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Data is King is the latest word from Trevor McGlinchey, Executive Officer, NZCCSS, and member of ComVoices.

The article questions whether the current set of indicators really go to the core of why children are at risk of poor outcomes.

The need for government funded social services providers to have effective data collection methods has never been stronger. Government contracted organisations must demonstrate they are recruiting the ‘right’ clients, delivering the ‘right’ services and achieving the ‘desired outcomes’ or risk losing their funding to organisations with better client data collection and outcome reporting systems.

The reign of the data as King isn’t without contention however. As Trevor McGlinchey puts it:

Even The Treasury places caveats on its use noting, “Although these four indicators are associated with poor future outcomes, they may not cause the poor outcomes directly. Instead they may be linked to other things that lead to poor outcomes”.

In the article an alternative set of indicators is discussed that would ” more likely address the core causes of poor future outcomes than the current set of indicators“.

  • Having a low income – whether on a benefit or in employment,
  • Living in a cold, damp mouldy and/or overcrowded home
  • Going to a low-decile school which does not have sufficient resources to meet your educational needs,
  • Having parents with unmet health needs such as mental health and addiction issues.

These kinds of indicators would create the need for set of outcomes which meant all New Zealanders were treated as valuable. Where income whether from employment or benefits was sufficient for people to feel included in the mainstream of society; where there were sufficient, affordable, high quality homes; where low decile schools where highly funded and supported to create a real difference in their students’ learning; and, where the health needs of all New Zealanders were addressed.

This article will be further released in the February 2016 edition of Kete Kupu.

This blog has been contributed by a member of ComVoices

ComVoices  actively promotes the value that community sector organisations and their people, both paid and unpaid, add to New Zealand’s economic and social wellbeing through information, and political advocacy and dialogue.