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Network News – October 2018

Network News – October 2018

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Network News October 2018

Community Networks Aotearoa is an umbrella organisation for local community networks. Our goal is to empower and strengthen the community sector by supporting community networks across Aotearoa.

We:

  • Provide advice and support to members
  • Connect community networks nationally
  • Use our collective voice to advocate for policy change and raise awareness of issues affecting the community sector

To find out more visit our website here.

This newsletter covers topical issues in the community sector. In this newsletter:

  • Update from CNA Executive Officer, Ros Rice
  • Meet the Members – Volunteer Resource Centre Manawatu and Districts
  • CNA AGM and Hui
  • Tax Working Group releases interim report
  • Oranga Tamariki social workers reach pay equity settlement
  • New Ministry of Housing and Urban Development
  • Social Services Procurement Guidance
  • On Air
  • Government reforms/consultations
  • To blog, or not to blog
  • Things to note before you go…..
  • Special offer for members

Update from CNA Executive Officer, Ros Rice

Tena Koutou Katoa

First up – all CNA members, remember 30 October is our Hui and AGM. We have a great line up of speakers and there will be lots of opportunities for you to meet other community networks across Aotearoa and make all important connections. I hope to see you there! More information can be found here.

The community sector is an essential part of a healthy thriving society. From housing and health to emergency support and everything in-between, the community sector plays a critical role in individual family, whānau and community wellbeing.

But many in the community sector are operating under severe financial strain. And this strain is having a real impact on the ability of community organisations to meet the needs of people in their community.

Recently we heard that Oranga Tamariki social workers and Government have reached a pay equity settlement. This is wonderful news, the contribution of social workers cannot be overstated. However, my mind turns to social workers in the NGO sector, with many NGOs struggling to get by, there’s a risk the pay of their social workers (and indeed others!) will slip further and further behind, making it hard for the sector to retain much needed people.

The funding issue is critical and one that we’re pushing. Our approach to tackling the issue is twofold. First we talk with Government about the issues, and we will keep the pressure on until we see change. But another strand of work is crucial. And that’s growing understanding about the community sector, both with decision-makers, and the public. When people understand what the community sector does and its important role, it helps to increase pressure for change – and it makes it harder for politicians to turn away and ignore the funding crisis. We’re currently exploring how we can do this. But one thing is certain, the severe underfunding of the community sector cannot continue.

Meet the Members – Volunteer Resource Centre Manawatu and Districts

The Volunteer Resource Centre Manawatu and Districts has been encouraging and supporting volunteers for more than a decade. They act a bit like a recruitment agency, matching volunteers with organisations who need them – but the service they provide extends well beyond that.

On one side, they are always encouraging people to volunteer. ‘We know that everyone volunteers for different reasons, and that everyone has the capacity to volunteer in some sort of way.’ Says Manager Renee Dingwall, ‘We know that time pressures are an issue – some people only have two hours a year to spare. Some people have two hours a week. Both options are wonderful, and we work with volunteers to find the perfect role that fits with their skills, their interests and their lifestyles.’

At the same time, the VRCMD supports organisations who engage with volunteers. They keep up-to-date with changes in legislation, help organisations to follow correct Health and Safety procedures, best practice guidelines, writing job descriptions and volunteer policies, and support around recruiting, maintaining and recognising volunteers. They support organisations to develop or improve on their volunteering programmes, so that both parties benefit from that volunteering experience.

They provide workshops and training on various topics – from governance, to social media, to funding, fundraising, and sponsorship. ‘When you think about it, for a lot of non-profit groups and organisations, it’s volunteers who are in charge of these very crucial roles.’ Says Renee, ‘If they need training, we will help them. At the end of the day, we want organisations to be well supported, so that their volunteers are well supported. If we don’t have the expertise ourselves, we’ll collaborate and bring in someone else who can provide that training.’

On top of all of this, they are always promoting volunteering to all age groups, all ethnicities and all levels of abilities. They attend events which cater towards school leavers, older persons, and people with disabilities or English as a Second Language. ‘We have seen how volunteering can help people into employment – they get experience working in this region which they can then add to their CV and job references.’ Says Renee, ‘Volunteering can help combat loneliness and isolation, which is a huge issue for our older generation and for people suffering from depression. Volunteering can help new migrants settle into new communities, make friends and practice their English. There are so many opportunities and benefits to volunteering – we love it!’

