Part 3: Programmes funded from non-departmental appropriations

Te Puni Kōkiri: Administration of grant programmes.

In this Part, we provide an overview and our findings for each of the programmes we examined that were funded from non-departmental appropriations:

  • Capacity Building;
  • Local Level Solutions; and
  • Whānau Development – Action and Research.

The Capacity Building programme

The Capacity Building programme was designed to strengthen the ability of Māori organisations and communities to build strategies, systems, and skills required to control their own development and meet their own objectives.

The programme is funded from two non-departmental appropriations:

  • Capacity Building – General; and
  • Capacity Building – Strengthening Management and Governance.

The main aim of Capacity Building – General was to strengthen the ability of Māori communities and organisations to prepare for, and respond to, their own opportunities and challenges. This included supporting the creation and improvement of strategies, structures, systems, and skills to enable Māori to achieve their own development aspirations.

The main goals of Capacity Building – Strengthening Management and Governance were to:

  • ensure that Māori organisations involved in delivering government service contracts achieved high quality outcomes and accountability to stakeholders; and
  • contribute to the growth of strong Māori organisations able to meet organisational goals and take advantage of future opportunities, including the reduction of inequalities.

Our audit sample

We chose our audit sample from Capacity Building applications that Te Puni Kōkiri had assessed and approved for funding between 1 July 2004 and 30 June 2006. There were 611 Capacity Building applications approved for funding during this period. The total combined value of the grants approved was $10.8 million.

In practice, Te Puni Kōkiri did not differentiate between the two types of Capacity Building appropriations. All applications and grants were simply categorised as Capacity Building. Therefore, our audit sample included a mix of grants from both of the Capacity Building appropriations.

We examined 75 (12%) of the Capacity Building applications approved for funding. This was equivalent to 29% of the total value of approved funding in the programme during the review period. Our sample included a mix of completed and approved but incomplete projects. Figure 7 summarises our audit sample, and provides a breakdown for 2004/05 and 2005/06.

Figure 7
Our sample of Capacity Building grants

2004/05 2005/06
Number of grants examined 43 32
Percentage of all grants in the programme 9% 30%
Total value of grants examined $1.8m $1.2m
Percentage of all grants in the programme 24% 41%
Range in value of individual grants examined $1,400-$162,500

Cabinet and Te Puni Kōkiri criteria for awarding Capacity Building grants

Cabinet stipulated in 2000 that the main goals of the Capacity Building programme would be to empower Māori people, organisations, and communities to:

  • achieve their goals;
  • identify and analyse current strengths and capabilities;
  • invest time and effort in fulfilling their own aspirations;
  • manage and control their participation in all aspects of society; and
  • develop and maintain a constructive relationship with the Government and its departments.

These Cabinet objectives for the Capacity Building programme were incorporated into Te Puni Kōkiri’s own operational guidelines for assessing applications. In addition, Te Puni Kōkiri defined a range of activities that were acceptable for funding, unacceptable for funding, or not normally accepted for funding (see Appendix 2).

Most (97%) of the Capacity Building grants that we examined complied with the criteria for the programme. In our sample, only two grants did not, in our view, fully meet programme criteria. For one grant, there was approved funding for ongoing operational costs. This involved financing the salary for an administrator in a fixed-term position in the funded organisation. In the second instance, there was evidence of a consultant’s fees exceeding the limit of $100 an hour. Te Puni Kōkiri staff could not get actual costs and budgets from the consultant contracted by the grant recipient. In addition, this grant involved funding of an event that had been held three years before the grant application was approved. The Executive Committee agreed to the consulting fees and retrospective funding.

The approval process

The same approval process used for Kaitātaki-a-Rohe applications was used for Capacity Building applications (see Appendix 1). Grant applications were submitted to the relevant regional office and assessed by a Kaiwhakarite. The Regional Director reviewed the Kaiwhakarite’s assessment and recommendations. After November 2005, a Contracts Advisor also reviewed some applications as an added level of quality assurance.

Applications recommended by the regional office for funding were then submitted to the national office for the Executive Committee to consider.

