Holding government to account has been a weak element of public administration and especially child protection in New Zealand.
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.
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.
Whenever getting it wrong can adversely affect citizens as well as benefiting them when getting it right, there needs to be transparency and validation of a standard comparable to that well used in official statistics.
Superu has been just one of several developments of recent years aimed at lifting the evidence base for social services.
The 2016/17 year was one of two quite distinct parts. In the first part, the broad programme of Superu continued to advance apace during the first nine months of the year. Then, since April 2017, we have been in the process of disestablishment.
Social services involve interactions with people that can be fraught and complex: they are often based on partial knowledge of conditions and may involve many partners and inadequate responses. The quality of social services delivery is a vital and undervalued consideration in the selection of social policy choice. Continue reading
Superu’s annual Evidence to Action conference in mid-June gave me plenty of food for thought. My end-of-conference summary, which is reproduced below, was informed by the speakers – Dr Sarah Morton of What Works Scotland, Karen Field from drummond street services in Melbourne, Prof Stuart McNaughton, the Chief Education Science Advisor, Dr Monique Faleafa of Le Va and MSD’s Regional Commissioner in Northland Eru Lyndon. Continue reading