We are a small government agency that works across the social system. We take a broad view, looking at issues that New Zealanders face which do not fit neatly into the work of a single agency. We are specialised, nimble and innovative. This allows us to get actionable insights to decision makers, and ensure that real people – whānau and communities – are involved in and benefit from the work we do.
Ultimately, we want our work to achieve sustainable improvements in the wellbeing of New Zealanders.
We use a broad and inclusive set of wellbeing measures that tell us whether people are leading full, meaningful lives. We create tools and practices to target gaps in the social sector’s knowledge. We partner with the social sector, combining science, data and lived experience to draw insights that are enriched by whānau voices.
Improving social wellbeing enables people, whānau and communities to live the lives they aspire to, including both material conditions and quality of life. A social wellbeing approach is centred on people, with an emphasis on broad measures of wellbeing.
Our approach to improving social wellbeing is based on six principles.
Learn what a social wellbeing approach looks like in practice. Read our case study Towards better social sector decision making and practice: a social wellbeing approach [PDF, 2.2 MB].
We collaborate with a range of government decision makers and non-government people — bringing the whole of New Zealand’s social system into view to enable social innovation that really works. We’re grateful to our foundation group of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who’ve worked closely with us since our establishment and continue to do so: Family Help Trust(external link), Methodist Mission Southern(external link), Presbyterian Support Northern(external link), Te Tihi(external link), The Southern Initiative(external link) and The Wise Group(external link).
We report to the Minister for Social Development – Hon Carmel Sepuloni(external link) – who agrees the Agency's work programme in consultation with the Social Wellbeing Board of social sector chief executives.
Formerly the Social Investment Agency, we became the Social Wellbeing Agency on 19 March 2020. Read the Minister's press release(external link).
We are a Departmental Agency hosted within the State Services Commission.