Evaluation of Investments in the Strengthening Management and Governance Programme
Table of contents
- Executive Summary
- 1. Evaluation of Investments in Strengthening Management and Governance
- 2. What Has the SMG Programme Achieved?
- 3. Possible Enhancements to the SMG Programme
- 4. Conclusion
- Appendix One: Methodology
- Appendix Two: Results of the SMG Online Survey
- Appendix Three: References
This report provides an outcome evaluation of Te Puni Kōkiri’s Strengthening Management and Governance (SMG) programme.
The SMG programme aims to develop strong and effective governance and management capacity and capability in established Māori organisations and businesses contracted to deliver government services. To achieve this, Te Puni Kōkiri engages management consultants (assessors) to undertake an independent organisational analysis of Māori organisations and, where required, assists organisations with follow-up interventions to enhance or improve performance.
Evaluation objectives and approach
The objectives of this evaluation are to:
- understand what is good governance and management practice for Māori organisations;
- understand the extent to which investments in governance and management have been effective, and the range of outcomes achieved; and
- guide future investments in governance and management initiatives and inform future programme design.
Quantitative and qualitative techniques were used to gather information, including:
- an online survey of all participants in the SMG programme to gain baseline data on the overall effectiveness of the programme;
- key informant interviews with six organisations, three assessors and Te Puni Kōkiri staff to gain more ‘rich’ information on achievement of outcomes and specific examples; and
- a review of all relevant documentation and assessors’ summary reports.
Outcomes for Māori organisations
Strengthening the governance function of Māori organisations
For participants in the SMG programme, the programme successfully increased the capacity and capability of the organisations’ governance boards. It is also apparent that ongoing work is required in the governance area to address issues such as board member turnover and enhancement of board members’ skills and capabilities.
The SMG programme improved the organisations’ strategic focus, helped clarify the distinction between governance and management, and increased board confidence and overall performance. Specifically, the SMG programme:
- assisted boards to understand their role in setting strategy and clarifying the strategic goals for organisations;
- assisted board members to clarify their roles and responsibilities including the separation of their governance and management duties;
- enabled board members (through governance training) to gain the skills and knowledge that allow them to be more productive and focused at board meetings; and
- increased board members’ confidence in their governance abilities and self-assurance to seek and attain new business opportunities.
Strengthening the management function of Māori organisations
The SMG programme played a key role in improving organisations’ management processes and systems. The programme identified areas of weakness and provided support and direction to address shortcomings. Some of the outcomes for organisations included:
- strengthening management structures to ensure lines of accountability and management succession planning were in place;
- strengthening work environments by improving organisational culture;
- implementing operational policies and procedures including financial management, risk management, board management and quality management;
- assisting organisations to develop a better understanding of risk management and develop strategies to manage and mitigate risks; and
- investing in staff development to ensure organisations had the capabilities to deliver quality services.
The impact of the SMG programme
Overall, the SMG programme was viewed positively by organisations, assessors and Te Puni Kōkiri staff. The survey rated the programme as having made either a decisive or worthwhile difference to their organisation.
Organisations valued the professional advice, valuable independent opinion and access to experienced assessors. The SMG programme was considered by organisations to be timely and enabled them to develop and grow.
Organisations were keen to participate in the SMG programme, and showed willingness to share information and insights, and were receptive to the recommendations made. About two-thirds (67%) of organisations implemented all or most of the recommendations made by their assessors. Organisations cited either lack of resources to undertake remedial work or a change in organisational priorities as reasons for not implementing assessors’ recommendations.
The SMG programme provided a level of assurance to Te Puni Kōkiri and, anecdotally, to other government agencies and funders that organisations were capable of delivering quality services. This was illustrated by a government agency’s willingness to invest in an organisation because they had been through the SMG programme.
Outcomes for Te Puni Kōkiri
The evaluation also discussed the achievement (to the extent possible) of two of the SMG programme’s high level outcomes, namely to:
- contribute to the growth of strong Māori organisations able to meet organisations’ goals and take advantage of future opportunities; and
- increase stakeholder confidence in the accountability of Māori organisations.
The scope of the evaluation did not extend to questioning other government agencies on their investment practices and whether Māori service providers that agencies invested in produced high quality outcomes. On that basis, the other two high level outcomes for the SMG programme were not discussed in this evaluation.
Strong Māori organisations
Organisations strengthened their governance and management capabilities through the SMG programme, as well as through their own efforts, leading to the growth of strong Māori organisations.
The SMG programme enabled organisations to critically assess their strengths and weaknesses to gain a better understanding of their organisation and how to achieve organisational goals through implementing appropriate strategies.
Some organisations demonstrated independence and ownership of their ongoing development requirements by subsequently funding a separate follow-up review (in addition to SMG assessment and remedial work) from their own resources. In addition, some organisations gained greater financial stability through securing new contracts for service.
Achieving long-term sustainability required organisations to diversify their operations and seek new business opportunities, sometimes in new and untested areas of expertise. New business opportunities also led to the creation of strategic partnerships with other providers in their communities.
Accountable Māori organisations
The willingness of funders to invest in an organisation is an indicator of confidence and trust. Moreover, the renewal of contracts, or signing of new contracts, is an indicator of an organisation’s capability to manage contracts and account for funds.
The implementation of operational policies and procedures and improved financial management practices ensured organisations had accountability controls in place, particularly when approving expenditure.
The evaluation noted that considerable attention was placed on boards’ understanding of their stewardship roles and that the accountability of the organisation was ultimately their responsibility.
Enhancements to the SMG programme
The evaluation found that there is still a demand for the SMG programme. It identified options to widen its accessibility and improve its effectiveness. These improvements fall broadly under a) operational; and b) policy improvements.
- Broadening the entry criteria and lowering the contract level threshold to allow a larger range of organisations to qualify.
- Tailoring a complete package (assessment, remediation, post-remediation monitoring and evaluation) for each organisation, to be provided by an assessor with industry-specific knowledge.
- Targeting assistance around the specific needs of organisations in addition to the standardised SMG process.
- Setting up coaching and mentoring arrangements for organisations to access consultants over a longer period and having them available on an on-call basis.
- Providing networking opportunities to share information.
- Improving the quality of pre-assessment briefings and assigning assessors with sector-specific knowledge of the organisation.
- Formalising board development programmes such as the introduction of a qualification for trustees of Māori organisations.
- Analysing SMG programme information to increase Te Puni Kōkiri’s knowledge and understanding of Māori governance.
- Reviewing the SMG programme outcomes to ensure they are measurable and align with the Māori Potential outcomes.
- Brokering closer relationships with other agencies that have a vested interest in building the capability and capacity of Māori organisations.
Overall, the SMG programme was rated positively by organisations and assessors, and both groups found it to be a beneficial experience for the organisations.
The SMG programme was effective in providing advice and strategies to address key governance issues. Governance was considered by the assessors to be an area that was often neglected, with organisations tending to focus more at an operational level.
The SMG programme has been instrumental in enhancing the operations and performance of boards.
The SMG programme also made significant gains in improving organisations’ management processes and systems. Improvement in human resources, financial management, business planning and risk management processes enabled organisations to strengthen and consolidate their positions.
Overall, the SMG programme has assisted organisations to achieve positive outcomes. There was unanimous agreement among evaluation participants that there is still a demand for the SMG programme (or something similar) and that the SMG programme should continue. More value could be realised if the recommended improvements are made to the programme.