Our People | Te Whatu Ora - Te Tai Tokerau

Our People

He whakapapa, he mokopuna, he tamariki, he mātua, he tūpuna. He aha te mea nui. He tāngata, he tāngata, he tāngata.

Our people are central to all we do. Our people are what drive our organisational culture. The five organisational Values are what we pride ourselves on. They are the foundation of our culture that we continue to build on.

 Profile Type Statistics
 Northland DHB Workforce Total workforce: 3,889 active employees
 Age Female average age: 45.07 years
Male average age: 44.51 years

Māori                         18.75 percent

Pasifika                      1.36 percent

Asian                         15.82 percent

Other                         61.31 percent

Not stated                  2.77 percent
 Disability Specific data is not currently held for this category. Individuals with disabilities applying for vacancies are given full consideration based on the needs of the position.
 Gender Female: 3,116 employees (80.13 percent)
Male: 773 employees (19.87 percent) 
Leadership, Accountability and Culture

We strive to cultivate a culture that has strong leadership and accountability and a climate in which everyone can contribute to the way the organisation develops, improves and adapts to change. We are committed to meeting our statutory, legal and ethical obligations to be a good employer.
Collaboration and leadership are encouraged across services, occupational groups and other organisations in the health sector. This occurs at all levels of the organisation and helps staff feel engaged, belong and innovate.

A key focus and priority is achieving equity in our staffing levels. Evidence shows that patient outcomes improve when services are more culturally safe and the workforce reflects the community we serve.

The signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi by ancestors of Te Tai Tokerau Māori guaranteed their tino rangatiratanga, and no cession of sovereignty took place. The four articles in the original Te Tiriti document are the foundation for our relationships with Māori.

We have a positive relationship with our union partners and work together within a cooperative environment. Central to the relationship is a Bipartite Forum that meets regularly to maintain constructive engagement with the unions that represent our employees.

Achievements in 2021-22 include:

  • Launch of Taitokerau Rautaki Hauora 2040, a shared vision and strategic plan for the transformation of health in Northland.
  • Implementation of Whakamaua, MoH’s Māori Health Action Plan 2020-2025, for Te Poutokomanawa, the Māori Health Directorate.
  • Embedded the Affirmative Action Policy and grew the number of Māori in the workforce by 10 percent, with an increased overall participation rate of 18.75 percent.  
Recruitment, Selection and Induction

We have a number of successful development projects that support more Māori to join the workforce and undertake health and disability training. This applies particularly to services in which Māori are under-represented as health professionals and over-represented in health need.

We are the northern regional lead for the national Māori Health Workforce Development programme, Kia Ora Hauora. In 2021/22 the northern region recruited 449 new Māori into a health career pathway, supported 152 Māori to transition into tertiary level health studies and supported 101 Māori moving into health sector employment.

We have a longstanding arrangement with the University of Auckland to support and train Year 5 and 6 medical students to progress through our Pūkawakawa programme.

To make sure future services will be able to meet rising demands, we must attract, recruit and develop a talented workforce, so we have made a number of improvements to streamline the recruitment process.

Achievements in 2021-22 include:

  • Ran three successful international recruitment campaigns and service-specific social media campaigns, resulting in more candidate applications and appointments than previous years
  • A new Surge workforce function was established that resulted in:
    • A pool of external candidates being job-ready in the event of a further pandemic surge (a collaboration between the Integrated Operations Centre, Hands Up national database and People and Capability)
    • implementation of new Surge rosters to support acute areas, resourced by internal staff who had capacity to provide additional hours
    • active recruitment of students, mainly from tertiary education, to assist in screener roles.
  • A new workforce skills and competency repository, the Staffing Register, was developed and used to support workforce inter-department deployment during COVID-19; the application has been implemented as a Surge tool to assist with roster gaps and shift cover. 
  • Development of new Hiring Manager interview guides  
Employee Development, Promotion and Exit

We support staff to participate in various internal and external training courses, conferences, workshops, and other developmental opportunities to build capability and support career and personal development objectives.

