annual report cover

Chief Executive's foreword

Photo of MSD Chief Executive Brendan Boyle

The Ministry of Social Development has an aspiration to become a trusted and proactive organisation, connecting clients to all the support and services that are right for them, improving the social and economic wellbeing of New Zealanders.

During the past year, we have helped and supported more than one million New Zealanders as well as continuing to work in new and different ways to help us make a bigger and better difference in people’s lives.

Our focus on getting people into sustainable work continued and we supported several programmes, including trialling the In-Work Support programme, for jobseekers who frequently enter and leave the benefit system.

In early 2018 we developed a new Client Commitment as part of our efforts to improve our service culture. The Client Commitment Charter is on display in all of our service centres and sets out our intention of giving people the best service we can and all the information they need. We have also worked with our clients and other stakeholders to understand how they would like our sites to work so that they can get the best service possible. We are starting to implement changes to enhance the physical design of our sites in order to make them more welcoming and user friendly.

Use of our MyMSD app continues to grow, with 36,000 transactions a day and over 578,000 accounts, enabling people to access more of our services online at places and times convenient to them. People are now also able to ‘check what they might get’ through our online eligibility guide, which was launched in June 2018.

Over the past year we have carried on working with New Zealanders in need of warm, dry and secure housing. The year saw an increase of 56 percent in applications on the Public Housing Register. This largely reflects an increased public awareness of the support that we can offer and we housed over 6,600 households during the year.

Our work spans the whole population. We have supported young people into training and work through our Youth Service, celebrated their achievements at the annual New Zealand Youth Awards, and worked with other departments to develop the new Government’s Fees-free Tertiary Education for 2018 initiative.

Older New Zealanders continue to benefit from our work. We have been developing a new strategy for an ageing population, bringing partners and organisations together to promote Age-friendly cities and communities, and we introduced a new Elder Abuse Response Service.

By working closely with the disability community, we are progressing work to identify and remove barriers for disabled people to participate fully in society and live independent lives.

We have taken steps to improve our responsiveness to the needs of Māori, who comprise 15 percent of the working-age population but make up 31 percent of the benefit system. We are building our internal capability, establishing new roles within our organisation with responsibility to drive change for Māori and Pacific groups. We are also prioritising the work we lead with Treaty settlement agreements.

New Zealanders can face many issues and it is often not possible for one organisation to provide all the support and services they need. We have focused on building and strengthening our partnerships with many different agencies and community groups to address a range of issues. Our family violence and sexual violence multi-agency prevention programmes continue to improve services for victims and to change attitudes and behaviours.

We value our staff and we have a hardworking and dedicated workforce. We have invested in leadership development and continued with our unwavering focus on keeping our people safe and secure across all aspects of our work.

During the past year we have also developed a new strategic direction, Te Pae Tawhiti – Our Future. This strategy takes its name from a whakataukī (proverb) which encourages us to seek out the distant horizons while cherishing those achievements at hand.

We will focus our work over the coming year on three core shifts that will enable us to work better with our clients and partners and achieve better outcomes for New Zealanders, while building on the strong foundations we have established.

I will be leaving the Ministry in December 2018, after leading the organisation for the past seven years. It has been a privilege to serve New Zealanders. The Ministry continues to achieve positive results for thousands of people every day and I believe it is well placed to deliver on its purpose to help New Zealanders to be safe, strong and independent, now and into the future.