Department of Social Development failed to monitor quality of private emergency accommodation or show value for money – report
MSD also did not keep an accurate record of the complaints it received.
“In our view, although there was evidence that service delivery staff responded to some individual complaints, the department should have had mechanisms in place to ensure that the quality of accommodation that was to be provided was clear. for the price he was paying. It should also have had checks to ensure that quality accommodation was delivered.
MSD wrote to suppliers in September 2019 to highlight several points about having warm, dry and safe housing. He asked providers to ensure accommodations complied with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 and to provide accommodation with chattels, such as a heater, bedding and linen, and to make the properties available for inspection.
The department also considered setting up service level agreements with providers at the time and began asking them to show proof that they had permission to rent their property as emergency accommodation.
“Having an agreement with providers outlining these expectations and obligations, and requiring approval, are all issues that the department may have considered earlier in the process to help ensure that emergency housing grant recipients receive the quality of accommodation expected by the ministry,” the ministry said. says the report.
“Indeed, the ministry had a high trust model with suppliers. When a public organization spends public money with a degree of confidence that it will be used for a certain purpose, it is important that the organization is clear about the standards it expects.It is also important that it can check whether these funds are being used as intended and what they are delivering.
“In this case, we saw agreements to pay providers an agreed amount to provide accommodation, and a bit more than that. The ministry had no way of knowing what level of accommodation was being provided (and, in many case, where this accommodation was) and whether it met the needs of the persons accommodated.
The report says having an agreement with providers outlining expectations and obligations, and requiring approval, are things MSD could have considered earlier to ensure people receiving emergency housing subsidies get the quality of accommodation expected by the ministry.
“A system that relies on some of the most vulnerable in our community to file complaints is clearly inadequate. In my view, this is not enough to ensure that the department achieves its goal of funding hot, dry and safe emergency housing through to emergency housing grants.”
MSD ended its practice of paying for private rental properties. The Auditor General’s report indicates that he continues to fund emergency housing and is working to improve the system.