We provide medical staff with continuing medical education support, and nurses and midwives with professional development recognition programmes.
The Workforce Development & Wellbeing Department offers a range of professional and personal development training opportunities.
We work to achieve equity in employee development in several ways, especially through Te Kaupapa Whakaruruhau / The Māori Health Cultural Quality Programme, which provides opportunities to gain cultural competencies.

We have also committed to applying an equity lens over all organisational training.

E-learning development and implementation has continued to expand, so that our primary healthcare and community partners have more access to learning, communication, knowledge transfer and skill development.

An improved Exit Survey makes it easier for staff to provide feedback when leaving the organisation or transferring to another department. Reasons for leaving are tracked by ethnicity to help improve Māori staff retention.

Achievements in 2021-22 include: 

  • Key learning modules, including the Honouring Te Tiriti course and the Engaging with Māori course, have been revised, are now delivered both virtually and face-to-face, and included in all new starter orientation.
  • Planning undertaken to establish a new clinical training centre to provide undergraduate training for nursing, medical and several Allied Health services on-site in one facility, and to provide postgraduate training, research facilities and space for large meetings.
  • New Allied Health educational programmes launched in collaboration with AUT, including a training programme offering Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy, Oral Health and Podiatry studies.
  • In our Pūkawakawa programme this year a codesign process focusing on equity and Hauora Māori was implemented, resulting in fortnightly Kaupapa Māori Zoom sessions.
  • Primary Care Workforce Development Programme established including recruitment support, deployment of Telehealth resources to reduce the burden of GP after-hours rosters and standing order training for nurses working in Primary Care was made available.
  • We provided 60 courses on cultural, leadership and communication skills, with 295 internal organisational course events and 3,252 overall attendances.  We also utilised 93 e-learning courses, clinical and non-clinical, specifically for the Northland workforce, along with 14 national e-Learning courses.
Flexibility and Work Design

We function 24 hours a day, seven days a week, providing full-time and part-time opportunities.

Ongoing challenges, especially as a result of COVID-19, have seen us retain an Incident Management Team (IMT) more or less permanently. IMT’s dual role is to manage crises as they occur and come up with innovative solutions for the short and medium term.

We sought to assist our colleagues in the Auckland DHBs while they were in Level 4, re-deploying more than twenty staff members to the region for several weeks during this challenging time.

Work hours and often location can be flexed according to employee needs and the requirements of the position. Any specific impairment is recognised and is suitably provided for where possible. During COVID-19 high-alerts, many non-frontline staff were kept safe by enabling them to work from home.
We continue to be committed to a holistic primary-secondary partnership. We work closely with GPs, our PHO partners and other primary care stakeholders to safeguard the workforce, eliminate health inequalities, promote wellbeing, improve outcomes, and increase the value gained from the health dollar.

Achievements in 2021-22 include:

  • Tuia Te Ora (‘connectedness’) was opened in Commerce Street in central Whangārei to house all Public Health and community services under one roof.  It includes District Nursing, Public Health Nursing, COVID-19 teams, community clinics, Te Puawai Ora Community Maternity, The Health Information Centre, Ngā Tai Ora (Public Health Northland), other school-based and community clinical services, along with Community Rehabilitation and Needs Assessment & Service Coordination services.
  • Manaia House in central Whangārei is being developed into the service hub for Community Mental Health and Addiction Services that will provide an accessible, centrally located, fit-for-purpose facility for tāngata whai ora, whānau, and staff. 
  • The Calderdale Framework was expanded with nine new facilitators trained this year. Since its implementation, 15 projects have been completed and are now embedded as business-as-usual across a range of services. Examples include upskilling of an Allied Health assistant to undertake preparation for Speech Language therapy videofluroscopic studies, dental assistants who are now able to apply fluoride varnish applications, and Allied Health assistants now supporting rural hospital physiotherapists and occupational therapists in the community.
  • Support for working remotely was increased, linking remote clinical teams and upgrading capabilities. Also implemented was a hands-free patient communications system for clinicians to see and talk with patients in COVID-19 wards, reducing exposure risk and improving safety of staff and patients.
  • Implemented after-hours specialist support to rural hospital clinical teams.
Remuneration, Recognition and Conditions

We adhere to the good employer requirements in section 118 of the Crown Entities Act 2004, which covers:

  • Good and safe working conditions
  • An equal employment opportunities programme
  • The impartial selection of suitably qualified persons for appointment
  • Recognition within the workplace of the aspirations and needs of Māori, other ethnic or minority groups, women and people with disabilities and/or impairments.

