High trust contracting
Government is reshaping the way it delivers social services to families, to ensure that the things it funds deliver the help they need. Part of the new approach is to focus on results – what is actually being achieved for families that makes a difference to their lives so they can contribute positively to New Zealand life.
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Communities know best
The new approach to funding incorporates a central belief that communities know best what works for people and families in their neighbourhoods. Government also recognises the expertise and commitment of the many organisations in the community that are dealing everyday with people in vulnerable situations.
These are the groups Government trusts enough to fund to help families help themselves. They work in many different areas from dealing with family violence, working with young parents, helping victims of sexual abuse, to giving budget advice and information. They are the people there at the right time to help those who need support get back on track with their lives.
A simpler way...
High trust contracting is a new approach towards the way government funds the community social services sector. It enables community organisations to focus more on the families they serve and less on ticking boxes, complex paperwork and reporting.
Under high trust contracting there is:
- a short, simple funding agreement
- payment of funding up front, in annual installments
- meaningful, outcomes focused, year end reporting
- a focus on outcomes – results are agreed on and described
- flexible service delivery – enabling providers to better meet the needs of families in their local community
- a customised approach – recognising the holistic needs of families and ensuring that the contract reflects this.
A strong and trusted relationship
The essence of high trust contracting is reflected in the principles that guide the funding relationship.
- respecting and valuing each other's expertise
- acting with integrity and good faith
- recognising accountabilities
- having open, transparent, honest and timely conversations.
To be eligible for a high trust contract, community organisations need to have a strong and trusted relationship with government. This means they:
- have a good track record of delivering the services they have been contracted to provide
- are a viable organisation – with strong governance, good management systems and effective and meaningful reporting systems
- are an integral part of their community -– connected, trusted, and provide the services that the community needs
- work well with other agencies in their community – both government and non-government
- are high performing, and understand what it takes to help their clients make a difference to their lives.
Integrated contracting across MSD...
The Ministry of Social Development is the first government department to introduce high trust contracting into the way it funds and contracts for the delivery of social services.
It means bringing together all the services funded by the different Ministry business groups – Family and Community Services, Child, Youth and Family, Work and Income and Ministry of Youth Development – into one short, simple contract.
... and across Government
Existing integrated contracts across government are designed to simplify the contracting process and improve the provision of services delivered by community, iwi and Māori social service providers that are funded by two or more government agencies.
There are currently a number of cross government integrated contracts that include services funded by the Ministry and, for example, Health, Education and Justice. Over time, we are working together to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the sector, with better sharing of information and achieving of improved outcomes for families – high trust contracting is playing an important role in this work.
The high trust journey
When the Ministry and a community social service organisation embark on developing a high trust contract together, the first thing they recognise is that the work is done up front. The process includes the following elements:
- a shared understanding of how both parties will work together
- a mutual discussion of risk and benefits
- a communication plan
- a shared identification of who the clients are, what results we want to achieve for them and how
- agreed performance measures that evidence the results we want to achieve.
A focus on results
Identifying and focusing on what needs to be achieved for clients and families, rather than how it is to be achieved, is one of the key elements of high trust contracting.
By focusing on results – the difference a service delivered actually makes to a client's life, rather than on how it was delivered – we will begin to see real change.
Twenty-four high trust contracts were in place by 30 June 2010. Since then, we have been actively building on the learnings gained to further develop the model and progress its roll-out across the Ministry and the social services sector. This work is continuing.
For more information
To find out more about high trust agreements contact the following:
Northern Region: Dani McLellan, Regional Administrator, 09 916 1850, Dani.McLellan004@msd.govt.nz
Central North: Tui Corneal, Regional Administrator, 07 921 8182, Tui.Corneal003@msd.govt.nz
Central South: Vandana Damania, Regional Administrator, 04 917-7157, Vandana.Damania002@msd.govt.nz
Southern: Sarah Johnson, Regional Administrator, 03 963 2381, Sarah.Johnson022@msd.govt.nz