Discussion and consultation process
The Australian Government’s Family Support Program makes an important contribution to its social policy and access to justice agendas. In November 2012, a discussion paper on the future directions of the FSP was released, followed by a comprehensive national consultation process. You can download this discussion paper below.
Outcomes of the consultation process and review of family law services
An extensive consultation process was undertaken with the sector in late 2012 and early 2013. The sector expressed a range of views around the FSP and potential improvements to the program, including:
- a desire to strengthen the ability of organisations and communities to implement services relevant to local needs as well as ensuring that Commonwealth funding is directed to as many communities as possible (not just locations identified as highly disadvantaged);
- a desire to maintain universal access to services to reduce stigma of accessing services, but acknowledging that more intensive or targeted services were required for those most in need;
- the acknowledgement that collaboration is important, but also time-consuming and that support and incentives may be needed to realise this aim;
- a need for workforce capacity building. In particular, access to tools to implement evidence-based practice, networking opportunities and better platforms for information sharing;
- a desire for a review of the performance and reporting framework to enable meaningful reports to be generated by providers to measure their own performance, plan their services better and enhance service delivery to clients;
- the need to reduce and simplify the amount of administrative reporting;
- the need to provide longer-term certainty around funding arrangements;
- confirmation of high numbers of clients with complex needs in family law services;
- the need for more funding flexibility to meet local needs; and
- the need for more capacity for legal assistance in relation to separating or separated families with complex needs.
Who did you consult with?
The Department consulted with peak bodies in the family and community services sector and provider organisations (such as non-profit community services providers) across Australia, from November 2012 to March 2013. Feedback was provided through written submissions in response to the Family Support Program Future Directions Discussion Paper in November 2012, and through face-to-face consultations in 12 locations across Australia throughout February and March 2013.
How is the Government implementing feedback from the consultation process?
A number of changes will be implemented which will allow service providers increased time and flexibility to focus on service delivery. These changes include reducing reporting and red tape, improving the local focus of their services, having greater access to evidence-based interventions and developing a more balanced and streamlined approach to universal and targeted service provision.
Have a question?
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are a current FSP service provider, please contact your state or territory contract manager.