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Relationships Aotearoa welcomes discussion

Relationships Aotearoa welcomes discussion with the five alternative providers

The Ministry of Social Development (MSD) advised by phone this afternoon (26 May) that five agencies have been selected to undertake the work Relationships Aotearoa (RA) had been contracted to provide for MSD.

“Since 15 May, RA has been working with funders to either renegotiate a contract, or failing that, negotiate a safe transition for clients,” say Cary Hayward, interim Board Member and Strategic Principal Advisor Quality and Practice for RA.

“We were unable to sign their transition offer as that would have meant operating illegally, and when a proposal from us was put forward to remove those issues, the offer to support a transition in which we were involved was rescinded.

“We are pleased to hear that MSD has made such quick progress in identifying alternative providers. A safe and managed transition which did not re-traumatise clients, break client trust and rights to privacy had always been at the forefront of our transition negotiations, ” he says.

“RA has always worked collaboratively in the sector and we know the providers work. In our experience all of the identified providers are professional and effective in the particular services they currently provide.

“A significant number of our clients identify as Māori and a significant number of clients are dealing with domestic violence issues – both victims and perpetrators of violence.

“As a consequence we do have concerns about capacity and capability to work with domestic violence perpetrators within a family context, as well as working with Māori whānau in a culturally safe way.

“It’s our understanding that none of the named providers currently offer a Māori for Māori service as RA has. Nor does there appear to be a lot experience working with violent perpetrators. We also hold the MSD contract to manage and deliver earthquake trauma and recovery counselling in Christchurch which does not appear to be a focus of the providers selected.

“The focus of alternative providers tends to be social work focused services rather than services providing intensive therapeutic interventions.

“So we were pleased to hear there is the possibility that some of our staff will be able to move across to other service providers. It would be a tragedy to lose their level of expertise from the sector.

“Likewise we hope the alternative providers will be able to deliver Ministry of Justice non violence services, of which RA is the single largest provider, and which are pivotal to good outcomes for many of the vulnerable families we work with.”

ENDS

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