Community and Voluntary Sector Policy

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1 Community and Voluntary Sector Policy Updated: 2011 Spokesperson: Jan Logie MP Introduction Community and voluntary sector organisations play many different roles, including direct provision of services to individuals, groups and to the environment; offering mutual provision of support and self-help by members to members; advocacy; education and research; and community business. The community & voluntary sector plays a key part in the economic, social, cultural and environmental life of our country, locally, regionally and nationally. Individuals and communities often come together to form organizations to carry out purposes that have not been recognized by any other institution. This risk taking and innovation is a key characteristic of many community organizations, and puts them at the cutting edge of social, political, economic and environmental development in our society and can often be controversial. This function should be recognized and cherished. The community and voluntary sector brings many benefits that are often unfunded but are as important- if not more so - than the official roles. These include the building of civil society; the strengthening our democracy through the spreading of information, the discussion of topical affairs - and taking of action on issues; contributing to the economy; helping people who have problems finding paid work transition into jobs; job creation; skills development; research and development; and linking communities. Definitions Community & Voluntary Sector - is the official Government name for the sector. However it frequently goes by other names including: Tangata Whenua, Community & Voluntary sector: in recognition of Te Tiriti relationship and the role of iwi and Ma ori organizations within the sector. Non Profit or Not for Profit sector (NFP or NFPS) Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) The Third Sector The Community & Voluntary Sector is that part of society and the economy which is not private sector, central or local Government, or within the individual household or extended family or wha nau. In this document the different names above will be used interchangeably. Community Economic Development is the establishment and promotion of business enterprises that are community owned, not for personal profit, and with objectives which are of social, economic and/or environmental benefit. Characteristics of Community & Voluntary sector organizations: Have some degree of internal organizational structure, meaningful boundaries, and/or legal existence, eg. as charitable trust, incorporated society or cooperative. Legal existence is not necessary for a group to be considered part of the sector. Authorised by Gwen Shaw, Level 2, 17 Garrett St, Wellington 1

2 Are non profit, i.e. they do not return profits to individuals or shareholders and are not primarily guided by commercial goals Are institutionally separate from the state Are autonomous and self governing Are not compulsory - membership is not required by law or as a prerequisite of citizenship. (NZ Government definition based on Johns Hopkins University definition) Vision The Green Party envisions a strong, independent Tangata Whenua, Community & Voluntary sector within Aotearoa New Zealand that is able to contribute in an ecologically and socially sustainable way to enhance our social, environmental, cultural, physical, spiritual and economic wellbeing. Central and local government play a constructive, enabling role and the sector is genuinely respected for its contribution. Key Principles 1. Encourage greater Government recognition of and respect for the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector. 2. Strengthen relationships between the Government and the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector. 3. Honour all Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations related to the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector. 4. Create and enact a best practice model for funding and accountability relationships. 5. Support a tax regime which assists the sector to thrive while reducing compliance costs. 6. Recognise the independence of the groups which make up the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector, and their right to play an advocacy role for those individuals, communities and issues in whose interests they work. 7. Improve the capacity of Local Government to understand, resource and work with community and voluntary sector organizations. 8. Support research, education, training in the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector. 9. Recognise and support the role and worth of volunteers in the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector. 10.Ensure that public policy operates to reduce the harm done by gambling to individuals, their families and communities and to the community and voluntary sector itself. 11.Support community economic development through creating an enabling environment in which community enterprise can thrive, recognizing that it has the potential to help mitigate the impacts of climate change and peak oil as well as fulfilling other social, economic and environmental needs not met by other parts of the economy. Authorised by Gwen Shaw, Level 2, 17 Garrett St, Wellington 2

