Fire Service has hottest public sector reputation

By Wright Communications

In results announced today, the Fire Service increased its lead on the rest of the field in the Colmar Brunton Public Sector Reputation Index 2017, the most robust research of its kind in New Zealand.

The Index benchmarked 39 national public sector organisations against the four pillars which contribute to reputation - leadership and success, fairness, social responsibility, and trust. Each entity's reputation was indexed against the others.

The Fire Service with a Rep Z score of 129 comfortably outranked the rest of the field across all four pillars. The research was completed prior to the February Canterbury fires.

Maritime New Zealand was a distant second on 111 with the Department of Conservation (110), EECA (109) and the Civil Aviation Authority (108) rounding out the top five. These are still considered to be strong scores against an average of 100.

Colmar Brunton Group Account Director Edward Langley says reputation is particularly important for the public sector because government departments and agencies are ultimately answerable to the citizens who fund them through taxation.

"A positive reputation maximises the opportunity to change people's behaviour; for example to encourage us to install smoke alarms, wear a life jacket for safe boating, protect our flora and fauna and insulate our homes," Mr Langley says.

"The other side of the coin can be illustrated by the likes of Brexit which occurred in part because EU policy makers were seen as too removed from British citizens."

Mr Langley says when considered in conjunction with last year's results the rankings consistently reflect that New Zealanders respond more strongly to organisations that show they care.

He says reputation scores are strongly related to advocacy with people twice as likely to speak highly of organisations with a strong reputation.

"The research also highlights that perceptions of public services are influenced heavily not just by our own experiences or what we hear, but by what the media reports. Negative media coverage outweighs positive coverage for agencies with a weak reputation.  In contrast, media coverage is four times more likely to be positive for agencies with a strong reputation."

In the 2017 Index, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment was one of the fastest risers compared to last year, increasing its Rep Z score by six points to 103.

Other success stories included several organisations featuring in the survey for the first time this year, with the New Zealand Defence Force (107) and Sport and Recreation New Zealand (107) entering the Index in the top 10.

However, Mr Langley says almost half of those with above average Rep Z totals actually scored less than last year, with last year's second most reputable agency, the New Zealand Customs Service, dropping eight points to 107 and sixth place. The New Zealand Police and The Treasury both dropped four points.

"Each of those agencies retains an above average or strong reputation, which is very positive, but the movement in the Index is a timely reminder that no public sector can afford to be complacent about its reputation."

The Colmar Brunton Public Sector Reputation Index was launched in 2016 in response to an increasing demand from public sector agencies to understand how they are perceived in relation to others. It is based on the global RepZ framework, developed by Colmar Brunton's parent company, Kantar Millward Brown, and used in 40 countries.

The 2017 Index involved conducting 2,000 online interviews in November and December 2016. The survey was a nationally representative sample by age, gender, household size, income, ethnicity and region.

Colmar Brunton Public Sector Reputation Index 2017

The following public sector organsations have above average Rep Z scores

Year                                                                                2017                2016

1          New Zealand Fire Service                                     129                  129

2          Maritime New Zealand                                           111                  111

3          Department of Conservation                                  110                  111

4          Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority        109                 112

5          Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand                  108                 109

6          New Zealand Customs Service                              107                 115

7          New Zealand Defence Force                                  107                 N/A

8          Statistics New Zealand                                           107                 110

9          Reserve Bank of New Zealand                               107                 107

10        Sport and Recreation New Zealand                       107                N/A

11        Commission for Financial Capability                       106                107

12        Office of Film and Literature Classification             106                 N/A

13        New Zealand Police                                                106                 110

14        Broadcasting Standards Authority                           104                106

15        Ministry for the Environment                                   104                103

16        Office of the Privacy Commissioner                        104                N/A

17        Department of Internal Affairs                                 103                101

18        Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment  103                  97

19        Serious Fraud Office                                                102               N/A

20        The Treasury                                                           102               106

21        Ministry for Culture and Heritage                              101              N/A


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