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Community sector workforce

Community sector workforce

Community sector workforce

Platform Trust has been the guardian of the development and growth of support work and has been supported in this role for many years by our colleagues at Te Pou.

Supporting data collection 

In 2018, Te Pou and Matua Raki surveyed 232 NGOs about their workforce. The purpose was to estimate the size, composition and turnover of the NGO workforce delivering secondary care adult mental health and addiction services. The findings are compared to the previous (2014) More than numbers survey.

Key findings are:

  • The NGO mental health and addiction workforce is estimated to be 4,158 FTE positions (employed and vacant), and has grown by around 7 per cent since 2014.
  • NGOs are delivering services to more people.
  • There has been little real increase in health contract funding to NGOs over the past 4 years.
  • The workforce composition across clinical, non-clinical and administration and management role groups remains similar to 2014.
  • Workforce turnover is high (23 per cent compared to the New Zealand average of 19 per cent), and is high for key roles including dapaanz registered professionals, support workers, and social workers.

 Click here for the: 2018 More than numbers NGO workforce report


Background about the evolution of the community sector workforce

The mental health and addiction community sector workforce has evolved and diversified since its began in the 1980’s when people left the large psychiatric hospitals to move back to communities.  

In 2007,the Mental Health Commission stated the following in Te Haererenga mo te Whakaōranga 1996-2006: “a new support-work occupational grouping has been a great workforce achievement of the decade, and a specific  New Zealand innovation. Creating a new occupation in the non-clinical sector, with a tertiary certificate-level qualification, has allowed for the introduction of basic mental health and recovery-oriented training.”  

In 2015, Dr Julia Hennessy undertook a landmark study of support work in New Zealand. “The role of the mental health support worker is different and complementary to the roles of other professionals working in mental health services. Mental health support workers facilitate the consumer’s journey of recovery. They are able to spend time with mental health consumers and not have those interactions restricted through legislation. Mental health support workers provide the human contact sought by mental health consumers because their role is seen as non-clinical and non-judgmental." Julia Hennessy

Policy - Community sector workforce | Platform Trust


Contributing to policy development, as well as providing a policy library and a range of publications to support the sector.

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Advocacy - Community sector workforce | Platform Trust


Fostering strategic partnerships and alliances to achieve a strong and sustainable mental health and addiction NGO and community sector.

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