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Effectiveness of MSD employment assistance 2019/2020

The annual Employment Assistance Effectiveness summary report summarises the Ministry’s evidence on the effectiveness of its employment assistance (EA) expenditure up to the end of the 2019/2020 financial year.

EA evidence catalogue

For more detailed information on specific EA interventions please visit the EA evidence catalogue

Effectiveness ratings

Effectiveness is based on whether the intervention improves participants outcomes relative to a comparison group. Outcomes include employment, income, justice, qualifications, and welfare. For interventions that we can evaluate, they are classified into one of the following categories:

  • Effective: the intervention has significant positive overall impact on one or more outcome domain and no negative impacts for any other domain.
  • Promising: impacts across outcome domains indicates the intervention is expected to have a significant positive overall impact over the medium to long term.
  • Mixed: the intervention has both positive and negative impacts on different outcome domains (e.g. positive impact on income support payments, but a negative impact on overall income).
  • Makes no difference: the intervention makes no significant difference on any outcome domain.
  • Likely negative: based on the trend in intervention impacts we expect the intervention to have a long-term negative overall impact on one or more outcome domains.
  • Negative: the intervention has a significantly negative overall impact for one or more outcome domain and no positive impacts for any other.

Not rated interventions fall into either:

  • Too soon to rate: there has been insufficient time to judge whether the intervention is effective;
  • Not feasible: it is currently not technically possible to evaluate the effectiveness the intervention using non-experimental evaluative methods.
  • Not rated: we have not yet assessed the effectiveness of the intervention, applies to new interventions or where required information on who participates is not yet available for analysis.

Impacts of COVID

It should be noted that the COVID-19 lockdown affected the results for 2019/2020 report in the following ways:

  • the lockdown reduced spending on EA interventions in the last quarter of 2019/2020
  • the lockdown delayed implementation of new initiatives as well as the evaluation of new interventions, such as Mana in Mahi and Oranga Mahi
  • we excluded the COVID Wage Subsidy Scheme from the analysis because of its size (over $14 billion) and one-off nature.

Key Findings

In the 2019/2020 financial year, we estimate MSD spent a total of $435.5 million on EA interventions. This was a decrease from the previous financial year ($467.8 million), in part due to the COVID lockdown in the last quarter of 2019/2020.

Of the rated EA interventions, 78.8% of expenditure went on promising or effective interventions, 4.4% was spent on interventions with a mixed rating and 8.8% was spent on interventions making no measured difference (to note, the no measured difference category does not mean the intervention did not make a difference but includes many interventions with small participant numbers, which makes it difficult to identify whether the intervention’s impacts are statistically significant). The remainder (8%) of the spend was on interventions with a negative rating under active review.

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Employment Assistance effectiveness FY2019/2020 report

Download the Employment Assistance effectiveness FY2019/2020 technical report

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