The concept of the ‘good employer’ is bound up with the principles of natural justice and requires employment procedures to be ‘fair in all circumstances’. We recognise that all individuals and groups should have opportunities without barriers or biases.

Our workforce is covered by 23 collective employment agreements, with a minority of staff on individual employment agreements. Most employee groups have transparent job evaluation criteria and specific merit programme criteria that have been developed in consultation with relevant unions.
We are party to the national pay equity process which is collaborative between unions and DHBs. The Equal Pay Amendment Act 2020 has provided principles and allowed for a framework which addresses systemic, gender-based pay discrimination in female-dominated roles.

Achievements in 2021-22 include:   

  • Our adoption of the Living Wage saw 177 employees receive an additional top-up allowance, and all employees now earn at least the living wage of $22.10.
  • Settlement of the PSA Administration & Clerical Pay Equity claim, with administration roles being revalued in line with comparator occupations.
  • Additional winter payments were implemented to attract and recognise employees working in vulnerable acute settings and hard-to-fill shifts.
  • Additional staff recognition and welfare initiatives were launched during COVID-19 and high winter demand, including food baskets, meal and coffee deliveries, outdoor furniture and team events. 
  • Gift baskets were delivered to our primary and community providers to recognise their support and teamwork through the COVID-19 response.
Harassment and Bullying Prevention

Our zero tolerance to bullying and harassment is reinforced by our Managing Unacceptable Behaviour in the Workplace Policy, a supportive document that provides staff with clear guidelines.

The ‘DATIX’ electronic reporting tool continues to be the vehicle for reporting incidents of alleged violence, bullying and harassment. We have continued to engage with our union partners to refine and increase confidence in tools and processes to ensure that all employees are able to safely raise concerns.

Our Workplace Violence Prevention (WVP) Framework works at every level of the organisation to implement wide-reaching prevention measures and leadership, as well as reviewing, responding to and managing all forms of workplace violence. It has six Focus Areas.

Achievements in 2021-22 include: 

  • An internal review saw over 800 staff provide suggestions, thoughts and recommendations on how to improve the management of bullying complaints, and the establishment of a remediation plan and steering group.
  • 1,010 staff attended face-to-face Workplace Violence Prevention (WVP) training as well as 525 through an online module.  CALM WVP facilitated online during COVID-19, and CALM-Plus training developed and rolled out for clinical staff.  To respond to increased demand for training a WVP Educator role was established and on-call trainers are being recruited.
  • Intensive six-month WVP Pilot Projects have been undertaken in service areas of high workplace violence risk (Mental Health and Addictions, and Maternity).  Onsite counselling is now being accessed by Tumanako staff. 
Health, Safety and Wellbeing

Although COVID-19 stretched the health system, the risk to our workforce was kept low through effective infection prevention controls, testing and vaccination.

Our Values are centred around health, safety and wellbeing. We are committed to providing a culturally and physically safe workplace for employees, patients, whānau, visitors and contractors.

We have effective emergency and corporate risk management systems and processes in place that meet legislative and contractual obligations.
Staff wellbeing has always been a key focus. It is promoted in various ways across the organisation and led by the Workforce Development and Wellbeing department.

Achievements in 2021-22 include:

  • In response to COVID-19 several new health and safety functions were established including vulnerable employee risk assessments, mask fit testing, employee COVID-19 testing, vaccinations and exposure event management. 
  • Establishment of Tu Tangata, a wellbeing steering group and a wellbeing fund to which teams can apply to promote a team wellbeing initiative.
  • Successful completion of the ACC Partnership Programme Audit (scope was reduced due to COVID-19, and primary accreditation attained).

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