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An inter-agency approach to reduce duplication and risk in NZ's social sector

A web-platform has been developed for the social sector which helps providers to manage their organisation's compliance information, and complete purposeful government transactions.

Born from MBIE's Better for Business Accelerator.

The challenge

Social Service Providers support New Zealand's most vulnerable populations. They work with 10 central agencies, crown entities, regional councils, and DHBs.

Providers have to go through dozens of government compliance activities each year; many of which include site visits. Providers often have to interface separately with each agency, despite 50–80% of the same information being requested and verified against overlapping requirements. The estimated time cost for a provider is 40 hours per process. The majority of the time and cost of this duplicated work falls upon the social sector, rather than the government.

Agencies often ask for the same information again and in some instances, sharing between agencies can take months. Even if a useful bit of information has been recorded, it's not accessible to those who need it. Likewise, because a lot of this information is kept on paper and spreadsheets, nobody has a comprehensive top-down view of compliance information in the social sector. This is high risk, as decision makers don't have access to all of the data.

Providers are frustrated they have to repeatedly supply the same information, and Government decision makers cannot see the full picture.

Our solution

Accreditron is a web-platform for the social sector which helps providers to manage their organisation's compliance information, and complete purposeful government transactions. Accreditron has three main tools, for three separate stakeholders.

Provider interface

As a social service provider I can both manage my compliance information online and easily complete government processes.

  • Significantly faster than paper based processes. By default, Accreditron de-duplicates overlapping information requests, removing 50–80% of duplicated effort.
  • Enjoyable, accessible experience

Workflow tools

As a government worker I can quickly take a provider through a process (such as accreditation), ensuring they meet an acceptable standard of quality.

  • Efficient, faster workflows.
  • Reduced risk thanks to consistent processes.

Inter-agency information sharing

As an authorised government staff member, I can instantly access previously inaccessible information about providers, as well as the larger social sector.

  • Better decisions due to better data.
  • Reduced risk.

38% of providers deliver unfunded mental health services, and 25% deliver unfunded addiction services.

The opportunities consolidated data brings

Providers interact with our product just like any other simple web form. However, our data isn't simply lines in a table; we store information in a relationship based structure — drawing a full picture of the relationships between services, sites, organisations, and risks.

We collect information collaboratively — it can be added directly by providers, pulled from APIs (such as NZBN), or added by government staff. To ensure data integrity, information is verified as providers go through existing processes — with no extra overhead. This ensures the information is the most up to date and accurate representation of the sector.

We can use this information to answer important questions. Where are the gaps in the service landscape? Where does supply not meet demand? How can we better connect the individuals who recognise that they need assistance with those who can help? What can be learnt from the huge amount of unknown, unfunded services?

Unfunded services come from somebody seeing a need in their community and acting on it — these are fantastic opportunities that the government needs to be aware of.

Most government software is designed, built and run in silos. As our stakeholders span 10 government agencies, this was never an option for us.


  • ACC
  • Ministry of Health
  • Ministry of Justice
  • Ministry of Social Development
  • Oranga Tamariki Ministry for Children
  • Department of Corrections
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment
  • Ministry of Education
  • Te Puni Kōkiri
  • Department of Internal Affairs

From day one we have worked inter-agency, which brought its own challenges. Here are some of the key things we have done and what sets us apart:

1. Engagement through communication

We run fortnightly end-of-sprint demos open to anybody within government. These demos were critical to the success of the project as it brings all stakeholders into one room and is one of our main sources of insight. We have received feedback from 120+ people in 27 business units across 10 agencies.

2. Put the customer first

Before we started thinking about how government would interact with Accreditron, we first focused on the end-user experience — the social service provider. By putting their needs first we ensure the system works for their organisation, and consequently improves government engagement with the Social Sector.

3. Usability testing

The stakeholders who support Accreditron are often individuals in management and leadership positions — not our end users. This creates a disconnect between what our stakeholders want and what would benefit our users.

To combat this we do very thorough Usability Testing. It has helped us uncover issues we never would have considered — making our several hundred hours of interviews with end users worth it.

4. General purpose focus

Working with this many stakeholders makes it easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. While we're currently focusing on the Accreditation process, our product is designed to support any of the government processes providers have to undergo — from any business unit in any agency.

We have specifically avoided becoming too ingrained in the processes of any one agency, instead developing our tool as a general purpose solution. Any time we add a feature we consider how another team can reuse it in another context; this ensures cheaper development costs, and future proofing, for all stakeholders.

This initiative was created as part of the Better for Business collective.

Better for Business: 10 agencies — one vision

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