A rare and inspiring event took place at Ko Awatea yesterday as leaders from industry and healthcare came together to talk about ‘how to build a community of impact’ and make a real difference to the people who need us the most.
The energy in the room was amazing and the large turnout was a testament to the commitment and will of people to share the work they are doing in their communities, talk about the challenges they are facing and spark ideas for how all sectors of society can work together to bring about sustainable change.
Special guests included His Worship the Mayor, Len Brown, with key speakers from:
Justice – Judge Ema Aitken
Police – Andrew Coster
Education – Pauline Winter
Business – David McLean (Westpac), Frank Porter (Buddle Findlay), Jocelyn Moore (Stevenson Foundation) and Dr Allan Freeth (TelstraClear).
Children’s Commissioner – Dr Russell Wills
Ko Awatea – Professor Jonathon Gray
Counties Manukau Health – Professor Gregor Coster and Geraint Martin
Chairing the panel discussions were Pat Sneddon, Chair, Ports of Auckland and Former Chair, CMDHB, Auckland DHB and Housing New Zealand, John Maasland, Chair, Middlemore Foundation and Chancellor of AUT and Dr Don Mackie, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health
A special welcome was extended to international guests Dr Don Berwick, Sir David Levene visiting Chair to Ko Awatea, Maureen Bisognano, President and CEO, IHI, and Sir Muir Gray, Director of the UK National Knowledge Service.
One of the major themes to come out of the day is that we can’t solve health and social problems on our own and to be really effective we need to work together to make a difference.
A topic of on-going discussion were the alarming statistics around child poverty – 25% of our children live in poverty. As Children’s Commissioner Dr Russell Wills said so eloquently, this is just wrong and we need to act now and act collaboratively to address the cause of the problems. “We can do extra-ordinary things here in South Auckland and we must do so,” says Dr Wills. To read or download the Issues and Options paper, Solutions to Child Poverty, go to http://www.occ.org.nz/publications/child_poverty. Submissions are encouraged.
Dr Allan Freeth passionately challenged the business community to question the assumption that business exists only to serve shareholders, a sentiment echoed by all of the business speakers. Businesses exist within communities and the well-being of businesses is directly linked to the well-being of the communities. So social investment of one kind or another is the right option ethically and economically. Doing the right thing should always be the starting point, he argued.
Other key themes discussed included:
- Major issues affect all of society and piecemeal solutions don’t solve the underlying causes. Solutions need to be system-wide and built on evidence, as expertly outlined in the paper on child poverty.
- We need to act deliberately, collaboratively and innovatively, as is happening with solution-focused courts, for example.
- Communities should be our strength and community well-being requires social, cultural, economic, environmental well-being in addition to physical and mental well-being.
- The non-smoking law is a great example of what can happen when services from government, health, community, business and social services come together for a common goal. As Auckland Central Police Area Commander Andrew Coster says, “One can’t solve a social issue like smoking by working in silos. It takes a collective approach.”
- Healthcare is a major source of economic activity, particularly in Counties Manukau. We can’t put more money into the health system – we need to use it more wisely.
- Business and social innovation are friends and the rules of interaction have changed. Business and social investment, through innovations such as social impact bonds (where government investment in private-public deals is dependent upon social outcomes), makes sense for everyone.Our incredible diversity.
- Auckland is now home to some 180 ethnicities and approximately 60% of the Counties Manukau population is either Maaori, Pacific, or Asian. This means we need to work harder to ensure a more representative involvement of our population.
- We need to ‘grow our own’ and provide our children with the best start in life. This includes a good education, food on the table and a safe and healthy home. Change can happen and the answer lies in working with families and engaging community partnerships.
- We need to start asking people what they need to change their own lives, and listen carefully to the answers. It’s this act of self-determination that will improve their chances in the world and inspire their children to do the same.
- Resources delivered without a plan or insight are a waste of time and we won’t bring about positive change through blame and penalties. It’s about giving people respect.
Presentations from the day can be downloaded below:
Russell Wills – Solutions to Child Poverty
Don Berwick – Opportunity & Responsibility
Cross Sector Day – Presentation slides
Andrew Coster – Prevention First
Many thanks to everyone who attended this unique event. Together we can make a difference. Full Session videos are below: