IN TOUCH: Awarding excellence in business support

A government department that introduced raft of world-first innovations that greatly increase certainty in doing business and raise the attractiveness of investment in New Zealand on the world stage has won the 2009 Vero Excellence in Business Support Supreme Award.
Prime Minister John Key presented the Ministry of Economic Development’s (MED) Insolvency and Trustee Service (ITS) with the Vero Supreme Award as well as the BDO Spicers Public-Private Sector Partnership Award at black-tie dinner held in Auckland on 28 May. The award recognised the ITS’ effective use of one-in-40-year opportunity to refresh insolvency legislation leading to major changes in debt management and consequent reduction in bankruptcies.
Other winners across total of 12 categories included Kiwibank (large business), Landcare Research’s carboNZero programme (high growth), Dunedin City Council Economic Development Unit (local government), Southland Enterprises (sustainable development) and The Icehouse (education, plus individual award for its CEO Andrew Hamilton). Another MED service, the Intellectual Property Office of NZ was also winner (government department).
Founded by business support specialist Sarah Trotman from Bizzone and sponsored by Vero, the National Business Review and BDO Spicers, the Vero Excellence in Business Support Awards were held during the Auckland Bizzone Business Expo. They help recognise what John Key describes as “a critical part” of New Zealand’s economy – our SMEs.
“They provide Kiwis with the essential goods and services they need. They help drive innovation across our economy. And they can become – with good leadership and support – our large businesses of tomorrow.”
Excellence is all, says Vero Insurance CEO Roger Bell. “The point of these awards is that our winners don’t end up just being excellent in one aspect of business, it goes right across the business – across leadership, strategy, people, processes and the results from all of those things. So it’s not just narrowly defined.”
Mike Watson, from The New Zealand Business Excellence Foundation, who chaired the judging panel, said the calibre of entries gets higher each year and the number of entries was also up again. “This is prestigious set of awards with all winners boasting very effective business support initiatives. The application by ITS, the supreme winner, outlined extremely impressive and sustained results demonstrating that they are providing really valuable service,” he said.
Acting group manager of ITS, Robyn Cox says the award is an independent endorsement that ITS staff are doing an excellent job. “By providing excellent processes and services, you become more efficient and you give yourself the ability to cope with, and respond more quickly to, difficult times such as now.”
The work that earned the Supreme Award involved delivering complex, innovative solution for the implementation of the Insolvency Act 2006 – the first major change to insolvency law in 40 years This included seeking feedback from and working with groups representing debtors’ and creditors’ interests, writing and implementing new case management system, developing an electronic filing system for applications, undertaking education of various interested groups and developing way to provide data electronically to interested parties while having to ensure ITS met all its clients’ competing needs.
The benefit for New Zealand from this project was that the insolvency regime became better suited to the needs of consumer debtors who got into financial difficulty through no fault of their own and for whom the full force of bankruptcy was not warranted.
BDO Spicers’ national chair Judith Stanway says the awards recognise businesses that are striving, and succeeding. “In the current environment, when so many aspects of our working lives are uncertain, it’s important to do good job and to do it right first time,” she says.
“No one has the capacity or time to have to go back and re-do things at present: striving for excellence is therefore beneficial to the bottom line, not just the top one.”
The full list of winners is: MED’s Insolvency & Trustee Service (Supreme Award); Kerridge Partners and Datum Connect, dual winners BDO Spicers Business One-on-one Offering with special mention to Franchize Consultants; Jericho earned the BDO Spicers Business One-to-many Offering (under $5 million turnover); won BDO Spicers Business ($5m-$10m turnover); Kiwibank ($10m plus category); NZ Institute of Chartered Accountants (not for profit); Dunedin City Council Economic Development Unit (local government) with special mention to Manukau City Council; Intellectual Property Office (government department); The Icehouse (education provider); ITS (public-private partnership); Landcare Research (high growth); Southland Enterprises (sustainable development) and Andrew Hamilton, the Icehouse (individual).

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