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Young people to get better value from new ministry

12 August 2003 Media Statement

Young people to get better value from new ministry

A new Ministry of Youth Development will be created out of the Ministry of Youth Affairs and youth policy functions of the Ministry of Social Development, Social Development Minister Steve Maharey, State Services Minister Trevor Mallard and Youth Affairs Minister John Tamihere announced today.

The new ministry will be within the Ministry of Social Development.

“Our government is keen to strengthen and improve our delivery of services to young people who will get much better value out of this new ministry,” the ministers said.

“The establishment of a Ministry of Youth Development was recommended by a recent review as the best option for improving the government’s work in the area of youth development and ensuring a special focus is kept on young people.”

The review focused on how the Ministry of Youth Affairs could most effectively deliver on its role and purpose, and contribute to improved outcomes for young people.

It found the Ministry of Youth Affairs had been performing well and had strengths such as a positive youth development and achievement culture, strong relationships with the youth sector, and a clearly articulated strategy, focus and priorities.

However, the review found that the ministry, because of its size, had ongoing people capability and capacity needs, and struggled to maintain and add value to cross-government relationships. In addition, a significant amount of youth-related work was being done in other departments, including Social Development.

“It’s important this new ministry builds on the progress that’s already been made by Youth Affairs. It will retain its separate culture and identity, and will continue to maintain its own government, youth and community sector relationships,” the ministers said.

“By combining the youth work at both ministries into a new, bigger youth development agency, there are opportunities for even more progress,” they said.

Other benefits of this merger identified by the review include:

- addressing Youth Affairs senior policy staff recruitment and retention issues through improved career options;
- opportunities to better use the Ministry of Social Development’s wider regional networks;
- a reduction in existing overlaps and better co-ordination of youth related policy work;
- better coordination of youth development programmes, family support and employment programmes;
- savings of about $300,000 which will be reinvested in youth development;
- access to the Ministry of Social Development’s policy research and evaluation capability; and
- improved purchasing and contract management capability.

This merger will take effect from 1 October 2003. Anne Carter will continue as the chief executive of the Ministry of Youth Affairs until that date.

The State Services Commission will now work with the chief executives of the Ministries of Social Development and Youth Affairs, the Treasury, and the PSA to prepare for the merger.

The government also announced today that the Ministry of Women’s Affairs would be internally strengthened and retained as a separate stand-alone ministry. (eds: see separate statement)

“The government does not wish to undertake wholesale restructuring of the public service. But we are always looking for improvements and will take opportunities to make changes when we believe it is appropriate to do so. Today’s announcements are part of this ongoing process,” Trevor Mallard said.

Background information is attached. A copy of the cabinet paper is available on www.ssc.govt.nz


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