Nature of the Relationship
When you hear about the ‘nature of the relationship’ in the context of state government procurement reforms, it means that the relationship between the community services sector and government is less a client-funder relationship and more a collaborative and dynamic partnership.
As a consequence of the Economic Audit Committee Report and the recommendations it contains, state government has made a fundamental shift in:
- How it views the not-for profit sector and
- How it works with the not-for-profit sector.
Government recognises that community service organisations have expertise that government does not always have and that community services have a greater capability to effect change on the ground.
This is a real shift in thinking, for both community service organisations and for government. Community service organisations are accustomed to just accepting what’s on offer to get a service up and running, often with inadequate funds.
The changes in the nature of the relationship brought about through the Partnership Forum and the Delivering Community Services in Partnership Policy (DCSP) mean that government agencies and community service organisations work in partnership in the design, evaluation and reporting of services. Through this process, there is a recognition of the knowledge and expertise that resides in the community sector.
In determining what community outcomes should be a priority, government should be working collaboratively with the sector to figure that out. Community service organisations need to take this on board, as in the new context of the partnership, it is not only up to government agencies to ensure that this happens. If community service organisations feel that they should be having more significant input into this process, they need to be bringing this up with their funding bodies.
For further reading, have a look at the Partnership Forum Behaviours, for an idea on what this change in the relationship means in practice.
You can also read an article here written by Peter Shergold on his views on the nature of the relationship.
Please click here to read further on "What is a Partnership?"