Celebrate Our Uniqueness – Plan the Way Forward

 photo of Trevor McGlincheyTrevor McGlinchey
Executive Officer, NZCCSS

What incredible value we, the community social services sector, provide to our nation. After over 8 years of operation without any increase in funding, we are still delivering better services to more clients, people and families, who have increasingly complex needs. Well done. Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back for this incredible work and celebrate the huge contribution we collectively make to the wellbeing of our clients, our communities and our society.

We know that this has not been an easy task with our government funders asking us to become more accountable, to maintain higher standards, and to tender in GETS for a limited funding pool. Philanthropic organisations are under increasing demand from groups that are responding to the deep poverty and disadvantage felt within many of our communities. As a result, funding from these organisations is more difficult to access.  Yet we continue to innovate and respond to meet our clients’ needs and to create just and compassionate communities.

The Government sees Social Investment as the way forward.  They see their ‘investment’ as a single approach.  When asked why they won’t put more funding into social services they point to the $745 mil being invested over 4 years in vulnerable children, mental health, education interventions and prisoner reintegration.

In this way community based social services funding has been whittled away by increasing costs, no funding increase for inflation, and any new funding emerging in differently targeted areas. Thus, we must think about how we respond to the changes occurring in our operating environment.

The New Zealand Council of Christian Social Services have been doing this thinking with our colleagues from Community Networks Aotearoa. Building on our previous shared conference we have decided to host another joint conference this year. We are bringing together thoughtful and analytic speakers to help us express the great value we already contribute, to understand the emerging environment and to build onto this value as we plan the way forward. These speakers from New Zealand and Australia will all contribute to building new ways of working so we may continue to support our communities through the implementation of our values in action.

The aptly named, Empowerment and Success: A Positive Path for the NGO Sector, conference will be held at the Quality Hotel Lincoln Green, Henderson, Auckland on the 26/27 October.  The website will be up soon and we hope you will get this into your diary.  This will be a great opportunity for us to work together to celebrate our contribution and to plan a positive pathway towards our shared future.

No reira, e rau rangatira ma ka kite koutou a taua wa.

Trevor McGlinchey