Annual report 2014 cover

Cross-agency leadership

The social sector is complex, with a range of government, non-government, and private sector organisations involved in providing a wide range of services to all New Zealanders.

Many communities and families are dealing with difficult social problems that go beyond the boundaries of generations, agencies and services. To address these problems, agencies are finding new ways to work together to make services more accessible and effective.

Our population-based offices, the Ministry of Youth Development, the Office for Disability Issues and the Office for Senior Citizens, lead government engagement with their respective sectors.

The Ministry has a role in providing leadership across the social sector to co-ordinate and organise cross-agency work.

Supporting cross-agency governance groups

During the year, we continued to support and contribute to strengthened governance arrangements across the social sector that enable more co-ordinated and innovative responses to meet the needs of people dealing with multiple agencies.

Social Sector Forum

Our Chief Executive chairs the Social Sector Forum1. The Forum brings the social sector together to:

  • strengthen combined social sector leadership
  • pursue a common agenda to deliver results for shared groups and populations.

During the year, the Forum continued to focus on its shared responsibility for targets relating to the Government’s Better Public Services Results 1-42 and its other shared priorities: Social Sector Trials, Enabling Good Lives and Addressing Family Violence.

Joint Venture Board

Through the Forum’s Joint Venture Board, the Social Sector Trials bring together the Ministries of Social Development, Education, Health and Justice, and New Zealand Police to improve social outcomes by giving non-government organisations or individuals a mandate to co-ordinate local programmes and solutions.

Ten Trials were implemented this year, joining the six that began in 20113. The Trials have a youth focus with outcomes related to reducing truancy, offending, and alcohol and substance abuse, as well as increasing participation in education, training and employment. During the year, the first six Trials were expanded to include 5 to 18-year-olds, to enable a greater focus on prevention and early intervention.

Evaluation has shown the Trials approach to be effective in promoting communication and collaboration between local stakeholders and in delivering a broad range of services targeted at young people. This has led to better information sharing, a greater appreciation of the role of the community, and an improvement in communities’ focus on and ownership of outcomes.

Vulnerable Children’s Board

Our Chief Executive chairs the Vulnerable Children’s Board, which is overseeing implementation of changes to the way government agencies address the needs of at-risk and vulnerable children.

Over the last year, significant progress has been made to implement the Children’s Action Plan, including:

  • establishing a Children’s Action Plan directorate, hosted by the Ministry, to oversee the implementation of the Plan
  • establishing two Children’s Teams in Rotorua and Whangarei
  • drafting the Approved Information Sharing Agreement to enable information sharing between government and non-government organisations, and to support development of the Vulnerable Kids Information System and the Hub (a single point of referral for all vulnerable children).

During the year, Parliament passed the Vulnerable Children Act. The Act came into force on 1 July 2014. The Act lays the foundation for agencies to work together to improve the wellbeing of children and makes Chief Executives accountable for a cross-agency plan to protect and improve the lives of vulnerable children.

Positive outcomes have resulted from the two Children’s Team demonstration sites and lessons learnt will inform the Children’s Teams operating model as it expands. In May 2014, Government announced the rollout of eight new Children’s Teams in 2014/2015.

Working together to address family and sexual violence

Family violence and sexual violence are serious and complex issues and no one agency can address them alone.

Family Violence

During the year, we provided information, advice and support to member agencies of the Taskforce for Action on Violence within Families, which leads the interagency action to address family violence.

We also continued to deliver campaigns such as It’s not OK!, E Tu Whānau and Pasefika Proud to raise awareness about how to prevent family violence. The Family Violence Unit, housed by the Ministry, began developing an overarching strategic framework for cross-government work aimed at achieving intergenerational change to break the cycle of family violence.

Sexual Violence

Specialist sexual violence service staff report that they are experiencing an increased demand for services.

In 2013, the Minister for Social Development commissioned a cross-agency review of sexual violence services, with the aim of developing a sustainable long-term plan for the sector. The review confirmed the increasing demand for sexual violence services and found that a stronger emphasis and a nationally co-ordinated approach are needed to prevent sexual violence.

We have developed a primary prevention strategy in conjunction with primary prevention experts. Options for implementation are currently being considered.

Property Management Centre of Expertise (PMCoE)

The State Services Commission has appointed the Ministry of Social Development to be the Property Management Centre of Expertise for the Public Service and some state service and state sector entities.

We are using the collective purchasing power of the public service to identify and drive property-related savings, co-location opportunities, and more effective and productive work places.

As part of this, we delivered the first tranche of the Wellington Accommodation Project, which will achieve savings of $333 million over the next 20 years. The project’s adoption of modern workplace practices has reduced the footprint of public sector agencies in central Wellington by 24 per cent.

The Christchurch Integrated Government Accommodation Project has completed negotiations on three of the four building solutions in the city’s central business district. The remaining negotiations are expected to be completed in late 2014. The development of all four buildings, and relocation of agencies, is expected to be completed during 2016. These developments will provide certainty to government staff in Christchurch and will contribute to growth and development in the city.


1: The Social Sector Forum comprises the Chief Executives of the Ministries of Education, Health, Social Development, Justice, Business, Innovation and Employment and PacificIsland Affairs, and Te Puni Kōkiri.
2: Further information on Better Public Services Results and targets can be found on pages 7-11.
3: The six original Trials are in Kawerau, Horowhenua, South Waikato, Gore and Waitomo districts, and Taumarunui. The 10 additional Trials are in Kaikohe, Waikato district, Rotorua district, Ranui, Whakatane, Gisborne, South Taranaki district, Wairarapa, Porirua city and South Dunedin.