Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) receive significant funding (in the order of $2–4 billion per year) from both the Ministry of Health and district health boards. Many are non-profit, and along with providing services to consumers they are a valuable contact at community level.
Non-governmental organisations have a long, well established record of contribution to New Zealand’s health and disability service delivery. Health and Disability NGOs include a wide range of organisations that provide flexible, responsive and innovative frontline service delivery. Diverse services are offered in primary care, mental health, personal health, and disability support services, and include kaupapa services such as Māori and Pacific providers.
The Ministry of Health and NGOs from the health and disability sector have a formalised relationship outlined in the Framework for Relations between the Ministry of Health and Health and Disability Non-governmental Organisations. To facilitate this relationship there is a Health and Disability NGO Network and Council, and within the Ministry of Health an NGO Desk.
Health and Disability NGO Council and Network
The Health and Disability NGO Council is made up of 13 elected representatives from the wider Health and Disability NGO Network and two (non-voting) Ministry of Health members. It is funded through a contract with the Ministry, and aims to build a strong, respectful, innovative and proactive relationship between the Ministry and NGOs, including Māori and Pacific NGOs.
The Ministry’s NGO Relationship Manager facilitates the formal relationship between the Ministry and the NGOs, and maintains communication between the Ministry and the NGO sector. The NGO Relationship Manager also works with other agencies such as the Ministry of Social Development and Department of Internal Affairs on government-community relationships.
A Health and Disability NGO Forum is hosted annually by the Ministry and the NGO Council. The Forums are an opportunity for NGOs to discuss key issues and to share these with the Ministry and other stakeholders. They also enable the NGO sector work with the NGO Council to set an agenda of work for the NGO Council to progress on behalf of the sector.