Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu welcomes the Whānau Ora Review Panel Report

The Whānau Ora Review Panel has today issued its report on the accountability, transparency and sustainability of the Whānau Ora commissioning approach.

The report provides the Government and policy-makers with a strong basis for increasing investment in Whānau Ora, as well as ensuring a whānau-centred approach is migrated across the state services.

Helen Leahy Pouārahi of Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu says:

“Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu has been at the forefront of building whānau-centred approaches with whanau and local social services providers. Today’s report says the work we do results in positive change for many whanau, and that we are accountable, we are transparent, and we are connected to our communities.”

“While this broad finding is not new and has been well established in the previous evaluations and existing research, the finding has been arrived at using a wide variety of evidence, direct engagement with an impressive range of whānau, as well as the public submission process.”

“Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu Board thanks the panel for their work in delivering this timely report. The report recommends increases in investment. We welcome an opportunity to start talking with the Government. We see this report as the start of an investment conversation – not the end. In this respect we look forward to presenting our investment proposals.”

Trevor Taylor, Board Chair says, “The review also offers suggestions for how the social and justice sector agencies can work with Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu, Te Pou Matakana and Pasifika Futures. We also welcome an opportunity to talk to the Government about that.”

“To capture the full benefits of the positive work the Whānau Ora commissioning agencies have done, the Government needs to ensure its own agencies raise their collective ambition, and work with the three commissioning agencies, rather than making life difficult.”

“The worst outcome from this report will be separate agencies going off and designing their own whānau-centred approach or procuring their own Whānau Ora navigator workforce. None of us can afford to redesign the wheel”.

What was the purpose of the review?

The purpose of the review was to assess the ability of the Whānau Ora commissioning approach to effect sustainable change in the wellbeing and development potential of whānau; and look at the applicability of a whānau-centred approach to the social services sector. The review also explored the extent to which the Whānau Ora service delivery model and commissioning approach is accountable and transparent in the achievement of outcomes for whānau.

What did the review find?

The review’s main findings can be summarised as: the Whānau Ora commissioning approach results in positive change for whānau; the three commissioning agencies meet all the requirements of the accountability system they operate, and they do it in a transparent manner.

The review did not take a position on whether the commissioning approach and model are sustainable. The reviewers have found that the precursors for sustainability are present. The implication being that the Whānau Ora commissioning approach is still relatively new.

The review breaks new ground in recommending the government grow its investment in Whānau Ora while also migrating a whānau-centred approach across the wider State services.

The review identifies specific challenges for the wider State services and the Whānau Ora programme.

What specific challenges does the wider State services and Whānau Ora programme?

The first challenge relates to a lack of support for the Whānau Ora approach in Wellington, despite good evidence and strong performance of the three commissioning agencies.

The second challenge relates to leadership. The report says when Whānau Ora was first established it envisaged wider government support and complementary effort being applied to via broad-based ministerial participation in the Partnership Group and involvement of Chief Executives in the Advisory Group. The review finds that this did not happen to the extent that was required, and this has been detrimental to Whānau Ora.

The final challenge relates to the lack of capability in the State services to deliver whānau-centred approaches. The review comments positively on the work currently underway in Te Puni Kōkiri to apply whanau-centred approaches across government and encourages their uptake.

What don’t we agree with?

Firstly, it is important to say there is a lot we agree with.

But what will trouble Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu and the whānau entities we work with, is to ensure the challenges identified in the North Island are not imposed on Te Waipounamu.

We already deliver locally granular solutions and interventions. We already deliver localised commissioning.

What also will trouble Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is that we already run a shared services arrangement. Many of our corporate functions are already provided by a shared services arrangement we have with one of our iwi stakeholders, Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. In fact, our Whānau Ora Navigator agencies use a panel arrangement to share practice and ideas, and to commission training and research. We would be concerned if this good work was undermined because a problem in one area was incorrectly applied to another area.

Finally, we agree there is a workforce development issue for Whānau Ora Navigators. But the failure has been in the public sector, including as the review points out, the lack of support, buy-in and broad-based engagement from public sector agencies and senior officials. That is why we would like to propose building a Whānau Ora Navigator workforce.

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 About us: Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu is a Commissioning Agency that works on behalf of the iwi in the South Island to support and enable whānau to create sustained social impact.  We do this by developing and investing in ideas and initiatives to improve outcomes for Māori, underpinned by whānau-centred principles and strategies; these include emergency preparedness and disaster recovery.  Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu also invests in Navigator roles to support and build whānau capability.   

Media Contact:
Ranae Niven, Senior Communications Advisor, Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu
Mobile: +64 021 728 220  DDI: 03-974-0169
Te Pūtahitanga o Te Waipounamu,10 Show Place, CHRISTCHURCH,
www.teputahitanga.org

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