3 Specific Policy Points 1. Encouraging Government recognition and respect 1. Strengthen the role of the Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, including through: Higher standing within Cabinet Larger budget allocation Ability to have responsibilities in relation to other Government departments, especially those with particular relevance to the Community & Voluntary sector. 2. Carry out a full review of the functions of the Office of the Community and Voluntary Sector (OCVS) with input from the sector. 3. Reduce the functions of the Charities Commission so that it focuses on registration and associated tax issues. The education and capacity building role of the Commission will be shifted to sector-led initiatives. 4. Improve the capacity of Government Departments to understand, resource and work with the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector. 5. Enhance mechanisms and resourcing to allow policy input from community organizations to all levels of Government (and see 7.4 below). 6. Encourage and support Tiriti-based practice at all levels of the Government relationship with the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector. 2. Strengthening NGO-Government relationships 1. Fund a sector-led, independent group or group of groups to work with Government on strengthening the NGO-Government relationship, taking on board all the work which has already been done by the Community- Government Relationship Steering Group and the Community Sector Taskforce. 2. Promote a whole-of -government culture shift in the way departments and individual public servants work with the Tangata Whenua, community and voluntary sector, aiming for relationships based on genuine two-way mutual respect and accountability. 3. Support initiatives which deepen and strengthen the relationship between Business, Government, Local Government and the third sector, including for example the Community Internship Programme; involve community and voluntary sector representatives in training and education for public servants, where appropriate. 3. Honouring Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations 1. Recognise cultural differences around concepts of 'volunteering', and acknowledge the right of tangata whenua of each hapū to define what 'community & voluntary sector' means to them. 2. Recognise the diversity of tangata whenua roopu within the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector, from Ma ori defining themselves as working within the community and voluntary sector to hapū and iwi based tangata whenua activity based on tikanga and rangatiratanga. 3. Support hapū and iwi based initiatives through COGS and Lotteries. Authorised by Gwen Shaw, Level 2, 17 Garrett St, Wellington 3

4 4. Resource ongoing work within the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector to continue consultations and development work round Te Tiriti models. 5. Incorporate the recommendations of the Community Sector Taskforce regarding Te Tiriti issues into the broader work as per funding a sector-led, independent group or group of groups to work with Government on strengthening the NGO-Government relationship. 6. Investigate the Statement of Government Intent with the sector regarding the way in which the Crown applies Te Tiriti obligations, and support tangata whenua-led dialogue with the Crown on how the relationship should be developed. 4. Creating and enacting a best practice model for funding and accountability 1. Fund a sector-led review with Government of all funding and contracting relationships with the Tangata Whenua, Community & Voluntary sector, with a view to developing a Code of Practice that will be endorsed by the sector and Government. Such a Code could also be used as a guide by other funding bodies such as the Local Government and the philanthropic sector, as deemed practicable or appropriate. 2. Promote the following principles and actions in Government funding and contracting relationships with third sector organizations: a. Full/part funding - when funding is initiated by the funder and/or includes a high degree of specification, 100% of funding of an activity or programme will be provided. When the funder is responding to an applicant proposal or providing general support, part contribution can be made. b. Overheads - Both part and full funding should cover an equitable share of all necessary overheads, recognizing that projects and programmes must have infrastructure support to be sustainable. c. Multi-year funding - Where a project or programme is ongoing, the default position should be three year funding, subject to normal accountability requirements being met, and to changes that may occur in the external situation. d. Advocacy - the fact that an organisation carries out political advocacy as part of its kaupapa should not be used as a tool to cut or deny funding. e. Government-led creation of NGOs - should be avoided, as it counters one of the key characteristics of community and voluntary sector organisations - that groups are the voluntary coming together of people to deal with a problem or issue. f. Funding for new groups and initiatives not unduly replicating existing organisations. g. An increase in the Community Organisations Grants Scheme (COGS) funding to $34m per annum. 3. Adopt the following principles in relation to accountability expectations: a. Monitoring, evaluation and reporting requirements should be kept to a minimum, and should bear a direct relationship to the amount of money funded. Expectations should be realistic and flexible, and outputs should cover the actual work done, including innovation, as appropriate. b. Where accountability requirements are more than minimal, the costs of meeting them should be met by the funder. Authorised by Gwen Shaw, Level 2, 17 Garrett St, Wellington 4

5 c. Government recognizes that important learning comes from the acknowledgment and understanding of problems and mistakes, both on the part of Government and of organizations receiving funding. d. Funders should regularly undertake reverse evaluations through an independent intermediary to obtain feedback from applicants on how they are performing against the Code of Practice, Statements of Government Intention etc. e. Sector organizations should be encouraged to develop their own evaluation methods, including social and environmental auditing; evaluation based on tikanga Ma ori. 5. Supporting a tax regime which assists the sector to thrive The Green Party believes there is a need to balance encouragement of charitable donation to build a strong not-for-profit sector against the risk of scam charities being set up as tax avoidance devices and the diversion of taxation funding for essential public services such as education, health and welfare into private philanthropy. While the earlier limits on tax deductibility were a significant disincentive to genuine charitable donation, the Green Party does not support the subsequent abolition of limits on tax deductibility. 1. Have a limit on tax-deductible donations to registered charities, initially to be set at $20,000 and reviewed after one year and then triennially. In the cases of companies and Ma ori Authorities, tax deductibility will also be limited to 10% of corporate taxable income. 2. Work to reduce tax compliance costs for not for profit organizations. 6. Recognising the independence of the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector 1. Require all Government departments and agencies to accept the right of NGOs to advocate for those individuals, communities and issues in whose interests they work, without prejudice in regards to funding, contracting or tax status. 2. Significantly increase funding and infrastructure support available to not for profit organizations that provide quality support and advocacy services for people dealing with Government departments whose actions significantly and directly impact on their lives. 7. Improving the capacity of Local Government to understand, resource and work with community and voluntary sector organisations 1. Support and strengthen the community development and community and voluntary sector support functions of Local Government on principles of empowerment, participation and mutual respect. 2. Ensure that Local Territorial Authorities provide information and resources to enable community and voluntary sector organizations to fully participate in the LTCCP process. 3. Encourage Local Territorial Authorities to adopt best practice in funding, contracting and accountability arrangements as developed by the sector and Government (see section 3 above). 4. Encourage and support Tiriti-based practice in Local Government's relationship with the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary sector. Authorised by Gwen Shaw, Level 2, 17 Garrett St, Wellington 5

