An understanding of the role of NGOs has always been part of the work we do, whether it is social housing, the development of advice on best practice contracting with the community sector for local government, cross sector collaboration or our ongoing work on options for ageing in place.
Currently we are really interested in the changing environment for NGOs. For example, we have been helping a Community Housing Trust in New Zealand respond to the report of the Government’s Housing Shareholders Advisory Group which emphasised a much greater role for the third sector in the provision of social housing.
We have also been monitoring changes in England as the coalition government elected in 2010 experiments with new ways of delivering social services in order to reduce the overall cost. The basic premise is that devolution to the community will produce better outcomes at a lower cost, partly because people know their own communities better than officials know them and partly because genuine devolution should encourage co-production (a bit of jargon for the community picking up part of the work, usually in partnership with others). This is seeing an increased emphasis on community organisations, including both traditional NGOs and social enterprises.
Our reflection on changes in local government in New Zealand, especially following the Auckland local government reforms, leads us to the view that we can expect much stronger regional level partnerships between central government, local government and the voluntary and community sector. This will have a number of impacts including a very real emphasis on the importance of good governance.
This is an area where MDL Principal Adrienne von Tunzelmann has a particular contribution to make based both on her extensive experience of governance in community organisations and her specific skills in governance (recognised in her being awarded accredited director status by the NZ Institute of Directors).
To talk with us about how Adrienne's experience can help your organisation adapt to the changing NGO/community sector environment, contact us.