We examined our sample of Capacity Building grants against the criteria and assessment steps contained in the Operations Manual. These also applied to applications for Kaitātaki-a-Rohe programme funding − Figure 4 in Part 2 summarises the key elements of the criteria and assessment steps. We took into account the guidelines applying since 2003 for grants in our sample that were approved before the Operations Manual was introduced.

Figure 8 summarises the results of our examination of Capacity Building grants. Overall, there was not enough evidence in most of the files to demonstrate that the applications met all the criteria set for the programme. We have used “satisfactory” to indicate where there was enough evidence to make an assessment of the criteria being met and “unsatisfactory” to indicate where such evidence was lacking.

Figure 8
Capacity Building applications: adequacy of the documentation to support Te Puni Kōkiri’s assessments against the programme criteria

Programme criteria Number of files

Satisfactory Unsatisfactory
Legal status 73 2
Financial assessment 20 55
Governance and management capability 45 30
Funding history* 12 58
Conflicts of interest 16 59
Proposal assessment 74 1
Regional assessment 74 1
National office strategic assessment 0 75

* Five grants could not be assessed for funding history because they involved new entities.

Good practice administration systems

We identified some areas of good practice with how Te Puni Kōkiri staff assessed applications for Capacity Building funding.

Most (97%) of the Capacity Building grants we examined were checked by Te Puni Kōkiri staff at the application stage to ensure that they met the legal status criteria of the programme. In our sample, only two grant files lacked the documentation or evidence that would have confirmed that the legal status of the applicants had been formally checked.

Applications we examined had been consistently assessed by regional office staff to ensure that:

  • there was information about the scope and details of the project for which the applicants sought funding (including aims and outcomes);
  • beneficiaries of projects were identified; and
  • community support for projects was evident.

Regional Directors took an active role in the approval process for the grants we examined. They routinely reviewed the assessments of Kaiwhakarite, and endorsed recommendations for funding to go to the national office for consideration. The Executive Committee approved all the applications, although evidence of this was limited.

The Contract Advisor role, introduced in the regional offices from November 2005, provides a useful checking and reviewing role when assessing applications. The purpose of Contract Advisors is to manage contracts and provide an extra level of quality assurance with application assessment and review. Specifically, the Operations Manual states that Contract Advisors should (among other tasks):

  • provide a regional and strategic perspective to applications;
  • ensure that applications align with Te Puni Kōkiri’s national outcomes;
  • support Kaiwhakarite; and
  • ensure that regions apply policies and processes consistently.

We observed an improvement in the scrutiny and assessment of applications where Contract Advisors had been involved. The Contract Advisor role could also provide an effective way for regional offices to ensure that they meet the requirements of the Operations Manual for administering grant programmes.

Areas of concern identified

We identified some areas of concern with the assessment of Capacity Building grants that were similar to our findings with the Kaitātaki-a-Rohe programme (see Part 2).

In our sample, we found little documented evidence that the financial capability of applicants had been assessed. Files for only 20 of the 75 grants we examined (27%) showed that the financial capability of the applicant organisations had been specifically assessed. Most grant applications we reviewed included financial statements on which an assessment of financial capability could have been based.

It was apparent that regional office staff tried to assess the governance and management capability of applicants. We also acknowledge that the staff often had extensive local knowledge, which was not always documented in application assessments. However, 30 of the files we examined (40%) did not contain information we could use to verify that the governance and management capability of applicants was fully assessed, as required by Te Puni Kōkiri’s operational guidelines. The files did not contain, for example, the names and background of key individuals involved in governing or managing applicant organisations, or information on management and reporting structures.

An assessment of the funding history of applicants was seldom evident. We very rarely found information about whether previously funded projects met contractual and reporting requirements or were completed on time.

In 58 of the files (77%), we did not find enough evidence to determine whether potential conflicts of interest had been assessed. However, staff we spoke with indicated that, although undocumented, some conflicts of interest were identified (and action taken).

Capacity Building guidelines in place before the Operations Manual was introduced in November 2005 required national office staff to examine the budgets and risk of proposals. The Operations Manual now requires national office staff to do a strategic appraisal of applications, which might include checking aspects such as national consistency in the use of processes or the co-ordination of national and regional strategies. We found no documented evidence to enable us to verify whether national office staff performed these checks.

