It is the Department’s people who make the vision real and who achieve its outcomes. A strong people culture is aligned to values and motivates staff to make the best decisions by approaching their work with the Department’s outcomes in mind.

The Department will develop a new Organisational Development Strategy to support the Strategic Business Plan. This will guide the Department’s approach to managing its staff. The strategy will address:

  • alignment of organisational culture
  • responsiveness to Maori and diversity
  • strengthening leadership capability.

Recruiting, retaining and developing our people

With the growth in the offender population and a tight labour market, it has become harder to recruit, provide initial training and induct new staff. While recruitment results have been generally positive, the intake of new staff means that over half of the Department’s frontline staff have less than five years’ experience.

The Department will emphasise recruiting quality staff and providing the training to prepare them for their roles in the Department. It will also work to retain staff to ensure that it has the numbers and skills to contribute to its outcomes.

The culture will be a key element in attracting new people to work for the Department. Alongside this, it will undertake workforce planning to respond to, and accommodate, the changing profile of its workforce in order to retain quality staff.

New staff bring fresh ideas and enthusiasm. However, many of the skills required to manage offenders well are learnt through experience. The Department will support staff who have limited on-the-job experience to quickly gain the required skills and become effective team members.

Learning and development for all staff is essential for ensuring the competent delivery of the Department’s core business. The Department delivers a large range of in-house annual training programmes and is continuously developing, reviewing and refining training to meet development needs.

The Chief Executive Scholarship provides an annual scholarship to support full-time permanent employees to pursue their final year of study. It is designed for scholars doing undergraduate and postgraduate degrees that will contribute to both their careers and the Department’s strategic goals.

The Department will work in partnership with unions in good faith to maintain an environment that is fair, innovative and productive.

Specific projects that the Department will work on over the medium term to recruit, retain and develop its people, include:

  • enhancing the Department’s recruitment and selection systems and processes
  • reviewing the Department’s performance management systems to ensure that they encourage and acknowledge good performance and have an emphasis on learning and development
  • reviewing the Department’s core remuneration policy and approaches to remuneration setting to ensure that they assist the organisation to recruit and retain an effective workforce
  • establishing a process to select and train suitable psychology graduates to become registered psychologists.


The Department is working to develop leaders who will lead by example and motivate high levels of commitment and performance by its staff. The Department has a number of programmes in place to do this, including:

  • The Management at Corrections development programme provides training in key management skills.
  • The Future Leaders programme is provided to staff that aspire to move into management roles and are assessed as having the potential to be future leaders. The aim of the programme is to prepare these staff for the challenges of leadership in the Department.

A comprehensive strategy is currently being drafted to increase management capability across the Department. The development needs of managers are being analysed as a basis for planning future management development programmes. Both the management capability strategy and the management development programmes will align with the overall Organisational Development Strategy.


Linked with the development of the 2008–13 Strategic Business Plan the Department is working on defining the organisational culture that will support the achievement of its vision and outcomes. The Corrections’ culture will be understood and lived by staff, and will be recognised as the core driver of the Department’s success. The project is timed to follow on from the new Head Office organisational structure, implemented in 2006/07, to reinforce the message about change, and the need for improvements in the culture to one of high integrity and concerted action.

EEfficiency and effectiveness

The Department’s values are known by its acronym PRIDE. These values aim at creating and maintaining an organisational culture that promotes the highest standards of professionalism and integrity.

Over the past few years, the Department has implemented a system of recognition for those staff who exemplify the values of PRIDE – the annual Chief Executive’s PRIDE Awards.

All Department of Corrections employees have a responsibility to meet the minimum standards of integrity and conduct for public servants set out in the Public Service Code of Conduct, issued by the State Services Commission in terms of its authority under the State Sector Act 1988.

The nature of the Department’s work and the need for it to be positive role models for offenders means our professional and ethical standards must be set high. Corrections’ Code of Conduct ensures the Department’s standards are not compromised by inappropriate behaviour that may undermine respect for the Department and its employees.

The Department established a Professional Standards Unit in 2007/08. Core functions of the unit include investigating alleged corruption and criminal offending by Corrections staff, pro-actively identifying and acting on integrity risk issues and providing training and education to management and staff.

Specific projects that the Department will work on over the medium term to contribute towards culture include:

  • implementing strategies to improve organisational culture arising from the Culture in Corrections project
  • delivering training to all staff on code of conduct, protected disclosures, conflicts of interest and appropriate channels for raising concerns and complaints.

