Statistician leads Families Commission team

Clare Ward, Deputy Government Statistician at Statistics New Zealand has been appointed to the post of Chief Executive at the Families Commission.

She will take charge of her new assignment on June 19, succeeding Paul Curry, who resigned in February to pursue his business interests (Indian Newslink, January 15).

Her experience in social policy and tertiary education sectors in New Zealand and UK, and managing structural change and complex policies would be useful in steering the activities of the Families Commission, which will undergo a major change, after Parliament approves a new legislation.

The legislation will enable the Commission to establish a new Social Policy Evaluation Research Unit to increase evaluation capability in public and private sectors.

Chief Families Commissioner Belinda Milnes said that the role of the Families Commission is to inform and influence those who make, fund or deliver social policy using quality evidence-based research about what works best for New Zealand families and whānau.

She said the role of the incoming Chief Executive would include delivery of the Commission’s new mandate to provide robust and independent monitoring and evaluation to inform and influence government and community organisations.

She said the strong academic background of Ms Ward, with a postgraduate (MSc) degree in Social Research Methods, will be useful in her new role.

New focus

“She will implement the Families Commission’s new focus areas over the next two years. These are real issues that many families and whānau throughout the country are grappling with, and where the Commission can add value and make a difference,” Ms Milnes said.

She said the four themes of the Families Commission include (a) developing resilience in young people (b) drug and alcohol rehabilitation and abuse prevention (c) raising achievement for Māori and Pacific Island children and young people and (d) effective interventions for the most vulnerable children.

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