Transforming the disability support system

The Government has made decisions on the next steps for transforming New Zealand's disability support system.

The transformation will be based on the Enabling Good Lives (EGL) vision and principles, and informed by evidence of ‘what works’. The EGL approach is based on disabled children and adults and their families having greater choice and control over their supports and lives. Find out more about EGL.

There was a co-design process with the disability sector, between March and June 2017, to create a high-level design for the new system.

Detailed design

Update April 2018

System Transformation’s Sacha O’Dea talks about disability support in the new system and why two teams are being set up – link: .

New system gets go-ahead

A transformed disability support system is to be rolled out in MidCentral on 1 October, 2018.

The Minister for Disability Issues, Hon Carmel Sepuloni and Associate Minister of Health, Hon Julie Anne Genter announced the go-ahead after Cabinet gave approval for the trial.

The new system will be implemented on a ‘try, learn and adjust’ approach in the first year with changes made based on feedback from disabled people, their whânau, and others in the disability sector.  You can read the Cabinet paper in full, along with supporting documents here:

Update 31 January 2018

The System Transformation team is engaging with new Ministers to discuss progress and the upcoming Cabinet paper. This paper will be asking Cabinet to agree for the detailed design for the prototype to be rolled out in MidCentral. 

The disability sector is continuing to provide feedback on the design via virtual testing groups.  It is expected that there will be another round of information up for virtual testing in early February 2018 which will focus on the interfaces with other government agencies and some of the information on safeguarding and network building. New working groups on market shaping, brand and identity, Whānau Ora and organisational arrangements for the new system will also be starting soon.

All feedback given up until the end of March will be taken into consideration for the prototype. Further testing groups around the interfaces between different government departments, safeguarding and network building will start shortly. 

The Ministry of Health is working in partnership with the disability sector on System Transformation. Find out more: here  

Update 18 December 2017

The System Transformation team has had a busy year engaging stakeholders across the disability sector to design both the high level and detailed aspects of the new disability support system.

Some of the prototypes that working groups have been designing are being put up on virtual testing groups.  Next year the updates will focus on what the impacts will be on the different groups within the disability sector. This will answer the question of ‘What does it mean for me?’ as a disabled person, family member or provider.

The Ministry of Health’s Sacha O’Dea is working in partnership with the disability sector on System Transformation. Find out more here: Enabling Good Lives website .

Update 24 November 2017

October saw many more System Transformation workshops occur as the design for the MidCentral prototype gains momentum. The workshops have covered a range of aspects including what the team in MidCentral would look like, what government funding is in scope and how the safeguarding of disabled people will be ensured. At least a third of each working group is made up of disabled people, no more than a third are government officials, while the rest comes from the disability sector.

The System Transformation team has received many questions around the organisational form of the new system. No decisions have been made about the organisations that will manage the new disability support system but new arrangements will be trialled in MidCentral. You can find out more here .

Update 2 October 2017

The working groups and virtual testing groups that will create the detailed design of the new disability support system are currently being confirmed.

The System Transformation team has received a lot of interest from the disability sector about the different groups they would like to participate in.

People can join the virtual testing groups at any time by emailing

The Ministry of Health’s Sacha O’Dea gives her monthly update here

Update 5 September 2017

The disability sector is being invited to participate in working groups and virtual testing groups for the detailed design of the new disability support system.

On a working group, people are brought together, face to face, and they will co-design how the new system with work in practice when it is launched in MidCentral next year.

The virtual testing groups will allow a large number of people across the disability sector to contribute to the design.

The Ministry of Health’s Sacha O’Dea is leading the work and explains more about it in this video .

Co-design group

A team of 13, including five disabled people, two with disabled family members, two from disability service organisations and four from government agencies, took part in the co-design process. Disability Issues Minister Nicky Wagner said, "everything was on the table" but there was a need to be realistic and "fiscally responsible" with investment in the right places.

The co-design group held eight workshops over ten days in what was an intensive process to come up with the high-level design.

The roll-out of the transformation will begin in MidCentral, an area which includes Palmerston North, Horowhenua, Manawatu, Otaki and Tararua districts.  It is expected the go-live date will be 1 July 2018.

Further information

Read the latest Cabinet paper and FAQs on the latest announcement.

You can read more about past decisions in the Cabinet paper and minute. Note: information has been withheld in line with the Official Information Act 1982, where decisions have not yet been made.

You can also find more information in the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document.

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