Placed-Based Initiatives

Place-based approaches are about empowering local social sector leaders to address social issues in their communities.

We work in partnership with social agencies to support local social sector leaders to understand and apply social investment through Place-Based Initiatives (PBIs).

What are the PBIs?

Three PBIs were established to bring local leaders together to address social issues and improve outcomes for children and young people. The PBIs make local, collaborative and evidence-informed decisions to address social issues experienced within an area.

Responding to social issues locally means the response can be tailored to the specific needs and underlying causes in each location. This means decisions are made by those who best understand the individual, family and local circumstances.

PBIs will provide the tools for communities to identify where their investments will have the most impact. This means making informed decisions that:

  • draw on data and evidence to better understand the outcomes and resourcing required for the local population
  • combine this with local intelligence and engagement to make evidence-based investment decisions about services and interventions that deliver better outcomes for the local population.

Location and structure

The PBI areas were identified based on the number and proportion of at-risk 0-24 year olds and their family/whānau in each location.

  • Kainga Ora (Northland) – supported by the Ministry of Education.
  • South Auckland – supported by the State Services Commission.
  • Manaaki Tairāwhiti (Gisborne/Wairoa) – supported by the Ministry of Social Development.

Each PBI has a governance group, consisting of representatives from social agencies, iwi (in two of the PBIs), and the community, as well as an independent chair to facilitate their decision-making. The exact membership is decided by each local group.

Each governance group is being supported in their social investment approach and decision-making by a local office and the SIA.

How the PBIs operate

PBIs recognise that differences exist between locations, meaning there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to social investment.

Each of the PBIs:

  • identifies the specific age groups within the 0-24 year old targeted population they will focus on first
  • makes changes to services and processes to reflect their unique challenges and to gain the most successful outcomes.

While changes will be tailored to each place, the initiatives have similar guidelines, including:

  • collective decision-making to improve service coordination and quality
  • a mandate to make change
  • joint ownership of results and outcomes
  • flexibility to tailor services to local circumstances
  • using data, evidence and service effectiveness information to drive improvements, ensuring investment is better targeted to what works
  • tight-loose-tight accountability:
    • tight: clear outcomes set
    • loose: how they are achieved
    • tight: close monitoring and accountability for achieving results

How we support the PBIs

We provide any support the local PBIs require at a national level, including:

  • supplying data and evidence on the target populations
  • facilitating PBI evaluation
  • building capability with social investment decision-making
  • providing guidance around the funding structures that make social investment work.

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