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ComVoices 2016 State of the Sector Survey finds community organisations struggling

November 10, 2016 at 4:25 PM

*From the New Zealand Family Violence Clearinghouse*

ComVoices have released results from their second survey of community organisations.

The State of the Sector Survey 2016 was completed by 280 organisations. The questions were similar to the previous survey completed in 2014, allowing for comparison. Findings from the 2016 survey indicate that the situation is more challenging for community organisations.

Scott Miller, Chair of ComVoices, said "We are facing greater demand for our services, are dealing with greater complexity with less funding from government, and have a greater reliance on alternative funding sources to support the delivery of services."

Tess Casey, convenor of the Survey Working Group, said cost, complexity and compliance were major issues: "The survey shows that the financial pressures on our organisations are huge. Part of the issue is that most Government agencies do not pay the full cost of the services they contract from community organisations." She said "As well, many service delivery groups have had no dollar increases in contracts for the same or larger output targets for between six and ten years."

Of the 280 organisations that responded:

  • Six are facing closure
  • 42% are worried about their financial viability
  • Almost half are using their reserves to help fund their service delivery, and 56% of those organisations will be able to sustain this for only one more year or less
  • 65% of organisations have more work than two years ago – but only 34% have more staff than two years ago
  • 68% are doing more work than specified in contracts

Ms Casey said "Government compliance requirements have also increased. The organisations that responded to the survey mentioned having to work with new and more complex financial reporting regulations, more frequent external reporting and outcome reporting requirements, new data collection requirements, and new health and safety regulations. Regrettably, there are no funding increases to cover this."

Green Party social development spokeswoman Jan Logie has expressed concern about the adequacy of government fundingm including in relation to the reforms to child protection: "When the majority of notifications to CYF [Child, Youth and Family] go back to the community sector, and the National Government plans to further devolve this work, it is unacceptable to underfund this core work when these families really need help."

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Related information

Youthline and Lifeline are both experiencing funding crises and cutting large numbers of staff. Lifeline has closed all of their branches except Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch. Age Concern has also highlighted the funding shortfall for elder abuse prevention services.

Category: Reports