Department Head Calls NFP Sector to Action
10 October 2013 at 10:47 am
The Not for Profit sector is grappling with the need to intervene earlier, change services delivered and be more efficient, a Victorian Summit has been told.
|Department of Human Services Director of the Office for the Community Sector Lynne Wannan.|
The Victorian Department of Human Services Director of the Office for the Community Sector, Lynne Wannan, told the Not for Profit Summit 2013 in Warragul that now was the time to question "should we be doing things differently?" and the time to "move quickly" on change.
Wannan said right now disadvantage was estimated to cost the Victorian economy $4.6 billion a year, noting that earlier intervention, changing services delivered and being more efficient were key steps in tackling the issue.
"I know a lot of you are grappling with this and it’s something we want to support’,” she said.
Under the theme Actions for Sustainability, Wannan told the audience in her opening speech that the focus of the forum was about “ensuring your organisation is sustainable as change unfolds” in a sector characterised by service demand, increased and complex disadvantage, technological change and a mixed public service economy with private, Not for Profit and government stakeholders.
The Summit aimed to look at issues surrounding getting the workforce right for both paid and unpaid; sourcing finance for development and growth – social; engaging young people; responding to people with complex needs; getting the governance right for the changing environment; and new models emerging as needs change.
The annual summit was the fifth hosted by the Department of Human Services.
As part of her opening address, Wannan said the growing numbers of Victorian children in out-of-home care was a disappointment to the community services sector.
She pointed to figures including Victorians making 55,000 reports of suspected abuse and neglect of children in 2010-2011 an increase of 49 per cent from the year 2000.
"I know the figures don't surprise you but it should be disappointment to all of us," she said.
"The numbers are growing, we really are failing to do enough."
Wannan told the audience that there was a "neo-liberalism approach" to the sector from the State Government.
She said the department was focussed on cutting red tape and placing less compliance burden on the sector and that the Government was committed to investing in the sector.
Already, she said the “much-valued” increases to the social and community service award were estimated to cost in excess of $2 billion over the next several years.
Wannan noted the Department’s recent key reforms and research including the Shergold review, service sector reform project, reforms to mental health and the introduction of the NDIS.
However, she said "there is a view that the government is delivering the services but the outcomes are not met".
Wannan said the Government wants to be much less of a direct government supplier and noted the growth of the NFP sector and its $43 billion contribution to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.
“The Victorian Government provides more than $2.2 billion annually to the community sector service delivery,” she said.
She said Australia’s public service sector accounts for 15-20 per cent of GDP – more than mining and manufacturing sectors combined and that community organisations employ 8 per cent of the national workforce.