Individual Client Level Data presentation and update

On Friday the 26 May Connect South hosted a forum with the aim of updating Otago providers on matters relating to ICLD.
Veronica Bennett, a member of ComVoices ICLD Working Group provided an update on where things were with MSD’s ICLD collection.

Here’s the presentation from the day.

Connect presentation ICLD updated

Things have continued to unfold since, here’s an update on development:

In the presentation Veronica noted the announcement re the handing of the work over to Social Investment Agency (SIA) to form a working group

Brenda Pilott for ComVoices met soon after the announcement and her understanding is that ComVoices would be part of developing the ToR. There has been no word from SIA about the formation of the working group. The Privacy Commissioner hadn’t been asked for input last week.

ComVoices will continue to advocate for this process being managed as promised.

The Social Investment Unit transmogrified into Social Investment Agency so it is possible this has delayed progress.

The Privacy Commissioner’s Inquiry Into The Ministry Of Social Development’s Collection Of Individual Client-level Data From Ngos is available online.

Focus Group for Social Work Competencies in Aotearoa New Zealand: A Critical Review

Simon Lowe, Registered Social Worker and member of ANZASW is currently studying for his PhD at the University of Canterbury. The topic of his research is: Social Work Competencies in Aotearoa New Zealand: A Critical Review. The objective of his study is to examine whether current core competencies or practice standards are an adequate tool for determining the abilities and competence of registered social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The field work for this PhD will include gathering information through focus groups from social workers and interviewing key informants in the development of social work competencies in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Simon would like to hear from any experienced practitioners who would be interested in taking part in a small focus group (4-6 people), to discuss practice standards/core competencies.

Specifically, Simon is seeking social workers who are currently practicing and have five years or more post-graduate experience with some student social work supervision/field educator experience.

The focus group will take place on Friday 4th November in Dunedin, (given enough participants), at a venue to be confirmed. The group will run for approximately 90 minutes. The group discussion will be audio-recorded.

As a follow-up to this investigation, you will be asked to confirm the accuracy of the transcript of the interview.

If you are interested in taking part in a discussion of this nature, please contact Simon directly at:

Simon will then forward to you more details of the study and a consent form.

Children’s Action Plan: Feedback Workshops

The Dunedin Council of Social Services is inviting key stakeholders and influencers of the children’s workforce to take part in the next phase of consultation of the Draft Core Competency Framework: A Pre-Workshop Meeting on 3 March and the Workshop on either 5 April or 6 April. The Ministry of Social Development and Children’s Action Plan faculty are leading the conversation, while the Dunedin Council of Social Services is assisting in the coordination of the local meetings. Register for the pre-workshop and workshop no later than 29 February: Workshop Registration

Why We are Developing a Core Competency Framework:
Children have a right to have all their needs met and to be safe from abuse and neglect. A better future for vulnerable children is at the heart of the 2012 Children’s Action Plan, which was informed by submissions from almost 10,000 New Zealanders – including children. The Children’s Action Plan led to the Vulnerable Children Act  and other legislative change in 2014.

Part of that change is better protection of our children. We are enhancing the children’s workforce so that it is responsive and able to recognise and act when something isn’t right. The core competency framework will support children’s workers to better identify, support and protect vulnerable children.

The Framework will not replace existing specialist and professional standards and frameworks. Instead, it will sit alongside and complement these in a way that unifies and reinforces common understandings and ways of working – a common language for supporting, protecting and identifying vulnerable children.

We will get the best results for vulnerable children if our children’s workforce shares open, honest and robust dialogue leading to trust and wide agreement on the best ways forward. We are seeking your experiences, opinions and insights to inform the core competency framework and options for implementation. The Draft Framework will change in response to what we learn from the children’s workforce.

