“Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has appointed a former official from her own office to the board of the Families Commission.
Belinda Milnes, a former senior policy adviser for Mrs Bennett, has been appointed to the commission for three years.
The minister has been unavailable to discuss the appointment, but in a statement says Ms Milnes understands social policy and is the best person for the job.”
Interestingly, Paula Bennett made no mention of Ms Milnes’ connection with her office when she released this media statement,
” Social Development Minister Paula Bennett today announced two new appointments to the Families Commission.
Sir Peter Gluckman and Belinda Milnes have been appointed to the Board of the Families Commission for a period of three years.
The Families Commission is currently undergoing a restructure to assume its new role providing independent monitoring, evaluation and research.
“We’ve appointed the best people for the job to oversee a major change programme within the Families Commission,” says Mrs Bennett.
The Government is reprioritising a minimum of $14.2 million of the $32.48 million funding the Families Commission receives over four years to set up a new Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit (SuPERU).
“This unit will provide research and best practise advice to government and non-government organisations,” says Mrs Bennett.
This unit will independently monitor and evaluate programmes and initiatives in the social sector, a job currently done largely by Government Departments.
“I believe giving this role to an independent body will see more community organisations entering into robust evaluation and monitoring”. “
I wonder how much ” independent monitoring, evaluation and research” will be produced by the new “Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit ” when it is staffed by National Party appointees who have been functionaries within a Minister’s office?
At least the Minister will hear only what she wants to hear, with no pesky dissenting opinions upsetting her day.