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Results & lessons learnt from New Zealand’s Reduction in Youth Reoffending SIB

Engaging with Evidence is a series of interactive online convenings hosted by the Government Outcomes Lab (GO Lab) and designed to encourage a greater understanding of the latest evidence on the use of cross-sector partnerships focused on outcomes. The sessions are hosted monthly, and attract a diverse range of practitioners from different sectors, as well as researcher from across the world.  

Building independent, high-quality evidence 

At the GO Lab, we believe in the importance of building independent, high-quality evidence and disseminating it effectively to inform policy decisions and improve practice on the ground. As new evidence around the use of outcomes-based approaches is starting to emerge, we hope that with this series of online convenings we can continue to bridge the gap between evidence and practice, and help foster real dialogue between policymakers, practitioners and researchers in an honest, transparent and constructive way. Both veterans and explorers interested in better understanding the latest evidence around the use of outcomes-based approaches are welcome to join these sessions.  

Throughout 2023, Engaging with Evidence will offer an open platform for policymakers, practitioners and researchers around the world to engage with key findings from the latest research and evaluation work in the field. They will have the opportunity to discuss new evidence directly with the authors of research and evaluation studies, hear the practical insights of the partners involved in the development and implementation of the projects under discussion, and reflect on the relevance of the evidence to their own work.  

What to expect

Each session lasts 90 minutes and features contributions from a diverse panel of experts, as well as ample time for contributions and questions from all participants. Discussions at each session are grounded in the findings of a recent evaluation or research study, with additional practical insights brought in by stakeholders directly involved in the work or project under discussion. Each session follows a set format:  

  1. Setting the context & presentation of the evaluation/ research findings
  2. Discussion with the panel and audience questions
  3. Closing remarks 

If you’d like to suggest a topic or highlight a recent study that you’d like to see discussed on a future session, please contact our moderator Jessica Reedy

Session Recording

Session Recording

Session Overview

The Reducing Youth Reoffending in South Auckland Social Impact Bond (SIB) was launched in New Zealand in 2017 to provide a new set of services to reduce reoffending amongst young people. It was commissioned by the New Zealand Government and delivery was led by the Genesis Youth Trust.

In this session, we explored the findings of the Final Report of the Reduction in Youth Reoffending in South Auckland SIB.

Participants in the session had the opportunity to:

  • learn from the research about the results and impact of the New Zealand’s Reduction in Youth Reoffending SIB & their innovative practices
  • hear from those directly involved in the SIB about the implementation of the mechanism
  • explore with the experts the wider implications of the evaluation findings such as:
  1. How this impact bond enabled more innovation in both the design and implementation of the service
  2. How this can be scaled and reproduced
  3. What are the enabling environment and conditions needed for this innovation to occur

We heard about the programme's approach to outcomes metrics and evaluation, the data tools which enabled innovations, the success factors as well as the challenges of delivering the programme, what other countries can learn from this approach to reducing reoffending. The broad range of backgrounds of panelists gave us the opportunity to hear about all of these things and more from a variety of angles: governmental, political, delivery, investor, academic, & global.

Background to the reports

The Genesis Youth Trust works with at-risk rangatahi (young people) to reduce offending in Auckland’s most vulnerable communities. In September 2017, it was awarded a Social Impact Bond to substantially improve resourcing for its innovative wrap-around programme that enables young offenders to proudly transform their lives for themselves.

The purpose of the research was to establish whether the programme improved outcomes for its participants. Using the Integrated Data Infrastructure (IDI), a cross-agency government database maintained by Stats NZ, more than 500 rangatahi and young people (around 2/3 Māori) who completed the programme were compared to a contemporaneous cohort from the same geographical area matched in age, sex, ethnicity, and risk of reoffending (as determined by Police YORST youth offending risk scores). They were compared on several different outcome variables within the IDI including education, employment, justice, social support, driver’s licensing, and consumption of health services.

Key report findings

  • Overall, on the clear majority of metrics, measured outcomes for social bond participants were either significantly better or tending in that direction compared to the matched cohort
  • There were significantly fewer police offences and criminal charges recorded for the social bond participants than their matched cohort
  • Significantly more social bond participants enrolled in tertiary education
  • When compared to their paired individuals in the matched cohort, the social bond participants were significantly more likely to have a higher income overall, and a higher income from wages and salary
  • A number of outcomes tended in the direction of being more favourable for social bond participants, but the differences were not statistically significant. Specifically, more social bond participants enrolled in secondary education, obtained driver’s licences, registered vehicles, used MSD-funded employment assistance programmes, although these differences were not statistically significant
  • There were no clear differences in the number of people consuming benefits or the number of people who completed a recognised course of education. Education completion counts were, however, small and may have been limited by the opportunity to complete courses of education
  • Although this outcome was not expected initially, participants in the programme were associated with significantly fewer hospital events, use of prescriptions, and consumption of mental health services

Background reading:

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