Tighter focus for social services funding

The Herald reports:

Some agencies are expected to close in a radical revamp of social service funding unveiled by Social Development Minister Anne Tolley.

A new “community investment strategy”, published yesterday, will focus most public funding of non-government social services on three priorities:

• Supporting vulnerable children and children in hardship and reducing maltreatment.

• Supporting vulnerable young people, including youth offenders, and reducing youth crime.

• Supporting adult victims/survivors, addressing perpetrators’ behaviour, and reducing violent crime. …

Dave Henderson of the NGO umbrella group Hui E! Community Aotearoa said there was wide agreement on the three priorities and the need to review existing programmes.

“The department’s services have grown like topsy.” He pointed to a chart in a recent Productivity Commission report which listed 45 new programmes started over the past 10 years, including seven in one year.

“Every year they are adding programmes because they are someone’s hobby horse, or because of lobbying, or because of media pressure, and they are not reviewing them.”

A tighter focus normally produces better results. We’ve seen this in the health sector where the 80 or so old targets were replaced with fewer than a dozen health goals, and the sector has largely met them.

The three priority areas look sensible to me.

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