Lack of Certainty Takes Toll on NFP Planning – NSW Report
Tuesday, 3rd June 2014 at 11:46 am
A lack of certainty in NSW’s community sector is affecting community organisations’ ability to deliver crucial services, new research shows.
The research, from the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the Council of Social Service NSW, and conducted by UNSW’s Dr Natasha Cortis and Dr Megan Blaxland, explores the characteristics of community services and the trends in their experiences working within the sector and with government.
NCOSS CEO Alison Peters said the data would help identify what the sector needed to function most effectively into the future and what the sector and government could do to support that.
“Only 20 per cent of respondents felt funding models available encouraged flexible service delivery and only 16 per cent felt funding models were sustainable all or most of the time," she said.
"Only 34 per cent felt they knew enough in advance whether funding would be renewed.”
Peters said a lack of sustainable funding often left services without the ability to develop middle-to-long term strategies, which allowed more effective use of resources and better services overall.
“NSW relies on the community sector to deliver crucial services so we should make sure they are in a position to make the best use of the funding available. This means allowing for planning into the future,” she said.
“No business could function effectively without long-term financial certainty and community services are no different.
“The sector must now work closely with government to consolidate where things are going well and find solutions where improvement is needed.
“This is the best data we have about how organisations are faring in the current environment."
Researcher Dr Natasha Cortis said there had been anecdotal evidence of many of the trends but now they had the hard data to back it up.
“We will be conducting this research again next year to deliver an annual snapshot of the sector, so this report provides a benchmark for tracking the state of the community sector over time,” Dr Cortis said.
“We’ve got some great news from the research which shows respondents felt their relationship with government had improved in the last five years. However there are some clear areas for improvement."
The research received funding from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services.
To view the full report, The state of the community service sector in New South Wales 2014, click HERE.