainly the public has been heavily encouraged to report their concerns, and the police are also  now required to make a notification if attending a family violence incident even if the child/ren are not directly involved.

Whatever the reasons for the difference in reports and substance are, it must be costing a fortune in resource.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Latest Better Public Service progress results out

The BPS target progress results have just been published. A selection of graphs of interest to this blog:

Not a lot to get excited about.

Still, setting public goals and charting progress is, of itself, an improvement in how government runs services.

You can view other graphs and each one's rating eg On Track  here.

Monday, October 19, 2015

New painting

Updating my artist blog, this is a large palette knife painting of South Island drovers. It's based on a photograph (with a fair dose of artistic licence thrown in). Mt Cook in the background.

I don't often paint landscapes but the portrait commissions have been thin on the ground this year. Removed from my highly representational style this tends towards impressionistic. If the shapes and perspective are believable, the viewer's imagination will fill in the missing details. It would be truly laborious to depict each sheep.

Increasingly, painting with a knife using strong, often unmixed colours, is reducing my desire to paint with brushes and more 'natural' shades. Maybe my eyesight is degenerating.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Abuse of the Official Information Act - Ombudsman had enough

The Ombudsman has had enough. The abuse of the Official Information Act by those subject to it must stop.

The Chief Ombudsman has slammed the Prime Minister for delay tactics of releasing official information.
Dame Beverley Wakem says she intends to introduce a new set of standards covering Official Information Act (OIA) releases, as part of a major review.
Thomas Jefferson once said "information is the currency of democracy", but it's not always easy to get information...
Information can be accessed from the Government and its agencies under the OIA. They must respond within 20 working days, but several examples have shown that is not always the case.
Several examples? That's the understatement of the year.

The Ombudsman told me that 110 complaints had been received against MSD in the 2013 financial year. 62 were about delays. Those statistics represent only the people who bothered to complain.

And that's just one department.

The TV3 report continues:

3D waited two years for information from Auckland police on burglary statistics.
A complaint to the Ombudsman's office has been with it for a year.
I've had a complaint lodged with the Ombudsman since September 18, 2014 and still no resolution.

Obviously they are unable to cope with the level of complaints being received.

It's not a good look for the National government and I am pleased to see mainstream media giving the issue some coverage.

Prime Minister John Key has previously admitted his office uses delaying tactics in releasing official information. Dame Beverley told The Nation that's unacceptable.
"There's a disregard for the law," she says.
From the top down.