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About the DHB planning package

The Ministry produces a DHB Planning Package by December annually for the following financial year.

The Package is designed to assist the DHB sector to meet its legislative obligations to produce annual plans, regional services plans, and statements of intent and meet accountability requirements. The development of the Planning Package is completed in consultation with the health sector and central Government agencies and the process normally begins in August.

Typically, there are two components to the DHB Planning Package and these are:

  1. Planning Guidelines that provide guidance for the DHBs to develop their annual planning documents
  2. updates to the Crown Funding Agreement schedules, including reporting requirements for the coming year.

A DHB Funding Package, issued separately to the Planning Package, is timetabled for release before Christmas each year and includes the expected appropriation funding including the forecast inter-district flow payments.

Planning Guidelines

The Planning Guidelines includes structural, organisational and process planning guidance, along with information about the Ministerial priorities for the coming year and the expectations arising from these priorities on the DHB sector. Guidelines are prepared for the following documents.

Regional Service Plan (RSP)

The RSP is a plan prepared under section 38 of the New Zealand Health and Disability Act (NZPHD) Act 2000 by a group of two or more DHBs and relates to services provided for a region by those DHBs. The RSP contains both strategic and implementation components and must be updated annually. Content and procedural requirements are detailed in sections 6 and 7 of the NZPHD (Planning) Regulations 2011.

Annual Plan

All DHBs must produce an Annual Plan under section 38 of the NZPHD Act that sets out the DHBs' planned performance for the financial year providing accountability directly to the Minister of Health. Content and procedural requirements are detailed in sections 8 and 9 of the NZPHD (Planning) Regulations 2011.

Statement of Intent (SOI)

An SOI prepared under section 139 of the Crown Entities (CE) Act 2004 as amended by the Crown Entities Amendment Act 2013 with a four year outlook. This is tabled in Parliament at least once every three years.

Statement of Performance Expectations (SPE)

An SPE prepared under section 149C of the CE Act as amended by the CE Amendment Act 2013 includes forecast financial statements and is tabled in Parliament annually.

Note: The Planning Guidelines for the DHB Annual Plan encourages the development of a single but modular document incorporating the SOI and SPE. This modular structure enables the SOI (when relevant) and SPE components to be extracted if necessary and tabled in the House of Representatives.

Public Health Unit Annual Plan

From 2020/21 the public health unit (PHU) plans are integrated in the DHB Annual Plans.

Update to the Crown Funding Agreement (CFA)

The Update to the CFA component includes updates reflecting policy requirements for the following documents.

Operational Policy Framework

The Operational Policy Framework (OPF) is a schedule to the CFA, and is a set of business rules and policy guidelines by which all the DHBs must operate. This update incorporates an annual major review. There can be further updates as required during the year.

Service Coverage Schedule

The Service Coverage Schedule (SCS) is a schedule to the CFA that sets the minimum levels of service coverage a DHB and the Ministry must provide (or arrange to be provided) to their population.

Non-financial performance and monitoring

Non-financial performance and monitoring involves reporting requirements that cover three areas.

  1. Health targets – performance in key areas of population health.
  2. Performance measures – performance in a number of areas of wider DHB performance.
  3. Additional reporting requirements – self-reported progress updates or evaluations in areas of wider DHB performance.

Purchase Unit Data Dictionary

The Purchase Unit Data Dictionary (PUDD) contains all purchase units for health services provided under the CFA. A purchase unit is part of a classification system used to measure, quantify and value a service. The PUDD is updated annually, however, there can be further updates as required during the year.

The Minister’s Letter of Expectations

The annual Minister’s Letter of Expectations is an important tool for communicating the Government’s key priorities to DHBs. The Minister’s expectations for DHB operations for the forthcoming financial year generally requests that DHBs work to ensure the sector is stable, strategic, and performing strongly. The Letter of Expectations complements, and is read alongside the annual planning guidance prepared for DHBs, and must be addressed in the DHB accountability documents. Specifically, the Government’s key priorities must feature prominently in the DHB annual plan core content.

The priorities reflected in the letter form the basis of the Ministry review of the DHB annual planning documents to ensure that Government’s priorities are being incorporated into DHB planning.

The requirement for the Minister’s annual Letter of Expectations is based on the Cabinet Office circular (CO (06) 5) – Ministers Roles and Responsibilities in Relation to Crown Entities. Guidance has been developed by the Treasury and State Services Commission and published in two publications.

  1. Crown Entities: A guide for Ministers. In this document it is suggested that Ministers expectations for strategic direction and their specific priorities for the planning period, may be reflected in a Letter of Expectations prepared by Departments for Ministers.
  2. Guidance to Departments in relation to Crown Entities.

The process for the preparation of the Minister's Letter of Expectations generally is:

  • a draft Letter of Expectations is prepared for the Minister concurrent with the annual Planning Package in mid to late November
  • the Minister’s Letter of Expectations is sent to DHB Chairs alongside distribution of the annual Planning Package to DHBs by December.