Social Sector Trials

The Social Sector Trials (SSTs) are a community-based approach aimed at improving the way government plans, funds, and delivers social services.

They involve transferring the control of resources including funding, decision-making authority, and accountability for results from government agencies to a Trial lead in the local community. The Trial lead is supported by an advisory group made up of local stakeholders, including local agency representatives.

The pilots aimed to:

  • reducing offending
  • reducing levels of alcohol and substance abuse
  • reducing truancy rates
  • increasing participation in education, training or employment.

The Trials focus on drug and alcohol use means they have a common interest with a wide range of health initiatives. District health boards worked with local trial leads on actions identified to:

  • improve the responsiveness of primary care to youth
  • increase school-based health services
  • improve access to mental health and youth alcohol and drug services.

The Trials initially began in six rural communities in March 2011 and are currently operating in 16 communities around New Zealand.

The Trials are supported at the national, regional and local level by the Ministries of Education, Health, Justice, Social Development and the New Zealand Police.

The Trials are now coming to a close.

Where successful, the SST will transition from a community-influenced model to a community-led model, with a less narrow focus for the delivery of services. This includes the Porirua trial which has a significant focus on improving health outcomes in the local community.

The remaining SST locations will cease to be funded on 1 July 2016 because they are ready to be managed locally, or performance to date means exit to a locally led model by the end of 2016 is appropriate.

To find out more about the trials and the transition plans, visit the Ministry of Social Development website.

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