Partnership Forum Delivers Positive Results
6 June 2012 at 1:40 pm
A partnership forum comprised of key director generals in the Western Australian Government and the chief executives of the community organisations delivering mental health services was delivering positive results, according to the independent chairman Professor Peter Shergold.
The recently appointed Chancellor of the University of Western Sydney and former secretary of the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, said the partnership forum model he helped establish in July 2010 was having the desired impact of giving the individuals using social services to get involved in the decision making process around the services and their delivery.
Shergold said key to the successful of the partnership forum were the constituents as well as its governance.
It has as its members the key director generals in premier and cabinet and the chief executives of the organisations helping the services that are delivered in WA.
Importantly, only the principals of the partnership can turn up to the regular meetings and discussion and decisions have to be based on transparency of information.
Shergold said the forum had to report to the head of government – the premier – and any decisions had to be visible.
“Every decision made by the partnership is then taken to a community of forum of possibly 200 members of the public which makes sure the partnership forum is held to account,” Shergold said.
Shergold said another essential governance issue was that members of the public service could swap positions within the organisations to “step in the shoes of the other”.
Shergold said a big win for him getting personally involved in the way human services were delivered in WA was that the budget recognised and addressed the inherent under funding of the Not for Profit organisations involved.
“Community organsiations are going to be paid extra and it is to be indexed. The budget commitment from WA has set the tone for building the partnership in other areas,” said Shergold.
Shergold said other successful elements of the partnership forum had been: a standard template; enabling not for profits to contribute more to the decision making and administration as well as the individuals and their carers for whom the programs are being delivered and progressive expansion of service delivery.
“The most successful thing is that the new mental health commission is starting for the first time to allow people with mental health issues and their carers to get involved in the decision making around the services they receive and who delivers them,” said Shergold.