March 2014 – Wellington

The 2014 Forum's theme was Showcasing our Sector. Sixty Ministry of Health staff were among the 280 attendees at the Ministry of Health NGO Health and Disability Sector National Forum on Friday 14 March 2014. They were joined by 220 people from 150 different organisations, but only five DHBs were represented. Despite this lack of DHB engagement, the Forum provided an excellent opportunity for the sharing of ideas and experience – particularly through the six Snapshots of Success presentations by NGOs in the morning.

These presentations were:

One delegate’s comment summed up the engagement this way: “despite the differences on the surface and the negotiations on what would be better for the future; it was a united group of people working for the same purpose in mind: improving quality for a better New Zealand.”

Afternoon discussion sessions covered eight different topics concurrently:

  • Public health service specifications and proposed changes
  • Vulnerable Children’s Bill & the Children’s Action Plan
  • How better information/IT enables a more joined-up service model
  • Working effectively with District Health Boards
  • The role of Whānau Ora Navigators
  • Creating networks to have influence – what works and why?
  • Implementing a social investment approach
  • Lessons from the independent review of Disability Support Services.
    What does it mean for delivering quality services?

One thread that was picked up constantly, was the importance of working in partnership – at all kinds of levels – with other NGOs, other community groups, government, family, community, whanau, iwi and hapu. Consequently, early evaluation responses are showing the value that attendees place on the importance of networking at the Forum. Other key themes during the day were about building resources, diversity and the importance of good leadership within the sector. The Forum programme also helped attendees to lift their eyes from the day-to-day detail and keep an eye on the big picture. As one delegate commented on their evaluation: “time out for thinking and considering, hearing about different ways of working.”

Many at the Forum learnt of new topics and opportunities that they will continue to explore more about, while others plan to try the new NZ Navigator self-assessment tool to measure how effectively their organisation is operating.