Social services

Article: Making Social Services Work for Everyone

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Author/Presenter: 
Dave Heatley
Date: 
Thu, 12/05/2016

Social services are those dedicated to enhancing people’s economic and social well-being by helping them lead more stable, healthy, self-sufficient and fulfilling lives. New Zealand’s social services – specifically, those provided, funded or otherwise supported by government – were the subject of a recent Productivity Commission inquiry.

More Effective Social Services - Evaluation documents

Publication type: 
Inquiry report
Publication date: 
Thu, 24/12/2015

The Commission's inquiry examining more effective social services was completed in August 2015.

After each inquiry is completed, it is evaluated against a set of Inquiry Performance Measures, using the following external sources of feedback:

  • an independent expert’s review
  • an independently facilitated stakeholder focus group
  • a survey of inquiry participants.

More about the inquiry

Video: More effective social services - final report

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Author/Presenter: 
Murray Sherwin
Date: 
Tue, 15/09/2015

The Productivity Commission has now completed its report into More effective social services.

In June 2014, the Commission was asked to look at ways to improve how government agencies commission and purchase social services. The report was released in mid-September 2015.

More Effective Social Services - Final Report

Publication type: 
Inquiry report
Number: 
Author: 
Publication date: 
Tue, 15/09/2015
JEL Codes: 

The Commission was asked to look at ways to improve how government agencies commission and purchase social services. This included how agencies identify the needs of people who use the services, how they choose organisations to provide the services, and how the contracts between agencies and organisations work.

More about this inquiry

More Effective Social Services - Draft Report

Publication type: 
Inquiry report
Number: 
Author: 
Publication date: 
Tue, 28/04/2015
JEL Codes: 

The Commission has been asked to look at ways to improve how government agencies commission and purchase social services. This will include how agencies identify the needs of people who use the services, how they choose organisations to provide the services, and how the contracts between agencies and organisations work.

Read more about the inquiry.

Tinkering with the system won’t help the most needy

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Tue, 15/09/2015

Tinkering with the current system will not be enough to help disadvantaged New Zealanders, says the Productivity Commission in its final report on improving outcomes from social services, released today.

"Many New Zealanders interact with the social service system without too much trouble – through their local school or childcare centre, GP or hospital if it’s something more serious.” says Commission Chair, Murray Sherwin. “For these people, the social services system works pretty well.”

“However, there are many others whose needs are not so straightforward, people with multiple problems that are much more complex than the needs of the average New Zealander… depression, drug addiction, family violence, unemployment. This can create disadvantage that persists across generations.”

Social services decision-making needs to be closer to communities

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The Productivity Commission has released its draft findings and recommendations on improving outcomes for New Zealanders from social services. Submissions are invited by 24 June.

“The social services system plays a crucial role in the wellbeing of New Zealanders”, says Commission Chair, Murray Sherwin. “The system is staffed by dedicated people working in a variety of government agencies, non-government providers and philanthropic organisations. A significant number of volunteers are part of it. Families and whanau also play a crucial role in supporting good social outcomes.

More Effective Social Services - Issues Paper

Publication type: 
Inquiry report
Publication date: 
Tue, 07/10/2014

The Commission was asked to look at ways to improve how government agencies commission and purchase social services. This will include how agencies identify the needs of people who use the services, how they choose organisations to provide the services, and how the contracts between agencies and organisations work.  

More effective social services

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Homepage graphic: 
Intro blurb: 
Improving how social services are provided can lift the wellbeing of New Zealanders.
Inquiry Number: 
18
Our brief
Completed

This inquiry will focus on ways to improve productivity and generate better outcomes for New Zealanders from the Government’s investment in public services such as social housing, employment services, and programmes to reduce crime. 

The Commission has been asked to examine traditional and emerging innovative approaches to social services in particular, drawing on both international and domestic experience, and assess their effectiveness. Examples of new approaches in governance, commissioning and delivery in New Zealand include the Social Sector Trials and Whānau Ora.

The inquiry will consider how agencies identify social-service needs and make decisions about delivery. It will pay particular attention to commissioning arrangements and how effective these arrangements are at targeting services to the right clients, bringing together the right mix of agencies, and achieving desired outcomes.

Read the full Terms of Reference below. See the Treasury website for information about the process of setting inquiry topics and government responses.

