Learning & Development opportunities

At the end of 2019 SociaLink carried out a survey on what the Learning & Development needs of the social sector were, in this area. Although we weren’t overwhelmed with responses we pushed on and invited a selection of people to lunch to discuss our needs further. Read the results here, and let us know if you have an opinion also.

Summary of survey responses

  • People are overloaded with their case work
  • Prefer face to face learning in small groups during weekday and in short sessions 2 hours to ½ days.
  • Topics favoured

Table of figures

Financial management14
Operational management e.g. human resources14
Marketing and communications17
Applying Tiriti o Waitangi to the social sector in the WBOP18
Digital technology- assessment of technology needs and ongoing support to address needs12
Using social media (including engaging with younger people)18
Health and safety compliance15
Basic understanding of Māori pronunciation and protocol11
Local Māori history and local iwi and hapu14
Upskilling Board Trustees12
Pasifica cultural understanding11
Engaging with people from other cultures12
Measuring your impact18
Change management15
Strategic planning11
Social Work continuing professional education12
Human Resource Advice eg including contracting staff11

Link to our Learning & Development page to find out what is scheduled.

Here is our 2020 draft annual Learning, Development and Event programme. All items are subject to availability and confirmed dates.

2020 Plan

New Appointment

We’re pleased to announce the establishment of a Community Insights Laboratory (CIL) following the feasibility study to determine the need for such a facility, for which there was a lot of interest.  The Community Insights Lab aims to make available ‘big data’ or any kind of data to help inform decision making and planning for the community and social sectors.

We are very excited to have employed Liz Flaherty who is starting in mid-January 2020 to do more detailed planning for the CIL, build relationships with holders of data and start using data to help the sector.  Many of you will know Liz Flaherty, she has extensive experience in the social sector, particularly in the area of family harm, including being an experienced researcher.

Great Managers Programme


Effective people leadership skills are critical for navigating the fast pace of change within workplaces today. Great management is vital for all high performing and happy teams and is an essential part of building healthy and thriving workplaces.

Great managers consistently engage their teams to achieve outstanding performance. They create environments where employees take responsibility for their own, and their team’s, engagement and build workplaces that are engines of productivity and profitability.

The results you are getting in your organisation across the board are greatly influenced by the management skillset of your people leaders.


  • Lead their people
  • Take responsibility for the engagement and performance of their people
  • Lead by example cultivating a positive and encouraging team culture
  • Consistently coach and develop their people to deliver results
  • Are hungry for growth, seeking out feedback to help them improve


Managers account for at least 70% of the variance in employee engagement scores across business units, Gallup estimates.

The future success of a company will rely on the development of a highly conscious style of management, a great manager. The role is less about control and more about enabling people to do their best work in an environment that fosters creativity, experimentation and learning.

This new manager functions as a connector, catalyst and enabler of ideas and innovation.


  • DEVELOPS STRONG leadership capability
  • BOOST employee engagement AND RETENTION
  • SUPPORT HEALTHY working relationships

Great Managers is an 8-module workplace training programme designed to develop the management capability of people managers. Through this programme your people managers can:

  • Discover the new role of manager as leader in the workplace
  • Learn how to cultivate trust through your daily actions
  • Develop team vision, purpose, values to grow team motivation and focus
  • Learn how to have the conversations that matter to improve performance
  • Develop your coaching skills to empower your people





The new role of people leaders in today’s workplace

Setting programme learning outcomes

Great managers self-assessment



The power of your mindset

Cultivating trust through your actions

Self-development principles



Vision and Purpose

Values to guide behaviour

Team objectives



Team meetings

Individual check-ins

Feedforward sessions



Roles and responsibilities

Clarify performance expectations

Accountability conversations



The four types of communication

Using conflict as an opportunity to grow

Speaking when the toxic four behaviours are present



Conversations that matter

The impact of avoiding vital conversations

Improvement conversations



Active listening

Coaching conversations




Every session was useful and interesting and the energy you bring makes for a better learning experience. I’ve learnt the importance of self-reflection and it opened my eyes to things I wasn’t seeing. The training encouraged me to reflect on the impact of my actions as manager.

Angela O’Donnell | Volunteer Coordinator | TAURANGA RDA

I really enjoyed the programme.  I felt it kept me on track. I’ve been reminded that I need to lead the way and own my strengths. Thanks for your coaching, I enjoyed your energy.



This programme is one of the most fantastic mentoring and learning experiences I have had. It really helped me in my work. Vanessa is an excellent facilitator and mentor. Thank you so much for all your support throughout this programme. You were my biggest catalyst. I feel so lucky to have met you and learnt all I did. You really are fantastic.


Overall a great course. It was confronting when it needed to be which forced me to face some hard truths when looking at the sustainability of the way I like to work. I experienced massive personal growth. I feel more equipped to deal with issues that pop up in my current role.

December 2019 Blog

What you’ve told us and what we’re doing

Thank you to those of you who have let us know what you see as the key issues we can approach central government about to seek their support.  The key issues that have been identified are:

  • Family violence/child abuse
  • Poverty
  • Fragmentation of social services.

