Late last year, the Child Wellbeing Unit in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) commissioned an external process evaluation of the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, to better understand the effectiveness of its implementation and functioning. This included identifying what has gone well, what has not worked so well and why, and opportunities for continuous improvement. We also wanted to assess whether the Strategy is setting the foundation for achieving its intended medium and long-term changes and outcomes.
The process evaluation, undertaken by Allen and Clarke , drew on a review of contextual documents and reports, interviews with key stakeholders involved in the development or implementation of the Strategy, and an online stakeholder survey. Its key findings are summarised below:
- Most stakeholders support the vision, outcomes and principles of the Strategy
- The Strategy is performing well as a mechanism for Ministerial and central government agency accountability
- The Strategy framework is sound and understandable, but implementation could be enhanced by guidance on government priorities
- The indicator framework could be refined to ensure it reports meaningful data on child and young wellbeing
- The Strategy is being used to drive cross-government collaboration through working groups on key issues
- The Strategy is not yet playing a substantial role in driving policy, investment or actions
- There is a need to increase knowledge of the Strategy amongst the community to harness action
- The governance and advisory infrastructure could be enhanced by including iwi and independent Māori leaders
- To meet te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations it is necessary for Māori to be accorded priority status within the Strategy
- Achieving systemic change for tamariki and rangatahi will require a partnership approach with iwi and other Māori entities
- The focus of accountability to Māori is on individuals, not institutions’ effectiveness for Māori.
The report also sets out a number of recommendations based on these findings.
The Process Evaluation will help inform the upcoming review of the Strategy, which must be completed by August 2022.
The review will also draw on findings of other recent reports, insights and themes from a range of research reports or consultation processes undertaken since the development of the Strategy, evaluations of specific work programmes, and a small-scale targeted engagement process. Broader public consultation will follow should the Government propose any changes to the Strategy arising from the August review.