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Detailed recommendations for this section are listed on page 90.

Restoring trust

Recommendation 10

Develop a mutual expectations framework to govern interactions between the Ministry of Social Development and those who interact with the welfare system.

Recommendation 11

Remove some obligations and sanctions (for example, pre-benefit activities, warrants to arrest sanctions, social obligations, drug-testing sanctions, 52-week reapplication requirements, sanctions for not naming the other parent, the subsequent child work obligation, and the mandatory work ability assessment for people with health conditions or disabilities).

Recommendation 12

Improve outcomes by ensuring the public-facing, frontline service is consistent with the new purpose and principles through sufficient resourcing (for example, staffing, support and services), an appropriate performance framework, and complaints and disputes processes.

Recommendation 13

Assist recipients of Sole Parent Support to return to part-time work when their youngest child is 6 years old (subject to supports being available, such as good quality childcare) instead of the current 3 years. Support but not require all sole parents to return to work when their youngest child is under 6 years old.

Reducing the generation of debt

Recommendation 14

Continue to prioritise a reduction in outstanding benefit debt through sustainable repayments, and minimise the creation of overpayments, including reviewing recoverable hardship assistance and current practice, to be more consistent with whakamana tāngata.

Recommendation 15

Align the regulations and practice around benefit debt so that it is treated in substantially the same way as Inland Revenue treats taxpayer debt.

Recommendation 16

Instigate a cross-government approach to managing debt to government agencies.

Minimising the small amount of fraud

Recommendation 17

Endorse the Ministry of Social Development’s three-tiered approach to responding to fraud allegation: intervene, facilitate and, as a last resort, investigate. Apply the principles of natural justice in all steps, and, if the outcome is disputed, permit a review independent of the Ministry of Social Development.

Interface with the justice sector

Recommendation 18

Enhance and improve the support for people exiting prisons, including increasing the Steps to Freedom grant, and ensuring that any person who leaves prison has appropriate identification and is engaged with specialised care and supportive housing initiatives. Move practices around prisoner integration out of the ‘pilot’ stage and draw on evaluation data to embed integrated support for these individuals.

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