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A process and emerging outcomes evaluation of Placed-Based Initiatives

Why was the project important?

Complex and intergenerational challenges require local, innovative and whānau-centred responses. In 2016, two Placed-Based Initiative (PBI) sites were established in Manaaki Tairāwhiti and South Auckland Social Wellbeing Board (SASWB). Manaaki Tairāwhiti and SASWB aimed to improve outcomes for at-risk children and their whānau by shifting collective decision-making and discretion to the local level.

Manaaki Tairāwhiti and SASWB are based on a whānau-centred way of working and system change. Both PBIs use a test, learn, and adapt approach to develop cross-agency ways of working to meet the needs of whānau with complex inter-generational needs. Through trialling whānau-centred, cross-agency ways of working, they identify system changes to improve outcomes for wider whānau.

The Social Wellbeing Agency commissioned Litmus to assess the PBI model as a mechanism for collective action to address complex needs. The evaluation assessed the PBIs’ implementation, value, and emerging outcomes. We also developed success frameworks to provide insight into the role and value of two PBIs as localised and whānau-centred adaptive approaches to address complex issues.

The process we took and the people we worked with 

To do this evaluation, we set up a culturally diverse and multi-disciplinary team of Māori and Pacific evaluators connected to each location. We also worked with a quantitative researcher to determine how best to measure emerging outcomes in a complex, whānau-centred, integrated way of working. We worked collaboratively with Manaaki Tairāwhiti and SASWB to understand their locally unique ways of working.

In Manaaki Tairāwhiti and SASWB, we drew on whānau-centred case studies, stakeholder interviews, a collaboration rubric, and supporting documents and data. We shared the draft evaluation findings with the PBIs to review and refine. We worked together to develop success frameworks based on Te Tiriti o Waitangi.

What we delivered 

We delivered a report that demonstrated the value of the PBIs in delivering positive whānau outcomes and identifying and influencing system change. The evaluation findings were a major input into this Cabinet paper, which secured further funding for the PBIs. The evaluative process also enabled the PBIs to reflect on their journey, their evolution to their changing context and their similarities and differences reflective of people and place.