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Community Sector Reforms

Domestic Violence Victoria today hosted an agency and workforce development forum at Melbourne's Jasper Hotel.

The forum set out to bring the homelessness and family violence sectors together, and featured a presentation from the Centre's Director of Research and Social Policy – Marilyn Webster.

Marilyn's presentation focused on the direction of community services in Victoria, introducing themes of cross-sectoral collaboration, open government, and deliberative democracy to articulate the evolving relationship between government and the community sector.

Marilyn highlighted a number of significant papers and reports that have been released recently, describing recent reforms implicit as being 'comprehensive and strategic', and whole-of-government objectives as 'ambitious and forward thinking'.

The presentation also described the Government/Community Services relationship as needing to be 'long term and based on an explicit understanding of the respective and different responsibilities and roles of the government and community sector'.

Marilyn also mentioned the potential need for 'reform of governance and oversight mechanisms, to ensure the sector is appropriately structured, regulated and funded.' This obligation to look at the way we operate is shared by the community sector – not just government.

Improvements to accountability and transparency may be delivered through strengthening data collection, performance measures/indicators and accountability systems.

Marilyn concluded by identifying these key opportunities and challenges:

  • Reinforce whole-of-government responses
  • Change the way we do business through family & community focus
  • Start measuring things that matter to children and communities 
  • Develop better accountability and monitoring frameworks
  • Develop better understandings of real cost and need
  • Build a workforce and organisational capacity and capability through training and system clarification
  • The challenge is to decide where to invest limited resources … and to work out smart ways of maximizing the investment
  • Change the lives of vulnerable individuals and their families

A copy of Marilyn's powerpoint presentation can be found below, along with Gill Callister's slides from the Centre's Governance forum, which was held in September. 

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