Volume Eight 2015 Family and Community Services

Placement reviews are not undertaken for all children and young people in statutory care.  Caseworkers are required to review placements annually to assess the health, wellbeing, education and social life of the child. Over three-quarters of children and young people received placement reviews in 2014-15 compared to about half of them in the previous twelve months.
'The Department of Family and Community Services supports over 5,500 children and young people in out-of-home care. More can be done to ensure every child or young person in statutory out-of-home care has their placement reviewed', said the Acting Auditor-General, Tony Whitfield.
This is one of the findings the Acting Auditor-General reported in the Volume Eight 2015 Report to Parliament, which covered Family and Community Services agencies such as the Department of Family and Community Services, NSW Land and Housing Corporation, Aboriginal Housing Office and Home Care Services of NSW.
Financial reporting continues to improve

'The number of reported misstatements has decreased over the past five years. The financial statements of all Family and Community Services agencies were submitted on time and received unqualified audit opinions', said the Acting Auditor-General.
Managing conflicts of interest can improve

There are opportunities to improve how conflicts of interest are recorded and managed within the Department of Family and Community Services.
'As commissioning with non-government organisations (NGO) increases, the need to effectively manage potential conflicts increases', Mr Whitfield said. He recommended current processes are benchmarked against the Independent Commission Against Corruption publication ‘Identifying and managing conflicts of interest in the public sector’.
Over a third of annual expenditure is paid to NGOs

Family and Community Services agencies spent $2.5 billion or 34.0 per cent in 2014-15 through significant contracts with NGOs. These NGOs provide services to people with disability, social housing and out-of-home care for children and young people.
The Department of Family and Community Services has no centralised contract register and contract performance is not centrally monitored. 
'A rigorous contract management framework is vital to ensure all parties meet obligations, contractual relationships are well managed, value for money is achieved and deliverables meet the required standards within agreed timeframes', the Acting-Auditor General said.

Further Information

Please contact Barry Underwood on 9275 7220 or 0403 073 664; email barry.underwood@audit.nsw.gov.au