annual report 2009-2010 cover image

Chief Executive's foreword

The 2009/2010 year was again a year in which many New Zealanders, their families and communities faced real pressures as a result of the global economic downturn. Over the year the number of New Zealanders receiving an Unemployment Benefit increased by nearly a quarter as a direct result of the economic conditions. There were 13 per cent more care and protection notifications to Child, Youth and Family, and many community organisations had to manage increased demand for services alongside pressures on their costs and in some cases, reduced sources of funding.

Our priorities for the year were to minimise the impact of the recession on New Zealanders, create opportunities for young people and reduce youth offending, improve the care of vulnerable children, improve our services to older people, and to help community organisations work with us more closely on results – and to do these things with a strong value-for-money focus.

The Ministry swung into action. We redeployed case managers, redesigned the way we do business, outreached to employers, and delivered new government programmes to reduce the worst effects of the recession. The recession also created barriers for young people getting the experience they need to get a foothold in the job market. We worked with employers and communities to help give these young people real work opportunities. During the year Work and Income helped more than 6,000 young people into a job through the Job Opportunities programme. The programme encourages employers to consider employing young people to fill entry-level positions. Work and Income helped more than 3,500 young people into employment through the Community Max programme, a wage-subsidy for community-based projects. Eighty-five per cent of Job Ops participants and 73 per cent of Community Max participants did not require a benefit after participating in the programmes.

We also developed better relationships with government agencies and community organisations, to improve our ability to intervene early and protect vulnerable infants. Child, Youth and Family completed the rollout of the Partnered Response Pathway, which gets the right services to the right people. The Never, Ever Shake a Baby Campaign was launched with support from community organisations. From December 2009, social workers joined six hospitals around the country to support hospital staff caring for children who may have been abused. These sorts of partnerships help Child, Youth and Family to make a greater difference. For the first time in a decade Child, Youth and Family delivered against every service commitment. Child, Youth and Family had 14,363 more care and protection notifications this year than last, and all of these reached a social worker or other help and assistance on time.

To help community organisations weather the economic conditions, we paid them $25.4 million through the Community Response Fund to manage their cost and demand pressures. We also introduced High Trust Contracting as a way of reducing compliance costs for organisations that have a strong and trusted record of delivery. This will allow community-based social services to focus more on families they are helping and less on complex paperwork and reporting. These agreements focus on what outcomes need to be achieved for individuals and families, rather than on specifying and measuring how services are delivered. By the end of June 2010, 24 community organisations had entered into a high trust agreement with the Ministry.

The Government and the public expect us to demonstrate value-for-money across all our activities by managing our costs. We generated efficiency gains of nearly $60 million during the year despite even more people coming into our local offices and calling our contact centres. We delivered our services better and made them more accessible, including offering more services online such as applications for Superannuation and enabling 109,000 students to get all their StudyLink correspondence online. This helped us to manage the demand and free up more time at the frontline to work more intensively with people who need extra support. It made a visible difference for our clients. Even though Work and Income had 20,000 more clients than in the previous year, these clients waited on average half a day less to see their case manager, and were more likely to have all their needs met through a single appointment rather than over several appointments.

Staff from all parts of the Ministry have delivered in a year that again made very challenging demands of them. Their work has made a real difference to the lives of many thousands of New Zealanders, to their families and in our communities. I am hugely proud of them.

Peter Hughes
Chief Executive

annual report 2009-2010 cover image

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