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Back in 2009 the Whitlam Institute released A question of balance: Principles, contracts and the government–not-for-profit relationship (link is external).  It outlined principles that could lead to fair, reasonable and transparent contracts and contract management. 

During last year’s State-wide consultations NCOSS heard that seven years later, little has changed and the Sector’s concerns are basically the same.  In particular the sector is seeking a single, standardised contract form that would be used by all government agencies.

Having listened to the Sector, NCOSS’ campaign for a Fair Deal for our Community Services specifically recommended:

NSW Government negotiate with the sector to develop a new, standardised NGO contract with NGOs that is based on the principles outlined in the Whitlam Institute’s paper A Question of Balance.

The Department of Premier and Cabinet has released a draft standardised contract and funding schedule providing NCOSS and FONGA the opportunity to give feedback.

On 23 May, 17 organisations attended the NCOSS Fair Deal Contract Forum.  Representing a range of services, sizes, including regional and metropolitan, they helped shape our response to the Department of Premier and Cabinet.

The Forum was addressed by Eric Sidoti (Director, Whitlam Institute) discussing what makes a contract fair and reasonable.    

This was followed by a panel discussion where Marion Bennett (Mission Australia), Kelvin Chambers (Drug and Alcohol Multicultural Education Centre) looked at how these documents could impact on both large and small NGOs and Savi Manii (Justice Connect).

The group welcomed the opportunity to provide feedback and agreed that in general these are better documents in their draft form than similar documents from other states.  The plain English drafting, the format itself and the fact that advocacy was acknowledged and accepted as legitimate was valued.

NCOSS pulled together this feedback into a submission which you can access here: Download the submission