INDEPENDENT NEWS

Maori Support “Whole Of Government” Approach

Published: Fri 14 Dec 2001 02:44 PM
Audit Shows Maori Support “Whole Of Government” Approach
Maori Affairs Minister Parekura Horomia said an audit report by Te Puni Kokiri shows Maori families welcome the idea of collaborative case management by government agencies, but the service delivery process needs more work.
The Minister released the audit report of the Strengthening Families Programme at the launch of the Heartland Service centre brand in Wairoa today (Friday 13 December 1.30pm. Report recommendations attached).
Mr Horomia said Te Puni Kokiri’s effectiveness audit into the Strengthening families programme confirmed that a whole-of-government approach can be very successful.
“It is possible that a high risk family will deal with many contact people in a range of social service agencies at any one time. It makes good sense for agencies to coordinate their efforts and work together collaboratively when providing help and advice to these families.
“For example, within an hour of attending a collaborative case management meeting, one Mäori client was allocated a Housing New Zealand Corporation home. Working together can provide fast, effective and appropriate results – which is good news for people in need.”
“In saying that, more work needs to be done to ensure that the programme works to its full potential. The audit showed some agencies show variable levels of commitment and follow through. I will be working with my ministerial colleagues and their departments to review and implement relevant recommendations in the report.
In line with the ‘whole of government’ theme, Mr Horomia said Heartland Service centres are all about making government services accessible and available to people in provincial communities.
“The Work and Income office will be the base for the Heartland Service centre in Wairoa but it will also be the permanent contact point for Housing NZ, IRD (including Child Support) and the Maori Land Court. Other government departments will be invited to participate too so that there is a one-stop shop for government services.”
Recommendations from the Effectiveness Audit
into the Strengthening Families Programme
This report provides a number of recommendations focusing on how social service agencies can work more effectively with Mäori clients to provide a seamless service delivery. Recommendations include:
Planning and co-ordination
 Encourage local management groups to engage with iwi and Mäori social services providers.
 Local management groups to ensure all Strengthening Families Co-ordinators have clear roles, including responsibility for implementation, promotion and maintenance of Strengthening Families in their local area.
Implementation
 Review and repromulgate existing guidelines for collaborative case management process (include minimum standards of practice)
 Put in place measures to ensure ongoing commitment of government agencies:
- individual staff member performance accountabilities; and
- provide resources for co-ordination and implementation in local level budgets.
 Strengthen collaborative case management follow-up and ongoing support for clients:
- closer monitoring of set objectives;
- more frequent meetings;
- longer period of support to monitor ongoing needs; and
- review training and support for facilitators.
 Analyse best practice elements of Family Group Conferences and assess applicability for collaborative case management.
Relationships with Mäori communities
 Support the establishment of strategic relationships with Mäori by adopting models based on the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
 Relationship models to include minimum standards of engagement for Local Management Groups with Mäori.
Measurement
 Ensure data is collected in accordance with Te Tari Tatau (Statistics New Zealand) classification of ethnicity categories.
 Institute a more systematic process of collecting data on outcomes, including process evaluations at the end by whänau and agencies involved.
Questions and Answers
1. How did the concept of Strengthening Families collaborative case management come about?
It came about through recognition centrally and locally that government agencies needed to work together in a more co-operative manner. At a local level, it started in Waitakere, with Mayor Bob Harvey, and including Waipareira Trust, and it was premised on the need for a seamless approach to the delivery of social services. The model of interagency co-operation – now known as Strengthening Families collaborative case management - was rolled out over the whole country from 1997 onwards. Strengthening Families is led by the Ministries of Social Development, Education and Health and the Department of Child Youth and Family Services and includes a range of other social service agencies including Police, and also local government and other social service providers.
2. Why was the audit undertaken?
Mäori families represent a relatively high proportion of high risk families. As concerns had been raised in some Mäori communities about whether or not collaborative case management was reaching Mäori families, and about aspects of the collaborative case management approach, Government agreed to Te Puni Kökiri auditing this initiative.
3. How was the information gathered?
