Service coordination inquiry shows the need for a plan to promote wellbeing across NSW

Jan Barham, Greens MP and spokesperson on Community Resilience, has welcomed the report of a Parliamentary inquiry into service coordination in communities with high social needs.

“Government’s fundamental responsibility is to promote the wellbeing of all people and communities across the state. The recommendations of the inquiry into service coordination offer some important ways to improve their capacity to deliver on that responsibility, to improve our understanding of the challenges and to ensure services address the disadvantage and vulnerability in our society,” Ms Barham said.

“Over recent years I’ve put information on the record many times about the growing evidence about how deep disadvantage has become entrenched in communities within Sydney’s suburbs and regional areas. To ensure all people have opportunities and don’t face barriers to success, we must understand the causes of these issues and deliver the full range of effective, coordinated services that are needed.”

Ms Barham welcomed recommendations to develop a plan for greater use of data that provide indicators of community wellbeing, and to collect evidence about service program outcomes.

“The public, service providers and elected representatives all need access to information about how we are faring as a society and within our local communities, across the broad range of issues that determine our quality of life.

“In 2014 I introduced a Wellbeing Indicators Bill that would provide the framework to produce this information in New South Wales. I strongly encourage the Government to take a comprehensive approach to measuring and reporting on community trends and outcomes, as well as ensuring the services delivered to communities are able to identify the impact they are having on people’s wellbeing.”

Ms Barham also noted the inquiry’s recommendations to provide greater certainty and continuity for service providers and their clients.

“The social service sector has faced unpredictability and, in some cases, outright turmoil, as a result of the State and Federal Governments’ budget cuts, short-term contracts, rushed tendering processes and interim funding arrangements.

“I urge the NSW Government to learn from the shortcomings of earlier processes such as Going Home Staying Home and to take on board the recommendations of this inquiry about minimum five-year funding periods and longer lead-in periods for tendering processes.

“We’re capable of addressing the inequality and disadvantage in our society, with government and non-government services providing support and opportunity where it is needed. This inquiry hasn’t provided all of the solutions but its messages about the importance of improving coordination and focussing on indicators of wellbeing are ones that can make a huge difference if the Government is willing to act,” Ms Barham concluded.

For Further Comment, please contact Jan Barham directly on 0447 853 891

Final Report, Service coordination in communities with high social needs

Wellbeing Indicators Bill 2014

Speech introducing the Wellbeing Indicators Bill