Good practice in action: Invest in upfront discussions
‘Resources freed up through reduced compliance commitments will go towards helping more families.’
‘Before we had to deal with multiple contracts for multiple services and there was little flexibility. High trust contracting allows us to use government funding to meet the needs of families in the best way and to achieve the best outcomes – not deliver services strictly based on numbers.’
- Comments from participants involved in negotiations
This first example of Code 1 Respect is a ‘currently active’ high trust contract, which is ‘work-in-progress’. The comments of the Chief Executive Officer of Ngāti Awa Social and Health Services show the results achieved through investing in upfront discussions.
This has reduced compliance transactions that added no value, and by starting with an agreement based around results, there has been increased flexibility in how those results could be achieved, through a process of dialogue.
Ngāti Awa Social and Health Services/Ministry of Social Development (MSD) July 2009
Key contract features included:
Prior recognition of ‘Trusted Providers‘ - Through the MSD trusting their historical relationships with providers that have ’proven‘ track records in accountability, transparency, and ability to achieve contracted outcomes, the contracting process was greatly improved. The repetitive and often time-consuming process placed on providers to prove to the department that the provider was capable and trustworthy of delivering on the contract, were in this case set aside. Often MSD already holds important paperwork such as incorporation documents. This process saved time and energy on both sides so they could be focused on delivering outcomes
A four page ’only‘ contract for $2m value - Given the emphasis on relationships the entire flow of the document was greatly improved and the ’compliance‘ aspects of the contract became part of the ’stuff‘ that goes into the ‘trusted provider’ box to help eliminate unnecessary processes repeated in every single contract we have (more than 30).
Principles and values of the relationship - These were upfront in the contract placing the relationship between the parties as the primary objective versus the financial aspects which were last and very simple. This shifted the usual master / servant type of relationship that exists on its head. It made the provider more valued and part of the contract make up as opposed to here’s the contract ‘sign it or leave it’.
The principles and values dictated a ‘level playing field’ for open discussions to occur. This approach resulted in more open and meaningful reporting discussions where providers were not penalised for trying something new or creative, and the department was open to hearing about new and different ways of service provision. Ultimately this aspect of contracting enabled flexibility and creativity within a contract to occur.
In December 2010, this example of a funding relationship featured in a Good Practice in Action seminar organised by the Office for the Community and Voluntary Sector. The presenters were Peter Waru, Regional manager, Ministry of Social Development and Enid Ratahi-Pryor, Chief Executive of Ngāti Awa Social and Health Services.
Pictured: Presenters Enid Ratahi-Pryor and Peter Waru