20 Feb 2020

Review: Social Wellbeing Agency to replace social investment approach

2:31 pm on 20 February 2020

The government has finally confirmed what will replace the social investment approach for funding and delivering social services.

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Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni says the new system would be more people-focused. Photo: RNZ /Dom Thomas

The data-driven social investment approach, introduced by National, used a set of indicators to identify and target services to the most disadvantaged people.

It has been under review since the Coalition Government came to power.

Social Development Minister Carmel Sepuloni said the new so-called "social wellbeing approach" would be more people-focused and look at their needs and experiences.

She said data was just one aspect of delivering social services.

"Investing for social wellbeing requires a wide range of information to best support long-term wellbeing," she said.

"Government agencies will now look at the wider impact on people when making decisions about services they provide."

Sepuloni said the new approach was already being implemented.

"One of the first examples of what our new improving social wellbeing approach means for research, and for the Social Wellbeing Agency, is the findings of a collaborative project with The Southern Initiative called Having a Baby in South Auckland.

"The wellbeing approach made a marked difference to the outcomes of the project. For example, the project found that fathers often stop earning money from paid work right around the time that baby is born," Sepuloni said.

"The research showed that fathers with lower qualifications display a pattern of being outside of paid employment before and after the birth of their child. In some cases they left jobs and or took job seeker benefits. For some this was driven by a desire for fathers to be at home with the mother and baby.

"This insight highlights the different types of stressors people experience in different circumstances, and that the right kind of information is key to delivering good outcomes for people."

As part of the change, the Social Investment Agency would be renamed the Social Wellbeing Agency from March.

"We have already started to implement new principles within the social sector.

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