Recommendation 9
We recommend that Te Puni Kōkiri create application templates that will encourage applicants to focus on the key criteria of programmes.
Recommendation 10
We recommend that Te Puni Kōkiri prepare assessment templates for recording the information required to thoroughly assess funding applications, based on the requirements set out in the Operations Manual.
Recommendation 11
We recommend that Te Puni Kōkiri ensure that the assessment templates are flexible enough for assessments to reflect the value and size of individual projects.


Te Puni Kōkiri used a mix of paper files and electronic records to document approved grants in the Capacity Building programme. All grants we examined had a signed contract on file, although for one contract we were unable to confirm whether it was signed by an authorised person from the recipient organisation.

Some of the regional offices we visited used checklists at the front of their paper files to ensure that all required documentation was kept on file. This is good practice.

Electronic records for Capacity Building grants were kept in a database. This was an effective system for tracking progress of a grant and recording comments by Te Puni Kōkiri staff. It also had the advantage of being more accessible to staff in both the national and regional offices than paper-based records, and encouraged consistency in grant administration throughout Te Puni Kōkiri.

Monitoring the recipients of Capacity Building grants

Progress reporting

Te Puni Kōkiri required Capacity Building grant recipients to submit progress reports before they could receive funding instalments. Kaiwhakarite were to assess these reports for progress against planned objectives in the signed contract, and confirm that the grant was being used as intended. Satisfactory progress reports were then to be forwarded to the Regional Director to approve the release of the next instalment of funding.

This system had the potential to be an effective way of monitoring funded projects. However, we identified two shortcomings with how it was administered in practice.

First, for many of the grants we examined, most of the funding was paid to recipients once the contract was signed. This reduced the ability of regional office staff to encourage recipients to meet their contractual obligations and report regularly on the progress of their projects. In the sample we examined, 20% of the progress reports were delivered late. Regional office staff were often required to spend a significant amount of time pursuing information on the progress of some projects.

We understand that Te Puni Kōkiri is moving away from making large initial payments for grants, instead favouring payments scheduled throughout the life of a project. The Operations Manual suggests that grants be paid in quarterly instalments or, for simpler projects, paid when deliverables were received.

A second shortcoming we found was the significant variation in the documented assessment and monitoring of progress reports by regional office staff. In particular, in a third of the files we examined there was no linking of reported project progress to required milestones specified in the contracts. This included insufficient comparison of actual project spending to approved budgeted amounts.

In our view, a standard reporting template would be a useful way for Te Puni Kōkiri to ensure that it receives all the information it requires to effectively monitor grant programmes. Such a template would enable grant recipients to record actual costs and outline progress against project milestones. Standard templates also make it clear to grant recipients what information they need to report to Te Puni Kōkiri.

Monitoring visits

Te Puni Kōkiri expected Kaiwhakarite managing individual grants to maintain regular contact with grant recipients. This included face-to-face visits, which were considered by Te Puni Kōkiri to be a good way of assessing project progress and identifying any emerging issues. The Operations Manual stated that a Kaiwhakarite should visit an organisation at least twice during the life of a funded project.

We found mixed evidence of monitoring visits by Kaiwhakarite. In 40% of the files, we were unable to verify whether regular monitoring contact had occurred. However, regional office staff told us that Kaiwhakarite regularly liaised with grant recipients, although this contact was not always recorded either in paper files or in the database.

Where visits had been documented, we found some good examples of effective monitoring. This included some Kaiwhakarite and regional offices using standardised monitoring templates to record actual project progress against intended milestones. Aspects that were going well, or not so well, with projects were also identified as the projects progressed. Entering important information about visits in the database was another useful monitoring technique we observed. This had the advantage of allowing staff in both the regional offices and the national office to monitor the progress of funded projects.

Recommendation 12
We recommend that Te Puni Kōkiri document regular monitoring visits using standardised templates to ensure that all the required monitoring information is regularly collected and recorded.

