In the “Annual Report for year ended 30 June 2014

Overall status Performance maintained.

The Department of Conservation operating and governance model is shown in figure 12. This reflects the ongoing cycle of planning, delivery and review required to sustain and improve organisational performance.

Figure 12: Department of Conservation operating structure.

Figure 12: Department of Conservation operating structure.

View a larger Figure 12 (JPG, 1,055K)

The Director-General, with the support of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT), authorises an enterprise-wide strategy and the portfolios that deliver on DOC's outcomes and enhance the growth of conservation. In doing so, SLT takes advice from the Risk and Assurance Committee and Finance Committee. The main elements of the strategy are set out in the Four-year Plan.

The investment approach (as reflected by the portfolios) is developed and prioritised by the Intermediate Outcome stream leads in collaboration with the wider business (as demonstrated by the matrix). The stream leads independently and collectively draw on and build best practice, and collaborate to ensure the delivery of the right things at the right time. The Outcomes Management Team then consolidates and further prioritises these portfolios into a whole-of-DOC investment approach (that enables the strategy). This step ensures that the Department is delivering agreed outputs, continuously learning and improving, as well as living within its means.

The execution of the investment approach and portfolios is the responsibility of the functional groups led by the Deputy Director-Generals. These take the form of annual business plans and are delivered by means of work plans, prescriptions and sub-portfolios, which form part of the DOC Four-year Plan.

Review and reporting is a critical element of the model, to reveal performance against targets and support continuous improvement. Investment approaches are then adjusted accordingly.

The model requires collaboration and transparency, so that organisational resource can be effectively managed for the best conservation outcomes. The model also requires role clarity for accountability and decision making.

Overall status: Capability and workforce

The capability and leadership shown by DOC's managers and staff are critical to the organisation's current and ongoing success. DOC has several areas of focus all aligned with strengthening these aspects. These initiatives are outlined below.

Figure 13: Full-time equivalent (FTE) employees as at 30 June.

Figure 13: Full-time equivalent (FTE) employees as at 30 June.

Organisational change

On 2 September 2013, the Department implemented a new organisational structure. This significant change was designed to transform how we work so that, along with others, we achieve more conservation.

DOC's new structure has two business groups, which each have a clear specialist focus. Our Conservation Services team is focused on getting great conservation work done on the ground, while our Conservation Partnerships team is focused on building strong partnerships that grow conservation. In addition, the Kahui Kaupapa Atawhai team, which leads DOC's relationships with iwi partners, has been strengthened. A new regional structure is in place that redefines the current geographical boundaries from 11 Conservancies to six Partnership regions and six new Service regions.

Overall staffing numbers have reduced over the past 5 years. Some roles in the new structure are still being filled. DOC continues to have a high number of temporary positions to cover for seasonal work. As at 30 June 2014, DOC employed 1628 permanent full-time equivalent staff and 324 temporary full-time equivalent staff.

The effort to make the new direction and structure effective has begun. In March 2014, just six months after implementation of the new structure and operating model, a series of organisation-wide workshops, led by the Senior Leadership Team, was initiated to understand how employees were experiencing working at DOC. Commentary was analysed and themed to inform a leader-led response to the most urgent issues, challenges and opportunities highlighted.

Many initiatives are now under way to address the issues and challenges raised by staff. Planning has also started to address longer term issues and maximise potential opportunities, that will, in time, contribute to the rebuilding of a connection culture across and beyond the Department.

The Senior Leadership Team led a staff culture survey of 200 staff in February 2014 entitled 'Working at DOC'. This formed the basis of key management interventions to improve employee engagement. Given the success of this, it is likely to be repeated in 2015.

We have been working hard through this past year to implement the new structure internally, and ensure our strategy and structure reflects the new direction. Such a major change is complex and will take time and effort to implement fully.

Developing the capability of people across and outside DOC

New capabilities—skills, knowledge, specialist expertise and behaviours—are necessary to realise the goals and intent of DOC's direction and new operating model. Deepening our understanding of the ways in which New Zealanders identify with nature—how their interactions, decision making, and other behavioural choices are influenced by nature and their communities—is a crucial step in increasing the conservation effort.

