Annual report 2016 cover

Contributing to the social sector and building a social investment approach for the sector

Increasingly, New Zealanders expect government agencies to work together to make services more accessible and to make a bigger difference to people at all stages of life. We continue to play an important role in leading and supporting effective cross-sector governance and initiatives to ensure greater collective impact of services on those families and communities who need it most.

Leadership in the sector

We need to work collaboratively and effectively with all our social sector partners to achieve our outcomes for New Zealanders.

As one of the largest providers of social services, we play a critical role in the social sector by supporting initiatives to help those who need it the most, from children and young people to working-age adults and retirees. In 2015/2016 we worked alongside our sector partners to:

  • oversee collaborative models such as the Social Sector Trials and Children’s Teams
  • implement a social investment approach to making sector decisions
  • use and share data and analytics to strengthen how we deliver services with other agencies
  • work with iwi and the community to enhance our cultural capability
  • help seniors maintain independence and participate in society
  • address youth offending.

The Social Sector Board and Vulnerable Children’s Board

We continued to provide secretariat support and advice to key cross-sector groups such as the Vulnerable Children’s Board and the Social Sector Board to ensure that, as a social sector, our services are delivering the biggest impact to people’s lives.

In May 2016 the Vulnerable Children’s Board (VCB) was reconstituted with an independent Chair, to support the overhaul of New Zealand’s care and support system.

The VCB provides advice to the Ministerial Oversight Group on:

  • the new care and support operating model
  • the cross-agency elements of the transformation process.

The Social Sector Board (SSB) is made up of 10 social sector chief executives who have a collective responsibility to address the complex social problems facing New Zealanders. Our role is to support our Chief Executive as Chair of the Board.

In 2015/2016 the SSB revised its Terms of Reference to ensure it can provide strategic oversight, governance, and collective stewardship of the social system.

As one of its key priorities, the SSB has a role in developing and implementing a social investment approach to deliver a more holistic and client-centric service to achieve better outcomes for New Zealanders.

This work contributes to the following Ministry outcomes:

  • More people into sustainable work and out of welfare dependency
  • More people are able to participate in and contribute positively to their communities and society
  • Fewer children and people are vulnerable
  • More communities are strong and thriving
  • Fewer children and young people commit crime

Spotlight on:

Supporting Canterbury

We remain committed to supporting the Canterbury recovery. In 2015/2016 we administered the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Fund to provide a range of psychosocial initiatives to support individuals, families and communities recovering from the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

Our work to connect people with employment opportunities created by the rebuild included increasing the mobility of labour into the Canterbury region through the $3K to Christchurch initiative (the success of which led to it being rolled out to other regions in November 2015). We also worked with government and non-government agencies to support psychosocial recovery through the Community in Mind Programme of Action, and helped those in the greatest need into social housing.

The Office for Disability Issues supported the Earthquake Disability Leadership Group to ensure that disabled people are considered in the rebuild, with a particular focus on accessibility.

In 2015/2016 we funded nearly 3,700 trauma counselling sessions and Earthquake Support Co-ordination Services for those affected by the earthquakes. Our support of the 0800 Canterbury Support Line continued to help people connect with free counselling services or organisations. Nearly 1,400 calls were made to the 0800 number.

From 1 July 2016 the 0800 Canterbury Support Line is being funded by the Ministry of Health and delivered via the Ministry of Health's new integrated national telehealth service.

Building a social investment approach

Social investment is about applying rigorous and evidence-based investment practices to the development, purchase and delivery of social services so decisions can be made that improve the lives of New Zealanders.

We continued to develop our investment approach for welfare and the Community Investment Strategy, to build a better understanding of the types of interventions that work and where our investments will have the greatest impact. This enables us to be flexible about the services we purchase and to make decisions having regard to the future and the needs of our clients.

We began expanding the investment approach across the Ministry, including developing a social housing valuation and looking towards integrating this with the welfare valuation to provide a better understanding of people’s pathways in both systems. We expect the first social housing valuation data to be available in late October 2016.

