Financial mismanagement of sexual violence services has forced Oranga Tamariki to take the “extra step” of reviewing what it has done with all the funding it secured in the 2019-20 budget.
In a briefing released as part of the OIA, the department said it was reviewing “financial management and controls to minimize the risk of the issues described in this report recurring,” saying reference to a damning report about his sexual violence services project.
He said he would hand over the exam to the government by the end of this month.
Read Oranga Tamariki’s Information Report: Budget 2019 Funding for Sexual Violence Services (PDF, 2 MB)
At the briefing, OT admitted that its “inadequate” work and “slow delivery” led to the project being halted last August.
“We misunderstood and let down the communities we were supposed to help,” OT chief executive Chappie Te Kani told children’s minister Kelvin Davis.
His briefing took place on the same day, May 26, that RNZ detailed the damning report on the project.
Until then, Davis was unaware that the project had to be scrapped, he told RNZ earlier. He then asked Te Kani for more information.
“The issues and shortcomings identified in the management of these programs are of particular concern,” Te Kani told Davis.
“The Radio NZ article of 26 May 2022 provides another example of weaknesses in Oranga Tamariki’s financial management systems and processes,” it added.
He announced he was taking the “additional step” of having his chief internal auditor review all core funding secured by OT in the 2019 budget, from government and agencies like the Department of Housing and Development. Urban development for supported housing.
“We will give you this notice at the end of June,” he told the minister.
Mismanagement led to the loss of more than $4 million of the $11 million allocated in 2019-20 for Crisis Support Services and Harmful Sexual Behavior Services, as revealed by RNZ last December. A total of $41 million was budgeted, but has now been diverted to another part of OT to develop the services alongside iwi.
Elsewhere in the briefing, it is stated that this broader spending review actually began in December 2021, in “OT financial management and controls to minimize the risk of the issues outlined in this report reoccurring.”
“Furthermore, we have already begun to address some of the more obvious weaknesses, including in relation to the need to strengthen our financial controls,” the May 26 briefing said.
The briefing lists 30 community providers who are now receiving a share of the $41 million funding, which spanned four years to 2022/23. Although Oranga Tamariki has launched an agency-wide reset to prioritize a new Maori-centric approach, only a third of these providers are Maori.