Network News September 2015

Meet the Members

Welcome to another article in the series introducing the wonderful members we serve and the work they are doing in their communities throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Home to the Highlanders, scarfies and bracing weather – there’s a lot more to Dunedin.   The Dunedin Council of Social Services (DCOSS) has existed now for thirty five years.  Originally established by two city councillors who wanted a mechanism for the community to have a voice, the organisation continues to thrive.  The initial mandate of DCOSS was to bring together other organisations for collaboration and the sharing of information and this remains an important part of what it does for its 128 members.

The mid-1990s saw a big change for DCOSS with moves to develop a community house and in 2001 Dunedin Community House in Moray Place came into being.    Now the home to eighteen permanent tenants, and providing various office and meeting spaces for other smaller organisations, DCOSS is contracted to manage the house.

With 3.5 staff and 4 volunteers, the organisation also provides back office support via its social enterprise arm.  Not for Profits can obtain help with payroll and financial issues, IT and website development, capability development and governance among other things.  One of the challenges facing DCOSS is balancing their resources with the ever increasing demand from the sector for support especially around administration and governance.  This has been exacerbated with increasing pressure around compliance.

Many opportunities also abound for DCOSS as they collaborate with the Dunedin Chamber of Commerce to enable business to meet community; work closely with the Community Development Department at Dunedin City Council; and facilitate the Dunedin Community Accounting service through which treasurers may receive training.

The team at DCOSS L to R Rob Tigeir and Alan Shanks; AnnetteHarrax    & Doreen Michelle.

DCOSS – helping communities help themselves.  For further info find them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter or visit



CNA Hui 15/16 October

With our Hui fast approaching, we are very pleased to announce the identity of our surprise speaker for day two – journalist Dita de Boni.

Dita has worked in journalism for almost 20 years; initially at the Herald as a business reporter, features writer, columnist, general and education reporter.  She then moved to TVNZ where she worked as a business reporter on the early-morning business show, as well as One News and Close Up. 

After leaving to have children, Dita has moved back into writing with an online parenting blog followed by a column in the print version of the Herald that’s just ended.  She now also works at TVNZ as a foreign news producer in the mornings.  She is married to former One News and Campbell Live reporter Ali Ikram.

For further information and to register for this invaluable two day event go to

Challenges Facing New Zealand Voluntary Agencies Today
by Richard Northey, Chair, ADCOSS

The Importance of Strong Voluntary Agencies
1 .Robert Putnam in Making Democracy Work and Bowling Alone rigorously demonstrated the vital role that Civil Society and voluntary agencies have in strengthening democracy and in enhancing both social and economic development cf. Northern and Southern Italy.

2. Richard Florida has shown the social and economic benefits of having diversity in population composition and in voluntary agencies.

3. New Zealand has many examples from the Rugby World Cup, the Christchurch Student Army, the Maori Women’s Welfare League and others where voluntary agencies and volunteers have achieved miracles.

4. The Sector’s Value: $11billion; 4.9% of GDP; 9.8% of New Zealand’s workforce.

5. Civil Society, operating as both the engine of change and of participation and also as the glue of social and economic cohesion, is vital.

Read more >

Network News August 2015

“All the talent in the world can’t take you anywhere without your teammates” – anon

The Rugby World Cup isn’t the only big event this year – Community Networks Aotearoa has its Hui coming up! Once every two years we bring our members together to meet, share and inspire each other over two days in Wellington.

Day one will kick off with a World Café enabling delegates to talk about burning issues such as emergency management and what’s on top in your region? in small groups. This will be followed by “Show Me the Money!” featuring a panel of experts looking a revenue streams in the not for profit sector. The lineout includes Liz Gibbs (CEO, Philanthropy NZ), Mike Reid (Principal Policy Adviser, LGNZ), Alex Hannant (CEO, Akina Foundation) and a representative from MSD.

The second half of day one will consist of further opportunities to network and learn by rotating through expert-led groups examining topics such as “Charities Accountability – are you up with the play?”; “Your Local Council” and “Outcomes Reporting – what d’ya need to know?”

