The plan to reduce beneficiaries by 25% is based on actual data, right?
Prior to the election Ms Bennett, then Minister for Social Development, now Associate Minister of Finance (note there isn’t much difference between the two portfolios in practice for kiwis unfortunate to have to rely on the safety net of welfare), announced National will reduce beneficiaries by 25%.
Ms Bennett stated that “research had shown there were “touchpoints” for people going from work back onto a benefit – at six months and again at 12-14 months.”
The article continued:
“She has set a new target of getting benefit numbers from 295,000 to 220,000 by 2017 – a 25 per cent drop. She is also looking for a 40 per cent drop in youth on benefits – getting 21,000 more young people off the benefit.”
In order to develop successful outcomes, such as those outlined above, it would help to understand the trends amongst those who are trying to seek work, obtain it then lose it and so on. Presumably the MSD would focus on collecting such data?
I made an Official Information Act request on 22 September 2014 stating the following
“Last week Ms Bennett announced plans to cut beneficiaries by 25%.
” National is promising to reduce the number of people on benefits by 25 percent if re-elected on Saturday.”
Social Development Minister Paula Bennett today announced a plan to get more people off the dole and into work by way of offering incentives for people who stay in work for a set period of time.”
how many people who were receiving a benefit between 2009 and June 2014 and who found work were subsequently released from work by an employer implementing to 90 day trial rule?
Please advise the data the ministry has for the same period showing:
Length of time unemployed remained in paid work after leaving unemployment benefit;
Reasons given for termination of that employment when it ended;
How many unemployed were terminated under the 90 day trial;
How many moved into contracted work rather than as employees
After exactly 20 working days I received a response. That means “as soon as reasonably practicable” to provide the information I requested was exactly 20 working days notwithstanding the PM and Ms Bennett made a policy announcement on it on 17 September 2014.
Some information was refused to me on the grounds it is held in file notes on individual files and would hinder their efficient running to provide it. That means the individual file note data is not collated in any useful form for use in assessing policy.
In otherwords the MSD don’t know how many people in New Zealand who were receiving benefits, are being dismissed under our 90 day trial initiative and then returning to benefits.
The Ministry told me that no one asked them to collect data on how long people stay in employment after leaving a benefit and then returned to a benefit. But hang on, didn’t Ms Bennett say
“research had shown there were “touchpoints” for people going from work back onto a benefit – at six months and again at 12-14 months”
– it appears she didnt get it from her Ministry… or did she?
MSD don’t know why people have their employment terminated after moving from a benefit into employment and back onto a benefit.
But hang on
““research had shown there were “touchpoints” for people going from work back onto a benefit – at six months and again at 12-14 months”
If we don’t know why people are being terminated, how do we get them long term employment, and reduce numbers by 25%?
The MSD has developed policy to address this phenomenon BUT has no data to provide possible reasons why that employment terminated? Seems it will make it harder to bring about a winning solution?
So there you have it. A table and a bunch of we don’t know and don’t collect that info in a way that is easily extrapolated. 20 working days. Ms Bennett however just KNOWS how to reduce people on benefits by 25% notwithstanding the dearth of some data relevant to New Zealand and it wont be by cutting their benefits…
And remember, it’s a “pledge”
I then had to make another request (my fault for not specifically including it the first time)
Please provide as a matter of urgency pursuant to the OIA the “research” MS Bennett was relying on when she stated
““research had shown there were “touchpoints” for people going from work back onto a benefit – at six months and again at 12-14 months.”” http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11326254
As this document will be readily accessible, as she has already referred to it, I expect to receive it as soon as reasonably practicable, and not on the 20th working day.
It took them a further two weeks to realise that they needed to
transfer your request to the Minister of Social Development for response.
It turns out it was a 2013 report, publicly available.
The research was undertaken by Actuaries whose purpose was to (amongst other things)
An actuarial approach has been taken to measure the forward liability associated with the welfare system.The liability acts as a proxy for assessing people’s risk of long-term benefit dependency and provides a tool to assist management inworking with those people
It still took 20 working days to email me the link. I have complained to the Ombudsmen Office but they are back in their quagmire, abated only briefly during the election campaign. The word “touchpoint” never appears so I am not sure why it appeared in inverted commas. It is worth wading through the report if the state of welfare and how it is assessed is of interest.