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​​Managing social services contracts

​What you need to do to appropriately manage the contract and provider relationship.

Managing contracts for any procurement

Detailed information on managing contracts for any procurement is in the Guide to procurement - Manage section of our website.


You’ll find out how to:

  • develop and maintain effective relationships with providers
  • track and monitor outcomes and costs
  • manage risks and administer the contract.

Extra information specific to social services procurements is below.

For social services procurements, you should also:

Evolve the service to achieve the desired outcome

If you set up the contract to specify or measure outcomes, you will make it much easier to evolve the service over time to improve the results. For example, instead of measuring the number of attendees on a quit smoking course, you could measure the number of people who report success at remaining smoke-free on a six-month follow-up after the course. If the contract is only designed to measure outputs, you might need to make changes to performance measures to capture outcomes.

How to measure outcomes and outputs

Alter the service specification or contract if you agree and providers agree to change the service. If you have only specified the outcomes and been less specific about the services it is easier to adapt the service.

Get information to help you evolve the service from:

  • formal and informal engagement with the provider (reports, performance measures, meetings, conversations)
  • engagement with other providers and other agencies, allowing you to share information and find out who is doing what, why, and how it is working
  • new research from New Zealand and overseas.

What to discuss with your provider

Discuss the most recent report on the outcomes, both data and narrative, and the reasons for changes.

  • How are we doing on the most important of the outcome measures?
  • What is working well or not working for customers, for the provider and for the agency?
  • How are we working together and with other partners?
  • What do we need to change or do more of, including no-cost and low-cost ideas?
  • Are there any opportunities for innovation?
  • Are there any process improvements which might free up resource for service delivery?

Agree any new actions and record them in the Outcome Agreement Management Plan.

Identify and manage risk

Work with your provider to identify and regularly update risks to service delivery and maintain a risk register.

Other resources on contract management

For information regarding the social worker pay equity extension please refer to the Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission guidance.

Guidance for template clauses [PDF 149KB] – Te Kawa Mataaho Public Service Commission

We have also development a template contract variation to support agencies.