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Government to strengthen community development

Government to strengthen community development capacity

The Government is to strengthen its community employment development capacity by relocating the Community Employment function of the Department of Work and Income, Steve Maharey and Parekura Horomia announced today.

Cabinet has decided that the Community Employment function of the Department of Work and Income is to transfer to the Department of Labour as a separate service unit. Investment in the growth of community-based employment opportunities is a key element in the government’s employment strategy and a feature of initiatives to be announced as part of this year’s budget.

“The Department of Labour was seen as the most appropriate place to host Community Employment because it has responsibility for employment and community employment policy. However, Community Employment will continue to have a close relationship with the Department of Work and Income along with a number of other agencies.

“Community employment development has a vital role to play in progressing social and economic advantage. Communities are the basis for lasting progress and the source of sustainable solutions to the problems caused by changing labour market conditions, particularly in depressed regions and within Mäori and Pacific communities. The Government is moving to ensure that we have all the tools we need to fulfil our manifesto commitments to improve local employment development and to close the gaps,” the Ministers said.

“We expect that, in its new location, Community Employment will be able to assist us with:
 targeting specialised advice and support to Mäori and Pacific communities to close growing social and economic gaps
 building community capacity and developing leadership
 community based strategic planning
 low cost testing of innovative employment and local development ideas
 building partnerships and networks between communities and the public and private sectors.

“The overall effectiveness of community employment development requires a strong Community Employment capability within the public service with the autonomy and credibility to broker linkages across the full range of community and government organisations without placing undue emphasis on either social or economic issues.

"We have asked the Department of Work and Income and the Department of Labour to prepare a detailed implementation plan and to report back to us with it by the end of June. All permanent staff currently employed by Community Employment will transfer across to the Department of Labour," the Ministers said.

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