Nine areas around New Zealand were involved in this audit. Interviews were held with clients, social service agency workers, Strengthening Families local management groups and Co-ordinators, and a Mäori community hui was held in all areas. Two Strengthening Families National Operations Managers (Ministry of Social Development) were also interviewed. Te Puni Kökiri also reviewed documentation relating to collaborative case management, including past evaluations and research on the initiative.
4. Who was involved in developing this report?
The audit report was compiled by Te Puni Kökiri and feedback was provided by the Ministries of Social Development, Education and Health, and the Department of Child Youth and Family Services.
5. What are the main findings?
The ‘concept’ of Strengthening Families collaborative case management
Minimal involvement by Mäori in initial planning and establishment phases.
Mäori support the ‘concept’.
The ‘implementation’ of Strengthening Families collaborative case management
Mäori are participating in collaborative case management.
Needs to be more widely promoted in Mäori communities.
The process is not operating as desired with Mäori organisations and some Mäori clients:
(i) most local management groups were still coming to terms with ways to involve Mäori;
(ii) level of information and options provided to clients is highly variable; and
(iii) option of a trained Mäori facilitator is of importance for Mäori clients.
The level of commitment by social service agencies to the process is highly variable.
There is fragmentation of effort across social service agencies and Mäori providers dealing with high risk Mäori families.
There needs to be more follow-up and ongoing support provided to clients.
The ‘effectiveness’ of Strengthening Families collaborative case management
It has the capacity to identify practical objectives that have the potential to improve the life outcomes for Mäori families, but these objectives are not always met.
Where there is support and commitment from agencies involved, Mäori clients thought it was a good option.
Measurement
The systems for the collection, analysis and dissemination of data require improvement. The paucity of quality data hampers the analysis of Mäori participation rates.
6. How will this information be used to improve service delivery?
This report provides a number of recommendations focusing on how social service agencies can work more effectively with Mäori clients to provide a seamless service delivery. Recommendations include:
Planning and Co-ordination
Encourage local management groups to engage with iwi and Mäori social services providers
Local management groups to ensure all Strengthening Families Co-ordinators have clear roles, including responsibility for implementation, promotion and maintenance of Strengthening Families in their local area
Implementation
Review and repromulgate existing guidelines for collaborative case management process (include minimum standards of practice)
Put in place measures to ensure ongoing commitment of government agencies:
- individual staff member performance accountabilities; and
- provide resources for co-ordination and implementation in local level budgets.
-Strengthen collaborative case management follow-up and ongoing support for clients:
- closer monitoring of set objectives;
- more frequent meetings;
- longer period of support to monitor ongoing needs; and
- review training and support for facilitators.
Analyse best practice elements of Family Group Conferences and assess applicability for collaborative case management.
Relationships with Mäori communities
Support the establishment of strategic relationships with Mäori by adopting models of engagement based on the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.
Relationship models to include minimum standards of engagement for Local Management Groups with Mäori.
Measurement
Ensure data is collected in accordance with Te Tari Tatau (Statistics New Zealand) classification of ethnicity categories.
Institute a more systematic process of collecting data on outcomes, including process evaluations at the end by whänau and agencies involved.
7. What are the weak areas and what will be done about this?
There needs to be accountability measures put in place to ensure the ongoing commitment of government agencies to collaborative case management and also to ensure that follow-up and ongoing support is provided to clients who participate in the process.
8. What do the Ministries of Social Development, Education and Health and the Department of Child, Youth and Family Services think about the report and what will they do about it?
These agencies support the recommendations made in this report. They will be reporting on progress in implementing the recommendations late in 2002.
9. Will Strengthening Families collaborative case management continue?
Yes.
10. What did the families who were talked to think of the collaborative case management process?
For the majority of clients interviewed for this audit, Strengthening Families collaborative case management was a good option for their family. The majority of clients interviewed said that they would go through the process again, and that they would recommend the process to friends and whanau.

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