Subscribe to receive updates

Next steps

The Commission will publish an "issues paper" that will outline its proposed approach to this inquiry, the context for the inquiry, and a preliminary list of key questions to be addressed. The issues paper will seek submissions from all interested parties and be accompanied by consultation to gather a wide range of views and experience.

The Commission’s final report to the Government is due on 30 June 2015.

Inquiry contacts: Administrative matters

T: (04) 903 5169

E: info@productivity.govt.nz

Geoff Lewis, Inquiry Director

T: (04) 903 5157

E: Geoff.Lewis@productivity.govt.nz

Issues paper
Completed

The Commission has been asked to look at ways to improve how government agencies commission and purchase social services. This will include how agencies identify the needs of people who use the services, how they choose organisations to provide the services, and how the contracts between agencies and organisations work.  

Issues Paper

Our Issues Paper (PDF) is now available, outlining the inquiry background, our intended approach and the matters about which we seek comment and information. The paper posed a range of questions to help frame consultation at this early stage of the inquiry. Submissions are open until 2 December 2014.

Make a submission

Key upcoming dates

2 December 2014: Submissions close

28 April 2015, 12 noon: Draft report to be released for consultation

31 August 2015: Final report due to Government

Engagement meetings

A series of engagement meetings will being held to inform the next steps of the inquiry.

Register your interest

The Commission seeks your assistance in gathering ideas, opinions and information to ensure the inquiry is well-informed and relevant.

We will keep registered participants informed as the inquiry progresses via email updates at key stages in the inquiry process.

Register your interest.

Inquiry contacts

Administrative matters:

T:(04) 903 5150

E: info@productivity.govt.nz

Other matters:

Geoff Lewis, Inquiry Director
T: (04) 903 5157
E: Geoff.Lewis@productivity.govt.nz

Quick link for this page: www.productivity.govt.nz/inquiry-content/social-services

Draft Report
Completed

The draft report is now available below, along with summary material.

Word versions for accessibility purposes are available from info@productivity.govt.nz

Media release: Decision-making needs to be closer to communities

The Commission has been asked to look at ways to improve how government agencies commission and purchase social services. This will include how agencies identify the needs of people who use the services, how they choose organisations to provide the services, and how the contracts between agencies and organisations work. 

Inquiry news

6-7 Jul 2015: ANZEA Conference 2015

30 Jun 2015: Evidence to Action conference 2015

28 May 2015: Blog: The freedom to choose: the advantages of client-directed budgets

21 May 2015: Blog: Data and analytics can transform social services

28 Apr 2015: Home & Community Health Association (HCHA): Facing Change Conference 2015

1 Apr 2015: Blog: Better evaluation can boost our productivity

Have your say

The Commission received 134 submissions on the issues paper, and a further 112 submissions on the draft report. Submissions closed on 24 June. 

The Commission held a further round of engagement meetings to discuss our draft report with the social service sector, including providers, umbrella groups, government agencies, and clients where possible. Meetings were held in Northland, Auckland, Hamilton, Christchurch, and Dunedin as well as Wellington between 25 May and 30 June 2015.

For more information, email info@productivity.govt.nz.

Key dates

24 June: Submissions on the draft report close
31 August: Final report due to Government

Register your interest

The Commission seeks your assistance in gathering ideas, opinions and information to ensure the inquiry is well-informed and relevant. We will keep registered participants informed as the inquiry progresses via email updates at key stages in the inquiry process.

Register your interest.

Inquiry contacts

Administrative matters:
T:(04) 903 5167
E: info@productivity.govt.nz

Other matters:
Geoff Lewis, Inquiry Director
T: (04) 903 5157
E: Geoff.Lewis@productivity.govt.nz

Download individual chapters of the report

Final report
Completed

 

Government's response to the More Effective Social Services inquiry

The Government has released its full response to the Commission's report on More Effective Social Services.  

Minister Joyce's media release is published on the Beehive website.

In June 2014, the Productivity Commission was asked to look at ways to improve how government agencies commission and purchase social services. The final report was released in mid-September 2015. It makes several recommendations about how to make social services more responsive, client-focused, accountable and innovative.

A word version of our final report is available on request.

Media release: Tinkering with the system won’t help the most needy

Quick link for this page: www.productivity.govt.nz/inquiry-content/social-services