Sunday, May 19, 2024

New agency to power up social investment

Social Investment Minister, Nicola Willis, has announced a new standalone Social Investment Agency will power up the Government’s approach to social investment, driving positive change for New Zealand’s most vulnerable people.

As a new standalone central agency effective from 1 July, the Social Investment Agency will lead the development of social investment across Government, said the Minister.

“Despite the Government currently investing more than $70 billion every year into social services, we are not seeing the outcomes we want for all New Zealanders,” said Ms Willis (pictured, right).

“We can see the lack of appropriate support for our most vulnerable reflected in rises in welfare dependency, declining school attendance and achievement, poorer health outcomes, rising rates of youth and violent crime, rising gang membership, ongoing dependence on statutory services such as Oranga Tamariki and Police, as well as increasing rates of inequality.

“I believe we can, and we must, do better. So we’re taking a different approach. We want to look beyond good intentions in our policy-making and use hard evidence to invest in what works. Our new approach builds on better social science evidence and advances in technology. 

The Minister said the Social Investment Agency will be tasked with developing the tools needed to deliver social investment programmes and will work with other agencies to apply the social investment approach to existing supports. 

Ms Willis also establishing a Social Investment Fund, to be managed by the Social Investment Agency, to directly commission outcomes for vulnerable New Zealanders, and to work with community, non-government-organisations (NGOs) and iwi providers.

“The fund will begin investing in 2025 but I am announcing it now as it will be a new way for government to invest and will take time to design. Over time I would expect to grow in partnership with other funders to deliver at a significant scale with a wide portfolio of investments in social services. The fund will be expected to measure its investments and adapt them if they are not returning results.”

“I am also establishing a Social Investment Board as a ministerial advisory committee to provide external challenge and guidance as we undertake the shift towards social investment, and a group of Social Investment Ministers to work with me on powering up the social investment approach across the system.

“Over time, by changing the way we deliver, commission and scale-up successful social services we will deliver improvements for our people, their families and whole communities,” Minister Willis said.

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