Organisation structure confirmed for Whaikaha

On 1 August 2023 Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People stood up its internal organisational structure. This sets out how we are organising ourselves to do the work that Cabinet and Ministers have agreed we will do. 

We know that how we organise ourselves is just one part of building an organisation. Most research shows that having a good work culture is more important for success than the structure of the organisation. So, while having this structure is an important setup, it is the commitment of our people to improving the outcomes of tāngata Whaikaha Māori, disabled people and their whānau that will make the biggest difference to our mission.

This is why we are focused on making sure that the work we do aligns with our obligations under Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the Enabling Good Lives principles, and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

Our organisational design focused on increasing capacity in key parts of Whaikaha which sets us up well for the future. As a result, we are pleased to have retained everyone who has been working for Whaikaha. 

Our organisational design has four groups reflecting our four key areas of work.  

  • Policy, Strategy and Partnerships. In addition to Policy, this team includes monitoring the quality of the supports we commission, and our important stewardship of the system function. This group will also lead our Transformation Office and establishment of our Transformation Board. 
  • Commissioning, Design and Delivery. This was previously called Operational Design and Delivery. This group is responsible for the commissioning, designing and the delivery of disability supports. This group will in the future commission disability supports quite differently. 
  • People and Culture. This group is responsible for how we work, and the people practices that shape our culture. Importantly, the initial focus is on helping ensure we are the exemplar in the recruitment and retention of disabled people. 
  • Corporate Services. This group was previously called Performance and Governance. They carry out important enabling functions including supporting our Minister, Communications and Engagement, and Finance.

In addition to the groups above we have a permanent, fulltime Kaihautū – Chief Advisor Māori role on the Executive Leadership Team to support us to embed a Te Tiriti o Waitangi approach. 

Policy, Strategy and Partnerships 

Our design demonstrates Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People’s commitment to transformation through the establishment of a Transformation Management Office. The changes in our Policy, Strategy and Partnerships Group also reflects the integration of the Office for Disability Issues team into the Group while maintaining the importance of their work.  

Other additions to the Policy, Strategy and Partnerships Group include more policy roles, and a strengthened focus on quality monitoring and evaluation, all of which contribute to the transformation of the system. 

The integration of the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) team into Whaikaha as Partnership and Stewardship team, is something we thought about carefully given ODI has a strong identity within our community. The creation of Whaikaha allows us to further strengthen and resource the strategy and stewardship functions of this team. We are pleased the ODI team will be able to continue their mahi within Whaikaha, including partnering on the NZ Disability Strategy and Action Plan, interagency advice based on the UNCRPD, and advice for the Minister for Disability Issues. 

You will notice a change in communications from ODI, as we shift to further embed it as part of the Whaikaha brand.  

The New Zealand Sign Language Board and the team supporting them will remain the same.  

Commissioning, Design and Delivery

Whaikaha has a budget of 2.1 billion dollars each year to commission supports for disabled people and their whānau. These supports are commonly referred to as disability support services.  

The purpose of the Commissioning, Delivery and Design group is twofold. To continue to support disabled people to live at home and in the community by responding to their prioritised needs through centrally designed services; and in parallel to transform how supports are commissioned and provided to disabled people and their whānau who need support to live the lives they want. We know that we must change the way we commission these supports to improve outcomes.  

We will make improvements by shifting from responding to the needs of disabled people and whānau through pre-determined services, that may not reflect what matters to disabled people, to supports that provide choice and control for disabled people and their whānau. 

Within Commissioning Design and Delivery are the three Enabling Good Lives sites, Waikato, Mana Whaikaha and Christchurch. Commissioning, Delivery and Design will include capacity for improved operational policy and design and provide support for the EGL teams to deliver to their community’s priorities. We intend to increase the number of disabled people and whānau who experience Enabling Good Lives through the disability support system. 

People and Culture  

As we noted above, the structure of Whaikaha is only part of influencing the way we work. Given we need to establish our own culture and ways of doing things, as well as our desire to provide much greater focus on our people, we have created a small People and Culture team.

This team will also be responsible for designing innovative recruitment and employment practices to ensure we build a workforce that reflects the communities we serve. In time, we hope that this will be a great example to other agencies and organisations for the recruitment and retention of disabled people and tāngata whaikaha Māori.  

Corporate Services  

Corporate Services are often the people that the community might not engage with directly. Other than the Communications and Engagement team, many of its people work behind the scenes to help ensure Whaikaha can work effectively.  

Some of the roles within this team include, processing Ministerial requests such as Official Information Act Requests (OIAs), Budgeting and Finance, Project Management, managing our risk and providing assurance to the Executive Leadership Team and Ministers. 

We have a large and growing appropriation for commissioning and delivering disability supports, so, while we are small in relative terms compared to other commissioning agencies, our responsibilities around that spend are significant. For example, we contract for a range of demand-driven supports that are life sustaining for disabled people. To support this, we have bolstered our finance capability and have established a risk and assurance team. 

Whaikaha is a Departmental Agency, which means we will continue to receive ongoing support from our host agency, the Ministry of Social Development, across areas such as finance, property, human resources, technology, and information management. The Corporate Services team will continue to support this relationship.  

Going forward  

We understand that there have been requests for a more detailed descriptions of the new structure, including a diagram showing how many roles are within each group and their names. We are currently working on something that we will be able to share, and we will post it on our website.  

As we begin to fill the vacancies created by new positions within Whaikaha, we will be advertising them on our Work with us page.

We encourage you to monitor the page and apply for the roles that interest you. If you would like any type of support with applying, there will be a name, phone number and email address on the adverts for you to contact.  

Thank you to everyone who has supported Whaikaha in our first year as we have been establishing. We look forward to continuing our journey together. 

Ngā mihi  

Whaikaha – Ministry of Disabled People