The development of a wide range of volunteering opportunities requires community organisations to have appropriate infrastructure and volunteer management capabilities. MSD does not currently have a role in the development of a wide-ranging and capable set of community organisations with sufficient capacity to properly use volunteers and to support those who cannot earn, learn, care or volunteer to meaningfully engage in their communities. We consider that building capacity and capability within MSD to properly engage with, fund and promote community organisations is an important component of implementing the new social security system. Engagement should include governance training, volunteer management training, practical support to meet health and safety requirements and financial support to provide meaningful volunteer experiences.
MSD has limited ability to actively promote the development of wide-ranging and capable community organisations. The emergence of Oranga Tamariki–Ministry for Children as a principal funder of social services organisations saw the transfer from MSD to Oranga Tamariki of much of the expertise and funding used to support community organisations. The main purpose of Oranga Tamariki is to address the needs of children in the care of the state, or children close to being in this care. MSD’s Community Partnerships and Programmes (CPP) service, the current remit of which is to engage with communities, focuses on organisations that support people affected by family violence and on service providers contracted to deliver Youth Services and Young Parent Payment support. The relatively small E Tū Whānau programme, while focused on family violence, works on kaupapa Māori principles to build whānau and community resilience. The work of both Oranga Tamariki and CPP is crucial. However, this focused approach leaves little room to support the wider work of community organisations and the development and funding of the many volunteering and community support roles needed for people to build skills, knowledge and positive work habits.
The Department of Internal Affairs also has a role in supporting community organisations but this is limited to distributing Lotto funds, maintaining infrastructure for Community Organisation Grants Scheme distributions and developing regionally based capability.
Through our consultation, many community organisations reported their desire to be part of the response to the multitude of issues that emerged over the past 30 years of inadequate benefit payments. These organisations also reported inadequate funding of their services and high levels of demand for support and identified the complex lives of those they serve. Infrastructure of community organisations is run down and needs investment if these organisations are to actively support meaningful engagement in communities and opportunities to volunteer.
"The complexity of commissioning, contracting and duplicate auditing is taking hundreds of hours of frontline service time…Precious time and resources are spent on multiple audits rather than on delivering frontline services to people in need…We have estimated that each year we spend 30 per cent of senior management time involved in either contract negotiations or audits."