Source: (2003) Working Paper No.16. Wellington: State Services Commission, New Zealand Public Service. Downloaded 25 January 2005.

This paper examines the topic of improving social outcomes in New Zealand through collaboration between government and communities where children, young people and families are at risk. Public concern has mounted about the incidence of child abuse and neglect, youth suicide and pockets of poor educational performance among specific population groups in New Zealand. A review of relevant literature suggests that a systems approach is required, if public service and community leaders are to be successful in responding to these problems. Two frameworks are put forward for social systems change, one at a conceptual level and one at an operational level for practical application in New Zealand. These frameworks draw on the reinventing government work of David Osborne and Peter Plastrik and the systems thinking work of Peter Senge. To learn how similar issues are being tackled in the United States, two case studies were selected. The first case study is about an innovative non-profit organization in Chelsea, Massachusetts, called Roca, Inc. and the impact it is having on social outcomes and on the way state agencies think about social problems. The second case study examines legislative measures in Oregon to improve social outcomes through collaboration. The research demonstrates that in a systemic approach both bottom up and top down approaches to collaboration are important, as are outcomes planning, performance measurement and a mix of strategies to address underlying problems. There are deeper implications for change within our public management system, however, if collaboration is to be truly successful. These include moving to power sharing and joint accountability arrangements and extending the role of government to that of enabler. Methods of underpinning these new approaches include creating incentives for collaboration, longer term, relational contracting and distributed leadership. Author's abstract.

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