A milestone in the establishment of the new Ministry for Disabled People

Kia ora,

A new milestone has been reached in MSD's work to establish the new Ministry for Disabled People.

It’s vital that the new Ministry for Disabled People is set up in a way that is in partnership with disabled people and whānau, and reflects the tripartite relationship between disabled people, Māori, and the Crown.

In these early stages we are focussed on building an operating structure that allows the new Ministry to be effective from day one.

At the same time, it is just as important to have in place partnerships based on strong relationships, mutual support and respect for each other’s knowledge and skills, and shared decision making and collective ownership.

We know that achieving better outcomes for disabled people (including disabled tamariki and rangatahi), tāngata whaikaha Māori and whānau (including parents, caregivers, and guardians) depends on transforming how government works with them.

To do that, we have focussed on making sure there is strong input and oversight from the disabled community and Māori on the set up of the Ministry, and recruitment of disabled people into the unit to help ensure the new agency is fit for purpose.

We have heard your voices and want you to know that the establishment of the Ministry must embody the principle of “nothing about us without us” and so the overall responsibility for its establishment will be led by disabled people. The nine strong Establishment Governance Group is made up of six disabled people, with three of those being tangata whaikaha Māori, and three senior government officials from MSD and MoH.

In addition, there will be a Community Steering Group made up of disabled people, whānau and family who will provide advice and guidance and provide connections across the wider disability community.

The new Executive Director of the Establishment Unit has also been confirmed, and we welcome Justine Cornwall to the team.

Ngā mihi nui

Stephen Crombie, Deputy Chief Executive People and Capability, Ministry of Social Development

To read more about the Governance structure, as well as Justine Cornwall’s bio, see below.

Oversight and direction for establishing the new Ministry for Disabled People

Achieving the ambitions of disabled people depends on transforming how government works with them.

The governance structure described below is a new way of working and will align to and support the new Ministry’s foundational principles. It is about formally involving disabled community representatives in a structure that would have previously only involved them in an advisory capacity.

  • The Machinery of Government Working Group has been the main point of engagement with the disabled community to agree the governance arrangements. This group was the community partner for developing the October Cabinet advice and is made up of representative from the Disabled People’s Organisation Coalition, National Enabling Good Lives Leadership Group, Whanau Ora Interface Group and Te Ao Marama.
  • The new governance model has been built over a series of hui with the disability Machinery of Government Working Group and officials from Te Kawa Mataaho, The Treasury, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Ministry of Health.
  • The key features are:
    • The Chief Executives of the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Social Development are the sponsors and hold overall accountability for the establishment of the new Ministry.
    • A Ministry for Disabled People Establishment Governance Group that is responsible for ensuring the effective establishment of the of the Ministry of Disabled People. To demonstrate the tripartite partnership, and commitment to Te Tiriti, the Governance Group will consist of three senior officials and six disabled people – three tangata whaikaha (disabled Māori) and three non-Māori. This group will also use a Co-Chair approach with joint leadership between disabled people and officials.
    • The creation of the Establishment Governance Group is a concrete demonstration of how we as a country are embracing how to do things better. With representation by two-thirds disabled people, the Governance Group is providing the tone and direction of the new Ministry, ensuring the Ministry embodies the views of the disabled community. This Group will provide oversight that will ensure the Ministry for Disabled People is effective and fit for purpose.

  •  Parallel Steering Groups to support the achievement of the work programme:
    • an Establishment Community Steering Group made up of disabled people, whānau, tāngata whaikaha and whānau whaikaha.

      This group will largely focus on the new Ministry core features, its strategic vision, culture and behaviours, and the mechanisms that will ensure disabled people have voice and leadership at all levels of the Ministry. It is also expected it will reach into and across all the networks the Group represents to be fully inclusive and present the views of the wider disability network as well as possible, including such as disabled youth, tāngata whaikaha, and disabled Pasifika people. A process to support this will be developed in the New Year.

      Community Steering Group members are directly responsible for ensuring the voice of disabled people, whānau, tāngata whaikaha Māori, and whānau whaikaha Māori is embedded in the development of the key policies, the operational models and the tikanga of the Ministry.

      Group members are also encouraged to consider being involved/embedded in aspects of the work programme, in a co-design capacity. This would allow for a real-time voice, support the understanding of the practical issues, and start the practice of a more genuine co-design process.

The Machinery of Government Working Group is working through the process to confirm membership of the Community Steering Group.

-    an Establishment Officials’ Steering Group made up of senior officials from Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Health, and The Treasury.

This group will largely focus on transitioning services from the Ministry of Social Development and Ministry of Health into the new Ministry. This will also include the provision of shared services – such as IT and HR - from the Ministry of Social Development to the new Ministry.

  • The Establishment Director, Ministry for Disabled People will have responsibility for the overall leadership of the programme and for delivering on programme objectives.

    The Establishment Director will work across both of these groups, and through wider engagement, to present advice and decisions to the Governance Group.


Justine Cornwall

  • Justine has been with the public service since completing her PHD in social psychology at Victoria University of Wellington 17 years ago.
  • During this time, she has worked across the Justice and Social sectors, including three years as the Deputy Children’s Commissioner. Justine has led work on a range of complex social issues, including reviews of the Domestic Violence Act and of the Independent Oversight of the Children’s System.
  • She led work on changes to the Victims’ Rights Act including new services for victims, and reforms of the Family Court.
  • As Deputy Children’s Commissioner, Justine supported the Commissioner’s work on child poverty and the statutory monitoring of Oranga Tamariki (formerly CYF).
  • As General Manager Policy in MSD, Justine has been responsible for policy areas focused on children and youth, disability issues and seniors, employment and housing. She is now leading MSD’s policy area responding to Kaupapa inquiries arising from the Waitangi Tribunal, and the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.

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