2014 training achievements by participants.

2014 training achievements by participants

We continue to build and reinforce capability. A recent focus has been on the business planning system, including standardising and simplifying financial and output planning and reporting procedures. Changes made this year need to be assessed and procedures simplified where possible.

A variety of methods is being used to build capability, including online learning modules, mobile 'apps', YouTube videos, internal and public face-to-face courses and coaching. This ensures we can meet the demands and needs of our staff as well as partners, iwi, volunteers and other agencies involved in conservation work.

So that we can report on the internal capability and competency status of our staff, we have implemented a learning management system (DOCLearn) that went live in early 2014. DOCLearn provides managers with improved reporting on current capability skills sets across teams, both regionally and nationally. Managers can deploy staff with a particular capability skill set and competency level for specific projects. DOC is working in collaboration with the Ministry for the Environment to share the learning management system platform, as part of a wider NRS initiative.

For other systems and process support, training has been delivered for the following projects: Work Manager (new software for mobile devices used by rangers; a NaPALIS (National Planning and Land Information System) introductory course for rangers, managers and specialist roles; a Windows 2007 upgrade at 61 office locations; and track, huts and structures ongoing inspections and audits completed for inspectors and works officers.

Leadership development

Successful implementation of DOC's new strategy and structure relies on the ability of leaders to manage change effectively. Success in increasing conservation in partnership with others will also require DOC to continually improve its responsiveness to external demand. To be effective in responding to change, robust internal and external relationships are needed. This requires people to willingly exercise their discretion when making judgements.

Leadership tiers 2014: by gender.

Leadership tiers 2014: by gender

A number of key leadership tools are being used to support a more participative and collaborative culture. Two of these, participant team process and task assignment, provide a backbone to support positive team functioning and build trust between leaders and team members to ensure that tasks will be completed on time and to the required standard. Other complimentary leadership tools will be introduced over time.

Results of the investment made in leadership development over the past few years are starting to show as several internal candidates have been promoted into management roles. An increase in the diversity of staff (women, Māori and Pacific peoples) in leadership roles has also occurred.

DOC recognises that effective leadership is central to its performance and success. A significant challenge and opportunity for the Department in the coming years will be to support and enable its leaders to drive the achievement of results through others.

In the last period, we selected a nationwide panel of coaching providers to help support and develop our leaders in their roles. In addition, several leaders have undergone 360 Feedback for development purposes. We are continuing to design and deliver leadership development programmes in collaboration with the NRS, to ensure all leaders are exposed to critical tools, models and resources that support them to be effective in their roles. We have been expanding the offer of tailored leadership development interventions to target the unique strengths and needs of individual leaders and help them focus on the areas that will make the most significant difference to their performance.

Equal employment opportunities

Increasing diversity will help the Department's workforce reflect New Zealand's current and future demographic profile. Table 11 shows the statistics for several groups that have been a target within the public sector for recognising employment aspirations.

Table 11: Equal employment opportunity target group statistics, at June 2014





















Performance improving.








Performance maintained.

Pacific peoples







Performance maintained.

People with disabilities







Performance declining.

Improving effectiveness of organisational systems

By continuing to adopt a shared service and centralised functional leadership, DOC is seeking to drive efficiency and deliver standardised results. The Conservation Services Planning Team now coordinates planning for the bulk of the delivery activity in ecosystem management, species protection, historic site management and recreation facilities. Working closely with the delivery staff, standard whole-of-life prescription approaches are increasingly being adopted, and national priorities are being applied. This team also provides a shared delivery service through works officers, inspectors and the bio-monitoring team.

The Property and Fleet team also operates as a shared service, now providing central control over budget to manage the significant offices, visitor centres, other buildings and vehicle portfolios. Greater visibility of the ownership and management decisions being made should contribute to efficiency outcomes in acquisition and maintenance costs; and in doing so contribute to all-of-government aims.