We are asking for your feedback. We plan to consult with you in three ways: a pre-workshop meeting, an electronic survey that will follow the meeting, and then a follow up workshop about the Framework:

Pre-Workshop Engagement Meeting:
You are invited to attend a pre-workshop engagement meeting about the Draft Framework. At this meeting, we will discuss the original vision to improve the lives of vulnerable children – the White Paper for Vulnerable Children. We will talk about how the draft framework has been developed so far, the Draft Framework’s current state, and how you can help improve the next version of the Framework to make sure it’s fit for purpose. This meeting will be offered at two different times; you only need to choose the one that works best for you. Register Here:Workshop Registration

Pre-Workshop Engagement Meeting Timetable
Date Time Venue
Thursday 3 March 2016 8:30 – 9:00 AM     Networking
9:00 – 11:00 AM   Meeting
Dunedin Community House, Alexander McMillan Room,
301 Moray Pl, Dunedin
Thursday 3 March 2016 12:30 – 1:00 PM   Networking
1:00 – 3:00 PM      Meeting
Dunedin Community House, Alexander McMillan Room,
301 Moray Pl, Dunedin

If you have questions, please contact

Gathering your feedback
After you attend the initial meeting, we’ll send you an email to request your feedback via Survey Monkey.

You’re also invited to attend a workshop to discuss your response to the draft framework. Attendees should be able to participate in one of the two offered pre-workshops and one of the three offered workshops.

Register For All Workshops Here by 29 February – SPACES ARE LIMITED:
Workshop Registration

Workshop timetable
Date Time Venue
Tuesday 5 April 2016 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Work and Income, Dunedin
Waipori Room
(corner of Castle and St Andrew Streets)
Tuesday 5 April 2016 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Work and Income, Dunedin
Waipori Room
(corner of Castle and St Andrew Streets)
Wednesday 6 April 2016 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM Work and Income, Dunedin
Waipori Room
(corner of Castle and St Andrew Streets)

We appreciate your valuable time and commitment. Thank you in advance for being a part of this journey to protect and support our vulnerable children/tamariki and whānau. If you have any questions about the Draft Core Competency Framework or the consultation process, please email: If you have any questions about local coordination, please contact Amber Ptak

Finally, we are making every effort to include as many voices as possible in these workshops, but we have likely missed someone. Please do not hesitate to forward this email on to someone who you think may want to join us.

Ngā mihi nui,

Alan Shanks
Executive Officer
Dunedin Council of Social Services

Meet the GM of Hui E! on Monday with COSSD

Hui E! Community Aotearoa is a new national entity that aims to connect, support and promote the whole community sector.

General Manager Peter Glensor of Hui E! is visiting us at Dunedin Community House at Noon on Monday to discuss:

  • What’s happening in Dunedin that we need to know about nationally
  • Who Hui E! is and the issues we’re working on
    • Contracting and funding
    • Productivity Commission responses
    • Charity Services dialogue
    • National umbrellas meeting
    • A sector voice
  • How you can be involved

Come along and join the conversation!

Consultations Unpacked: More Effective Social Services

DCOSS and Commuity Law Otago invite you to our next Consultations Unpacked event around the Productivity Commission’s More Effective Social Services draft report.

12:15 – 13:45 Friday 5 June 2015 at Dunedin Community House, 301 Moray Place

The Productivity Commission has been tasked with looking at current arrangements in Government funded social services, housing, crime reduction and more. They’ve issued a draft report for comment and this is your opportunity to join DCOSS, Otago Law Centre  and Law for Change to discuss what’s been raised and what we have to say about it.
Available are the:
Following the meeting we’ll write up a submission based on what was discussed and organisations and individuals will be able to add their names to this if they wish. This is a big issue and we hope that this will be an effective way to have a say.
Different groups will see the issues differently and we hope to accurately represent smaller Otago organisations’ views.
Also available on the Commisison’s website are case studies on Employment services, Whänau Ora, Services for people with disabilities, Home-based support of older  a report on The economics of social services and Handing back the social commons, a report by James Mansell, an intereting read on information sharing to deliver better outcomes.
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Out in the cold – a report on Dunedin housing

out in the cold

This report is “a survey of low income private rental housing in Dunedin 2013”.

In 2004 Presbyterian Support Otago undertook the same survey and now compares the results.

Some of the discoveries are:

  • Compared to 2004 where 36% of low income houses passed the standards, only 23% passed in 2013. That’s a 1/3 decrease.
  • Most tenants claim they can afford to heat only minimal living space in their homes to a safe level

It is a great opportunity to get to know what is happening and changing in Dunedin.


Read the report as a PDF.


