The community-services sector is one of the fastest-growing industries in Australia, as a consequence of governments moving away from direct involvement in service-provision and increasingly contracting with non-government welfare organisations (NGOs) to deliver human services. The perceived increase in NGOs’ reliance on government funding has raised questions about the degree of independence they have been able to maintain, and whether advocacy for clients by these agencies has been constrained. A closely related question, but one that is less frequently posed, however, concerns their ability to attract and retain skilled staff to deliver their services. This paper therefore considers the proposition that NGOs receiving high proportions of their funding from government service-delivery contracts have been limited in their capacity to undertake sufficient workforce and organisational development to ensure a sustainable community-services sector.
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Australian and New Zealand Third Sector Research 2010