The Government has called on government agencies to organise themselves in a way that makes their services more accessible to New Zealanders. We must be leaders in our field and work collaboratively to make a bigger difference. This approach requires us to change the way we think about the public sector, including the way we deliver services. The Government has identified key areas where it wants to see results and this will require strong leadership from sector agencies and their Chief Executives.
Social sector leadership
When it was established in 2001, the Ministry was tasked with being the social sector leader. We assist the Government to set and action priorities across the social sector.
Our Chief Executive is mandated by Cabinet to chair and lead the Social Sector Chief Executives’ Forum (Social Sector Forum). Its members are the Secretaries of Justice and Education, the Director General of Health, the Chief Executive of the Department of Building and Housing and senior officials from the State Services Commission, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and the Treasury. Other Chief Executives are invited to work on relevant issues.
The focus of the Social Sector Forum
The main focus of the Forum is to help responsible Chief Executives deliver on their cross agency priorities. For us, the Forum will help the Ministry co-ordinate responses to the following Government Themes:
- Reducing Long-term Welfare Dependency – by reducing the number of people who have been on a working age benefit for more than 12 months
- Supporting Vulnerable Children – by increasing participation in early childhood education, decreasing the number of assaults on children and increasing infant immunisation rates and reducing the incidence of rheumatic fever.
The Forum will also help us contribute more effectively to other Government Themes led by other Social Sector Forum agencies.
Achieving results in these areas will require agencies to work together with families and individuals with multiple issues. We will need to operate as one sector to do this.
The Forum has identified ways to overcome barriers and achieve results. These require us to look at the way we work together, including how we purchase and deliver services and how we collect and share information. This also involves harnessing the expertise of communities, non-government organisations, iwi and businesses. We will take lessons from cross-sector initiatives, like the Social Sector Trials, and apply these to the work programme in the future.
The Forum will also maintain connections with other result areas and key pieces of work that are linked to its work. The Drivers of Crime work programme, for example, aims to improve maternity and early parenting outcomes, address behaviour problems in childhood, reduce harm from alcohol and manage low-level repeat offenders.
Leading across government
We provide leadership and co-ordination of public sector effort on behalf of the Government.
We administer the Office for Disability Issues and the Office for Senior Citizens. These offices promote and monitor the implementation of the New Zealand Disability Strategy and the New Zealand Positive Ageing Strategy respectively.
Our Chief Executive chairs the Chief Executives’ Group on Disability Issues. The Group supports the Ministerial Committee on Disability Issues by leading the implementation of the Disability Action Plan.
The Ministry of Youth Development leads young people’s input into policy development across Government. We will provide young people with opportunities to participate in, and contribute to, policy development by engaging with them and seeking their perspectives to inform decision-making.
Our Chief Executive is the Deputy Chair, and the Deputy Chief Executives of Family and Community Services and Child, Youth and Family, are members of the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families. The Taskforce provides advice to the Family Violence Ministerial Group.
We provide secretariat functions for the Taskforce, the Māori Reference Group and the Pacific Advisory Group that supports the Taskforce.
How we will demonstrate success
The Government expects that all state sector agencies will improve the way they deliver services, achieve results and provide value for money.
With support from other social sector agencies, we will co-ordinate the cross-agency response to four of the 10 Government Result Areas for the public sector:
- Government Result Area Number 1 Reduce the number of people who have been on a working age benefit for more than 12 months
- Government Result Area Number 2 Increase participation in early childhood education
- Government Result Area Number 3 Increase infant immunisation rates and reduce the incidence of rheumatic fever
- Government Result Area Number 4 Reduce the number of assaults on children.
We are accountable for demonstrating progress against these results.
Some of the measures set out in the Operating Intentions section of this Statement of Intent provide measures which support the Government Result Areas (see More people into work and out of welfare dependency, More young people are in education, training or work, Fewer children are vulnerable, and Fewer children and young people commit crime).
To track our progress and demonstrate our achievement of the Government Result Areas we will be developing short and long-term measures.
We also contribute to the remaining six Government Result Areas which fall into the three following themes:
- Boosting Skills and Employment
- Reducing Crime
- Improving Interaction with Government.
Our short-term performance will be measured against the performance measures in our key accountability documents.