A NSW free from poverty and inequality

A fair deal for our community services
Fair Deal for our Community Services is about building a stronger partnership between government and our sector in order to develop fair and reasonable reform and procurement processes.

News & Updates

This paper sets out what needs to be done to ensure the relationship between government and the sector lives up to its potential, and delivers the outcomes for communities and people across NSW that everyone wants to see. It makes recommendations for all agencies that fund community organisations, and for the NSW Government as a whole. It takes a problem solving approach and aims to create an even stronger partnership.

NCOSS has spoken to communities and services across the state – hearing from over 200 community organisations and nearly 30 different communities, as well as key stakeholders. What we heard was that across the state the sector wants A Fair Deal for Our Community Services. The sector is seeking regulation that is fair and reasonable, not onerous or repetitive, and is consistent with the level of risk. Ideally the types and forms of regulatory requirements would be standardised within and across government departments and agencies to ensure consistency in approach.

The NSW Government is seeking feedback on a draft standard contract form to be used by FACS and Health when procuring services from the community sector. 

This is a very welcome development.  In our consultations with the Sector the concept of a standardised contract that would be used by all government agencies has been identified as a positive step towards reducing red tape.

Last week, the Government released its response to the Legislative Council Standing Committee on Social Needs inquiry into Service coordination in communities with high social needs. NCOSS made a submission to this inquiry last year, and CEO Tracy Howe gave evidence before the Committee.

The response provides in-principle support to a range of measures, we hope this a first step towards substantive change.

Positive aspects of the response include:

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. 

On 11 December last year, the Legislative Council Committee on Social Issues tabled the Report of its inquiry into Service Co-ordination in communities of high social need. The Report made some excellent recommendations, in line with those proposed by NCOSS, which if adopted will improve service delivery to those communities in greatest need.

Key recommendations of the Report are:

NCOSS CEO Tracy Howe gave evidence at the Legislative Council Social Affairs Committee Inquiry into Service Co-ordination in communities with high social needs on 28 August 2015.

Drawing on insights gained through extensive regional consultation with its members around the NCOSS pre-budget submission, she emphasised that the sector works together in a co-ordinated way to respond to need in the communities they work in.

However, the capacity of services to do this effectively is made difficult by funding constraints, insecure funding and the competitive tendering model.

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