More Effective Social Services

Productivity Commission Final Report

Social services help New Zealanders to live healthy, safe and fulfilling lives. They provide access to health services, education and housing opportunities, and protect and support the most vulnerable in society. They are crucial, but also costly; the Government spends around $34 billion each year on social services. It is very important that these services are as effective as possible. The Government asked the Productivity Commission in June 2014 to look at ways to improve the effectiveness of the social services it funds. We spent 14 months investigating, and talked to people throughout the country and overseas. This Cut to the chase summarises our inquiry’s findings and recommendations. Social services are very broad. There are thousands of services involving many government agencies, thousands of providers and ultimately all New Zealanders as clients, at various times throughout their lives. This means it is challenging to make observations that apply everywhere – there is always an exception. But these exceptions do not prevent constructive analysis and discussion. There are a lot of different ways to examine and categorise services, agencies, providers and clients. We considered many of them in our inquiry. We found two ways of looking at social services particularly useful – as a system, and in terms of four different types of clients.

Visit the Productivity Commission website for full details on the Final Report.


Productivity Commission - More Effective Social Services



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