Wednesday, October 31, 2012

UK not for profit leader warns against adopting private sector models

Deborah Allcock Tyler who is the CEO of the UK based Directory of Social Change is a regular vsitor to Australia and always has important and insightful things to say about the Not-for profit sector

Last time she was in Australia she slammed the idea that Not for profits should be more business like arguing that it is offensive how much is written about how NFPs need to be run better and behave more like the business world.
Debra Allcock Tyler addresses the 2010 Think Innovation Summi

Allcock Tyler argues that the constant comparison between practices in the business and Not for Profit sectors is ironic, as it was the failure of corporate governance and banks that plunged the world into a recession.

Allcock Tyler has recently visited Australia again as a guest of the Victorian Department of Communities to speak about the experience of the big society and its impact in the UK, social finance and the role of the voluntary sector in social change.

One of her messages (one that I and many others have been arguing for years) needs to be stated over and over-  private-sector models are not the solution to deeply entrenched, long-term social problems and complex human and community needs.

Allcock Tyler is a strong critic of competitive tendering and contractual approaches arguing that the move to competitive tendering for government contracts creates a view of NFPs as just another delivery vehicle for social services. It creates a system where NFPs are forced to behave more ruthlessly like businesses, in a competitive manner.

 Allcock Tyler argues that competitive tendering creates a psychological shift about who the client is – with a contract the client is whoever is paying, instead of the grant system, where a NFP determines a solution to a problem and takes it to government for funding. It also this means the big organisations get bigger, and the medium and small organisations are left behind.

Allcock Tyler has warned the Australian not- for- profit sector of the dangers of adopting untested and in many cases failed market- based policies, including social finance, social enterprise and payment by results, which are increasingly popular here in Australia among Governments and which are fiercely promoted by academic think tanks like the Centre for Social Impact and the growing number of corporate funded  and business oriented NFP advocacy groups.

Allcock Tyler writes here:
It was a great trip, even though I came away worried that the Australians are following the UK's lead in government engagement with the voluntary sector - which, let's face it, is not going well. I did point out that they really shouldn't follow our example because we're buggering it up badly (they're Aussies - they like a spade to be called a spade, and an expletive to emphasise the point always goes down well).

You won't be surprised to hear that I was particularly scathing about social impact bonds and payment by results. One rather important sort of chap then asked me how I explained the success of the "Peterborough experiment". I was flummoxed. I'd never heard of it and said that if it was that successful people would have been shouting about it loudly.

Amazingly, on my first day back in the UK I was listening to Today when said 'experiment' was referred to by Chris Grayling, the Secretary of State for Justice. The absolute shocker was his statement that the payment-by-results model used in the social impact bond being pioneered at Peterborough prison was hugely successful - although he hadn't yet had the report with the evidence to back up that assertion. It seems the government is so confident this market-based, capital-intensive model is right that it doesn't need the evidence to prove it.

What really riled me was the bare-faced hypocrisy of this. We in the sector are constantly exhorted to provide evidence of need and success in order to get funding - but the government is allowed to get away with rolling out a controversial, highly contested model of funding the sector without providing evidence. How hypocritical is that? Well, it won't work. Private-sector models are not the solution to deeply entrenched, long-term social problems.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Not for profit aged care provider Baptistcare protests Federal Government funding cuts

Always pleasing to see large Not- for- profit organizations like Baptistcare willing to make a stand  and protest against Government policy that disadvantages the people they serve.

This report describes a protest by staff at Baptistcare's Rockingham aged care facility against Federal Government funding decisions in aged care that are resulting in $500 million being cut from aged care funding.

Baptistcare is extending the protest to 13 of its residential aged care facilities and three disability and community care sites from today, in protest at the Federal government's decision

The organisation has taken the step of launching the visual protest, which includes a call to action via social media, to raise greater public awareness of the government's 1 July adjustments to the Aged Care Funding Instrument (ACFI).

The protest is part of  a larger campaign being run by not- for- profit aged care providers through Aged and Community Services WA  which represents not-for-profit aged care providers which care for 100,000 of the state's most frail and vulnerable citizens.
Flags emblazoned with “Government Neglects Aged Care” flew outside the Gracehaven facility protesting reduced federal funds for aged-care organisations to deliver clinical care services to its residents.

Baptistcare CEO Lucy Morris said the Government had made it almost impossible for not-for-profit residential care providers, like Baptistcare, to provide appropriate care for the elderly and vulnerable.

“Through its adjustment of the assessment tool used to fund high-care services, the Government has stripped money from the services needed to care for older, sicker residents, who have more complex health needs and need higher levels of care,” Dr Morris said.

But Mental Health and Ageing Minister Mark Butler said subsidies would not be reduced and they would continue to grow by 2.7 per cent a year above indexation, per resident over the next five years.

He said early data for providers’ care funding claims made in July showed average subsidies increased from $133.96 per resident per day in June to $134.83 in July.

“Leading Aged Services Australia (LASA) and Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) have claimed funding will be cut by hundreds of millions of dollars in 2012 and beyond,” Mr Butler said.

“These claims are clearly untrue, as these early figures show. The Government’s aged care package will increase funding for residential care. This year’s subsidies will be $310 million more than last year.”

ACSA WA chief Stephen Kobelke said WA’s not-for-profit aged care sector had struggled for years to survive in one of the world’s most expensive cities.

“There has been unprecedented stagnation in the provision of aged-care services in WA, to the point that 3368 bed licences have now not been taken up since 2007,” he said.

He said ACSWA figures showed some aged-care providers would face cuts of over $14,000 per resident.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Citizen action in Perth this weekend

A busy weekend of activity coming up for WA's citizen led sector and WA civil society groups with a number of important rallies and events in Perth this weekend worthy of support. I will be speaking at one of them.

Rally against Unconventional Gas Fracking  at 1pm this Saturday October 13th in Fremantle is part of a National Week of Action against unconventional gas fracking as called by the Lock the Gate Alliance. Here in WA the unconventional gas threat has grown more serious with full scale shale and tight gas fields planned for the Mid West and the Kimberley. Speakers include: Greens MP Alison Xamon, Jamie Hanson from Conservaion Council of WA, Greg Glazov from Doctors for the Environment, Marcus Atkinson from Nuclear Free Future, Fremantle Mayor Brad Pettitt and also a member of No Fracking WAy.

The Global Noise Street Festival to be held in the Perth Cultural Centre from 6pm to 9pm this Saturday October 13th forms part of the Occupy Perth celebrations and the Global Occupy movement.

The annual Reclaim the Streets March will commence at 2pm on Saturday 13th October from the Perth Cultural Centre.

Welcome Refugees is a protest against mandatory detention and Australia's offshore asylum seeker processing regimes organized by the Refugee Rights Action Network (RRAN) WA. The event will take place at 1pm this Sunday October 14th at the Wesley Church corner  on the Corner of Hay and William Streets in the Perth CBD.