The VRCMD first opened its doors in June 2010, starting with 13 member organisations and 26 volunteers on their books. They now have 100 member organisations which range from events like the Manawatu Writers Festival, to small organisations like Just Zilch and Kind Hearts to larger organisations with national branches like the Cancer Society, Red Cross and Plunket. Their database consists of 1,900 volunteers and growing daily. a current membership of 93 member organisations and more than 1800 volunteers.

They have gone from one small office, to a larger office in Hancock Community House (Palmerston North), with outreach services in the Feilding Public Library (Feilding), Te Takeretanga o Kura-hou-pō (Levin) and Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom (Foxton).

The VRCMD covers Palmerston North, Manawatu, Horowhenua and Tararua, but there are 18 Volunteer Centres around the country, who are able to refer you to organisations you can help.

So, if you have ever been interested in volunteering, pop in and see the team for a no-obligation chat about the benefits and opportunities in your neck of the woods.

For more information, click here.

CNA AGM and Hui

Calling all CNA members – our national AGM and Hui is coming up on 30 October 2018. We strongly encourage you to attend. We have a full complement of nominations to our Executive Committee, keep an eye out for an email with information about who is coming in for the next two years.There’s a great line up of speakers, with lots of time for you to network with other community networks across Aotearoa and make all important connections.

Click here to read the programme. Speakers include Len Cook talking about the political environment and how we can hold government to account and Michael McCauley talking about collaboration, when to do it and how to make it work. In the afternoon we change it up and move into what’s called a market place, where you the participants set the agenda and can participate in conversations that are most of interest to you.

We’re very lucky to have Benita Jean Tauhuri as our MC. Benita is a proud descendant of Ngai Tuhoe, Ngati Kahungunu, Brien Boru (last reigning King of Ireland) and also celebrates her English heritage.

As well as a wealth of experience and qualifications in leadership development and education, Benita manages the band NRG Rising, which has toured in the USA three times.

We hope to see you there!

Tax Working Group releases interim report 

The Tax Working Group has released its interim report. Final recommendations are due February 2019.Some of the highlights from the interim report include:

  • Taxation of capital income – the Group’s still working on this. The interim report sets out two potential options for extending capital income taxation: extending the tax net to include gains on assets that are not already taxed; and taxing deemed returns from certain assets.
  • Environmental and ecological outcomes. Short-term opportunities include expanding the Waste Disposal Levy, strengthening the Emissions Trading Scheme, and advancing the use of congestion charging.
  • GST. The Group is not recommending a reduction in GST, or the introduction of new GST exceptions.

The Equality Network has welcomed the Tax Working Group’s interim report. However they would like to see the Group set out more clearly how the changes proposed to the tax system will reduce inequality.

Spokesperson Peter Malcom notes “a key part of reducing inequality is the adequate provision of Government services like health and education. So, a tax system must provide sufficient funds to properly fund Government services at a significantly higher level than the 30% of GDP that the TWG is working from”.

You can read the report here.

Feedback on the report can be sent to submissions@taxworkinggroup.govt.nz.

Oranga Tamariki social workers reach pay equity settlement 

Oranga Tamariki social workers and Government have agreed a pay equity settlement. This is great news, social workers carry out incredibly important work, often in very difficult circumstances. However, it’s important social workers in the NGO sector are not left behind.

Trevor McGlinchey, Executive officer, NZ Council of Christian Social Services notes “the NGO sector employs 28% of registered social workers, compared with 20% in Oranga Tamariki. They operate within the same employment market and in many cases work with the same clients.

“An increase in pay for Oranga Tamariki social workers will have a serious impact on the ability of the NGO sector to recruit and retain social workers, particularly given that services have not seen a funding increase in 10 years, while the volume and complexity of clients’ needs have significantly increased.”

The chronic underfunding of the NGO sector is a key issue for Community Networks Aotearoa (CNA) and many of its members. CNA, along with others in the sector, continue to raise the issue with officials and push for change.

New Ministry of Housing and Urban Development

The new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development was launched this week.

The new Ministry will be working to increase public and private housing supply, make housing affordable for people to rent and buy, address homelessness, and make existing homes warmer and healthier. You can find out more on its new website here.

Anyone who needs urgent help with housing or accommodation should talk to Work and Income.

They will continue to help people with things like emergency housing costs, assessing people for public housing, referring to transitional housing, and financial assistance such as the accommodation supplement.

