Our role

Superu is a government agency that focuses on what works to improve the lives of families, children and whānau. They are at the centre of what we do.

We work closely with decision-makers in the social sector – the people who develop, fund, deliver, research and evaluate social policies and programmes – so that they can have the good-quality evidence needed to help solve complex social issues.

We help decision-makers understand:

  • the multi-dimensional challenges faced by families, children and whānau
  • what needs to change to improve their outcomes
  • what should work
  • what did work
  • how to monitor programmes when evidence is limited.


How we work

We connect people and ideas from different parts of the social sector and connect decision-makers with the evidence they need.

We generate evidence that helps decision-makers understand complex social issues and what works to address them.

We share the best evidence of what works with the people who make decisions on social services.

We support decision-makers to use evidence to make better decisions to improve social outcomes.

We also provide independent assurance by:

  • developing standards of evidence and good practice guidelines
  • supporting the use of evidence and good evaluation by others in the social sector.

While other government agencies are involved in research and evaluation in their own agency or sector, we focus on understanding what works across social sectors and multiple agencies.


Where we work

  • Where an impartial view is important.
  • Where expertise across the social sector is needed, especially with regard to family and whānau wellbeing.
  • With researchers and evaluators inside and outside government.
  • With people tackling complex issues who are based in central and local government and academic, community or iwi-based organisations.


Who we are

We are the Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit or Superu for short. You may know us by our former name: the Families Commission. While this remains our legal name, since December 2014 we have been known as Superu as it better describes what we do.

We are an autonomous Crown entity operating according to the Crown Entities Act 2004, Families Commission Act 2003 and Families Commission Amendment Act 2014.


Disestablishment of Superu/the Families Commission

As part of reconfiguring agencies and resources to support social investment, the previous Government set up a Social Investment Agency (SIA) to provide leadership for this approach. It also decided to disestablish Superu. Our disestablishment requires the repeal of the Families Commission Act 2003.

Some of our work has transferred to other agencies, as outlined here. Work that’s not transferring to another agency will finish by the time the legislation is repealed, which is likely to be mid-2018.

Until our disestablishment, we will continue promoting the use of evidence in decision-making, the use of our good practice tools and guidance, and supporting the work of the Families Commissioner.

Last update: 1 Nov 2017