Family and Community Services 2016
The Family and Community Services report was released today by the Acting Deputy Auditor-General. Financial reporting within the cluster continues to improve but there are opportunities to improve governance and performance reporting.
Quality and timely financial reporting
All cluster agencies met statutory deadlines for completing early close procedures and submitting financial statements. Unqualified audit opinions were issued on all cluster agencies’ reports.
Over a third of annual expenditure is paid to NGOs
Cluster agencies have significant contracts with non-government organisations (NGOs) to deliver services to people with disability, children and young people and social housing. In 2015-16, cluster agencies paid $2.8 billion to NGOs, representing 34 per cent of total cluster expenditure. A recent review has shown areas where the Department can improve how it manages the performance of these service providers.
‘The Department should improve its processes for monitoring the performance of NGOs’, the Acting Deputy Auditor-General said.
Reporting of performance can improve
The Department regularly publishes statistics on its performance across each strategic objective but does not include targets and benchmarks. ‘To improve transparency and accountability the Department should include targets and benchmarks when reporting on its performance’, the Acting Deputy Auditor-General said.
The Department is not fully accredited to provide out-of-home-care to children and young people
Three of the Department's fifteen Community Service Centres (CSCs) are not meeting all required out-of-home care (OOHC) service standards and have received interim accreditation from the Children's Guardian until 1 December 2016.
If the remaining CSCs are not accredited, they will need to stop providing statutory OOHC. Case management of the children and young people for these CSCs will then need to transfer to an accredited NGO or an accredited CSC of the Department.
Placement reviews of children and young people increased
The Department has increased documented case plans for children and young people in statutory care from 80 to 95 per cent at 30 June 2016, with priority given to high risk cases. Caseworkers are required to review placements to assess the health, wellbeing, education and social life of the child.
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