Evaluating the effectiveness of the Capacity Building programme

Individual project evaluation

Capacity Building grant recipients were required to provide a final progress report on their funded projects. This included self-evaluation information, such as details of how the community had benefited from the funded initiative, and whether the project aims were achieved.

We found self-evaluation information for only 22 of the 60 grants (37%) we examined where the project that had been funded had been completed. There were several instances where a final report had not been delivered. In our view, the ability of regional office staff to encourage grant recipients to deliver progress reports was adversely affected by the large initial payments of grants (see paragraph 3.33).

Withholding the release of a final grant instalment until all reporting obligations had been met would give grant recipients a clear incentive to provide Te Puni Kōkiri with useful evaluation information. In our view, using standardised evaluation questionnaires would improve the value of evaluation data, by aiding reporting consistency and ensuring that Te Puni Kōkiri could collect all the information it needs from grant recipients.

Programme-level evaluation

It is important that grant programmes are evaluated to assess their effectiveness in meeting their intended aims. Te Puni Kōkiri has evaluated the Capacity Building programme.

An internal study produced in 2003 used data from interviews, document reviews, and the grants database to evaluate the Capacity Building programme. The study concluded that the programme has had a positive effect on recipients, including advancing their development goals.

More recently, an independently commissioned report released in 2005 evaluated the Capacity Building as part of Te Puni Kōkiri’s wider programme to strengthen management and governance among Māori communities. The study focused on successful aspects of the Capacity Building programme for a small sample of grant recipients. Although the study concluded that it was too early to make definitive statements about the outcomes of the programme, it found indications that Capacity Building had helped assist participating organisations to identify their strengths and weaknesses, and find ways to improve themselves.

Local Level Solutions

The Local Level Solutions programme was set up in October 2000. The programme sought to reduce inequalities while simultaneously developing Māori communities by funding initiatives set up at a local level by whānau, hapū, iwi, Māori organisations, and communities. Cabinet expects that the grants awarded under the Local Level Solutions programme will contribute to education, employment, and enterprise initiatives. As part of the 2004 Budget, Cabinet approved funding of $3.55 million to extend the Local Level Solutions programme to 2004/05 and beyond.

The grants awarded under this programme funded a number of projects, including:

  • setting up an Institute delivering leadership programmes;
  • researching and developing aquaculture;
  • setting up a tourism venture; and
  • developing a home ownership programme.

Our audit sample

We selected a sample of 16 grants which covered about half the Local Level Solutions grants for the review period. Figure 9 summarises our audit sample and provides a breakdown for 2004/05 and 2005/06.

Figure 9
Our sample of Local Level Solutions grants

2004/05 2005/06
Number of grants examined 9 7*
Percentage of all grants in the programme 45% 44%
Total value of grants examined $1.8m $1.6m
Percentage of all grants in the programme 52% 51%
Range in value of individual grants examined $100,000-$620,000

*The projects funded by Local Level Solutions grants in 2005/06 were a continuation of the 2004/05 projects, rather than new projects.

Ministerial criteria for Local Level Solutions

The Ministerial criteria for the fund requires each project to:

  • reduce inequalities, particularly for disadvantaged Māori and Pacific people;
  • be initiated and driven by communities;
  • be problem-solving in approach;
  • be cross-sectoral in approach; and
  • demonstrate that it can be evaluated for effectiveness.

These criteria are reflected in the Operations Manual, and we reviewed nine proposals to see whether they demonstrated how they met these criteria. Figure 10 presents the results of our review. We have used “satisfactory” to indicate where there was enough evidence to assess that the criteria had been met, and “unsatisfactory” to indicate where such evidence was lacking.

Figure 10
Local Level Solutions proposals: adequacy of the documentation to support Te Puni Kōkiri’s assessments against the Ministerial criteria

Ministerial criteria Number of files

Satisfactory Unsatisfactory
Reduce inequalities 4 5
Initiated and driven by communities 4 5
Problem-solving 7 2
Cross-sectoral 3 6
Can be evaluated for effectiveness 4 5

Overall, the documentation for fewer than half the proposals we reviewed satisfactorily demonstrated how they met the criteria set for the programme. The other proposals we reviewed did not include enough information to demonstrate how they addressed these areas. The relevant Ministers approved all the projects we examined.

