Creating opportunities to partner with Māori providers using an innovative procurement approach.
Youth Justice – Oranga Tamariki designed an innovative procurement process to identify a partner the team could work with to co-design and deliver a new community-based youth remand service for young Māori. This case study shows how broader outcomes can work in practice.
Youth Justice gives children and young people who have offended a genuine opportunity to change their lives for the better without getting a criminal record, and to make positive strides forward. The Youth Justice service addresses the underlying factors contributing to offending.
When looking at the evidence it was clear a different type of service and procurement process was needed to deliver a more effective youth remand service for Māori. The evidence showed that Māori youth offending wasn’t declining at the same rate as youth offending in general, and that a young person’s environment played a significant role in successful rehabilitation. The new legislation also meant community-based options needed to be established.
Being close to home and connected to the community can achieve better outcomes for reducing reoffending so we needed to explore how we could create a community-based service.Huiarangi Pirihi Lead Advisor, Partnering for Outcomes, Te Tai Tokerau
Historically, traditional methods of procuring these types of services have generally disadvantaged smaller, community providers, particularly Iwi and Māori providers. Youth Justice designed a non-traditional procurement process to identify a partner with proven capacity and capability around whanaungatanga, whakapapa and mana tamaiti, and the potential to co-design and deliver a community-based youth remand service.
“The home and community placements needed to be culturally responsive and support Māori young people to further develop their cultural identity and awareness,” says Ben Bielski, Principal Advisor at Te Ture Taiohi, Youth Justice Residences.
The new Oranga Tamariki Legislation Act 2019 provided the mandate to take an innovative approach and internal communication helped gain buy-in from senior leaders who supported it by keeping the runway open for new ideas and initiatives.
The Request for Proposal (RFP) process had a long lead-in time to enable early engagement with the community and potential providers. Through early engagement, a new approach to the RFP requirements became evident.
“Initially we wanted a local provider to deliver the service from a house we had identified within the local community. Very quickly the community and local providers told us there was a better approach. Being flexible and listening to Māori knowledge, led to a new and successful service provision,” says Huiarangi.
The first goal or value of the RFP was to help restore mana. The programme also had to reduce reoffending or recidivism, and reduce disparities for Māori. “It was a challenge to have an RFP based on values rather than outlining the specifics such as one house with four to six young people. We wanted to keep an open mind and co-design something new and unique,” says Ben.
The communications strategy included a range of activities such as barbeques and newsletters to ensure accurate, consistent messaging to gain support from the local community for local community-based remand homes.
Providers were able to present a proposal rather than submit it in writing. “We thought not just about what we were asking for but how we were asking and so the face-to-face approach was a critical element of asking in a way that enabled us to achieve the best outcome,” says Ben.
The meeting was opened by a Kaumātua (Māori Elder) which also reflected how the team worked in a culturally appropriate way.
A key element of the RFP was to identify a partner to co-design the service with. “Being more creative with the RFP process enabled providers and communities to be creative and deliver what they are good at doing without restricting them,” says Ben. A key theme throughout was partnership for outcomes, for example there were influential people on the working group able to gain the support of local judiciary.
The outcome of the RFP process was that Ngāpuhi led the development of a joint strategy to improve social outcomes for Ngāpuhi tamariki and whānau. This enabled Ngāpuhi to be more involved in making decisions affecting their community tamariki and whānau. The agreement outlines a mutual commitment to working closer together to co-design and deliver services for Ngāpuhi tamariki and whānau. The agreement was a progression from work undertaken together, including a Memorandum of Understanding in 2014, and the launch of Mahuru, a new kaupapa Māori youth remand service in Te Tai Tokerau.
While there are milestones and reporting measures, it’s the stories not numbers that help to measure success. Information and stories are shared at monthly working group meetings. The early results, using home-like environments (community-based remand homes) are very promising.
The initiative has also recently won awards including a Procurement Excellence Award from Ernst and Young and the ‘Showcasing indigenous strength and leadership in public administration’ award presented in Australia from the Australian and New Zealand School of Government.
“The success means we can build more programmes like this in the community and every one of them will be different,” says Ben.
The Youth Justice and Te Tai Tokerau partnership showcases how the procurement process can be designed to improve social outcomes with Māori and regional service providers.
Government procurement can be used to support wider cultural, social, economic and environmental outcomes that go beyond the immediate purchase of goods and services. Together these outcomes are called broader outcomes. The Government’s new policy on achieving them is set out in the recently revised Government Procurement Rules.
This case study has been published to encourage and inspire government agencies, as they begin to implement the new broader outcomes Rules, with a particular focus on the government’s priority outcomes.
The priority outcome this case study focuses on is increasing access for New Zealand businesses and in particular, effectively involving Māori and regional businesses (providers).