We have seen a lot more evaluation published over the past five years than the previous period, and the world has not fallen apart with the increased capacity to criticise and do better.
Holding government to account has been a weak element of public administration and especially child protection in New Zealand.
A case where sound evidence needs more than just simple arithmetic
We know that healthy families are at the heart of a healthy society. Being part of a family is the most significant socialising influence in a person’s early life. Given that childhood disadvantage strongly predicts negative adult life outcomes, it’s critical that we understand how our children are impacted by the modern world in which we live.
I very much hope we have helped increase awareness of the large share of care, education, health and housing support that family and whānau deliver for those in our midst who need support. It is critical that when the state becomes involved, it is not to the detriment of the family and whānau who will always be there.
It seems odd to us that the role of families and whānau in developing and maintaining social and cultural capital is overlooked in the terms of reference for the Tax Working Group. Scant attention is paid to the interface of families and whānau with the economy and the tax system. Yet it is this interface that makes it either easier or more difficult to combine family or whānau responsibilities with participation in the economy.
This submission is in support of the Bill. It includes reasons for increasing the focus on accountability and identifies learnings that might help shape its final form.
Non-use or misuse of evidence brings huge costs to citizens, by crowding out valuable alternatives as well as increasing the cost that citizens incur in order to get the best they can from services that could have been better designed.
In social services, institutions and politicians appear more likely to have a strong aversion to evaluation and continuous improvement practices that make transparent the imperfection inherent in their decisions and complicate managing political risk.
In the absence of comparable information from New Zealand, there is no doubt that the evidence, findings and reflections uncovered by the Australian Royal Commission should have a profound effect on thinking about child abuse here.