Evaluation of Investments in the Strengthening Management and Governance Programme

4. Conclusion

Overall, the SMG programme was rated positively by organisations and assessors. Both groups reported that involvement with the programme was beneficial for the organisations.

The evaluation set out to achieve three key objectives:

  • To understand the extent to which investments in governance and management have been effective, and the range of outcomes achieved.
  • To understand what are good governance and management practices for Māori organisations.
  • To guide future investments in governance and management initiatives and inform future programme design.

Effectiveness of the SMG programme

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 evaluation identified that the SMG programme has been instrumental in enhancing the operations and performance of boards through:

  • clarifying the role of governance as distinct from that of management;
  • setting clear strategy and goals for the organisation;
  • improving board members’ skill levels, enabling boards to be more productive and have greater confidence in their abilities and roles; and
  • focusing on competencies and skills required for board members.

These improvements built confident boards, leading to better decision making and stronger organisational cohesion. Efficiency and effectiveness gains through more productive meetings and better knowledge and understanding of their operating environments have contributed to lifting the overall performance of organisations.

Organisations made significant gains in the governance area; however, there is still an ongoing need to provide support and assistance to boards. Issues highlighted as significant risks for organisations included the voluntary nature of boards, their inability to remunerate members at realistic levels for their time and effort, and representation on boards based on kinship rather than competency.

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.

The evaluation highlighted that many organisations were enjoying increased levels of confidence. Organisations were aware that their communities and funders demonstrated increased levels of confidence in them, as measured by increased numbers of contracts, increased financial turnover and growth in client numbers.

Good management and governance practices

One of the strengths of the SMG programme was the provision of experienced, independent assessors, who engaged professionally in their work with the organisations. The arrival of the SMG programme was timely and offered targeted assistance to enhance growth and development potential for many organisations.

The availability of remedial assistance through Phase 2 provided organisations with continuity of support and an opportunity to address gaps identified in the Phase 1 assessment. In some instances, the gaps posed a high risk to the organisations’ ongoing viability.

The evaluation found that, in general, some organisations were already operating well and that where processes and systems existed they reflected good practice models.

Enhancements to the SMG programme

The evaluation found that there was still a demand for the SMG programme. It also 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, and post-remediation monitoring and evaluation) for each organisation, to be provided by an assessor with industry-specific knowledge.
  • Targeting assistance to 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.
  • 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 has been instrumental in assisting organisations to achieve positive outcomes. There was unanimous agreement among evaluation participants that the SMG programme (or something similar) should continue and that greater value could be realised if the recommended improvements are made to the programme.