Futures Forum As most of you would be aware, the Futures Forum has been the main representation body for the NGO sector in Queensland for a number of years. Futures Forum was established to bring together the collective voice of the sector and to position the sector to work more strategically with governments and other stakeholders.
YANQ played a key role in establishing the Futures Forum and in some of its major work, including the compact with State Goverment. One of the reasons the Forum was established was because of the widely held concern that at times there is a conflict between the interest of individual peaks and the interest of the sector. This was echoed in early 2011 when Futures Forum members voted to create the position of co-chair for the Forum, as the Queensland Council of Social Services (QCOSS) had assumed the role of permanent chair. Later in 2011, YANQ was voted in by the Forum to the position of co-chair. The majority of Forum members who had voted YANQ had high expectations from YANQ to bring a level of transparency and collective decision-making to the Forum.
Over the past year, YANQ has acted on this responsibility vested in us by the community sector in Queensland. In particular, YANQ has strived to be a strong advocacy voice in the Futures Forum for small organisations, and since the March Queensland election, a strong advocate for collective action by the Futures Forum against cuts to the sector.
At the last Futures Forum meeting, YANQ asked a number of questions, including:
- Is the report by Field Consulting going to be released to NGOs and will there be an opportunity for further discussion?
- Does the proposed industry body include small and large for-profits?
- How would an industry body representing small and large NGOs who are competing for funds ensure equitable services?
- Why are we duplicating the Community Council for Australia in Queensland?
Unfortunately, these and other questions were left unanswered. YANQ is concerned that an 'industry body' could be forced on the sector - while at the same time the Futures Forum, which brought the largest 52 peaks and statewide services under one umbrella, will be sidelined.
For this reason, YANQ is demanding that QCOSS and their partners make public as soon as possible the report by Field Consulting and to commit to further consultation with the sector in 2013, before any moves are made to change the current structure. YANQ will do all that is in our power to ensure a transparent process for NGOs in developing a vision and structures to lead us into the future.
The strength of our sector is in our diversity and collectiveness, and any attempt to undermine the diversity or collective potential of the sector will be strongly resisted by YANQ.
Youth Services Review
The Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services has recently announced their intention to 'recommission' youth service funding (under YARI and YSC initially, with youth homelessness and VSM funding being looked at in the new year) in Queensland over the coming three months. Many of you will have been involved in the Departmental consultations which aim for an 'initial conversation' around the structure of youth services in the state.
YANQ has attended two of these in the South East, and will be attending as many regional consultations as possible. While we have requested details from the Department regarding timeframes and Terms of Reference for the Review, these have not as yet been forthcoming. Our understanding at present however, is that the initial consultation is limited to these 'Social Inclusion' Engagement Forums, with the option if you cannot attend of forwarding your ideas for good service delivery models to your Regional Executive Director.
Meanwhile, many of you will have attended one of YANQ's 'Where to Next?' Forums, which will provide an in-depth report to the sector and to Government about the challenges and needs of the sector. The Department and Minister have agreed that the outcomes of YANQ's consultations will play a significant role in the Review. We have also released an online survey on our website for you to complete if you were not able to make it along to one of YANQ's forums.
SIYAVASH DOOSTKHAH - DIRECTOR - YOUTH AFFAIRS NETWORK QLD