Social justice through service provision and advocacy

Report
Social justice through service
provision and advocacy
Dr Sandra Grey and Dr Charles Sedgwick
Social Justice in Communities Conference
23-24 October 2014
[email protected]
[email protected]
The sector and democratic debate
Our question
How is democracy – as measured by the involvement
of the community and voluntary sector in public
debate and policy making – faring?
The sector and democratic debate
• Comparing data from two surveys conducted in
2008/09 and 2013/14
• Quantitative and qualitative analysis
447 and 597 participant statements
for first and second surveys respectively
• 93 participants from around New Zealand
Full time staff as at 2013-14
None
27
1 to 2
21
3 to 10
20
11 to 19
7
20 to 50
6
100-300
10
900
1
Blank
1
Field of provision
Advocacy
Education
Health
Housing
Philanthropic
Social service
Total
Total number of
respondents per field of
provision
21
4
14
2
1
51
93
Percentage of total
respondents
22.6
4.3
15.1
2.2
1.1
54.8
100
Distribution of paid
staff in social service
nonprofits by field,
2004 (%)*
2.9
27.5
20.3
5.8
1
43.5
* Adapted from The New Zealand non-profit sector in comparative perspective (p.16) J. Sanders, M. O’Brien, M. Tennant, S.W.
Sokolowski & L. M. Salamon, 2008. Wellington: Office the Community and Voluntary Sector.
The sector and democratic debate
Have you been involved in
government consultation processes
over the last term of government?
2008-09
2013-14
Yes
80
79
No
16
22
N/A
4
0
TOTAL
100
100
Attitudes of governments
to debate, 1999 to 2013
“Debate is tolerated”
[Under Labour] There was not a great fear that
speaking out … would be “punished” by for example
loss of contracts. However there was not a total
encouragement of debate either, e.g. all the fuss about
“advocacy” in 2005.
[Under National] There always seems to be a subtext of
‘already made our minds up but we will listen to appear
like ‘the good guys’.
“It’s getting harder to challenge”
Negative
Change
No Change
Advocacy
Education
Health
Housing
Philanthropic
Social Services
Total
33%
25%
29%
50%
100%
27%
30%
48%
50%
64%
50%
0%
61%
57%
Positive Change
14%
25%
7%
0%
0%
12%
12%
Dissenting organisations are valued
20008-09
5
2013-14
22
Disagree
47
55
Agree
27
15
Strongly agree
1
1
Blank
14
5
N/A
5
2
Total
100
100
Strongly disagree
Dissenting organisations are valued
[Under National] This particular government does not
seem to listen or take into consideration any conflicting
opinion or EVIDENCE contrary to its outlook…
If they continue to “high handedly” proceed with
actions and policies without REAL consultation or
regard to social or environmental consequences it will
be a big turn off & people become disengaged with our
democratic system.
Getting key concerns heard
Labour-led
Government
1999-2008
Not successful at all
Moderately successful
Highly successful
National-led
Government
2008-2013
4
68
23
38
53
3
Getting key concerns heard?
Change driven by Ministers who listen to vested
interests of industry too much. Public servants follow
orders – do not/are not able to act as advisors.
[Our influence has been] more in implementation than
in major policy topics – e.g. MSD funding processes –
we have influenced decisions about changed processes.
Review of incorporated societies / Development of
accounting stats.
Contracts that constrain
Gag clauses
• 12.9% of the 2008/09 respondents
• 25.8% of the 2013/14 respondents.
[It’s] contractual. Must seek departmental sign-off
before speaking up about the contract, the contract
negotiations, or the work.
We are not allowed [to make] public criticism.
Dissenters risk their funding
2008-09
2013-14
Strongly disagree
7
1
Disagree
32
27
Agree
42
40
Strongly agree
5
18
Left Blank
11
8
N/A
3
7
Total
100
100
Dissenters risk their funding
…removed from appointments/committees after media
article critical of government policy (unrelated to [the]
committee). Funding not renewed after criticising.
Government actually threatened to immediately cease
funding us if we proceeded with a discussion document
with the purpose of establishing some shared
understanding between all Social Service Agencies.
… we are very cautious about what we say publicly as
we cannot afford to lose our funding.
Lack of space and respect
Government pushes too many things through under
urgency – denying proper process.
Poor facilitation of reference group. Obfuscation, delays
in documentation. Less frequent meetings than
expected. Broken promises from officials.
Funding from MOH, MSD, is based on no negotiation ...
Take it or leave it, our way or no way.
Consultation was: “this is what we require – how will
you measure.”
Lack of resources
NGOs are being requested to take more responsibility
and give “more for less.”
NGOs used to refer clients to Government
Department’s now it is the opposite. Government
policies are not well thought through and NGOs are left
to pick up the pieces.
Lack of certainty
NGO’s suffer from uncertainty over their future
because of short term funding model used / Excessive
resources involved in seeking & maintaining funding /
by economic necessity focus on short term project
work rather than long term change.
The bigger picture
Attitudes to democracy in
New Zealand encouraged
public debate
The New Zealand media
provided a forum for a
range of perspectives in
public policy debates
2008-09 2013-14
Agree
70
42
2008-09 2013-14
Disagree
46
47
Agree
38
41
What does it all mean?
Democracy is constantly being undermined and
decisions are being manipulated/negotiated behind
closed doors by key power-holders. There is a climate
of intimidation and management so that ministers only
hear “good news” as far as possible… There is also a
narrow focus on short term measured targets at the
expense of other health measures that are as
important.
What does it all mean?
• Intolerable and untenable environment
• Plagued with contradictions which damage the
sector
Where to?
•
•
•
•
•
Work out core messages for engagement
Make demands and define yourselves
Seek a review of the Charities Act
Seek to change what is ‘counted’
Public support crucial

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