NACCHO welcomes an inquiry into the Abbott Government’s Indigenous Advancement Strategy, which has left hundreds of Indigenous frontline services struggling with ongoing financial uncertainty.
Labor and the Greens co-sponsored a motion presented in the Senate yesterday that will examine the impact on service quality, efficiency and the sustainability of the Commonwealth’s Indigenous grants tendering processes by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet.
On 19 March 2015, the following matter was referred to the Finance and Public Administration References Committee for inquiry and report by the 18 June 2015:
The impact on service quality, efficiency and sustainability of recent Commonwealth Indigenous Advancement Strategy tendering processes by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, with particular regard to:
- the extent of consultation with service providers concerning the size, scope and nature of services tendered, determination of outcomes and other elements of service and contract design;
- the effect of the tendering timeframe and lack of notice on service collaboration, consortia and the opportunity for innovative service design and delivery;
- the evidence base and analysis underlying program design;
- the clarity of information provided to prospective tenderers concerning service scope and outcomes;
- the opportunities created for innovative service design and delivery, and the extent to which this was reflected in the outcomes of the tender process;
- the number of non-compliant projects, the nature of the non-compliance, if and how they were assisted, and how many of these were successful;
- analysis of the types, size and structures of organisations which were successful and unsuccessful under this process;
- the implementation and extent of compliance with Commonwealth Grant Guidelines;
- the potential and likely impacts on service users concerning service delivery, continuity, quality and reliability;
- the framework and measures in place, if any, to assess the impacts of these reforms on service user outcomes and service sustainability and effectiveness;
- the information provided to tenderers about how decisions are made, feedback mechanisms for unsuccessful tender applicants, and the participation of independent experts in tender review processes to ensure fairness and transparency;
- the impact on advocacy and policy services across the sector;
- factors relating to the efficient and effective collection and sharing of data on outcomes within and across program streams to allow actuarial analysis of program, cohort and population outcomes to be measured and evaluated;
- the extent of contracts offered, and the associated conditions, to successful applicants;
- the effect of mandatory incorporation under the Corporations (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander) Act 2006 on Indigenous organisations receiving grants of $500 000 or more per annum;
- the effect and cost impact of delays in the assessment process and the extension of interim funding on organisations pending the outcome of the Indigenous Advancement Strategy; and
- any other related matters.
Submission closing date is 30 April 2015. The reporting date is 18 June 2015.
In the meantime the Minister Nigel Scullion advises that hotline has been setup to deal with
#IAS funding inquiries 1 800 088 323
The Government savagely cut more than $500 million dollars from Indigenous programs in the 2014-15 Budget, with no details about which services would be cut.
The chaotic and confusing application process further compounded the damage, leaving many organisations unsure if they can keep their doors open.
The inquiry will have a broad remit allowing the Senate to investigate where the cuts have fallen by region and service type, particularly where it is uncertain replacement services will be made available.
The inquiry will also look into issues such as the lack of consultation that occurred with organisations, the lack of information and reliable advice provided to applicants; the impact of the ongoing uncertainty facing organisations and what transition arrangements have been made for those services being de-funded.
More than 9 months after the disastrous process began, Indigenous organisations are still facing ongoing uncertainty about the viability and sustainability of their services in the wake of massive funding reductions.
In the meantime, many organisations have lost valuable staff due to ongoing uncertainty and do not know where to direct their clients.
Labor encourages all organisations who have tendered under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy to make a submission to the Senate Inquiry about their experience and the impact of the funding outcome on their services and communities.
Submissions close on the 30 April 2015 with the Finance and Public Administration References Committee to report by 18 June 2015.
Further information on the Senate Inquiry into the Indigenous Advancement Strategy can be found at:
Indigenous frontline services deserve to be treated with respect and not endure this chaos, confusion and cuts.