The New Zealand Government has changed afoot with the current funding arrangement for charitable entities. The new funding direction is being promoted by Hon Bill English as Minister of Finance and is being driven by uncertainties of outcomes achieved with social services spending and which agencies are making a real difference with their public funding.
This initiative was announced at a meeting attended by one of the NZARCT’s honorary trustees, and convened by ANCAD with Mr Ken Allen, Regional Manager – Community Investment of then Ministry of Social Development. Attended by over 30 representatives of community organisations, the purpose of the hui was to outline the Government’s soon-to-be announced changes in funding arrangements. Mr Allen explained the restructure into the three operating units for Community Investment, Youth Development and Work and Income, which will eventually merge into one.
This has prompted a call for more reliable information with the introduction of 16 social sector trials throughout the country with coordinated supervision of local voluntary service providers working together under a joint funding provision. With no new funding being made available, three private commissioning agencies have been appointed to allocate $900M spread over the three designated units of the MSD.
There was an expectation that agencies applying for funding would collaborate with entitlements based on risk profiling and information gathering leading to early intervention. This was seen in the nature of an experiment to arrive at best practice principles to achieve better outcomes.
Simultaneously three longitudinal studies are taking place under the title Growing-up in New Zealand. In these terms Government is looking more and more for good outcomes in the short and long term involving sharing of information between, and with, funded agencies. Hon Anne Tolley, who recently acquired the Social Development portfolio, was concerned to know where her Ministry was going and where funding should be directed to best effect. Ms Tolley also called for greater transparency in the allocation of funding. Her expectations are that the social sector would be much different in twelve months’ time, with evidence of bigger funded service providers already moving towards the collaboration model and greater accountability.
There were also expectations that Government would set performance targets for measurable results. This involved a drive for value for money based on professionalism. It was recognised that in the absense of paid staff many small agencies vying for public money were at a distinct disadvantage, which was further aggravated with inadequate governance and management. To achieve better results the Ministry was advocating collaboration and mergers and will nudge and fund initiatives aimed at achieving greater competencies in these areas.
The NZARCT is interested in hearing feedback from those observing or being involved with such initiatives.