Community-level initiatives have been widely implemented in New Zealand and overseas. However, there is a lack of robust quantitative evidence on whether community-level initiatives are effective in achieving their outcomes. The purpose of the research was to draw together existing evidence to provide insights about what works and how government can best support communities.
The report identifies a number of success factors and barriers associated with community-level initiatives. The case studies reviewed demonstrate the importance of developing a genuine partnership between the funder and the community and the challenges of devolving decision-making to the local level.
The research report highlights some of the tensions between government and communities when they work together. Funders need to walk a fine line between a ‘hands off’ approach (intended to empower communities) and providing assistance to build capacity to deliver and be accountable, which can end up disempowering the community.
The report identifies a number of factors that help make community-level initiatives successful and some suggested actions government and communities could do to remove some of the barriers.
Three separate publications have been produced from this research on 'Effective community-level change: What makes community-level initiatives effective and how can central government best support them?'