Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Treasury view of welfare reforms and Youth Pipeline

The most significant welfare reform for me is that private providers will be contracted to manage 16,17 and 18 year-olds.

According to the NZ Herald:

From July, up to 14,000 teenagers aged 16 and 17 who are not in education, work or training and teen parents aged 16 to 18 will be coupled with a private provider to help them with budgeting courses, parenting courses, training or job-hunting.
Their basic costs such as rent and power will be paid by the state, and they will have a payment card for living costs that can be monitored to ensure they do not buy alcohol or cigarettes.
Cabinet has released a paper that discusses the welfare changes up and coming. Some sections have been removed.  In the paper there is reference to the Youth Package and Youth Pipeline. I am guessing these are the names the youth reforms has been given. Under Treasury comment, it states:

As at October 19 [2011] Treasury does not support Youth Package and Youth Pipeline IT systems. The business case was assessed as being high risk under the Risk Profile Assessment and Better Business Cases criteria....in particular we have questions about the extent to which the Youth Pipeline system is suitable for extending for wider welfare reform, the degree of risk.
I assume they refer to risk for the taxpayer as opposed to risk for the beneficiary.

Treasury also thought that the JobSeeker Support (replacement for unemployment benefit) should include sole parents with a youngest child between 5 and 14. "It would also send a clear signal that sole parents are expected to be 'jobseekers'."

They also believed that qualifying criteria for the Supported Living Payment (replacement for the invalid Benefit) should be made on an individual basis as opposed to "generalising based on particular disabilities. In some cases beneficiaries  with severe disabilities will be able to work, and the agency should be given the ability to support these people into greater independence."



Psycho Milt said...

Risk to the taxpayer in private providers? You bet: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/feb/25/a4e-welfare-emma-harrison-properties?INTCMP=SRCH

Lindsay Mitchell said...

PM, Work and Income already contracts out many, many services for beneficiaries and they do so because private providers are more effective than the state. Obviously there follows an accountability process. So I am intrigued by what Treasury objects to in this particular case. We are not getting very much by way of detail. Where the devil resides apparently.