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Families Commission role changes under new legislation

Families Commission role changes under new legislation

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has welcomed the passing of a Bill refocusing the role of the Families Commission, to house a vital new Social Policy Evaluation and Research unit (SuPERU).

The new ‘SuPERU’ offers a much needed service for the whole social sector to fill the gap that exists in New Zealand for independent, evidence based research around social services.

“By looking across the entire social sector, SuPERU will give organisations a clear and accurate picture of how effective their services are, and what could be done better,” Mrs Bennett said.

“The NGO sector will be able to call on the Commission to get support and advice on where it should be investing resources to get the best results.”

The Families Commission will fill the role of the ‘honest broker’ described by the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor Sir Peter Gluckman.

The Bill also establishes a Social Science Experts Panel that will provide academic peer review of all research and reports carried out or issued by the Commission, as well as general guidance. This will ensure that the Commission’s work and standards are of the highest quality.

“Good decisions are based on good advice, which in turn is based on good evidence. It’s crucial that decision makers and the public have the information they need to understand the risks, the opportunities and the trade-offs when making complex and costly choices.

“The Bill also provides for a more streamlined structure, with a single Commissioner down from the original seven. The Commissioner will be supported by a Board of up to six other members.

“This is a great opportunity to increase the relevance of the work the Families Commission does, and provide a refocused structure that families and community organisations will benefit from,” Mrs Bennett said.


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