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The Ministry is focused on bringing the social sector together to achieve better results for New Zealanders.

Social Sector Forum

The Chief Executive of the Ministry of Social Development is mandated by Cabinet to chair and lead the Social Sector Chief Executives’ Forum. The Forum works to all social sector Ministers and is supported by a Deputy Chief Executives’ Group and the Social Sector Strategy group, which sits within the Ministry of Social Development.

The Forum met monthly during 2010/2011. Its members include the Secretaries of Justice and Education, the Director-General of Health and senior officials from the State Services Commission, The Treasury and the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. For the first time, we included the Ministry’s leadership role across the social sector in our Statement of Intent 2011–2014. With our Forum partners we are developing a joint outcomes framework so that we can measure our cross-agency work.

In 2010/2011, the Forum worked closely with the Cabinet Social Policy Committee to identify key social sector initiatives (for example, Drivers of Crime, Community Link and Integrated Service Response, Better, Sooner More Convenient Healthcare, Community Response Model and Whänau Ora) and identified barriers to effective cross-agency work. We also made good progress on several joint initiatives. Highlights include:

Drivers of Crime

The Drivers of Crime work programme aims to reduce offending and victimisation. During 2010/2011, we were part of a cross-agency team that identified the key outcomes that will address the underlying causes of crime. The outcomes include:

  • improving maternity and early parenting support services
  • addressing conduct and behavioural problems
  • reducing the harm from alcohol
  • identifying alternative approaches for low-level offenders.

We are taking a lead on the maternity and early parenting support workstream. In 2010/2011, we have:

  • looked at the referrals being made by Work and Income to maternity and early parenting support services and identified ways of increasing these referrals
  • learnt that to engage hard-to-reach families, service providers need to have skilled staff, a welcoming environment and assist with transport, childcare and other day-to-day needs
  • begun developing a resource for providers and local decision makers that outlines strategies for engaging with hard to reach families.

Over the next year a key focus will be to increase the number of referrals to maternity and early parenting support services.

Social Sector Trials

The Forum, in collaboration with the New Zealand Police, has developed and rolled out Social Sector Trials in six communities to test new ways of managing funding and services to tackle issues of offending, truancy, alcohol and drug abuse, and poor education and employment outcomes amongst young people.

The Trials test the ability of an appropriately mandated individual or a non-government organisation to use cross-agency resources to make service and programme changes in a community. The non-government organisation approach is being trialled in Tokoroa, Levin and Gore. Individuals are leading Trials in Kawerau, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui.

The Trials have required agencies to pool resources (funding and in-kind), develop new cross-agency outcomes focused on young people, and devolve funding and decision-making to the local level.

The Trials are overseen by a Ministerial group and a Joint Venture Board. The Joint Venture Board consists of the Chief Executives of Social Development, Health, Justice, Education and the Commissioner of Police to ‘join up’ accountability across portfolios. The Joint Venture Board oversees the implementation and management of the evaluation of the Trials. A Director, who reports to the Joint Venture Board, is responsible for the implementation and ongoing management of the Trials.

Progress reports are provided to Ministers every six months. The evaluation of the Trials covers an assessment of implementation barriers and the impact of the Trials in terms of delivering results for young people.

Other chief executives are invited to the Social Sector Forum to work on relevant social sector issues, for example, the Commissioner of Police participated in discussions about the Social Sector Trials.

The Drivers of Crime work programme is led by the Ministry of Justice and Te Puni Kōkiri.

A Joint Venture arrangement oversees the Trials and monitors and evaluates their operation.

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