Finally we welcome academic fly half, Associate Professor Michael Macaulay who will speak about “Developing and Maintaining Thriving Boards”. Michael is the Director of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at VUW.

Day two will see us “pack down the scrum” with the business of our AGM followed by tea, birthday cake and candles as we celebrate CNA’s 40th! We will then delight delegates with a surprise speaker guaranteed to send them off home on a high after a bite of lunch.

Although primarily an event for our members, others working in the community and voluntary sector are also welcome to attend. For further information and/or to register please go to

Rising to the Challenge

Last month Ros attended the inaugural Waikato sector regional conference, Rising to the Challenge, organised and hosted by Community Waikato. Here are her thoughts on the event….

Read more >

Network News July 2015

Meet the Members

Welcome to another article in the series introducing the wonderful members we serve and the work they are doing in their communities throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Located in the Waikato, Putaruru COSS (PCOSS) meets quarterly at the Putaruru Community Resource Centre.  A network of 25 groups covering an area including Tirau and Arapuni, as well as Putaruru, and stretching 26kms south to Tokoroa, they represent both urban and rural communities.  PCOSS receives no funding and but acts effectively as an informal network bringing together diverse groups and providing them with information between meetings via newsletters and emails.

The Resource Centre’s Communications Manager Adrienne Bell, serves as secretary to the networking group which includes organisations like Youth Matters, Progress to Health and the Health Consumer Service.  PCOSS also has links with neighbouring Tokoroa COSS, Community Waikato and local Putaruru College.  Many of the groups do not have premises so the Resource Centre serves as a hub for the wider community, and the services they provide.

Adrienne sees a lack of employment opportunities as being the biggest challenge facing the area following the closure of major employer Carter Holt Harvey five years ago and the subsequent impact on local business.  Although there has been no decrease in the population of Putaruru, there are increasing numbers of older residents which has influenced the types of services and community groups needed in the area as well as making the local rest home a major employer.

Younger residents are not forgotten however with a strong local focus on training opportunities.  The Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre has a campus in the area and Trade Training in Tokoroa, Wairaki Polytechnic and Te Wananga O Aotearoa all provide buses for Putaruru students to travel to their campuses with Waikato University planning to do the same in 2016.

A focus for both PCOSS and the Resource Centre is empowering people through information and education.  When not working for PCOSS and the Centre, Adrienne is a District Councillor, secretary to the WBOP Association of Household Budgeting Services and a teacher of the ukulele!  This ability to wear many varied hats is no doubt typical of our amazing members who serve their communities in rural and small town New Zealand. To contact PCOSS call (07) 883 8045 or email

New reporting standards for charities – more info
Some of you may have attended the series of workshops run throughout the country from March-June explaining the new reporting standards which came into effect on 1 April. Based on the workshops, Charities Services has produced three videos about the new standards for tier 4 charities plus a handy booklet.  Visit to view the videos and download the book.

Read more >

Network News May/June 2015

Budget 2015

As part of our ongoing support for our membership, CNA commissioned BERL (Business and Economic Research Ltd) to provide commentary on this year’s Budget and its effect on community and voluntary groups.

Click and watch Chief Economist, Dr Ganesh Nana provide an overview and visit our website to read the full report.

Being a Fair and Reasonable Employer in Times of Uncertainty 
by Denise Lormans, Chair of CNA and Manager, Southland Community Law Centre

When your organisation is facing difficult decisions because of financial constraints, it is essential that you talk to your staff as you know that there may be a problem.

As employers you must act in good faith and act as a fair and reasonable employer would. This means that you should tell staff when things are starting to look grim.

The organisation should work with staff to ensure that they know what is going on at all times.  It is our experience that most of the time staff will actually come up with some fairly outstanding ideas on how to manage under financially stressful times.

As employers you should also update staff regularly about what the organisation is actually planning to do to support staff during any “transitional” or liquidation process.  This could be as simple as having regular meetings to talk about progress, or as complex as arranging registration with employment agencies for staff.

