Part 3: Overview of the Initiatives

Whānau Ora: The first four years.

The Government responded to the taskforce's report by introducing the Initiatives. So far, the Initiatives have had two phases. The first phase was launched in 2009/10, and the second phase was launched in 2013/14. From 2013/14, the phases overlap until the first phase ends on 30 June 2016. In this Part, we give an overview of each phase and the Initiatives.

What does the first phase involve?

Two sets of decisions make up the first phase of the Initiatives – the first set decided the governance and accountability arrangements, and the second set decided what Initiatives would be put in place.

Governance and accountability arrangements

The taskforce delivered its report to the then Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, who deferred deciding on whether to set up an independent trust. This was because the Minister wanted close Ministerial and departmental oversight and ownership of the first set of Initiatives. The Government made Te Puni Kōkiri the lead agency, with the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Development in support.

In 2010, the Prime Minister created a Minister for Whānau Ora, a role that was separate from the then Minister of Māori Affairs (now Minister of Māori Development). The Prime Minister assigned both roles to a single person after the 2014 general election.

The Government set up a national-level Governance Group to advise the Minister for Whānau Ora and Te Puni Kōkiri on the Initiatives. The Minister for Whānau Ora appointed community representatives to the Governance Group. The joint agencies' chief executives were also members.

The Governance Group started work in mid-2010, and members were appointed for a three-year term. The Minister extended their term to March 2014, when the Governance Group's role in setting up the second phase of the Initiatives ended. The direct involvement of the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Social Development in running the Initiatives largely ended at the same time.

Regional Leadership Groups (regional groups) were set up in each of Te Puni Kōkiri's 10 regions. Regional groups were made up of:

  • three or more community representatives appointed by the Minister for Whānau Ora;
  • an official from Te Puni Kōkiri's and the Ministry of Social Development's regional offices; and
  • a representative from the relevant district health boards.

Regional groups were appointed for a three-year term and started work in July 2010 by assessing the Expressions of Interest sent in by providers. The Minister extended their term to December 2013.

The Initiatives

There were three Initiatives:

  • whānau integration, innovation, and engagement (WIIE);
  • provider capability building; and
  • integrated contracting and government agency support for the Initiatives.

Whānau integration, innovation, and engagement

In practice, this initiative mostly involved whānau – families of any ethnicity – making plans to improve their lives and carrying them out. Whānau could apply to Te Puni Kōkiri for funding to help prepare plans and/or to carry them out. Whānau applied for funding through a legal entity, which was responsible for any resulting contract with Te Puni Kōkiri. Vulnerable whānau in areas of high deprivation and/or geographic isolation were to have priority for funding, as were Māori and Pacific whānau. This initiative stopped on 30 June 2014.

Provider capability building

This initiative involved provider collectives building their combined ability to deliver co-ordinated services that consider the needs of individuals and whānau (that is, services are to be whānau-centred).

We were told and we understand that the aim of building providers' capability was for them to enable whānau to take more control over their lives. The Ministry of Health does not agree that this was the aim of setting up provider collectives. The Ministry of Health told us that the purpose of provider collectives was to deliver better integrated and responsive services for individuals and whānau. The Ministry of Health's view is that whānau plans were to enable whānau to increase control over their lives.

Integrated contracting and government agency support for the Initiatives

When Whānau Ora was launched, the Government considered that integrated contracting was critical to measuring the success of the Initiatives. Integrated contracting was meant to result in more efficient contract management so that providers would have more time to spend on building their capability to deliver whānau-centred services.

Other than co-operating to integrate contracts, the work Te Puni Kōkiri, the Ministry of Health, district health boards, and the Ministry of Social Development did to support the Initiatives mostly involved administrative work to do with provider collectives.

What does the second phase involve?

The second phase of the Initiatives resulted from a plan to work towards setting up a standalone commissioning agency.7 In July 2013, Cabinet decided to set up three commissioning agencies, whose purpose is described as funding support for building the capability of whānau.

There is one Pacific commissioning agency for the country, one commissioning agency for the North Island, and one commissioning agency for the South Island. Te Puni Kōkiri has three-year contracts with the commissioning agencies, which Te Puni Kōkiri can extend to five years in total.

The commissioning agencies will seek applications for funding and enter into contracts to fund those that they select. We understand that the commissioning agencies can fund any community-based organisations in any sector and can get income from sources other than Te Puni Kōkiri.

7: National Party (December 2011), Relationship Accord and Confidence and Supply Agreement with the Māori Party,

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