NSW To Review Homelessness Reform Agenda
14 August 2014 at 11:50 am
Homelessness NSW has welcomed a NSW Government decision to review its controversial reforms to the State’s homelessness services.
The review will be overseen by the NSW Ombudsman into the NSW Government’s reform of Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS), called Going Home Staying Home. At the time the Government said the reforms would make services easier to access and help tackle the causes of repeat homelessness.
“The Going Home Staying Home reform agenda represents massive changes to the design, funding and operations of government-assisted homelessness services in NSW,” CEO of Homelessness NSW, Gary Moore, said.
“Our organisation largely supported the long term objectives of this reform. However, we have advised against the procurement method adopted, the scale of the changes being attempted at one time and the ridiculous timeframes for the reforms to be adopted.
“The results of this commercial competitive tender process, announced on 13 June 2014, show that 370 former separate services, managed by 250 different organisations are being reshaped overnight into 149 large service packages that are led by 70 organisations.
“By 1 November 2014, a major transfer of property management between service providers is expected to have occurred and a brand new client information, referral and management system is supposed to be operating across the State.
“Many former highly specialist and stand-alone services for women experiencing DV, people leaving custody, people with highly complex mental health problems and very vulnerable young people are also expected to be operational with new management and in networked service arrangements.
“Already, the NSW Government has had to find an additional $9 million for each of the next three years to mitigate the forecast damage of funding cuts caused by another element of the reforms – the arbitrary funding reallocations according to locational needs.
“Just over 70 organisations were unsuccessful in the tender process. About half of these are ineligible to seek the 18 months carry over funding announced by Minister Upton in June. The industry peak bodies are providing, with FACS support, business planning and advice services to these organisations.
“The review will be advised by a committee, chaired by an independent eminent person and containing representatives of industry peak organisations.
“With FACS having already announced its intention to reform its child, family and community development funding programs by 2016 and NSW Health in line to start major reforms to its NGO funding programs in before 2015-16, this review must be robust, fully transparent and clearly highlight what to and not to do in the light of the GHSH experience to date.
“We thank the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) for being prepared to undertake this review and the NSW Ombudsman for agreeing to participate and offering anyone with an interest in the GHSH reforms the opportunity to contact the Ombudsman’s office about these important matters.”