Family Violence Forum a Success

On Tuesday the 26th of August, Council of Social Services Dunedin and Nicola Atwool from the University of Otago facilitated a forum to discuss the People’s Report and Family Violence. This outlined recent findings and research to show what the current situation is and in what direction New Zealand is heading.

This was a huge success. Nine organisations spoke to an audience of over 50 people, sharing information about what they do and the work they face in the current environment. This was highly informative and thought provoking, raising a lot of questions about what the future can bring. Current issues were raised and discussion was had on where Dunedin can go from here. The majority agreeing that action is needed now; that we need to be proactive and begin collaborating.

The organisations that spoke were Chatbus, Te Whare Pounamu, Te Roopu Tautoko ki te Tonga, Ministry of Social Development, Child Youth and Family, Police, Age Concern, Dunedin Community Law Centre and Stopping Violence Dunedin.

It was great to hear the shared focus of collaboration being discussed and emphasised. We need to be proactive not reactive. Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence launched their new campaign which provides one way of doing this; Families free from Violence.

Nicola Atwool made it into the local paper the next day with an article in the Otago Daily Times. You can read the article by clicking here.

Please don’t forget to come along to Dunedin Collaboration Against Family Violence’s ”Families Celebrating Father’s Day” event THIS SUNDAY 9am till 4pm at Forsyth Barr Stadium.

IT for good: learn local, think global talk, 17 July 2014

Stephen Blyth

cartoon-small1Stephen Blyth presented to a note scribbling audience here at Dunedin Community House last week. He has now posted the presentation online along with links:

Whether you were there or not there are links galore and learning to be had.

Stephen is also featured on Sustainable Lens on OAR F tonight at 7pm.

If anyone is interested in helping get net2 up and running in Dunedin please email Rob to let him know.



Experiences with the Medical Appeal Board (MAB) Process an exploration of how the Work and Income medical criteria decision review process is working

Consultations Unpacked Background Paper.

Friday 6 June 2014 12-1.30pm
Dunedin Community House

 a Dunedin Council of Social Services, Dunedin Community Law Centre &
Community Law Canterbury Community Forum


The MAB is the place to go to appeal a Work and Income decision made on medical criteria (such as eligibility for Supported Living Payment, Jobseeker Support and the Child Disability Allowance). The board is independent of Work and Income. The MAB has the power to change decisions made by Work and Income. It can either agree with the decision, or change the decision. There is no right of appeal against a decision of a Medical Appeal Board. This means it is very important that a case going to the MAB is well prepared, there is strong medical evidence to back up your case and if you need it, you have someone to support or represent you at the hearing.

The MAB is a decision making panel made up of three people. MAB members are appointed by MSD’s Chief Executive and are paid by MSD for their time taking part in hearings. MABs consist of three members* who are:

  • Doctors
  • People with expertise in rehabilitation, such as physiotherapists, occupational therapists, nurses, and psychologists.
  • Other people with the right expertise.

* The board members at your hearing must not have had any involvement in your case or treated you as a patient.

Concern has been expressed locally at the length of time it can take for an appeal to go through, and the composition of the board. While it is recognised that board membership does require people with the right expertise, some clients have indicated that the expertise is limited to specific areas of medicine and their case may fall outside of this area, other clients have expressed concern the board is not gender and culturally diverse.

The forum is interested in hearing local stories and experiences with the Medical Appeals Board so that we can look at ways of supporting beneficiaries who are taking medical appeals.

 Sources and links for further Information

 Work & Income New Zealand

 About medical appeals: medical-appeals.html

About the medical appeal board hearings: hearings.html

'The Spirit Level' authors talking in Dunedin 26 May

On Monday 26 May The Spirit Level Authors Professor Richard Wilkinson and Professor Kate Pickett, will give a public talk on ‘Inequality, sustainability and well-being’.

They’ll present the evidence showing that reducing the income differences between rich and poor is crucial to achieving higher levels of sustainable well-being in the future. They will then go on to suggest policies that can ensure greater equality becomes deeply embedded in our societies.

The Spirit Level was so influential it even has its own Wikipedia page.

This is a great opportunity to hear world class thinkers peak in Dunedin and the event is free.

Find more details on our calendar page.