Government Flags National Compact with NFP Sector
Monday, 21st April 2008 at 3:05 pm
The Rudd Labor Government has outlined its timetable for developing a national compact between the Federal Government and the Not for Profit sector.
Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and the Voluntary Sector, Senator Ursula Stephens, unveiled the timetable at the recent ACOSS National Conference in Melbourne.
The timetable includes consultation with the sector in July and August, leading to the compact being signed-off by the end of 2008.
During the 2007 election campaign, Labor promised what it described as a new era of partnership and cooperation with the Not for Profit sector as part of its Social Inclusion Agenda.
Senator Stephens told the conference that the development of a compact with the sector will essentially set in place principles for the relationship between the sector and Government in contracts, tendering and regulation.
She said that already from her consultations, the sector is keen to develop a refined and formalised relationship based on trust and mutual respect.
The Senator said that like compacts which operate in the UK and Canada, an Australian compact will underpin the new relationship the government wants to build with the sector.
She said the compact could set-out common values and an agreed way of working together to ensure the sector is strengthened.
The Senator told the Conference that the government also needs to be able to assure the Australian public that there is transparency, accountability, efficiency and value for money in the services being delivered.
She said while some formal ‘rules of engagement’ should serve to strengthen the relationship between sectors, its core outcome must be to improve services and outcomes for the people who use the services that government purchases.
Senator Stephens also committed to work with ACOSS on the support and resources needed to consult among its members and bring the views of the sector back to government.
She said ACOSS will play a critical role in developing the national compact, taking formal soundings within the sector about what might be included in a national compact.