We produce a variety of reports to present new insights, document our analytical methods, and evaluate the results of programmes and projects.
Academic Perspectives on Wellbeing
The Social Wellbeing Agency has published a summary of existing evidence on the relationship between aspects of parental, family, and whānau wellbeing and child wellbeing in early childhood, with a focus on the first 1000 days of a child's life. This research can be used to support decisions about where Government resources are best targeted, as part of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet's Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy. It forms part of the Social Wellbeing Agency's three year strategy by shining a light on policy issues that affect the wellbeing of
Alongside the report, the Agency has created an A3 which summarises the evidence on critical factors for child wellbeing in the first 1000 days.
Report: Academic Perspectives of Wellbeing [PDF, 1.1 MB]
A3: Critical Factors for Child Wellbeing in the first 1000 Days [PPTX, 372 KB]
Identifying effective responses to the COVID-19 pandemic
In 2021, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet asked the Social Wellbeing Agency to investigate the impact of various government interventions on the spread of COVID-19 and its burden on the health system.
Our report, Identifying effective policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, summarises a number of COVID-19 policies alongside reported case rates in New Zealand and 49 similar countries.
- Across the countries examined, the policies most implemented related to containment and closure, such as workplace closures and restriction of movement. These type of policies significantly reduced COVID-19 case numbers.
- About 40% of the time, countries introduced or strengthened policies in multiple areas at the same time (across the four groupings of containment and closure; economic; health system; and vaccinations).
- The introduction of economic policies such as income support is associated with the largest short-term reduction in COVID-19 cases.
- Policies relating to contact tracing and face coverings were associated with significant reductions in cases. Given their lower cost compared with other policies, they are an effective and efficient tool to reduce COVID-19.
- New Zealand had high adherence to stay-at-home requirements.
- Vaccination is highly effective over the medium and long-term, rather than reducing cases in a matter of weeks.
Identifying effective policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic [PDF, 461 KB]
What about the menz?
In 2018-19, the Social Wellbeing Agency worked with The Southern Initiative to explore the benefits of combining data, science, and lived experience – specifically looking at contributing to child, youth and family wellbeing in South Auckland. With this work, we wanted to better understand the conditions of prolonged cumulative stress South Auckland whānau were experiencing around the birth of a child, and identify what might help keep whanau strong and resilient. We published a case study summarising those findings here.
In 2021, with The Southern Initiative, we carried out further analysis looking at a cohort of 53,000 new fathers. We investigated how income and occupation affected people's ability to take time off – as indicated by dips in income around the time of birth. We also estimated how many dads were eligible for parental leave when their baby is born, measured by their length of attachment to their main employer.
The key findings are:
- Income ‘dips’ in general appear to be a sign of being able to afford time off work.
- High income dads can afford to take the most unpaid time off around a baby’s birth.
- The very lowest income dads are motivated to enter the workforce to start earning more money around the time of birth – they don’t have ‘dips’ and their income only increases from point of birth.
- Low-to-middle income dads try to earn more in the leadup to birth, to be able to afford to take unpaid time off around baby’s arrival, but return to work fairly quickly.
- Māori and Pasifika dads, despite low average income, don’t follow the pattern of returning to work quickly on average.
- There are some signs that Māori dads in the most precarious occupational groups are more likely to ‘work through’ the birth month.
The work has been shared with relevant government agencies, and The Southern Initiative have published the report here.(external link)The views and recommendations in the report are those of The Southern Initiative.
Updated analysis on COVID-19 vaccine uptake for disabled people
The Social Wellbeing Agency has completed updated analysis of COVID-19 vaccination uptake for disabled people, working with the Ministry of Health and in consultation with the Office for Disability Issues on various pieces of data analysis since November 2021.
The analysis shows disabled people have high rates of at least one dose of the vaccine, higher than those who are non-disabled. Māori and Pacific disabled communities are leading the charge by having significantly higher vaccination rates than Māori and Pacific non-disabled people.
This analysis builds on work published earlier this year, and shows a continued increase in the rate of COVID-19 vaccination in the disabled community.
The Vaccine uptake analysis contains detailed findings and trends as of 1 March 2022.
The Information Sheet contains a summary of findings as of 29 March 2022. The trends identified are the same as in the Analysis, but we have updated the data to reflect latest information.
