by Rochelle Stewart-Allen
This week, community leaders met again to continue exploring how to build recovery and long-term sustainability for the tangata whenua, community and voluntary sector in Aotearoa New Zealand.
We continue to issue a call for community leaders keen to take ownership and work together to drive changes for our sector. Reach out to us at email@example.com to join future koreros.
Our third sector discussionsA group of community leaders in Aotearoa met again on 10 February to discuss more about what’s required to improve core relationships between the community sector and government.
Identifying key focus areas
- We agreed there is a need to promote understanding about the community sector’s contribution to wellbeing in Aotearoa. This included within the community sector itself, and with central / local government, Ministers, media and in public opinion.
- We affirmed how diverse community groups are and felt this was particularly demonstrated during the COVID lockdown and over the past year.
- We think it will be helpful for the community sector to develop 3-4 statements about our sector that everyone in the sector can use publicly to re-enforce core messaging.
- We acknowledged as a sector we are more than deliverers of programmes and services.
- We believe there is a need for understanding and acknowledgement about the wider role the sector provides eg. providing opportunities for participation, growing community leadership, building social cohesion, making people feel like they belong, contributing to core components of our democracy.
- We think building trusted rather than transactional relationships with government is vital through sharing our success stories, demonstrating impacts, validating what we deliver and providing opportunities for government to learn.
- We acknowledged the ability of community organisations to rapidly respond to major events due to being fully embedded into their communities and able to directly respond to needs at a set time.
- We discussed the potential to issue best practice guidelines to help the community sector measure outcomes, being mindful of the ability for smaller community organisations to be able to respond.
- We affirmed the need to have diverse and inclusive voices representing the sector to government.
- We are interested to ask government what worked / didn’t work during their interactions with the community sector during the COVID lockdown and feed that back into our sector’s mahi.
- We discussed the value of re-establishing the Office of the Community and Voluntary Sector – how this would generate a starting point to educate the public sector, help clarify the wider role of the community sector, define ways to improve sector / government relationships, and would encourage consistency across government.
- We suggest building community engagement into the performance criteria for Chief Executives in the public service to demonstrate action and genuine government commitment.
- We would like to see government using the Charities Act Review as a model of best practice and how to do things differently, taking the lessons learnt from the COVID lockdown.