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Productivity Commission Inquiry

October 15, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Last week the Productivity Commission released an Issues Paper, More Effective Social Services’, which outlines a forthcoming inquiry into the social services sector in New Zealand. According to the Commission,

“This inquiry will focus on ways to improve productivity and generate better outcomes for New Zealanders from the Government’s investment in public services such as social housing, employment services, and programmes to reduce crime.”

The issues paper outlines the process that the Commission will undertake in this inquiry, as well as asking a broad range of questions aimed at getting a clearer understanding of how well the current commissioning and contracting environment meets the needs of the agencies delivering services, as well as the needs of the communities that we serve.

Some examples of the topic areas included in the issues paper are:

  • Better commissioning
  • Listening to clients
  • Costs and benefits of competition
  • Measuring outcomes
  • Better processes.

You can read the issues paper and the full list of questions at:


How is this inquiry relevant to you and your organisation?

If you are part of an agency that receives Government funding to provide social services, the outcomes of this inquiry could have significant implications for the way in which that funding is allocated, and the terms, conditions and accountabilities for the contracts that you hold.

We have heard a lot of feedback from agencies in our network that the current systems in place pose a number of challenges for delivering the level of care and service that our communities deserve. This includes contracts being too narrow in their scope, costs of compliance being too high, or funding which is insecure and short term.

Therefore, it is vitally important that these messages are relayed to Government through this inquiry. It is also a great opportunity to talk about what is working well, as well as suggesting new ways for community and Government to work together more effectively.

WAVES Trust, in partnership with Community Waitakere, are working together to create a collaborative submission on the issues paper on behalf of social sector agencies in West Auckland, and we would love to hear your thoughts. We will be holding a workshop to gather feedback on:

Friday 24th of October

10am – 12pm

Waitakere Community Resource Centre, 8 Ratanui St, Henderson


Depending on the level of response, we may hold subsequent consultation sessions, time permitting.


What are the benefits of joining a collaborative submission?

Aside from the fact that we do most of the work (!), collaborative submissions allow agencies to give full and frank feedback about their experiences of the current contracting environment without having specific comments made being directly traced back to individual organisations. It is also a great opportunity to hear from other agencies about their experiences and to identify common issues and challenges.


Who should attend?

Individuals from agencies who receive Government funding to deliver social services, and who have some experiences/insights into how their organisation is either constrained or supported to deliver effective services to their communities by the contractual arrangements that they have with Government.

People who work for Government agencies are also welcome to attend, and the Commission has been clear in its communications with Government departments that employees’ views will form an important part of the inquiry.

It would be great if people could check out the Productivities Commission website,

and come along with some specific examples that you could share about what works well, and what could be improved. 


Submissions are due on the 18th of November – so there is not a great deal of time to get cracking! Please join us next week and make sure that the voice of our community experts is heard.

Please RSVP for catering purposes to


Category: Submissions