The main aim of the baseline survey was to understand plans and expectations for the Budget-19 investment, and how the investment may have already impacted. The interview topic guide was similar for all participants. The primary research question was:
How, and when, is the Budget-19 investment expected to impact services and the sector?
Secondary questions encouraged participants to think about the impact on the following:
• organisational development
• service design
• experiences for service users (primary clients and family and whānau)
• inter-agency relationships
• relationships with the Ministry
The data collection for the baseline survey comprised two stages. The first stage involved interviews with local contract managers, known as Partnering for Outcomes (PfO) Advisors. PfO Advisors are employed by Oranga Tamariki but manage sexual violence contracts for both Ministries. They help agencies access funding, quality assure contracts, and support community development and strategic planning. The PfO Advisors were interviewed due to their knowledge of the regions and the rangeof agencies that operate within them, including the sexual violence support agencies, whose contracts they manage. The PfO Advisors were interviewed first because the research team wanted to understand any sensitivities before contacting the support agencies. At the second stage, all the peak bodies and support agencies funded by Budget-19, were invited to an interview, within the eligible services (detailed above).
The baseline interview notes and transcriptions were thematically coded using the Framework Method and a software package called NVivo. In most cases, the researcher coded the interview(s) that they, themselves, had conducted. It is best practice to ensure the person most familiar with the data codes it. Themes were identified deductively and inductively. This means that the research team identified data relevant to the themes in the interview guide (deductively). The team also looked for themes that seem to be important to participants (inductively). Quotations were extracted from the data if they provided a good example of a finding, or captured well what several participants had said. On their own, the quotations do not indicate the full breadth of views and experience. Quotations were used almost verbatim. Minor changes were made where the verbatim text impeded the readability of the quotation. Any details that risked identifying participants, or agencies, were redacted.
Most agencies had prioritised recruitment, to increase the number of staff and expand the breadth of experience. A larger workforce was helping to clear or reduce waitlists. A larger workforce was also helping to reduce caseloads, which was important for staff wellbeing and seemed to be improving the quality of care for service users.
Agencies were investing in organisational assets, such as laptops and phones. This enabled them to engage more flexibly with service users, providing home visits and virtual sessions. Agencies were developing processes and strategies to improve service delivery. They were also increasing their professionalism by focusing on governance, hiring specialist staff, and investing in things like staff uniforms and logos.
The Budget-19 funding and more flexible contracts had started to broaden the range of support. This was taking agencies towards a wraparound model of care. This is best practice for people affected by sexual violence. This wraparound model was increasingly important due to waitlists for other services. A shortage of long-term recovery support was forcing agencies to expand their service to include ‘post-crisis’ support.
Experiences for service users
Agencies were increasing access to support through geographical expansion, opening satellite premises and funding travel expenses for staff and service users. There was a focus on making premises more welcoming. Agencies were investing in ways to be more culturally responsive and in family and whānau support. Agencies suggested that more funding was needed to meet the additional costs of family and whānau support.
A larger workforce was creating more time for networking with other agencies. More flexible funding was allowing people to travel and provide hospitality. Improved relationships were supporting referral pathways. Agencies were not confident that Safe to talk was helping to integrate the sector and wanted a better relationship with them.
Relationships with the Ministry
Agencies were largely positive about their relationship with the Ministry. Relationships were built by people in the Ministry, and high staff turnover was perceived to be problematic. The Budget-19 funding made some agencies feel more valued. The Ministry could add value to the funding by providing more strategic and sector-wide support.