A precursor to this work, analysing the uptake of childhood vaccinations, is available here.(external link)
Vaccine uptake analysis of disabled population aged 12 and over as of 1 March 2022 [DOCX, 1.3 MB] (Word doc)
Updated analysis: COVID-19 vaccine uptake by disabled people [PDF, 219 KB] (Information sheet)
Analysis on the uptake of childhood vaccinations
In late 2021, the Social Wellbeing Agency undertook research to identify potential barriers to uptake of the COVID-19 vaccination(external link). To do so, we needed to build and test analytical models. We analysed data on the uptake of childhood vaccinations as a proof of concept. This analysis can be used to identify those who may experience barriers to having their children vaccinated on time, so agencies can look to address those and ensure tamariki are protected from preventable illnesses.
Analysis on the uptake of childhood vaccinations [PDF, 414 KB]
Case study: Community-led support in response to COVID-19
[PDF, 469 KB]South Seas Healthcare Trust is Otara’s largest Pacific health provider, delivering a range of clinic, community and social services in South Auckland. The Pacific community was disproportionately impacted in the COVID-19 Delta outbreak in 2021, and South Seas leaders realised that while there were a lot of service and support responses to COVID-19, not many were youth-led. They wanted their response to supporting young people to be by youth for youth. Thanks to the South Seas team for sharing their story with us in this case study.
South Seas case study [PDF, 469 KB]
Working with Tokona Te Raki to identify stepping stones to success for rangatahi Māori
In 2020-2021 the Social Wellbeing Agency worked with Tokona Te Raki, a collaborative led by Ngāi Tahu to increase Māori participation, success and progression in education and employment outcomes. We participated in joint mixed methods research (which uses both quantitative and qualitative research) to identify the most important boosters, barriers, and levers to help young Māori succeed.
Our work involved:
- Helping identify measures for analysis, including quantitative Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) analysis and qualitative interviews with focus groups
- Developing a tool within the IDI to represent timelines of critical events in the lives of rangatahi Māori
Tokona Te Raki has now published its report(external link) about the project. The views and recommendations in the report are those of Tokona Te Raki.
Patterns across debt and debtors to government (PDFs)
The Social Wellbeing Agency, working with the Department Of Prime Minister and Cabinet’s Child Poverty Unit, has completed an analysis of debt owed to the government. Using the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI) we investigated groups of people that hold debt to the Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Justice, and Inland Revenue, or to two or all of these agencies. This analysis has informed advice from the cross-sector group of government agencies on an ongoing work programme.
The working paper uses data from 2018 and focused on debt to the Ministry of Social Development and Inland Revenue.
The research report builds on this previous analysis and uses debt records through to September 2020. It identifies connections between debt to Inland Revenue, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Ministry of Justice, and is aimed at filling gaps in understanding about the nature and characteristics of debt and debtors.
Patterns across debt and debtors to government [PDF, 772 KB](external link)
Understanding debt and debtors to government [PDF, 722 KB]
COVID-19 vaccine uptake for disabled people - Vaccine analysis (PDF)
December 2021 (some text updated April 2022, data remains the same)
The Ministry of Health asked the Social Wellbeing Agency look at the take up of vaccinations for disabled people using the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI). This required us firstly to create a disability indicator. This is because when people are vaccinated, only information necessary to match their vaccination to their health record is collected, like their name and date of birth. People are not asked whether they are disabled. Using this new indicator, we then matched COVID-19 vaccine data with information in the IDI. Through this anonymised research, we can tell how many disabled people have been vaccinated and identify groups who may need extra support, thereby helping the Ministry of Health with its vaccine rollout.
Vaccine-analysis-info-sheet-final-version-15-Dec.pdf [PDF, 209 KB]
COVID-19 vaccine uptake for disabled people - graphs of disabled vaccination update (PDF) [PDF, 518 KB]
COVID-19 vaccine uptake for disabled people - Vaccine analysis (Word) [DOCX, 111 KB]
Implementing pay equity for social services
Ministers commissioned the Social Wellbeing Agency to identify the challenges of funding and implementing pay equity across the ‘funded sector’ and to identify potential sustainable solutions. The funded sector captures organisations sitting outside of the State sector which receive government funding to deliver social services.
This report summarises our findings and was informed by research we commissioned from FrankAdvice.
Implementing pay equity for social services [PDF, 592 KB]
Understanding service use at a local level
This project investigates how the local experience of a service may differ from nationally reported figures. We focused on the B4 School Check – a free health and development check available to four-year olds – using a geographic lens and describing the children and their families missing out on the B4SC at the local area level. This report provides an overview of the project and highlights the key high-level findings.
