The Ministry for Vulnerable Children in New Zealand, Oranga Tamariki, is going to invest NZ$11.79 million to support the development and implementation of more effective, timely and child-centred feedback and complaints systems. (The Ministry was established recently in April 2017, replacing the former Child, Youth and Family, aiming to create a more child-centred approach for protecting and helping children.)
Minister for Children, Anne Tolley, announced that new systems are being funded by the government. She said, “The existing complaints processes and systems are no longer fit for purpose. Our Youth Advisory Panels told us that they are complex and not easily accessible or focused on children and young people.”
“We need better systems in place so children and young people can easily share their concerns and provide feedback. We also want to more effectively resolve any concerns that are raised, and ensure that insights gained are used to improve how we support and care for young people.
A procurement process will be started soon for a software system which will capture complaints from children and young people and Ministry staff, enabling the Ministry to analyse data and improve how services are delivered. It’s expected that the new system will be up and running in early to mid-2018.
The Ministry also plans to run a full trial of the UK developed ‘Mind of My Own’ app which enables young people to express their views and provide feedback on the services they receive.
An initial trial of the app, which ran from April to June in two Auckland sites, highlighted many examples of how young people were able to give feedback, unfiltered by adults, when they were previously reluctant or unable to do so.
The app can be used by young people to prepare for a Family Group Conference, during a statutory visit, to raise concerns, give positive feedback, or express how they feel. Young people can use it on their own or with a social worker or caregiver.
The trial is expected to run for at least six months before being evaluated.