The approval process

Proposals were invited from Māori organisations in each region, and assessed initially by the Regional Directors before being sent to the national office for review. The first 15 proposals were then summarised in a paper for Ministerial approval in April 2005, with a further five proposals approved by the Ministers of Māori Affairs and Finance in June 2005.

Applicants submitted their proposal in the form of a business case. Staff in Te Puni Kōkiri’s regional offices assessed the organisation, then staff in the national office carried out a strategic assessment of the proposal.

We reviewed the files of 16 projects funded by the Local Level Solutions programme from 2004/05 and 2005/06. Where the assessment criteria were Part 3 Programmes funded from non-departmental appropriations 39 relevant for both years of the project, we considered 16 files; where the criteria were relevant to the individual project, we considered nine files. Figure 11 summarises our findings.

Figure 11
Local Level Solutions proposals: adequacy of the documentation to support Te Puni Kōkiri’s assessments against the programme criteria

Programme criteria Number of files

Satisfactory Unsatisfactory
Business case 5 11
Legal status 4 5
Financial assessment 1 15
Governance and management capability 5 4
Funding history 1 8
Conflicts of interest 0 9
Proposal assessment 6 10
Regional assessment 2 14
National office strategic assessment 16 0

For the Local Level Solutions proposals we reviewed, there was not enough information to make a thorough assessment of the capability of the organisation and the proposal submitted.

The following areas were of specific concern: For nearly 70% of the files we reviewed, there was not enough information in the business case to assess the proposal, or there was no business case on the file.

  • For most of the files we reviewed, there was no evidence of financial assessment, although most of the files included copies of the most recent audited financial statements.
  • There was little evidence of the funding history of the applicant. Where there were details of previous funding, there was no information to indicate whether the previous funding had been managed well, whether budgets were met, whether objectives were achieved, or whether projects were completed on time.
  • There was no evidence to indicate that conflicts of interest had been considered. Te Puni Kōkiri places reliance on the Kaiwhakarite’s and Regional Director’s knowledge of the local community to ensure that any conflicts are identified and managed, but there was little supporting evidence on the files.
  • About half of the proposals did not include enough information to complete the proposal assessment, or there was no evidence of proposal assessment on the files.
  • In most instances, there was no evidence of the regional office assessment on the files.

The proposals received Ministerial approval in April and June 2005, so the Local Level Solutions contracts started late in the 2004/05 financial year. Organisations signed the contracts in May and June 2005 to run until April and May 2006.

We were told that this delay was caused by a restructure at Te Puni Kōkiri, which affected the resources available to administer the programme. In previous years, the Local Level Solutions funding required approval by Cabinet, but in 2004/05 Cabinet delegated this responsibility jointly to the Minister of Māori Affairs and the Minister of Finance.

Staff at Te Puni Kōkiri explained to us that Te Puni Kōkiri had been criticised in the past for carrying funding forward into future years, so was under pressure to spend the Local Level Solutions funding within the financial year. Because the contracts were agreed in May 2005, Te Puni Kōkiri split the funding into two payments, paying 80% when the parties signed the agreement and 20% when Te Puni Kōkiri received a project plan, usually about six weeks later.

In 2005/06, the contracts were agreed at the end of June 2006, so all the funding was paid when the entities signed the contracts.

The Local Level Solutions funding in previous years had reflected a firm commitment to multi-year funding. In 2004/05, Te Puni Kōkiri changed this approach to an annual funding arrangement, although there was an expectation that the projects would be significant in size and would require funding in future years.

Te Puni Kōkiri intended to exert greater control by having the opportunity to make funding decisions each year as the project progressed. However, paying all the funding early in the contract, rather than linking payments to deliverables throughout the contract term, gave Te Puni Kōkiri little leverage if there were difficulties delivering the contract outcomes. A number of projects did not meet the objectives of the contract, and Te Puni Kōkiri had limited options available to resolve this.

