Cape Reinga

Top 10,000 Clients – Social Sector Costs

The Top 10,000 Clients – Social Sector Costs presentation was compiled by Insights MSD (the Ministry's centre of expertise for research and analytics) for the Minister of Social Development to deliver to her colleagues in 2015.

It describes analysis to identify 10,000 clients with the highest lifetime costs across two or more parts of the Social Sector.

This work was an exploratory analysis, with a number of limitations, which nevertheless provided useful insights into the costs of shared clients across the social sector.

It also provided a catalyst for the further use of integrated data, including the Social Sector Investment Change Programme (Budget 2016).

The programme allows the social sector to take a population-centred approach to investment. The system provides a common basis for social sector agencies to identify shared populations of interest, set clear outcomes for those populations, measure how effective the services are that they receive and feed this information back into future decisions [1].

The work was initiated by a request from Social Sector Forum Chief Executives for analysis of the 10,000 highest-cost shared social-sector clients. The purpose of the analysis was to better understand how these clients’ costs were shared across multiple agencies, and identify the size and scale of the opportunity if the social sector worked together to address these clients’ needs.

The analysis includes costs from Child, Youth and Family (CYF), Work and Income (WI), the Department of Corrections (Corrections) and the Ministry of Health (MoH). Data from Police, Justice and Education were not available for inclusion at the time of the analysis.

The data are not perfect but provide a point in time snapshot: completeness of data varies across agencies, covering different time periods and types of costs. The type of cost varies as well: for example CYF and Corrections have indirect costs, such as head office staff and rent, included while Work and Income costs relate only to the actual benefits paid.

[1] Ministry of Social Development’s 2016 Four-year Plan, p26

Costs are high and concentrated in a relatively small number of people

From 1994 to 2014 the total cost for the 10,000 highest cost clients with CYF contact was estimated to be $6.5 billion (costs expressed in 2012 dollars). The total cost for all 16 to 42 year-olds was $73 billion. The top 10,000 clients made up 0.5% of 16 to 42 year-olds but accounted for 9% of the total costs.

  • each of 10,000 clients had estimated costs above $400,000
  • health costs were highly concentrated in disability services, mental health and addiction services.