Annual Report 2016-17 cover

Contributing to the social sector and the social investment approach

We work collaboratively and effectively with our social sector partners to achieve outcomes for New Zealanders.

As a provider of social services, we play a critical role in the social sector with other agencies by supporting initiatives to help those who need it the most, from children and young people to working-age adults and retirees.

Developing a social investment approach

Social investment is about improving the lives of New Zealanders through the application of rigorous evidence-based investments across the social sector.

Over the last year we have continued to develop our investment approaches for welfare and social housing, to build a better understanding of the types of interventions that work and where they will have the greatest impact. This enables us to be flexible about the services we purchase and to make decisions considering the future needs of our clients.

We have been working towards an integrated social investment approach to welfare and social housing, for example through using a valuation model that combines benefit and housing information. The first valuation report on the social housing system (as at 30 June 2015) was released on 28 June 2017 and provides a baseline to measure change against.

The social housing liability is expected to increase as social housing is better targeted to those with higher needs. Our social investment approach recognises that, to be effective in improving long-term outcomes, social housing provision needs to include well-targeted support services as well as the provision of properties.

Working with the Social Investment Unit

The Social Investment Unit (SIU) [54] was a cross-agency unit responsible for overseeing and co-ordinating the Government’s social investment approach. The SIU reported to the Minister Responsible for Social Investment.

We partnered with the SIU and other agencies through work such as the Social Housing Test Case, which demonstrates the ability to calculate the fiscal return on the investment in social housing.

Supporting cross-sector collaboration and governance

Until 31 March 2017 we continued to provide secretariat support for key cross-sector groups such as the Vulnerable Children’s Board prior to the establishment of the Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki. We also continued to chair, support and advise the Social Sector Board [55] to ensure that, across the social system, our services are delivering the biggest impact to people’s lives.

We contributed to work led by the State Services Commission in relation to the refresh of Better Public Services results and targets, which the Government announced in May 2017.

Our continuing work to support the place-based initiatives in 2016/2017 included clarification of the decision-making rights of agencies, provision of data and analytical support, and development of an overarching evaluation framework.

Addressing family violence and sexual violence

New Zealand and can lead to intergenerational impacts on individuals and families. The cost of family violence and sexual violence to New Zealand each year is estimated at $5.8 billion.

Our work with the family violence and sexual violence sector over recent years has met with pockets of success, but the sector has not yet established a cohesive, systematic, integrated approach. Initiatives have tended to be ad-hoc, isolated and incident-based, and have not provided a collective, holistic response to family violence and sexual violence as ongoing patterns of behaviour.

Government agencies and the family violence and sexual violence sector are in general agreement that simply repeating the scatter-gun approaches of the past will not have a lasting impact. Qualitative evidence about what does work in the New Zealand context is still limited, but our collective understanding of family violence and sexual violence has matured considerably. Much more still needs to be done to develop and deploy proven evidenced-based programmes that will reduce the risk of family violence and sexual violence.

We continue to work on preventing family violence and sexual violence by intervening early and supporting families and whānau to live without violence. We are building our evidence base to better understand what works best when addressing family violence and sexual violence to ensure we make good investment decisions.

In 2016/2017 we worked with the Ministry of Justice, the Department of Corrections, NZ Police, ACC, Te Puni Kōkiri and other government agencies to achieve the outcomes of the Ministerial Group on Family Violence and Sexual Violence work programme, including key projects such as the Integrated Safety Response Pilot, which was launched in Christchurch in July 2016 and Waikato in October 2016, and the Workforce Capability Framework, which was launched in June 2017.

We established the Family Violence Prevention Investment Board to provide independent and expert advice to assist the Government in making investment decisions and to ensure alignment of prevention efforts.

We also led the continuation of the It’s not OK, E Tū Whānau and Pasefika Proud campaigns.

The Pacific work programme included implementation of the Nga Vaka o Kaiga training programmes to build the capability of Pacific NGO practitioners and community influencers to further address family violence. We also conducted two formative evaluations of Pacific faith-based family violence services and Pacific provider-based family violence services to build our evidence base of what works for Pacific peoples.

We also continue to explore options to address family, sexual and other violence as it relates to disabled people.

Sexual violence services

We are working with the sexual violence services sector to develop services that are more accessible, effective and sustainable, with increased reach to victims, survivors and perpetrators of sexual violence.

Budget 2016 provided funding of $46 million over four years for improving sexual violence services, as a direct response to the recommendations of the Social Services Committee and the Law Commission. We are making good progress in rolling out this funding.

This work contributes to the following Ministry outcomes:

  • More people into sustainable work and out of welfare dependency
  • More people are able to participate in and contribute positively to their communities and society
  • Fewer children and people are vulnerable
  • More communities are strong and thriving
  • Fewer children and young people commit crime

Spotlight on:

Transitioning Social Sector Trials to Place-based Initiatives

We transitioned nine [56] of the 11 Social Sector Trials (SSTs) that were still in operation at 1 July 2016 from a centrally led programme of work to locally led programmes by 31 December 2016[57]. During this period, social sector agencies supported sites to develop new models fit for each community’s purpose and to develop supporting structures and processes. By January 2017 we had successfully established all locally led models or place-based initiatives to replace SSTs.

Minimising harm from gangs

Gang-connected families continue to be over-represented in negative social outcomes. As part of a wider suite of Gang Action Plan initiatives, we funded four community pilots to work with gang-connected people and their communities. The aim of the pilots is to reduce the negative social harm associated with gang membership and to improve social outcomes for individuals, whānau and communities.

The pilots will be trialled for two years to June 2018. An evaluation has been commissioned and will be undertaken over the lifespan of the pilots. Early indications of short-term success have been identified and include evidence that gang members and their whānau are actively engaged, there are increased opportunities for and participation in education, employment and training, there is increased engagement with primary medical care, and there is improved interagency collaboration.


[54] The Social Investment Agency (SIA) replaced the SIU from 1 July 2017 and provides all-of-government social investment advice to Ministers.

[55] On 1 July 2017 a new Social Investment Board, made up of the chief executives of the Ministries of Education, Health, Justice and Social Development with an independent chair, came into being to replace the Social Sector Board. The new Board is responsible for providing investment advice to the Government through the Minister Responsible for Social Investment.

[56] In Gisborne and Kaikohe, transition to locally led models to follow the Trials was not required as place-based initiatives had begun earlier in 2016.

[57] Five SSTs ended on 30 June 2016. The 11 sites still operating on 1 July were in Kaikohe, Gisborne, Porirua, South Dunedin, Gore, Horowhenua, South Waikato, Taumarunui and Waitomo.