Recommendation 13
We recommend that Te Puni Kōkiri provide funding for all its programmes in instalments spread throughout the term of contracts and clearly linked to the delivery of project milestones and reporting requirements.


All the grants were supported by a signed contract. However, for more than 60% of the sample, the information on the files indicated that the contracts were not reviewed by the legal team until after the contracts were signed and project activity had begun.

Other areas of weakness in the documentation for the Local Level Solutions programme are discussed in paragraphs 3.56 and 3.65-3.69.

Recommendation 14
We recommend that Te Puni Kōkiri comply with its internal process requirements to ensure that contracts are signed only after legal clearance and before the start of the funded activity.

Monitoring Local Level Solutions

Progress reporting

Documented evidence of monitoring was limited, and it was difficult to establish what progress had been made towards the outcomes defined in the contract.

Our review of nine individual projects identified these concerns:

  • submission of project plans and progress reports was not always timely;
  • assessment and monitoring of project risks was brief; and
  • contract outcomes were not met in a number of instances.

There was also limited evidence that Te Puni Kōkiri assessed overall progress when the first year of projects was complete, to indicate whether individual projects achieved the expected aims and merited a continuation of funding into 2005/06. The review of 2004/05 focused on the entity’s ability to continue the project into 2005/06, rather than a clear assessment of whether the objectives for 2004/05 had been achieved.

For 45% of the grants we examined, there was no detail of actual expenditure or evidence that activity was compared with the initial budget during the progress of projects.

For five grants, we were unable to confirm that funding, ranging from $32,000 to $120,000, had been used to deliver the project. There was limited information in the documentation available for three of these grants to indicate how Te Puni Kōkiri had dealt with this. For another, the funding for 2005/06 was reduced by $50,000 because of the amount not spent in the first year. For the fifth grant, information in the file indicated that Te Puni Kōkiri had approved the spending of $47,000 to fund the grant recipient’s administration costs rather than the project.

Recommendation 15
We recommend that Te Puni Kōkiri introduce templates to assess and record the progress of funded projects against contract milestones, including a comparison of actual and budgeted expenditure.
Recommendation 16
We recommend that Te Puni Kōkiri review multi-year projects at the end of each year, to assess the extent to which objectives have been achieved, before providing further funding.

Evaluating Local Level Solutions

When the 2004/05 Local Level Solutions programme started, Te Puni Kōkiri intended to create an evaluation framework. The evaluation framework was not set up.

Most of the projects we reviewed were due to be completed in 2007, so it was too early for formal evaluation of this particular three-year programme.

Whānau Development – Action and Research

The aim of the Whānau Development – Action and Research programme was to support whānau-led initiatives that would contribute to improving social, economic, or cultural development of the whānau. The programme was used to test a hypothesis that the whānau is the core unit of Māori society and that strengthening it would therefore help support wider Māori development.

It was intended that the Whānau Development – Action and Research programme would improve understanding and enhance relationships between the government and Māori, and enable policy and operational learning to inform ongoing policy advice. Te Puni Kōkiri’s Policy Team administered the Whānau Development – Action and Research programme, so it was outside the scope of the Operations Manual.

Our audit sample

We selected a sample of 23 grants, which covered about a third of the Whānau Development – Action and Research programme during the two-year period from July 2004 to June 2006. Figure 12 summarises our audit sample and provides a breakdown for 2004/05 and 2005/06.

Figure 12
Our sample of Whānau Development – Action and Research grants

2004/05 2005/06
Number of grants examined 12 11
Percentage of all grants in the programme 38% 21%
Total value of grants examined $2.3m $1.7m
Percentage of all grants in the programme 42% 22%
Range in value of individual grants examined $92,000-$420,000

Ministerial criteria for Whānau Development – Action and Research

The aim of the funding was to encourage innovative locally- or regionally-based initiatives aimed at strengthening whānau. A particular focus was placed on restoring and healing whānau, and funding initiatives that would strengthen whānau capacity to contribute to social, economic, and cultural development.

All 23 grants we examined met the Ministerial criteria.

The approval process

Regional Directors and the national office’s Policy Team nominated entities to participate in the programme. They invited these entities to submit an expression of interest to carry out action-based initiatives and research about interventions defined by the Policy Team.

