The Government is not sure exactly how much it is spending on third-party social services, advice from Treasury has revealed.
Treasury were also not sure how to measure the impact of the billions of dollars being spent – which one “working estimate” put at $7.8b, or around 7 per cent of all Government spending.
The advice to the Minister of Finance Grant Robertson, released to Stuff under the Official Information Act, concerns a large reform of “social sector commissioning” being undertaken by the Government.
The Government commissions a huge range of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to undertake on-the-ground work, particularly to alleviate poverty. NGOs provide everything from housing to legal advice to free school meals on behalf of the Government.
Some NGOs like Wellington City Mission provide wonderful support services. Others are basically taxpayer funded lobby groups.
If we’re spending 7% of the total budget on NGOs, we should be making sure we are getting value for money and that they are providing actual services that people need, rather than merely lobbying the Government.