Social Sector Trials

The Social Sector Trials have been established to test innovative ideas to improve social, health and educational outcomes for communities around New Zealand. They are about supporting local solutions to local issues.

At the core of the trials model, there is a trial lead who heads a programme of work in a particular location, using cross-agency resources. This could be an individual or a non-governmental organisation. The trial lead is able to plan social service delivery, manage relevant contracts and funding within scope, oversee resources, develop networks, engage with the communities and influence social services outside their direct control.

Health-focused Porirua trial

One of the Social Sector Trials has a health focus. The Porirua trial is aimed at changing health outcomes in a community. For Porirua, this relates to a higher incidence of avoidable admission rates to Wellington Hospital by its residents than other areas in the region that the Capital & Coast DHB hospital services. Reducing the avoidable admission rate will be done through a collaborative approach, including early interventions and tackling issues such as lifestyle and living conditions, which contribute to avoidable health outcomes.

Focus of other trials

Most of the trials are aimed at 5 to 18 year-olds and:

  • reducing offending
  • reducing truancy
  • reducing levels of alcohol and drug use
  • increasing numbers in education, training and employment.

Their focus on drug and alcohol use means they have a common interest with a wide range of health initiatives. District health boards are expected to work 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.

Trials support Better Public Services

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) is the lead agency for the Social Sector Trials with the ministries of Health, Education, Justice and the New Zealand Police. They are working together to implement the trials in partnership with communities. The trial leads from the community meet regularly with the CEOs and Ministers.

Each trial is an innovative way to support the achievement of Better Public Services goals and targets. Each trial also supports key Government strategies for improving education results for all children and young people.

Sixteen trial locations nationwide

The following Social Sector Trials have been running since 1 March 2011:

  • Kawerau District
  • Waitomo District
  • South Waikato District
  • Taumarunui
  • Horowhenua District
  • Gore District.

The following trials were launched in July 2013:

  • Kaikohe
  • Rānui
  • Waikato District
  • Rotorua District
  • Whakatane Township
  • Gisborne City
  • South Taranaki District
  • Wairarapa (Masterton District, South Wairarapa District, Carterton District)
  • Porirua City
  • South Dunedin.

These new locations test the model in different types of communities.

To find out more about all the trials, visit the Ministry of Social Development website.

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