Family violence/child abuse

It was noted that central government is investing and making changes in the way they address family violence and child abuse, locally Tauranga Moana Abuse Prevention (TMAPS) are holding a Ripple Effect conference in May 2020 which will focus on child abuse prevention.  SociaLink are happy to facilitate engagement with central government to progress whatever recommendations come out of the conference.


SociaLink has invited the Child Poverty Action Group to visit Tauranga in February 2020 to meet with the social sector and let us know about the issues they are working on and to see if there is interest in establishing a regional child poverty network which SociaLink would be happy to support.   We are also supporting work Social Service Providers Aotearoa is doing to lobby government on the back of their research on the funding gap for social service providers of $630 million.

Fragmentation of services

SociaLink is supporting a number of organisations to work together to achieve greater impact.  This includes Co-Lab in Te Puke, organisations providing services to people who are homeless, organisations that work with people with autism and organisations working together in relation to food supply, called Kai Western Bay.  We are also working with social service providers to explore the feasibility of establishing a centralised hub to deliver services in the areas of family harm and older people.  We are also in the process of establishing a network for Māori providers.  Work is also being undertaken to assess the feasibility for some kind of entity that would enable community organisations to access shared back office services, what this space!

If you have other ideas of how SociaLink can help address the above issues please let us know, contact Liz Davies, General Manager liz@socialink.org.nz or 022 461 9104.

2020 and beyond

I’m pleased to announce the establishment of a Community Insights Laboratory (CIL) following the feasibility study to determine the need for such a facility, for which there was a lot of interest.  The Community Insights Lab aims to make available ‘big data’ or any kind of data to help inform decision making and planning for the community and social sectors.   We are very excited to have employed Liz Flaherty who is starting in mid-January 2020 to do more detailed planning for the CIL, build relationships with holders of data and start using data to help the sector.  Many of you will know Liz Flaherty, she has extensive experience in the social sector, particularly in the area of family harm, including being an experienced researcher.

 Pay equity campaign

Following local research into pay equity, or the lack there of, for workers employed by non-government organisations and at the request of the social sector, SociaLink is going to embark on a campaign to raise local community awareness and to lobby central government.  For example, social workers being paid on average $30,000 per year less than their colleagues in government is not just very unfair, it has significant impacts on the recruitment and retention of workers.

Legalisation of cannabis

Most of you would see the impact of cannabis on your clients and our communities.  To help inform the public and the sector in voting on the referendum we plan to hold a forum to hear the pro’s and con’s for the legalisation of the personal use of cannabis.

Central Government elections

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we had the 2017 elections but yes, it’s coming around again.  SociaLink will hold a local candidates forum so you can hear directly from candidates and ask questions.  We will also let you know political parties positions on key issues impacting on the social sector to help you make informed voting choices that have a considerable impact on the people you provide services to and of course how social services are funded.

I wish you all a very meri kirihimete with whanau and friends and a very well deserved break to recharge the batteries after a very busy year, be safe and look after yourself and enjoy your whanau and friends.

Liz Davies

General Manager


Governance and the new Trusts Act

by Sue Barker
6 December 2019

There appears to be a trend in New Zealand at the moment for incorporated societies to restructure as charitable trusts: many incorporated societies appear to be struggling to find sufficient members, and/or to attract those members they do have to attend general meetings. Yet, despite this, many are finding newsletter readership and social media presence growing, with more people offering their time and money to help their organisation, without necessarily seeking formal “membership”. These factors, coupled perhaps with a focus on structure precipitated by the proposed new Incorporated Societies Bill (expected to be introduced into Parliament this year),[1] appear to be making the more “nimble”, autocratic charitable trust structure seem more attractive to some charities.

Choice of structure is, of course, a decision for an individual charity to make, guided by its rules, particularly its charitable purposes, and the applicable law. However, in making made the decision to restructure as a charitable trust, it is important to bear in mind that governance of a charitable trust is different to governance of an incorporated society. Of course, there are areas of overlap, but there are also some key differences.

Amending the trust deed

One of these differences relates to the ability to amend the charity’s constituting document. Fundamentally, an incorporated society constitution might loosely be thought of as a type of contract between its members and the society (see for example clause 26 of the Exposure Draft Incorporated Societies Bill).[2] It therefore seems reasonable for the “contracting parties” to review the terms of their “contract” from time to time, and it is common for incorporated societies to include, as a standing agenda item at each annual general meeting, suggested amendments to their constitution.

By contrast, the general rule with respect to charitable trusts is that, once established, the trust deed cannot be varied. The concept of a trust appears to have begun in 13th century England, when people left their property to be held by a trusted friend or relative for the benefit of their family while they went away to fight in the Crusades.[3] In other words, a trust is a legal relationship, rather than a legal “entity”, and the fundamental principle is that “settlor autonomy”, as expressed in the trust deed, should be maintained. This means that, even where a trust deed contains a clause allowing the trust deed to be amended, as most modern charitable trust deeds do, trustees cannot use this “variation power” to remove a specific restriction to which they were subject from the very foundation of the trust.[4] It is also risky to use a power of variation to change the fundamental provisions, or the “substratum”, of the trust.[5] The substratum would likely include the charitable purposes of the trust.

