Annual report 2016 cover

Investing more effectively in communities

We are changing the way we provide services to vulnerable children, young people and adults by targeting community funding to where it will make the biggest difference.

Supporting strong, thriving communities

Each year we contribute to strong communities by investing over $300 million in community social services. These community services are critical to strengthening communities and reducing vulnerability through programmes that provide residential support, early intervention services, teen parent support, and information and resources for parents and communities.

Examples include supporting the National Collective of Independent Women’s Refuges to provide residential and community-based services to over 11,600 clients, and the Stand Children’s Service (Tū Māia Whānau), which provided social work support to nearly 1,800 children and young people. Over 88 percent of children who completed the Intensive Wraparound Family Service programme showed an improvement in their wellbeing.

Targeting funding through the Community Investment Strategy

Since 2014 we have been implementing the Community Investment Strategy (CIS) to guide decision-making about where we invest our funding to have the greatest impact. The Strategy is underpinned by a social investment approach, and helps to ensure that our investment in community-based social services is in line with the Government’s goals and priorities for New Zealanders.

Through the CIS, we purchased services to support:

  • vulnerable children and children in hardship, and to reduce child maltreatment
  • vulnerable young people, including youth offenders, and to reduce youth crime
  • victims/survivors of family violence and sexual violence, addressing perpetrators’ behaviour and reducing violent crime.

By setting a clear direction for funding in line with government priorities, we have been able to reprioritise funding to Whānau Ora, Family Start and the Children’s Action Plan.

We aim to fully implement the CIS by 2018. In 2015/2016 we continued to make the purchasing of these services more effective, more transparent and more focused on results by:

  • developing a Results Measurement Framework to show how the services we purchase contribute to outcomes
  • undertaking a stocktake of programmes and services to help identify gaps in service delivery, identify areas of duplication, and build our evidence base of what works and what does not
  • setting up a framework to improve the quality of data we collect from our service providers
  • simplifying and reducing compliance requirements for providers
  • beginning to develop a training package to help strengthen providers’ organisational governance capability and the development of result-based measures
  • releasing an update to the Strategy for discussion with the community sector.

Working in partnership with communities and the sector

To ensure effective provision of services, we rely on the relationships we have with our community providers and their connections with their communities. By working closely and engaging with our partners, we hope to strengthen the provider sector’s approach to targeting investment where it will make the biggest possible difference.

This year we worked with the community sector to co-design an approach that will underpin the new service structure for what is currently Budget Services. This will help build the financial capability of New Zealanders experiencing hardship. The rollout of the first phase will begin in November 2016.

This work contributes to the following Ministry outcomes:

  • Fewer children and people are vulnerable
  • More communities are strong and thriving

Spotlight on:

Expanding Family Start

Family Start is a child-centred intensive home visiting service targeted at vulnerable children and their families. The programme has shown positive effects through increasing these children's participation in early childhood education, reducing mortality rates in the first two years of life, and increasing the likelihood that vulnerable children come to the early attention of Child, Youth and Family.

We released research during the year that highlights the significant effectiveness of this programme.

Approximately 6,500 families received Family Start services in 2015/2016. Funding of $7.3 million has been reprioritised from the low-intensity Parents as First Teachers programme to Family Start to support more than 1,000 additional families in 2016/2017.