Annual Report 2016-17 cover

Chief Executive’s foreword

Looking back over the past year the Ministry of Social Development has achieved many things - not least, the successful transition of functions and services for vulnerable children and young people to the new Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki in April 2017.

Change was a constant throughout the year as we worked through the process of successfully completing the first major milestone in the reform of the care and support system for our youngest and most vulnerable New Zealanders.

In creating this change, we also took the opportunity to review our own operating model, streamlining our leadership structure and creating a more interdependent and joined-up way of working across the organisation and with other government and non-government organisations.

The driver for this change, and for our achievements and successes, remains our shared purpose to help New Zealanders to help themselves to be safe, strong and independent.

Whether by encouraging independence through helping people into jobs, supporting disabled New Zealanders to fully participate in society, enabling safe and secure housing, or supporting strong families and children through the establishment of further Children’s Teams, in the last 12 months we have worked hard to ensure better outcomes for New Zealanders.

We have continued to work hard to reduce welfare dependence. The proportion of the working-age population dependent on welfare is the lowest since 2007 and the number of beneficiaries is at the lowest level it has been since December 2008.

Through the MyMSD mobile web service, we have provided opportunities for clients to do more for themselves online and when it suits them, with over 375,000 clients registered for this service.

We increased our focus on supporting clients with disabilities and health conditions, including mental health issues. Our specialised Work to Wellness programme in selected regions and the EmployAbility initiative have helped to support sustainable employment for these client groups.

We have also expanded the Youth Service to include 19-year-old teen parents, young partners and young parent partners of main beneficiaries, to deliver better outcomes.

We have placed a stronger focus on engagement with social housing providers and the housing sector. This has enabled us to ensure a more diverse range of housing supply, including transitional housing and emergency housing support for people with nowhere to live.

In the last year we have become better at using data and analytics to understand the root causes of problems and people’s life course experiences, so that we can properly address barriers to independence.

In the last year, we integrated our welfare and social housing valuations to enable us to establish a lifetime cost of the overall system, as well as for specific groups and cohorts. This continues to support us in our social investment approach and takes a client-centric view to both welfare and housing needs.

Our successes have not been ours alone. The issues our clients face go beyond what they need from us and we have been working closely with our partners across government, as well as our partners in communities, to have a bigger and better impact.

Across the country, our staff have continued to work in often challenging circumstances. We have an unwavering commitment to their safety and security and continue to work to enhance our safety and security practices and processes. In early 2017 we completed the delivery of our Security Response Programme. The recommendations from the WorkSafe prosecution, which was concluded in late 2016, also shape the way we operate and our interactions with the public.

The past year has shown, once again, that we have a really strong foundation and the knowledge and experience to make a positive impact in people’s lives.

It is also time to look forward. During the coming year we will work to develop a new organisational strategic direction and to build on the opportunities that lie ahead to make a bigger and better difference for New Zealanders.

Brendan Boyle's signature

Brendan Boyle
Chief Executive