If you know someone who is homeless or needs access to public housing, please encourage them to get in touch with Work and Income. They can call 0800 559 009, or visit their nearest Service Centre. There’s also information about how Work and Income can help with housing on the Work and Incomewebsite.

Social Services Procurement Guidance

Have you checked out the Social Services Procurement Guidance lately?

There is a lot of information there about good practice when working with social services and community based providers. It will help you to know what you can expect of government departments and agencies.

There is information about selecting providers and working with providers after the contract is signed, as well as templates and tools.

A feedback form has been included at the bottom of most pages so you can provide feedback.

Click here and listen to Ros interview Alfred Ngaro, National MP.

You can also listen to previous interviews, including Minister Peeni Henare, Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Paul Barber from the NZ Council of Christian Social Services and Anya Satyanand from Ara Taiohi.

Government reforms/consultations 

        Current consultations

  • The Welfare Expert Advisory Group is consulting on the future of the welfare system (consultation closes 9 November). More information is available here.
  • The Government has released a discussion document on proposed standards to create warmer, drier rental homes (the healthy homes standards), following the passing of the Healthy Homes Guarantee Act in December 2017. A copy of the discussion document and a summary of the proposed standards are available here. Submissions are open until 6pm on Monday 22 October 2018.
  • The Government has announced a set of proposals aimed at improving renting conditions.The discussion document and a link to an online submission survey are available here. Consultation closes at 5pm, 21 October 2018.Other reforms to note
  • The Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector has announced a review of the Charities Act 2005, for more information click here.
  • The Tax Working Group has released its interim report. Final recommendations are due February 2019. For more information click here.
  • The Local Government (Community Well-being) Amendment Bill has had its first reading in Parliament. This Bill seeks to restore four aspects of community wellbeing in legislation (social, economic, environmental and cultural). For more information click here.
  • Formal submissions have closed for the Government Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction. In a recent update the Inquiry thanked everyone who submitted, they received around 5500 submissions and over 2000 people attended 26 public meetings. They have now moved on to the deliberation stage, with their report due 31 October 2018. For more information click here.
  • The Government is considering the establishment of a sector-level bargaining system. This would enable unions and employers to develop Fair Pay Agreements that set minimum terms and conditions for all workers in an entire industry or occupation.The Government has established the Fair Pay Agreement Working Group to make recommendations on the design of this system. The Working Group is due to report back with its recommendations by November 2018. For more information click here.
  • The Government has announced a review of the New Zealand Health and Disability Sector. An interim report is due by July 2019, and a final report by 31 January 2020. For more information click here.
  • Treasury is working on a “Living Standards Framework” for policy. Consultation has closed on a proposed Living Standards Dashboard to support the application of the Living Standards Framework to policy issues. More information can be found here.
  • The Government is reviewing the schooling system. Consultation has closed and the taskforce appointed to carry out the review is due to report back by 9 November 2018. More information is here.

To blog, or not to blog…

Here are the links to the latest ComVoices blogs on Community Scoop. We recommend a browsing through these blogs. They are fascinating reading as always…

Things to note before you go ……

  • Volunteering on a governance board and not sure what you’re meant to be doing?Join Garth Nowland-Foreman, the “Governance Guru” from LEAD Centre for Not for Profit Leadership for a 1-day workshop for people who find themselves as voluntary members of a non-profit board.

    The session is on Thursday 25 October, in Christchurch. It will provide informative and practical training on the ins and outs of not-for-profit governance, including the roles and responsibilities of board members, legal obligations, risks, and how to add value as a board member. You will get a hands-on experience of useful tools and processes to help deepen the governance practice of your organisation. Scholarships available.

    For more information click here.

Special offer just for members of Community Networks Aotearoa and their networks – because we think you’re great!

Facing an increase in your insurance premium? Then Community Networks Aotearoa in association with Rothbury Insurance Brokers can help!

This is a package specifically created for community groups and organisations, with extremely discounted rates.

We are pleased to offer this opportunity not only to our member organisations but to their members as well. If you, or one of your network organisations, are interested in receiving an obligation free quote, please contact us for the special code you will require and Rothbury’s contact details.

And don’t forget, we’re here to help.  If you have any problems or issues, or just need some information, please don’t hesitate to contact Ros at the CNA office on Wellington (04) 472 3364 or eo@communitynetworksaotearoa.org.nz  Our staff and our Executive Committee are here to provide support to our membership and always welcome your contact.

Photo: Jason Pratt