New Zealand Inland Revenue Collections Experience Project (CEP)

New Zealand Inland Revenue (NZIR) is the New Zealand government department responsible for collecting 80% of government revenue. It also collects and disburses social support programme payments and provides the government with policy advice.

NZIR Collections mission statement

Mā te mahi ngātahi,
te pae tawhiti mō te katoa,
e whakatata kia maua

"working together we make a difference in our communities and build a better future for everyone in New Zealand"


The journey from good to great

NZIR aspires to be a leader in debt collection, as part of the vision to improve the socio economic situation for all New Zealanders. Prior to CEP Collections was already on track to exceed its current targets for debt. However, they wanted to achieve the best result possible, as there still remained a significant outstanding amount of debt. The Collections Experience Project (CEP) was established to achieve this.

CEP objectives

In August 2013, with the help of CEC, NZIR set out to achieve these objectives:

  • The transformation of culture within Collections.
  • Engaging 700 staff in 10 locations through a series of workshops to drive the change.
  • Emotional engagement of staff to have them lead the way forward.

PHASE 1: Research & insights

We conducted observational research with employees, partners and customers across the country.

The team synthesized the research and created insights defining a view of the current officer and customer experience.

Evaluation of the insights to see what could be learnt and how improvements could be made.

PHASE 2: Co-designing our core purpose

We met with approximately 40 Team Leaders to explore the core purpose and ways of working, and also considered learnings from NZ Health and NZ Police.

We extended the concept using co-design methods to give everyone in Team Collections (753 people) the opportunity to contribute.

We co-designed with Team Leaders, giving them the tools to engage their teams on the journey.

PHASE 3: Implementation & embedding

We developed a customer-centric vision of what it is like to work at Collections.

We travelled New Zealand providing feedback collated from Team Collections on the CEP and gathered input on the draft Purpose Statements.

As a next step, the Collections Leadership Team listened to feedback and utilised this in creating the final purpose statement.

The Collections Leadership Team reviewed the journey over the 12 month period to analyse outcomes for staff, customers and the Department.

Doing the right things right

Our new approach to creating an effective working culture.


We remain calm and professional when interacting with emotional customers and bounce back quickly after facing challenges – because we’re strong and well supported.

Insights inform innovation:

We use insights and intelligence to inform our improvements, so they really make a difference.

Great fact-based decisions:

We take care to get our facts right and make informed decisions.

Have a compliance focus:

We take the approach that best matches a customer’s compliance behaviour.


We support one another and work collaboratively in Collections and beyond!


Outcome - employee engagement

Outcome - returns

Outcome - increased debt collection

Outcome - debt collection

Outcome - active management

Outcome - cases closed

Refining and embedding our cultural vision

We are continuing to engage our people and improve our way of working.

Continuing Journey