The contract timetable was tight in 2004/05, with most contracts agreed in April 2005 and final reports due in June 2005. For the contracts agreed in 2005/06, the contracts were agreed in March 2006, and final reports were due in June 2006. Te Puni Kōkiri selected entities that could manage the level of funding provided and produce reports within the required timetable.

Te Puni Kōkiri assessed the capability of organisations by completing short and simple checklists covering financial viability, capability, governance arrangements, and conflicts of interest. Te Puni Kōkiri’s Relationship Management Team completed these checklists during a discussion with the funded entity. The checklists required less detail and supporting information than the Capacity Building projects, even though the contracts were for significantly more funding.


All 23 of the grants we reviewed were supported by an expression of interest, an assessment of the entity’s capability, and a contract that included a detailed specification for each of the reports required. Funding was split into three or four payments, with the first payment made when the agreement was signed and the remaining payments made when written reports were received.

In four instances, the contract parties signed the agreement before Te Puni Kōkiri’s legal team had checked the contracts.

In our sample, Te Puni Kōkiri had varied three contracts to increase the contract value. An internal memorandum dated 26 April 2005 indicated that, in all, eight contracts from the programme were increased to redistribute uncommitted funding of $726,000 and to enhance the deliverables and outcomes achievable by 30 June 2005.

One project received additional funding of $45,000 to add another intervention to the project, one an additional $50,000 to double the volume of the intervention, and the other an additional $15,000 to carry out self-evaluation. It was unclear from the grants we examined whether the additional activity had been completed by the time the contract terms had expired.

Te Puni Kōkiri provided funding to six organisations for a specific research project as part of the overall Whānau Development – Action and Research programme about Māori organisations working with government departments. Three of these grants were part of our audit sample.

Te Puni Kōkiri provided a spreadsheet which showed that the budget for each organisation was initially based on an assessment of the number of days to complete each stage, using a daily rate of $1,000. This spreadsheet gave an initial contract amount of $200,000 for each organisation. This included an initial payment of $50,000, but it was unclear how this $50,000 was calculated (although Te Puni Kōkiri staff we spoke with understood it to be a set proportion of the whole contract), or what it was for. The contract amount was subsequently increased by $30,000 to $230,000 for each organisation, and the initial payment was increased to $60,000. Te Puni Kōkiri was unable to provide us with the documentation to support these changes.

Monitoring Whānau Development – Action and Research

Details of monitoring visits were available for 64% of the grants we reviewed. There was also documented evidence that progress reports had been formally assessed for about half of the grants we reviewed, although in some instances the assessment was limited and was difficult to match to the contract specification. In two instances, it was unclear who had completed the assessment (Te Puni Kōkiri or the entity).

For 41% of the grants we reviewed, there was no documented evidence to indicate that the progress reports and final reports had been assessed to ensure that they were of an appropriate standard and met the contract requirements. Reports were submitted late for nearly three-quarters of the grants, usually by about two weeks.

Actual expenditure was noted in five of the 23 grants we reviewed. For four of these, the funding was under-spent (ranging from $11,000 to $52,000). The fifth file indicated that the project had cost $8,000 more than the initial budget. There was no information for any of these grants to indicate how the variances were dealt with. Te Puni Kōkiri told us that it was addressing these issues.

There was no documented information about the identification, assessment, monitoring, and management of risks with more than half the grants we examined. For the other grants, evidence was limited to the identification of risks.

Evaluating Whānau Development – Action and Research

Individual project evaluation

In the sample of grants that we examined, there was no evidence that individual projects had been evaluated.

Programme-level evaluation

Te Puni Kōkiri has completed a number of briefings to the Minister about the Whānau Development – Action and Research programme and the cumulative findings, policy, and operational implications arising from 2004/05 and 2005/06.

At the time of our fieldwork, Te Puni Kōkiri was working on a report about the Whānau Development – Action and Research programme. The report was due to be issued in May 2007, and would be shared with the organisations involved in the programme. The report was expected to provide the objectives, approach, methodology, findings, and policy implications of the research.

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