Tertiary Education Commission NZ

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The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is responsible for the New Zealand Government’s $2.9 billion investment across over 700 tertiary education organisations in NZ. It leads the Government’s relationship with the tertiary education sector which includes universities, polytechnics, private training establishments, industry training organisation and other providers of higher education and training. 

They have the challenge of ensuring New Zealanders have the skills and the knowledge they need to ensure lifelong success.  

The TEC is also responsible for monitoring performance and financial viability of tertiary education organisations to ensure they are delivering to set programmes. With visibility across the education sector, the TEC is able to provide clear insights into how the sector as a whole is progressing.  

“We are here to equip New Zealanders with the knowledge and skills needed for lifelong success through driving and influencing the development of capability across the tertiary education system"

said Mike Blanchard, Deputy Chief Executive Operations / Chief Operating Officer.


The TEC is responsible for ensuring the sector delivers high quality services for New Zealand and contributes to the needs of the economy. With such a broad remit, 10 years ago the TEC began working with the sector to develop a benchmarking tool to provide support strategic and financial decision-making and to align planning, funding, quality assurance, monitoring and measurement into a single framework.  

It needed a robust system of capturing clear and consistent information to create a holistic analysis of performance in the education sector, and which also supported capability growth across the network. Following a rigorous international tendering process, Tribal Group was selected to provide this solution and for the past 10 years has held this contract. 

The Solution

On behalf of the TEC, Tribal supplies a performance benchmarking service to all Universities, Institutions of Technology & Polytechnics (ITPs) and Wānanga in NZ. This provides a comprehensive view of both financial and educational performance, looking at financial inputs and educational attainments, such as course completion rates, to provide a robust performance measurement and monitoring framework. 

Tribal’s benchmarking service, NZBT+, provides a holistic view of an institution’s performance by linking financial data and key qualitative indicators, helping identify areas where investment may be required, as well as opportunities for greater cost efficiencies. It offers an independent measurement of financial and educational performance to support informed strategic decision making and forward planning. 

By implementing a consistent measurement framework, the TEC is able to gain detailed insights into the sector and its performance, as well as providing organisations with a tool to support continuous improvement.  

NZBT+ has made a significant contribution to the process of analysis and improvement across a range of tertiary providers.  It is an important tool to support the TEC’s investment and help to ensure that New Zealanders are receiving the highest quality education.  


Since 2012 ITPs in New Zealand have re-aligned resourcing decisions to allow a 33 percent increase in the investment made in front line support for students. Over the same period, retention of students has increased by 9 percent. 

Part of the success and the longevity of the contract has been the collaborative approach the TEC and Tribal have taken to provide a solution to changing needs.  

Adrian Massey, Tribal Managing Consultant says, 

“Over the 10-year period we’ve been working with the TEC, the education sector has changed considerably and by working collaboratively with the key stakeholders we’ve ensured that our service is continually evolving to ensure it remains relevant and delivers what the sector needs.”  

This sentiment has been echoed by Julia Kennedy, Principal Advisor in the TEC’s Monitoring and Crown Ownership Team, who manages the TEC’s relationship with Tribal.  Julia identified the Tribal team as one key factor of the relationship success:

“The Tribal team’s flexibility and commitment to the partnership has allowed us to work together to support the success of our providers and help them deliver high-quality education for New Zealanders.” 

“The biggest benefit of Tribal’s NZBT+ is how it has enabled education organisations to have meaningful self-assessment and self-review, so that they can have confidence to make informed decisions that ultimately benefit the students,” said Julia. 

Learn more about Analysis and Benchmarking


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