Changing lives through social investment

  • Amy Adams
Social Investment

A new Social Investment Agency is to be created which will help social sector agencies better understand and meet the needs of our most at-risk New Zealanders and communities, Minister Responsible for Social Investment Amy Adams has announced.

“The Social Investment focus is fundamentally about changing the lives of the most vulnerable New Zealanders by focusing on individuals and families, understanding their needs better and doing more of what we know is most likely to give the best results,” Ms Adams says.

“We’re pivoting the system around to help social sector agencies shift away from just focusing on their specific areas into better understanding and being able to assess the impact of their interventions across an individual’s life course. Greater use of data and evidence, and a focus on measuring outcomes, means we can create a system that looks for more opportunities to intervene sooner and more effectively.”

To help achieve this, a new, standalone Social Investment Agency and Social Investment Board will be created.

“The new agency will replace the Social Investment Unit currently operating as part of MSD and will provide robust all-of-Government social investment advice about which people we should be investing further in, and in what ways. This includes applying rigorous and evidence-based investment practices to social services. It will also be tasked with building the social investment architecture for all government and NGO agencies to use to help frontline staff fine-tune services and make them better targeted.

“Given the focus on evaluation and analysis, the work of the Social Investment Agency has clear potential for alignment with the range of functions currently being delivered through Superu. The State Services Commission has been asked to provide advice by the end of July on the future delivery of those functions to ensure the optimal structures are in place.”

The SIA launches on 1 July as a stand-alone departmental agency with its own chief executive, hosted within the State Services Commission. The Social Investment Board will be made up of the Chief Executives of the Ministries of Education, Health, Justice and Social Development with an independent chair. It will be responsible for providing investment advice and implementation oversight, reporting through the Minister Responsible for Social Investment to the Social Policy Cabinet committee.