Over the past year, the Deloitte Social Impact Practice has been researching and comparing different social service models to improve wellbeing for families at risk or in crisis. For a small, yet significant minority of families that are at risk or in crisis, the current system is difficult to navigate, and fails to take a holistic view of the family and their complex needs.
We’ve already explored this in our State of the State article series, looking at a family-by-family approach, and have continued to develop our research. We have interviewed leaders across the social sector about the different social service models; to test our initial hypotheses on what might work in New Zealand, learn more on what is already working, and assess the challenges and barriers to be addressed.
We heard about initiatives across the social sector that are achieving meaningful, positive change for families at risk or in crisis, including Manaaki Tairāwhiti’s Fifty Families initiative, Wesley Community Action’s community development initiatives and the many individual staff members within agencies who work tirelessly on a daily basis to support families in their communities.
There was broad consensus that whānau by whānau support, community-led development, and strengths-based approaches are the pathway to success for social outcomes and wellbeing, which echoes the findings of the Whānau Ora Review Panel. However, it was also clear that success today happens in spite of the current system settings – not because of them. The current system is structured in such a way as to concentrate power, resources and accountabilities within organisational silos that are removed from communities.
The opportunity is to address systemic barriers while continuing to invest in the localised, place-based and whānau-based social service delivery models that work best for communities.
Based on the discussions with social sector leaders across all models, we have identified five recommendations to scale and systematise success:
Achieving the step change so sorely needed in wellbeing outcomes for New Zealand families at risk or in crisis requires reform at all levels of the system – from government leadership to community providers. Such reform requires a clear mandate and strong leadership at all levels of the sector. This is by no means an impossible task, and is in many respects a more readily attainable goal than having the needs of families at risk met by the current system.
For an expanded look at this topic, you can find our full article on building family resilience and wellbeing here.
I lead our Strategy & Business Design practice and our social innovation and impact services in New Zealand. My focus areas are operating model change, transformation of social services and human centred design. I help organisations transform their business through changes to people, process and technology – and to do this in a way that is collaborative, innovative and truly customer-centric. My passion is for bringing together individuals and organisations to address ‘wicked problems’ at multiple levels: changing systems to transform outcomes, redesigning services to be simpler and generate better outcomes, and shifting mind sets to focus on growth, innovation and impact. My work has included leading large scale organisation change with my clients, including redesign of social housing services, welfare payment services, accident compensation services and child care and protection services – through the stages of the design, prototype and implementation.