In February 2016 the Social Investment Unit (SIU) was established as a centralised function to co-ordinate the development of social investment and support its application in the social sector. The SIU will provide a robust framework to help guide investment to where it is most effective for our clients. The SIU focused on:

  • championing a social investment approach
  • acting as stewards of the social investment system
  • partnering with agencies
  • building and operating the centralised platform required
  • prototyping solutions (building a reusable infrastructure).

Social Sector Trials

Since 2011 we have partnered with other sector agencies to deliver the Social Sector Trials (SSTs) to help create strong and thriving communities.

The purpose of the SST programme was to test community-based approaches to delivering social services. We have helped to deliver SSTs in 16 locations, focusing on a range of justice, health, education and other social sector outcomes for individuals and communities.

A national (programme-level) multi-strand evaluation showed that the intermediate objectives of the SSTs had been achieved.

During the year Cabinet decided that:

  • nine SSTs (Ranui, Gore, South Dunedin, Waitomo, Kawerau, Taumarunui, Horowhenua, Porirua, South Waikato) would move to community-led models
  • two SSTs (Gisborne and Kaikohe) will be absorbed into place-based models
  • five SSTs (Whakatane, Rotorua, South Taranaki, Waikato, Wairarapa) would be exited from 1 July 2016 as they did not meet performance expectations.

The follow-on models in the nine sites that are moving to community-led models are being developed locally. This transition from a locally influenced model to one that is locally developed and then locally led recognises that these communities are ready to take the lessons learnt from the SSTs model and develop their own operating models and supporting structures. We are working closely with our community partners to ensure minimal disruption to core programmes and services during the transition period.

Spotlight on:

Changing attitudes and behaviours towards family violence

Through E Tu Whānau, we supported 41 local initiatives to change attitudes and behaviours towards family violence, and trained 120 Mauri Ora practitioners. Over 60 percent of surveyed practitioners reported that the use of E Tu Whānau resources had led to a change in attitudes and behaviours in their community.

We released two refreshed 30-second It's not OK television ads, to encourage environments that do not tolerate family violence and to support people to change their behaviour. Over 90 percent of community groups reported that the campaign has increased their ability to address or prevent family violence.

Addressing family violence and sexual violence

Family violence and sexual violence are serious and complex issues that span multiple generations, affecting families from all cultures, classes, backgrounds and socio-economic groups. We are committed to responding to and preventing family and sexual violence in New Zealand so children and people are less vulnerable.

No single agency can address these issues alone. During the year we worked with the Ministry of Justice to co-ordinate an integrated approach to the achievement of this objective. We led:

  • a programme to increase knowledge and skills in the workforce
  • the Family Violence Primary Prevention Framework, to help guide future investment and support services
  • a sexual violence policy framework to support sector infrastructure
  • the continuation of the It’s not OK, E Tu Whānau and Pasefika Proud campaigns.

Cross-government accreditation standards

Accreditation is the process that assesses a provider’s capacity and capability to deliver quality services against a set of standards.

As Chair Agency of the Social Services Procurement Committee (SSPC), we worked with other government agencies to reduce duplication and compliance for social sector providers. This work will help ensure that providers have the time, capacity and capability to deliver the services required of them, and are not burdened by compliance. In 2015/2016 we:

  • implemented ten social sector accreditation standards that were endorsed by SSPC
  • built a cross-government accreditation register to share accreditation information across participating agencies
  • completed a proof-of-concept project to develop a new operating model for agencies to work together.

A cost/benefit analysis of the application of the standards showed forecast savings of approximately $8 million per annum for providers and agencies, if cross-government accreditation is implemented across the social sector. Once realised, these savings can then be channelled directly back to those children, young people and adults who need it the most to improve their life outcomes.

All nine agencies in the Cross-Government Accreditation project team have endorsed the 10 standards.