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Social Sector Commissioning Action Plan and reform

Work is underway across government agencies (jointly led by the Ministry of Social Development and Oranga Tamariki) to improve the commissioning of social services in New Zealand.

An effective and sustainable social sector is central to improving wellbeing across New Zealand communities. Government agencies, Non-Government Organisations, philanthropic funders and communities all share the common goal of improving wellbeing and equity of outcomes for individuals, families, whānau and communities.

The Action Plan outlines a clear pathway for us to change, together. It contains nine practical and pragmatic actions and defines interim outcomes. The plan will be implemented in three phases over the next six years.

Government commitment

In November 2021, Government agreed to adopt the relational approach to commissioning, a foundational shift for government departments and Crown entities.

Government has committed to the ongoing development of strong partnerships; this includes funding services in a way that recognises the ability for communities to successfully design local solutions to local issues.

Government has heard the sector’s perspectives on how to make the system work better to achieve wellbeing and equitable outcomes. This has included feedback around funding, reporting and transparency.

Progress towards a better system has begun. This includes more sustainable funding models, client and whānau-centred design and innovation, supporting community-led initiatives, longer term contracts, simplified contracting and procurement processes and partnering with iwi and Māori communities. However, we know that there is still much more to do.

Working together across the social sector

Our transformation to a relational approach must be sector-wide, intentionally removing barriers and silos. We want a rebalancing between funders and providers.

We must progress with commitment and pace, grounded in active, tangible changes that positively impact people and communities.

To achieve our goals we must listen and seek to understand each other, while finding better ways to hear from our clients and communities about their experiences and what will best help them. These new ways of working will shape our collective futures and better support clients.

Seven social sector commissioning principles

There are seven principles that will foster the development of trusted relationships. The principles were developed in consultation with the people, families and whānau we support, tangata whenua such as iwi and hapū, NGOs, the philanthropic sector and government agencies. The principles are:

  • Individuals, families, whānau and communities exercise choice
  • Māori-Crown partnerships are at the heart of effective commissioning
  • The sector works together locally, regionally and nationally
  • The sector is sustainable
  • Decisions and actions are taken transparently
  • Commissioning is responsive to the equity of unique and diverse populations, and
  • The sector is always learning and improving
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Social Sector Commissioning 2022–2028 Action Plan

Social Sector Commissioning 2022-2028 - Action Plan - Te Reo Māori

Jan 2023

Social Sector Commissioning 2022–2028 Action Plan executive summary

Social Sector Commissioning 2022-2028 - Action Plan Executive Summary - Te Reo Māori

Jan 2023

Progress, Principles and Next Steps (2020)

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