As successive governments have committed to reducing the regulatory burden on business, so too they need to give equal priority to working with the community sector on reforms that will enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the sector’s operating environment. The Productivity Commission clearly showed the most significant areas of ‘red tape’ in the community sector relate to contract administration. Reform is urgently needed to redress this burden, in the interests of supporting effective, efficient community services.
The PC study sets out numerous measures that could be undertaken by governments at state, territory and Commonwealth levels to reduce the burden of overly onerous red tape. These recommendations have been largely endorsed by the community sector and their implementation would be widely welcomed. Importantly, reducing the red tape of government administration doesn’t automatically relieve the burden of onerous reporting and regulation on community services. Reforms must be driven by the objective of improving the capacity, efficiency and effectiveness of community services.
This briefing sets out ACOSS priorities for improving the viability and effectiveness of community services by reducing the overly onerous and unnecessary burden of red tape. We recommend:
Reducing red tape through supporting the establishment of a national regulator for the charitable and not-for-profit sectors;
Improving the framework of contracting for services;
Reducing the costs of compliance by targeting excessive compliance monitoring and standardising data criteria and collection; and
Improving measurement and evaluation and supporting innovation in the sector.