Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Senate inquiry into charities

I rooly and truly promise not to be cynical about this exercise and my organisation will be putting in a submission. But I do wonder why they simply didn't dust off the Charities Commission enquiry of a few years ago. You know the one, where we decided only Poms and Kiwis would do something as logical as that, and we limped back to the Stone Age.

Mind you this one is more about what charities and nonprofits should be disclosing to the public, just like those nice men from Firepower, Visy, Westfield etc are required to do.

Seriously, on 18 June 2008, the Senate referred the Disclosure regimes for Charities and not-for-profit organisations to the Senate Standing Committee on Economics for report by the last sitting day of November 2008. The inquiry will examine:
(a) the relevance and appropriateness of current disclosure regimes for charities and all other not-for-profit organisations;
(b) models of regulation and legal forms that would improve governance and management of charities and not-for-profit organisations and cater for emerging social enterprises; and
(c) other measures that can be taken by government and the not-for-profit sector to assist the sector to improve governance, standards, accountability and transparency in its use of public and government funds.
The closing date for submissions is Friday 29 August 2008.
Notes to assist in preparing submissions are available from the website or telephone the Secretariat on 02 6277 3540, fax: 02 6277 5719, or e-mail at the above address.

I'll have more to say on thus subject as the process unfolds. In the meantime I look forward to the Senate Inquiry into how the Government can better fund and support the charity and nonprofit infrastructure that is expected to carry everything that's in the too hard or too expensive basket for governments.

Final note: I once posited a model of government funding to the nonprofit sector that equated it with the domestic violence cycle. It went something like this:
Phase 1 - Honeymoon - We love you and you'll always have what you need. (Smile for the media)
Phase 2- What do you mean you've spent all that money already?
Phase 3 - How dare you tell people we treat you badly. Whack!
Phase 4- Come back, we need you and we promise we'll never do it again.
Phase 5 - Reconciliation - We love you and we'll do our best for you in difficult circumstances. (Smile for the media unit photographer)
And so on.

But with a climate change for the future for working families I've got nothing to be cynical about now.

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