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Barnardos says new independent report busts myths

02 September 2019

Barnardos says new independent report busts myths about community-based social service funding and provides direction for change

Barnardos, New Zealand’s national children’s charity working towards the vision of ‘An Aotearoa New Zealand where every child shines bright’, says that a new independent report published today busts some myths about the funding situation the community-based social sector faces, and provides clear direction for change.

The independent report, ‘Social Service System: The Funding Gap and How to Bridge it’, estimates that the overall government funding gap facing the community-based social service sector working with children and families is close to $630 million dollars. Approximately $300 million of this figure relates to the underfunding of wages across provider organisations, who are delivering essential services to support children, families and whānau.

Barnardos’ Chief Executive Mike Munnelly says Barnardos works nationally every day with children, young people and their families and whānau from children’s early years through to young people reaching adulthood, and that the nature of Barnardos’ social service work is complex, demanding and high risk. “To do the work we do, community-based, not-for-profit organisations like Barnardos need to be fairly and sustainably funded. That’s why we have supported this report commissioned by Social Service Providers Aotearoa and philanthropy to better understand and quantify the funding gap faced by our sector. The report helps our sector and government to have a shared understanding of what is needed to support community-based social service providers to best support children and their families and whānau”, Mr Munnelly says.

Barnardos, which is a member of Social Service Providers Aotearoa, is supporting calls for the government to implement the recommendations outlined in the report by MartinJenkins. “The research has found that government funds social service providers for less than two thirds of the actual costs of delivering the services we are contracted to provide, and that this is placing significant stress on our sector. This needs to change. We need Budget 2020 to show the first steps in a serious commitment to closing the funding gap. We also need the government to commit to working with social service providers and the philanthropic sector on the longer term issues that are identified in the report, taking a collaborative approach, to achieve an effective and sustainable funding model. Some recent positive developments such as CPI adjustments and some fully-funded contracts for the sector provide a good start. We need to build on that together, to make sure these features are systematised through re-setting the funding system”, Mr Munnelly says.

Mr Munnelly says that Barnardos joins with others in the sector emphasising the need for urgent change on the pay pressures facing organisations such as Barnardos. Mr Munnelly says that “the pay gap that exists between our social service staff and those working for Oranga Tamariki has grown to around 30% as a result of our workers not being included in the Oranga Tamariki pay settlement. This gap has to be closed, but closing it is dependent on securing funding from government. Our staff are working with many of the same families and whānau that Oranga Tamariki works with, so it makes total sense for government to invest in closing this gap significantly, and we are in a position now where we need that to happen with urgency.”

The report makes 39 recommendations, including that government and community-based social service providers work together through the Budget 2020 process to ensure the Budget addresses underfunding across providers, and that the estimated $300 million wages gap is one of the immediate priorities for action.


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