6 8. Supporting research, education and training in the Tangata Whenua, Community and Voluntary Sector 1. Substantially increase Government investment in research about and for the sector, including sector-led initiatives. 2. Support quality education and training programmes which increase sector capacity at all levels, both within and outside the formal education system. 3. Put proportionally more funding towards R & D and policy development carried out by groups within the sector, subject to normal accountability and quality control requirements. 9. Recognising and supporting the role and worth of volunteers 1. Ensure Government policy across all departments recognizes the contribution of volunteers, and foster a culture which promotes and supports volunteering as a key part of community life. 2. Recognise cultural differences in definitions of 'volunteer'. 3. Ensure that voluntary work is not used to replace paid work, and that those participating in voluntary work are valued in their role by: a. Acknowledging that people doing voluntary work are contributing to the community, and supporting people to who participate in voluntary work. b. Opposing 'workfare' or compulsory schemes as these are counterproductive and destroy real jobs, c. Retaining and annually reviewing the Ministry of Social Development's Participation Allowance paid to all beneficiaries who carry out a minimum number of hours of approved "activity in the community" with organisations undertaking work of value to the community or the environment. 4. Increase and sustain funding to the local and national organisations which support and promote volunteering. 10. Reducing the sector dependence on gambling 1. Remove pokies from our communities by working towards getting rid of all pub non casino gaming machines, in the first instance by giving local councils the power to eliminate pub based pokies from their district altogether, and ultimately by legislation to abolish pub pokies. 2. Take steps to mitigate the impact of ending pub pokie grants to community and voluntary sector organizations by establishing a special fund of $150 million which will be administered through the existing range of Government grant making bodies and covering all parts of the sector. 3. Require casinos and gaming machine venues to distribute a fair percentage of the profits of their gaming machines to the wider community through transparent and publicly accountable funding distribution processes. 11. Supporting community economic development 1. Improve access to both grant funding and capital for community enterprise and organizations that support its development, where ventures demonstrate adherence to principles of economic, social and environmental responsibility. Authorised by Gwen Shaw, Level 2, 17 Garrett St, Wellington 6

7 2. Encourage and support ethical investment institutions, self and group employment ventures and consumer and worker cooperatives. 3. Create and maintain an enabling environment for community banks and credit unions. 4. Support the development of local currency and time banking schemes such as LETS, Green Dollars, Time Banking, bartering and alternative currencies. 5. Encourage community planning and mapping, and initiatives to find ways to keep local resources circulating locally. 6. Support local community development and transition town initiatives aimed at dealing with the impacts of climate change and peak oil. 7. Support the maintenance and development of local markets, including crafts and farmers' markets. 8. Provide support to regional and national initiatives and organisations which foster community economic development initiatives. 9. Provide the starting capital for a community owned banking network that: Keeps money circulating locally; Helps overcome problems with access to capital, reinvests profits locally supporting community activities and voluntary organizations; Administers a community development fund, providing investment funds for local enterprises engaged in ecologically sustainable businesses; Makes loans available to small business and community enterprises using innovative as well as traditional forms of security; Has community ownership, including democratically elected, accountable shareholder directors; Provides full retail and small-to-medium business banking services. 10.Restore a community economic development function to Government whose purposes will include: Proactive support for community economic development initiatives at local, regional and national level. To assist other Government departments, Local Government and private enterprise to understand the potential of the community economic development sector. To provide some funding towards community economic development initiatives. To help provide an enabling and nurturing environment for the social economy, including support for research, development and training. To operate in a way congruent with the values base of community based enterprises. Authorised by Gwen Shaw, Level 2, 17 Garrett St, Wellington 7

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