Projects / Consumer / peer
Evaluating peer support services

Peer support is increasingly recognised as a valuable component of AOD service delivery.

Counties Manukau Health has the highest concentration of funded AOD peer support programmes in New Zealand with more than 20 peer support workers operating in the region.

Since 2010, each peer support service in Counties Manukau has been externally evaluated. In 2014, we commissioned a synthesis of system-level themes to identify recommendations for improvement and further development of peer support services.



We found AOD peer support is effective, delivers good value for money and is a valuable component of AOD service delivery that contributes positively to people’s recovery.

Service users participating in the evaluations noted they valued the intentional peer support provided to them. They felt understood and experienced positive impacts in their recovery. They felt their lives were improved through the peer support provided and believed themselves to be better resourced to manage their AOD addiction.


  • Role clarity between peer support workers and clinicians is important
  • Support is needed from management and colleagues to ensure peer support workers can work effectively
  • Supervision to guide peer support practice and development is vital
  • Training is paramount to prepare peers for their ‘change agent’ role and align with service models.


  • Skills Development: Develop a ‘why, what, and how’ of peer support, at all levels
  • Model Development: The evidence base and peer input should guide the development of policy and practice
  • Professional Development: Promote cohesiveness and consistency across the sector by encouraging professional networks to develop among peer support workers.

Download the report 'Peer Support Themes in Counties Manukau'