The Social Sector Trials were established in 2011 to test innovative ideas for improving the quality of life for young New Zealanders. They are about supporting local solutions to local issues.
The trials operate as a Joint Venture between the Ministries of Education, Health, Justice, Social Development, and the New Zealand Police. They are working together to implement the trials in partnership with communities.
At a community level, a Trial Lead is appointed to work with the agencies involved and the local community to develop action plans aimed at achieving the main outcomes of:
- Reduced Offending
- Increased numbers participating in education, training, and employment
- Reduced Truancy
- Reduced levels of alcohol and drug use
The target age group for the trials was originally 12-18 year olds, but in the original 6 trials – Kawerau, Horowhenua, Gore, Taumaranui, South Waikato, and Waitomo this age range now includes 5- 18 year olds.
The trial model transfers the control of resources, decision-making and accountability for results to a community Trial Lead. This enables the local community, through their Trial Lead, to have more control over how Social Services are provided in the community.
Police contribute to the trials through ‘in kind’ resourcing – meaning the contribution of time and services that Police staff provide to assist in achieving the outcomes in trial sites. Staff most often involved in Social Sector Trial activities include Youth Aid, School Community Officers, Iwi Liaison Officers, Neighbourhood Policing Teams, and Youth Development staff.
The trials tie in closely with the Police Prevention First Strategy, as in addition to the outcome of reduced offending, the other 3 main outcomes are all focussed on areas that can increase an individual’s risk of offending.
To find out more about all the trials, visit the Ministry of Social Development website.