As employers you must follow the clauses of all employment agreements. Things to consider:
If your organisation is looking at restructuring, you need to be sure to follow the correct process.  You should seriously consider getting legal advice to ensure that you draw up a plan and know what the organisation needs to do through the process. False redundancies or incorrect processes are the cause of innumerable personal grievances. The correct process should also be covered within the employment agreements. Read more >

Transition Times


Community Investment Strategy

Minister Tolley has publicly released the Community Investment Strategy today.

The strategy provides you with clarity about the priorities for funding of social services for vulnerable New Zealanders for the next three years. It also explains how the Ministry of Social Development will manage this investment in communities.

In addition, implementing this strategy will ensure purchased social services are targeted at the right people and the right communities, based on evidence of what works, so that together we can make the biggest difference for the people that need our support the most.

Learn more about the strategy
More information is available on the MSD website.
Community Investment will also be meeting with current providers from mid-June. Information about these provider events will be available shortly.

Please email any questions or comments about the Community Investment Strategy

Network News April 2015

More effective social services?

The draft findings and recommendations from the NZ Productivity Commission inquiry are now out and submissions are invited by 24 June before it makes its final report. The draft report says users should be given greater say in the services they receive, and government departments should take a step back.

The report also suggests a competitive market based on tendering would encourage providers to offer better services as a means to secure clients.  This could lead to further changes to the way people access social services in next month’s budget according to Acting Prime Minister Bill English.

Community Networks Aotearoa was one of many organisations in the sector to make a submission to the inquiry (read our submission) and will be looking closely at the draft report.

To make a submission on the draft report (by 24 June), visit the Productivity Commission website.

Policing (Cost Recovery) Amendment Bill – impact on voluntary and community groups

This bill proposes amendments to the Policing Act 2008 to enable cost recovery for certain Police services where there is a degree of private benefit to the users of the service.  Changes to the Act may see charities and other community groups paying for the police vetting of staff and volunteers.
ComVoices, of which Community Networks Aotearoa is a member, believes that voluntary and community organisations should be exempt from paying for policing services and this should be enshrined in legislation.

“It is the State itself that requires that NGO’s vet a wide range of people who work for them as staff and volunteers.  It’s a non-negotiable activity for NGO’s.  The reason for wider vetting is for public safety and that is a core Police role.  It is neither fair nor reasonable that the sector should now be asked to carry these costs.” says Helga Vientjes, ComVoices Chair. Read more >

Transition Times



Effective from 1 April 2015, there will be new reporting standards applied to all registered charities.  These standards are to bring consistency and transparency to charities’ financial reporting.

There are four tiers that apply to different sizes of organisation, so smaller organisations have more simplified requirements.  This Transition Times is about Tiers 3 and 4.

  • You will not need to use the new requirements until you have completed a full financial year after 1 April 15. eg: if your financial year end is 30 June 15 you won’t prepare financial statements for CS until 30 June 16.
  • Charities Services has assured CNA that they realise the first couple of years will be a period of learning for Charities and the focus of CS will be helping Charities to understand and help with compliance to the new standards.
  • The non-financial reporting portion of your Charities Accountability requirement means it is important for you to log what you do, how much you do of it, and any results that you can gather.  If you don’t already do this, we suggest you begin collating this information now.
  • We suggest that you go to a Charities Workshop being held around the country. Find out about them here.
    Charities Services Workshops for Tiers 3 and 4 : 2015

Double check the Charities Services Website to check which tier you are in; to check your reporting dates, and anything else you need to know.

As well as the new reporting standards, there are also some new audit and review requirements that become effective from 1 April 2015, which result from recent changes to the Charities Act.

These new requirements only apply to charities with expenditure over $500,000 a year.  However, even though Charities with expenditure of less than $500,000  are not required by law to have an audit or review, they may be required by their rules or constitution or as a condition of receiving a grant to have their financial statements audited or reviewed.
Be aware of these other possible requirements.

More information is available at these places.

Photo: deeuutee