Submission on the Indigenous Advancement Strategies' grants process - 30 April 2015
Senate Inquiry into the Indigenous Advancement Strategy grants tendering process conducted by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
1. Australian governments should urgently review and streamline their tendering, contracting, reporting and acquittal requirements in the provision of services to reduce compliance costs. This should seek to ensure that the compliance burden associated with these requirements is proportionate to the funding provided and risk involved. Further, to reduce the current need to verify the provider’s corporate or financial health on multiple occasions, even within the same agency, reviews should include consideration of:
- development of Master Agreements that are fit-for-purpose, at least at a whole-of-agency level
- use of pre-qualifying panels of service providers.
(Recommendation 12.7 Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector, Productivity Commission, 2010)
2. The Department of Finance and Deregulation should develop a common set of core principles to underpin all government service agreements and contracts in the human services area. This should be done in consultation with relevant government departments and agencies and service providers.
(Recommendation 12.8 Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector, Productivity Commission, 2010)
3. All government tendering processes should actively involve those being contracted to provide services and those who will benefit from the services in the design and implementation of programs.
4. All government tendering processes should have a publicly stated policy goal, and a measurable indicator of success.
5. Funding decisions need to be supported by a clear and transparent account of the criteria used to assess applicants, the process by which these criteria were applied, the information used to inform decision making, and the rationale for final decisions.
6. Expertise in the area of service provision being contracted should be included in all decision-making panels.
7. When entering into service agreements and contracts for the delivery of services, government agencies should develop an explicit risk management framework in consultation with providers through the use of appropriately trained staff. This should include:
- allocating risk to the party best able to bear the risk,
- establishing agreed protocols for managing risk over the life of the contract
(Recommendation 12.6 Contribution of the Not-for-Profit Sector, Productivity Commission, 2010)
8. All government contracts seeking to achieve a social purpose should have at least a 5% allocation to support the collection and reporting of appropriate performance measures.
9. Contracts with not-for-profits to provide community based services should be for at least three years and no program should lose funding with less than six months’ notice.
10. Establish a closed independent feedback loop to enable NFPs a confidential solutions focused avenue in provision of feedback on government relationships with the sector.
More on the inquiry is available here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Finance_and_Public_Administration/Commonwealth_Indigenous