Duties of trustees

Another area of difference relates to the duties of trustees. The Trusts Act 2019 aligns with developments in a number of other areas of New Zealand law by setting out the duties of trustees in statute, “to provide guidance to individual trustees who need to understand, without reference to large tomes or compendia of cases, what their basic obligations as trustees are”.[6] Although there is overlap between the duties of directors in sections 131-138 of the Companies Act 1993, the duties of officers of incorporated societies in clauses 48-55 of the Exposure Draft Incorporated Societies Bill, and the duties of trustees, the duties do not align entirely, and all trustees of charitable trusts should be familiar with the 5 mandatory duties and the 10 default duties set out in sections 21 to 38 of the Trusts Act 2019.

Delegation power

Another area to be aware of relates to the power to delegate. In principle, trustees have a duty to act personally, and for that reason, the powers to delegate set out in sections 67-72 of the Trusts Act 2019 are tightly constrained. For example, section 67(3) makes it clear that a trustee may appoint an agent in respect of “administrative functions” only; the provision does not permit the delegation of “trustee functions”, or fundamental decision-making powers, such as the determination of distributions. Under section 68, the trustee must also keep the arrangement under review and consider whether the trustee should exercise any power to intervene.

It is possible for a trustee to appoint a delegate to take their place fully, to exercise all of the trustee’s duties, powers and discretion, but section 70 makes it clear that this may occur only in limited temporary circumstances, such as absence from New Zealand, or temporary lack of capacity to perform the functions of a trustee. Such a delegation may also only be done by power of attorney (section 70(1)), and the safeguards set out in sections 70 to 72 provide a good indicator of when delegation is appropriate and when it might be better to resign.[7] In addition, if a trustee does not wish a delegate to exercise the trustee’s power to resign, the instrument of delegation would need to make this clear (section 70(6)).[8]

Section 67 may not provide sufficient power to appoint an investment manager to make all investment decisions regarding the investment of the trust fund. Similarly, section 70 would not allow delegation to an investment manager on an ongoing basis. If it is considered desirable to have the ability to appoint an investment manager, it would appear to be necessary for the trust deed to provide for this specifically.[9]


For a fuller discussion regarding the governance of charitable trusts, please see the CCH webinar which, at the time of writing, can be accessed on demand here: https://www.cchlearning.co.nz/events/2197-governance-of-charitable-trusts-2019-19-november-2019-on-demand/. Alternatively, please contact the writer at www.charitieslaw.co.


About the writer:

Sue Barker is the director of Sue Barker Charities Law, a boutique law firm, based in Wellington, specialising in charities law and public tax law. Since its founding in 2012, the firm has won a number of awards, including Boutique Law Firm of the Year at the New Zealand Law Awards. Sue is a director of the Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand, and a member of the Core Reference Group for the review of the Charities Act. Sue is also a co-author of the text, The Law and Practice of Charities in New Zealand (LexisNexis, 2013), and a contributor to Regulating Charities: the Inside Story (Routledge, 2017). In 2016, Sue was made an Honorary National Life Member of the National Council of Women of New Zealand Incorporated for her work assisting the Council with charities law issues. In 2019, Sue was awarded the New Zealand Law Foundation International Research Fellowship Te Karahipi Rangahau ā Taiao, New Zealand’s premier legal research award, to undertake research into the question “What does a world-leading framework of charities law look like?”, with a report due by March 2021.

[1] Although at the time of writing, there are only 6 Parliamentary sitting days remaining in 2019.

[2] https://www.mbie.govt.nz/assets/f35620d448/incorporated-societies-bill-draft-for-consultation.pdf, last accessed 6 December 2019.

[3] With apologies for the reference to an unpleasant time in history, see Law Commission Review of trust law in New Zealand: introductory issues paper, November 2010, paragraph 2.4: https://www.lawcom.govt.nz/sites/default/files/projectAvailableFormats/NZLC%20IP19.pdf, last accessed 6 December 2019.

[4] See New Zealand Law Commission Review of the law of trusts: a trusts act for New Zealand, NZLC R130, August 2013 (“R130”) paragraphs 10.1 and 10.28.

[5] Varying trust deeds, G Kelly and K Lawrence, paper presented to the NZLS CLE Ltd Trust Conference – Trusts on Trial, June 2017.

[6] R130, paragraph 11.

[7] Law Commission Issues Paper 31 Review of the Law of Trusts – Preferred Approach, 13 November 2012 (“IP 31”) paragraph 4.39.

[8] IP 31, page 86; Law Commission Issues Paper 26 The Duties, Office and Powers of a Trustee: Review of the Law of Trusts – fourth Issues Paper, 30 June 2011 (“IP 4”), paragraph 5.13.

[9] IP 4, paragraph 5.34.