Over the past year DOC has continued to develop innovative tools to support the maintenance of our natural and historic heritage and to increase New Zealanders' awareness of, information about and engagement in conservation and recreation activities. These include the development of:

  • DOC Maps, which is an online mapping application accessible to all that provides a map interface and option to display huts, campgrounds, tracks, hunting areas, historic sites, visitor centres and so on and that links to relevant websites for bookings or further information
  • A new application supporting the response to the great white butterfly incursion in Nelson
  • A Record of Fire application in support of rural fire fighting
  • A whio/blue duck monitoring and pest trap management mobile application in partnership with Genesis Energy
  • A marine mammal database to capture Māui and Hector's dolphin sightings
  • A new bird banding tool to support observations across New Zealand.

In collaboration with Google Inc, DOC also facilitated the capture of Street View imagery for the Great Walks, as well as the incorporation of recreational data into the base maps of Google maps and, which feed into widely used international base maps.

DOC hosted several networking events for conservation geographic information system (GIS) users, and arranged New Zealand's largest GIS Day event for 500 schoolchildren who came into National Office to learn about GIS, Global Positioning System, satellite imagery and how technology supports conservation information management. In collaboration with Te Kahui Manu Hokai | the Māori GIS Association, DOC supported the PLACE 2013 Māori GIS conference with over 200 attending. In partnership with Te Kahui Manu Hokai and the Google Earth Outreach team, DOC staff supported a Māori mapping workshop in Auckland with over 60 attending. DOC staff also presented at a variety of GIS user conferences, sharing knowledge and demonstrating lessons learnt with other NRS agencies and GIS users.

DOC won the most attractive employer in the public sector.

DOC won the most attractive employer in the public sector and placed 3rd overall at the 2014 Randstad Awards announced earlier in 2014.

DOC has been actively involved in many all-of-government initiatives including cloud services, Telecommunications as a Service (TaaS), Result 10 (with the Digital Services Council), NRS Information Directorate and Geospatial Senior Officials Group.

Over the past year, a strong focus has also been placed on DOC's organisational capability, including establishment of the Business Analysis Centre of Excellence to ensure a common approach and analysis principles for new initiatives and the establishment of the Biodiversity Information Oversight Group. DOC has also been developing a common IT infrastructure and successfully implemented innovative web tools to manage services, operational activities, recruitment and financial reporting.

Increased use of collaborative tools such as video conferencing, Skype, GotoMeeting and the DOC Wiki across the Department, the sector and stakeholders, and upgrades to operating systems (Windows 7), geospatial software, hardware and servers have occurred.

Safety and wellbeing

During the year, DOC began a safety culture and leadership programme to shift the focus away from a compliance-driven culture to one of ongoing commitment to safety. DOC has developed an aspirational vision of 'Injury Free and Safe Home Every Day', where people working for DOC can expect to arrive home safe at the end of every working day and where it is unacceptable to believe that getting hurt is an inherent part of working for DOC. In the past 6 months of the financial year, the nearly 160 managers (plus directors and deputy director-generals) attended eight successful safety culture and leadership workshops. More are planned for the new financial year.

Other significant changes have been made, particularly to safety planning, through development of a job safety analysis and toolbox talk system to ensure increased engagement of people 'on the ground'. The focus on reducing risk in high hazardous work in the Department has also increased.

A new workplace alcohol and drug policy is being implemented and an organisation-wide wellbeing programme is being scoped for delivery in the next 6 to 12 months.

Injury rates

The injury frequency rates (number of injuries per million hours worked) are shown in figure 14. The total recordable injury frequency rate (that is, injuries resulting in medical treatment, lost time and serious harm) for the 12 months to 30 June 2014 was 62.9, compared with 67.2 in 2013 (this is a rolling 12-month average). Of note, however, is the reduction in rates that occurred over the last 6 months of the financial year. Four serious harm injuries were recorded in the 12 months to 30 June 2014.

Figure 14: Department of Conservation injury frequency rates.

Figure 14: Department of Conservation injury frequency rates (per million hours worked). (Note: total recordable injuries does not include first-aid-only injuries.)

DOC manages its own Accident Compensation Claims and a small drop in claim numbers (3 percent) occurred over the 12 months to 30 June 2014. It is encouraging that over the last six months of the year the number of claims dropped significantly for each month compared with last year (a 25 percent decrease).

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