Search this website
| Options Options
Search Type
Home > For agencies > Buying and managing social services
Document Actions

Buying and managing social services


Nau mai haere mai,

Every year, government spends billions of dollars on services to improve health and educational outcomes, reduce crime rates and protect New Zealand’s most vulnerable citizens. Social services is the largest government procurement category by spend, making up 21% of expenditure with third parties in 2012 (MBIE analysis).

In recognition of the important work across government to improve outcomes for disadvantaged or vulnerable New Zealanders, MBIE has established a Social Services team focussed on social services procurement capability. This team sits within New Zealand Government Procurement.

The Social Services team will support social sector agencies in their work to enhance procurement capability and their engagement of providers working in the community. You can contact the team via email

Buying or procuring social services needs to focus on delivering good social outcomes for people living in New Zealand.

We can do this by:

  • Working together to improve our skills
  • Sharing information on current contracting activities to reduce duplication of contract management activities
  • Collaborating across government to identify opportunities for better contracting outcomes
  • Sharing better tools to support effective contracting of social services between government and social service providers.

The Guide to Buying and Managing Social Services

If you commission, procure or manage social services on behalf of a government agency this guide is for you. You will find tools, tips and processes that are good practice when engaging with social services providers and that align with the Government Rules of Sourcing.

If you are a provider the guide is a useful source of information on what to expect, assist in understanding the Government procurement process and good practice. It also addresses concerns providers have raised.

The Guide reflects the need to:

  • Think about procurement in a commissioning framework
  • Streamline engagement with providers
  • Manage and adapt services to enhance outcomes
  • Ensure that government can assess whether services are delivering outcomes

With the rapidly changing environment for social services the Guide will be open for feedback over the next 12 months so we can tailor the Guide.

We invite government agencies and service providers to road test it and send comments to

Social services contract register

The social services contracts register holds information about social services contracts and details about the contracting parties.

Use the social services contract register to collaborate with other government agencies to plan and carry out:

  • contract monitoring
  • reporting
  • audit or accreditation.

It is intended to be a single source of contract information for all social service contracts across government.

Access the Social services contract register here.


Contract templates and tools

Use the contract templates and tools within the Streamlined Contracting Framework when contracting with NGO providers.

Download the templates


Last updated 30 March 2017