Responsiveness to Maori

The Department has a real strength in the fact that a quarter of its staff are Maori – especially given half of the prison population are Maori. The Department provides an environment which is responsive to the needs of Maori staff. It also provides opportunities to improve the knowledge and skills of non-Maori staff so they can be effective when working with Maori staff and Maori offenders.

Management training in cultural awareness is delivered through a specific module, Responsiveness to Maori, as part of the Department’s Management at Corrections training programme. This module provides context, background and a range of perspectives as to why Maori are highly represented in the Corrections system. The workshop facilitates understanding of how a number of core Maori concepts can be applied in the workplace to enhance workplace responsiveness.

The Department offers Te Reo training to staff. In addition a Maori mentoring programme (Amohia Ai) has been developed and recently introduced, aimed at further increasing the number of Maori managers. The programme, whereby non-managerial Maori staff are mentored by Maori managers, provides personal and professional development opportunities for the participants, while assisting the Department’s drive to create a capable and responsive workforce. It will further incorporate Maori values in the Department’s organisational policies, practices and processes and increase the development of Maori staff to support Maori-to-Maori service delivery.

The Department will revise its Te Reo Strategy, and the initial pilot of the Maori mentoring programme will be evaluated to ensure the programme is delivering the required results.

Equal Employment Opportunities

The Department’s Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) Policy aligns with and promotes the Government’s policies on equal employment opportunity detailed in the EEO Policy to 2010: Future Directions of EEO in the New Zealand Public Service. 1 Equal employment opportunities apply to all aspects of the Department's human resource policies, including recruitment, selection and appointment practices, training, performance management, career development, conditions of employment and the work environment. All departmental employees, regardless of gender, race, marital status, age, disability, sexual orientation, family status, religious or ethical beliefs, political opinion or union affiliation, have similar access to employment opportunities.

The Department measures its performance in this area by monitoring demographic information, particularly relating to the gender and ethnicity breakdowns of its staff and managers.

Work is continuing to increase the number and proportion of Maori and Pacific staff and managers (particularly those managing Maori and Pacific offenders). Maori and Pacific recruitment strategy intranet pages have been introduced as a tool for staff to share recruitment strategies and ideas.

The Department has implemented specific initiatives to increase the number of Maori and Pacific staff within the service as part of its overall ongoing recruitment campaign. This includes targeted marketing materials, attendance at Maori expos and events and advertising in Maori media.

Pay and Employment Equity Review

The Department is currently undertaking a Pay and Employment Equity review under the Government’s Pay and Employment Equity Action Plan. The review will allow the Department, unions and employees to work in close partnership to investigate employment equity across the organisation, identifying areas that are performing well and those that may warrant further investigation. The process will assist the Department’s drive to be an employer of choice by working towards removing any barriers to pay and employment equity.

Health and Safety

The Department has made significant increases in health and safety results over recent years, resulting from a range of proactive activities, including training of employee Health and Safety Committees, training its Health and Safety team in Internal Auditing to the ACC Audit level, improvements to information made available to staff, and introducing consistent reporting tools.

The Department has maintained primary status in the Accident Compensation Corporation Partnership Programme since 2003.

The Department will continue to strive for continuous improvement in both its health and safety systems and practices and to build on the successes achieved to date. The establishment as part of the Head Office review of one team for health and safety, responsible for specialist advice and information across the whole Department, is already proving successful in this regard and is expected to do so for the future.
In 2008, the Department will develop a new Health and Safety Strategy.

Disability Strategy

Each year the Department of Corrections prepares and implements a Disability Implementation Work Plan aimed at delivering the New Zealand Disability Strategy 2005. This plan is prepared in consultation with the Office of Disability Issues.

Many of the actions contained in the 2007/08 work plan are being progressed as opportunities and resources permit. These actions will continue into the 2008/09 work plan. A key action for this year will be the launch of a 'Staff Disability Intranet Forum' that will facilitate communication and support amongst staff who may share similar disabilities or common issues. The Forum will also provide an opportunity for issues or needs arising to be aired so that further assistance or support from the Department may be considered.

1 As from 21 April 2008, the EEO Policy to 2010 is superseded by the Equality and Diversity: New Zealand Public Service Equal Employment Opportunities Policy