Short Report: Social Isolation, loneliness and COVID-19
This short report presents key insights about those at risk of social isolation and loneliness from a literature review and descriptive analysis of the 2018 New Zealand General Social Survey. Specifically, insights are drawn about the effects this risk has on wellbeing and the likely impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown. This report is for government and non-government decision makers, researchers and evaluators, and others with an interest in the topic. The aim of is to add to the growing evidence base on the impacts of COVID-19.
The key insights are:
- The COVID-19 pandemic will likely increase social isolation and loneliness, and increase inequalities in these outcomes.
- Social isolation and loneliness are different things, but they are both associated with poor health and wellbeing.
- Being isolated or feeling lonely in childhood can have an enduring influence on health and wellbeing.
- Access to digital connections have become crucial for maintaining social connection and accessing wellbeing resources, but not everyone has access.
Note: This is a working paper.
Initial specifications for a short form wellbeing outcomes survey
This scoping paper was a preliminary desk-based exercise completed in 2019. It was prepared as the basis for consultation and possible development of a short wellbeing survey for small organisations. We are publishing it in 2020 because some found it useful to help data collection relating to Covid-19.
Note: This is a working paper.
Implementation and emerging outcomes evaluation of the Place-Based Initiatives
The purpose of the Place-Based Initiatives (PBI) model is to improve outcomes for at-risk children and their whānau by shifting collective decision-making and discretion to the local level. In 2016, Cabinet selected three PBI sites: Manaaki Tairāwhiti, South Auckland Social Wellbeing Board, and Kāinga Ora in Te Tai Tokerau. Kāinga Ora was disestablished in 2019. This report qualitatively evaluates the implementation and emerging outcomes of the PBIs.
Towards better social sector decision making and practice - A social wellbeing approach
The Social Wellbeing Agency partnered with The Southern Initiative to explore the benefits of combining data, science, and lived experience – specifically looking at contributing to child, youth and family wellbeing in South Auckland. With this work, we wanted to better understand the conditions of prolonged cumulative stress South Auckland whānau were experiencing around the birth of a child, and identify what might help keep whanau strong and resilient.
Measuring the impact of social housing placement on wellbeing
We explore the impact of social housing on people’s wellbeing and find that generally people’s housing conditions and overall sense of life satisfaction improve as they move into social housing. This analysis builds upon our earlier exploratory work [PDF, 1.3 MB] by adding an extra year of survey data and by improving the rate at which administrative records are successfully linked to survey responses. Wellbeing outcomes for people before and after placement in social housing are then assessed.
Exploring new ways to measure wellbeing: benefit to work transitions
This paper examines how wellbeing outcomes change when people transition from benefit into paid employment. Using SIA’s methodology to connect wellbeing measures with social service usage, this study combines data from the New Zealand General Social Surveys with government administrative records.
Note: This is a working paper.
Measuring the living standards of people receiving income-tested main benefits
To provide information on the living standards of individuals receiving income-tested main benefits compared with the working-age population not receiving an income-tested benefit, this paper uses data from the New Zealand General Social Surveys linked to government administrative records. A range of measures of hardship and wellbeing for individuals receiving a main benefit are considered.
Note: This is a working paper
What you told us
Findings of the ‘Your voice, your data, your say’ engagement on social wellbeing and the protection and use of data.
From listening to learning
The steps we took to analyse and sum up what we heard from 'Your voice, your data, your say' engagement on investing for social wellbeing and the protection and use of data.
Are we making a difference in the lives of New Zealanders – how will we know?
We’re developing a new approach to analyse the impact of social services on the wellbeing of New Zealanders. This can help funders, providers and others understand whether these services are making a genuine and lasting difference to people’s lives, and inform better decisions about where to focus effort to improve people’s wellbeing.
Note: This is a working paper.
Measuring the wellbeing impacts of public policy: social housing
Our new working paper 'Measuring the wellbeing impacts of public policy: social housing' examines the impact of placement in social housing on peoples’ wellbeing. The paper tests a novel method of combining administrative and survey data to connect wellbeing measures with social service usage and includes preliminary results.
Note: This is a working paper.
Your voice, your data, your say: Summary engagement update part B
Included in this update is a summary of what we heard from service users and dedicated Māori and Pacific hui participants between 4th August and 7th September.
Your voice, your data, your say: Summary engagement update part A
Included in this update is a summary of what we heard from non-government organisations (NGOs)/service providers, regional government agency staff and a number of government agencies at a national level between 31st May and 3rd August.
Social housing test case
We've completed our first social investment test case: social housing. We crunched the numbers on social housing to help understand what benefits there are for those living in a social house.