SCoA is pleased to present members with an update on our ongoing advocacy on behalf of the sector in relation to the Humanitarian Settlement Program and the Settlement Engagement and Transition Support grants.
Humanitarian Settlement Program
In September 2018, SCoA conducted a national member survey designed to get a broad sense of how the sector is feeling about and responding to the implementation and delivery of the HSP. SCoA has consistently been receiving feedback from a significant number of its members in relation to the recent roll out and delivery of the HSP across Australia. The SCoA Board and CEO felt an appropriate response to its member’s increasingly expressed concerns was that a survey should be developed and distributed to our membership.
Following the completion of the survey, results were compiled and analysed by an independent consultant to ensure objectivity.
SCoA then prepared a report to the Department of Social Services consolidating the key themes arising out of the survey and identifying key action items.
The survey and report do not attempt to provide a detailed or in-depth analysis of the feedback received nor are they intended as a review of the program itself. What we aimed to determine was in fact whether there were shared concerns around key issues and if so, to identify and report on the priority issues.
You can view the report below:
Settlement Engagement and Transition Support
Coincidentally to our work on the HSP, and following the announcement in October 2018 of the outcomes for the SETS funding rounds, SCoA also sought to raise a number of issues concerning this process with the Department on behalf of members .
SCoA’s advocacy in relation to SETS incorporated the findings of a brief and informal member survey which revealed that across the country, many SCoA members had experienced a reduction (at times significant) in the funding allocation.
We also identified issues relating to uncertainty in the anticipated delivery of SETS, including activities covered by the Community Capacity Building stream, and also concerns about a change of policy which requires service providers to incorporate the payment of translation fees into their budgets.
SCoA raised these matters in a meeting with senior DSS officials and the Assistant Minister for Children and Families, the Hon Michelle Landry MP, at the end of November 2018.
A key component of our advocacy was to call for a delay to the commencement of all SETS funded activities until contracts and work plans had been finalised. We viewed this as being crucial to ensuring clarity and a smooth transition from SGP.
SCoA liaised with our colleagues at the Refugee Council of Australia in relation to these matters, who also made representations to the Department on behalf of the settlement sector.
Following SCoA’s advocacy outlined above, SCoA held a meeting with the Department in early December 2018 at which representatives presented a detailed response to the matters that had been raised.
In that meeting, the Department expressed its gratitude to SCoA and its members for the considerable effort the sector has made to engage with both HSP and SETS and to ensure best possible settlement outcomes can be achieved.
Representatives of the Department also confirmed that much of the detail raised by SCoA in our Survey Report highlighted matters that the Department is aware of, and is already working to resolve. These include:
- refinements to the program to reduce the administrative burden;
- fixing IT systems-related issues; and
- reviewing the program to more effectively support Tier 3 clients.
The Department undertook to provide a detailed written response which SCoA could provide to its members. SCoA has now received this response and reproduce it below.
SCoA members are invited to consider the content of this response and provide any feedback directly to SCoA by email to our National Office at email@example.com or by phoning 02 6282 8515.