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.

Benefits of Government Funding the Provision of Some Public Services through Voluntary Agencies
1.Funding is flexible and can come in whichever form is appropriate- grants,  cheap loans, subsidies, agreements, contracts and preferential access to resources- contracting is not necessarily the appropriate way at all.

2. Funding recognises, enables and resources good work done by voluntary agencies, sometimes of kinds which the state could not do.

3. Funding enables the voluntary agencies’ nimbleness and quick and effective responses to new issues and challenges.

4. Funding enables the voluntary agencies’ provision of services that are tailored specifically to, and developed jointly with, particular communities in need.

5. Funding enables the voluntary agencies’ ability to innovate, experiment, and even fail in the nature of its services without political blame and bureaucratic constraints.

6. Funding enables client participation in decision-making and in the nature  and process of delivery of services as voluntary agencies can do.

7. Funding enables community development and strength based approaches to be resourced and be effective in low income communities

8. Funding enables services unattractive to philanthropists such as to the brain injured or to problem gamblers to occur effectively, and not just to attractive children who are blind or have cancer.

9. Funding voluntary agencies services is usually cheaper partly because they usually pay staff less but mainly because of their extensive use of donations and of volunteers.

10. Funding can and should enable voluntary agencies to analyse, research and voice the needs of their clients for policy and regulatory change.

Challenges to Voluntary Agencies

  • •Pressure and threats not to undertake public advocacy activities as this could result in loss of funding or of contracts
  • •New and higher accounting and reporting standards-good but resource intensive
  • •Competitive tendering for contracts and for funding.
  • •Contracting and funding opened up to private companies and overseas agencies.
  • •Introduction of Social Impact Bonds for some services.
  • •Requirements for Outcome Based Measurements and Reporting-again good but resource intensive.
  • •Cuts in Government funding and prioritising to children’s services and to those judged most vulnerable.
  • •Privatisation of some services e.g. Corrections, some Social Housing.
  • •Harder to attract directors, members and volunteers as some, particularly women,  need full-time work and others increasingly prefer individual or digital activities to be involved in.
  • A tighter and more arbitrary definition of what is a charity is being applied.

State of the Sector Survey 2014 Snapshot
Survey conducted every three years by the voluntary sector peak bodies before general elections.
311 community and voluntary sector organisations responded.

1 .60% said they were not prepared to speak out publicly for fear of losing their funding or contracts.

2. 75% have more people accessing their services than 3 years ago but only 38% have more staff.

3. 81% are doing more work than is specified in their contracts.

4. 40% could not offer any wage increases in the previous 3 years.

5. 60% were running down their reserves to maintain services

6. 6% faced imminent closure because of financial pressures.

7 .Many said competitive funding models were undermining collaboration.

8. Many said the government demanded outcomes that it was only prepared to part fund.

Implications of the Recent High Court Decision on Problem Gambling Foundation vs Attorney- General

•Government contracting for public services can be subject to a broad scope of judicial review – not just for fraud, corruption and bad faith.

•Generally such Government agency contracts are a public function for public benefit and that public law principles of natural justice and procedural fairness apply.

•Ministry and Departmental contracting must comply with the published Government Rules of Sourcing and can be vitiated otherwise.

•Where a contrary finding has been made by a Court, Government Departments must conduct a fresh and compliant process.

•In evaluating Requests and Tenders Ministries must comply fully with the evaluation criteria and processes they notified to applicants.

•The Government is appealing this decision, apparently so it can avoid due process and make deals- but who can afford to defend this appeal?

Graduate Diploma in Not for Profit Management 

Kia ora, Warm Greetings from the Graduate Diploma in Not for Profit Management!

This Diploma enjoys high regard within the not for profit sector because the students find their skills and clarity gained through the programme, have contributed immensely to building the capacity of their organisations.

So what would persuade you to take it up or continue on the programme?
1. Think of the opportunity to sit alongside other managers and leaders, to discuss the key issues and developments facing you every day, with the experience and support of tutors who are active participants and consultants for the not for profit sector.
2. You are able to apply for Scholarships to assist with the fees.
3. We deliver this programme in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Unitec’s Graduate Diploma in Not for Profit Management has been designed for managers and co-ordinators of not-for-profit organisations, team leaders, volunteers and board members. The only qualification of its kind, it addresses the complexity and unique challenges of managing in the not-for-profit sector, compared to a business or government department

Study in a supportive and cooperative learning environment, taught by lecturers who have plenty of experience in the not-for-profit sector themselves. Build networks with fellow students working in similar roles across the diversity of the NFP sector.

NFP sector.

The Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate in Not for Profit Managementare qualifications for managers, coordinators and board members working in Community, Voluntary and Tangata Whenua organisations.

Designed with busy managers in mind, this is a part-time programme with classes offered blocks. The programme consists of eight courses exploring the fundamentals of managing in a complex community setting. Courses are six days long and offered in two blocks of three days. All assignments and assessments on the programme are based on the student’s organisation and provide a rich opportunity for their organisations to benefit from this dynamic learning community.

Are you interested in exploring community organisation leadership with other community organisation leaders?: Unitec’s  Not for Profit Management programme offers a range of qualifications designed specifically for NZ not for profit organisation managers and leaders. The programme is structured to enable part-time participation if you are are working and provides support if you have not been in  study for a long long time. This highly regarded programme is delivered by a team who work in the sector so is highly practical with all classwork and assessments being applied directly to your organisation.

For more information contact: Shirleen Ali

On Air with Ros

Download and listen to the most recent broadcast of Collaborative Voices where Ros speaks to Murray Edridge(Community Investment) about the investment strategy.
To blog, or not to blog…

Here are the links to the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop. Interesting reading…
Money Week happens once a year but what about the future? by Raewyn Fox, CEO, The NZ Federation of Family Budgeting Services
Every NZ student should be a NZ student volunteer by Scott Miller, Chief Executive, Volunteering New Zealand
Let’s mobilise against domestic violence by Sue McCabe, Chief Executive, National Council of Women of New Zealand
Outcome Plus – the added value from community social services by Trevor McGlinchey, Executive Officer, NZ Council of Christian Social Services

Photo: bruceandrobyn