State of the state


State of the State New Zealand 2016

What is social investment?

Social investment contrasts with traditional approaches to funding government activity, which focus more heavily on what was delivered and ensuring good value for money in the delivery of those services, rather than on the value of outcomes achieved.

In a New Zealand context, social investment can be defined as government activity undertaken on the basis of a return on investment justification. Data is used to quantify a social problem, including the long-term costs to individuals and government. Agencies seek funding for interventions on the basis of the likelihood and extent to which future costs to government are reduced by improving social outcomes. Finally, measurement and reporting is undertaken to ascertain how successful programmes are in achieving both the cost reduction and improved life outcomes. Measurement also provides a better understanding of what works which influences future investment decisions.


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