National Service or National Service Improvement Programme application and assessment process

Making an application

Completed applications for a service to become a National Service, or a National Service Improvement Programme, should be emailed to the Ministry of Health's National Services team (

Before progressing to develop an application, it is recommended that applicants email a short overview of the current service and the rationale for change to the National Services team . Applicants will be contacted to discuss the potential application, prior to completion of a full application.

Applications will be considered by the National Services Governance Group, which meets quarterly (February, May, July and October).

The Governance Group will review applications, and be supported in the evaluation by selected evaluators with expertise in one or more of the evaluation criteria.

Application requirements

Area Description of requirements
Service description (current state)

Describe the:

  • current service configuration, including where and how provided, referral pathways, resources, technology
  • current funding model, and cost/funding profile for the service
  • staff / clinical team involved in providing the service.
Incidence/ prevalence
  • Describe the prevalence (number of people using the service) and incidence (new service users each year), and any anticipated changes.
  • Identify whether stable, volatile, or increasing.
Service risks
  • Identify risks associated with the current service model that are impacting on the sustainability or quality of the service.
  • Consider facility, equipment, infrastructure, staffing, changing technology, changing clinical or referral pathways.
  • Consider whether there is risk that the service will proliferate into multiple centres, with either clinical or financial implications.
Case for change

Describe the rationale for the service to be considered as a National Service or National Service Improvement Programme. 

  • Provide a clear description of why the service model needs to change , and how the change will address service risks or overcome identified problems.
  • Describe the desired outcomes, and link these to the objectives (table 1).
  • Describe the key elements and benefits of the revised model, e.g location, leadership, infrastructure, service coordination, funding.
  • Describe the evidence base for the effectiveness of the proposed change.
  • Describe how the impacted population will benefit, and how the change will reduce inequalities, particularly for Maori/Pacific and/or rural populations.
Service enablers


  • any pre-requisites to enable the proposed National Service model, or National Service Improvement Programme, including staffing, technology, facility, equipment, referral pathways, etc.
  • where these are established, and where a change is required.
Key contacts Identify the key contact for questions or additional information.

Application forms

Evaluation templates

Evaluation will be to determine a score or rating against set criteria. The National Services Governance Group will then consider all evaluations of the application, and make a recommendation as to whether the application is supported to proceed to development of a service model for either a National Service or National Service Improvement Programme.

In scoring against the criteria, the following features should be considered.

Score Indicative Features
5 The proposal demonstrates an excellent fit with the evaluation criteria, with no areas of divergence.
4 The proposal shows a good fit with the evaluation criteria, but may differ in one or two areas.
3 The proposal demonstrates some fit with the evaluation criteria, but a number of areas of divergence exist.
2 The proposal demonstrates only a limited fit with the evaluation criteria, with many areas of divergence.
1 The proposal demonstrates no fit with the evaluation criteria.


Following evaluation and decision making the applicants will be advised of the outcome in writing, and offered the opportunity to discuss the decision.

Service review and service model design

Applications that have been endorsed by the National Services Governance Group will proceed to development (or confirmation) of a service model. The service model should include the following essential components:

  • service configuration
  • referral pathways
  • funding model
  • workforce model
  • technology requirements
  • consultation plan, including key stakeholders
  • implementation plan.

The service review and design methodology will be a co-design model which includes service providers, funders, consumers and referrers. The approach will be to convene either a single workshop to confirm a pre-defined service model, or a technical advisory group to develop and design the service model. Contributors will be sought from DHBs based on their expertise, perspectives and availability. 


If a service is endorsed as a National Service or a National Service Improvement programme an implementation framework (recommended as part of the service model design) will be confirmed. Implementation will be supported and monitored by the National Services team, with oversight from the National Services Governance Group.