Grim times at justice ministry

Last updated 05:00 28/06/2014

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A new report paints a grim picture of working for the Ministry of Justice.

Two thirds of staff say the department is not a fun place to work, and 60 per cent don’t believe their contribution is valued.

Only half feel the organisation is performing successfully, 55 per cent don’t have a sense of belonging and 71 per cent don’t believe the ministry rewards outstanding performance.

The results come in an internal staff engagement survey, commissioned by the ministry.  Authors IBM warn there is a large proportion of ‘‘disengaged’’ employees – 33 per cent compared with an average of 20 per cent in other state sector agencies.

Most of these are in the courts, legal services and the Office of Treaty Settlements.

‘‘Only a third of the organisation feels that the ministry is interested in their views and opinions, with 40 per cent believing their contribution is valued,’’ the report says. A ‘‘sizeable’’ proportion feel under-appreciated, with some linking this to pay.

‘‘Just over a third of the organisation currently see a ‘common purpose’ across the ministry and report having confidence in the leadership of the organisation.’’

Justice Secretary Andrew Bridgman admits he is disappointed with the results.  ‘‘We are not where we want to be, clearly,’’ he said. ‘‘My take on it is that people feel connected to their teams but they don’t feel connected to the Ministry of Justice as a whole.

‘‘People see the broader vision and the strategy ... but they don’t see how the plan connects them in their day to day activity. That’s why they don’t see the ministry succeeding and they don’t feel valued how they want to be valued.’’

The ministry has seen huge change in the last few years with redundancies, court closures, a reform of the Family Court system and modernisation. Almost 40 full-time jobs were cut last year.

‘‘There is no doubt that there has been quite a big of change and I think it is probably fair that in the last couple of years we have had a real focus on the customer and the timeliness of how we deliver our services,’’ Bridgman said.

‘‘But it’s also important that the staff are brought into that strategy.’’ 

Almost 80 per cent – or 2864 staff – participated in the survey. More than 60 per cent said they didn’t have confidence in the leadership and only a third believed communication was ‘‘open and honest’’. But two thirds said they were ‘‘proud’’ to work there.

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