May 25, 2017
Contact: Nick Terrell
0487 388 763

Reconnected Queensland - Social Capital Conversations

The Hon Dr Andrew Leigh MP

Shadow Assistant Treasurer | Shadow Minister for Competition and Productivity

Shadow Minister for Charities and Not-for-Profits | Shadow Minister for Trade In Services | Member for Fenner

Reconnected Social Capital Sector Consultations - Queensland Council of Unions 17 May 2017


Ideas on hubs and connectivity

  • Schools function as natural community hubs – a place where young people already experience belonging is a good space to connect groups and services
  • Strategies to enhance sense of belonging and connectedness:
    • Campaigns based around a particular issue that ignites community
    • Encouragement of strong leaders to guide a campaign
    • Events that bring people together
    • Encourage more inter-agency hubs and networks e.g. meet regularly to identify collective opportunities to work together across the social sector, not just in specific areas of social need
    • Need to find effective ways to get people in the same room to connect service providers together and also with clients
    • Structures could be created to share costs of administration, HR and legal services, for example


Funding challenges

  • Outcomes based funding model has chilling effect on innovation for smaller charities
    • How to foster more collaborative cross-sector approaches to innovation that doesn’t make people fear for their funding?
    • Need long-term models of social investment (10+ years) because building social capital takes time
      • Funding should be based on quality of outcomes not outputs
      • Efficacy of outcomes should be based on longer time frame to demonstrate real impact
      • Funding criteria should include a focus on partnership
      • Consistency in funding arrangements across/between jurisdictions and across different sectors
      • Funding operation should also include a feedback function to inform applicants for next round
      • Encouraging learning and utilisation of traditional business models for charity work to reduce reliance on government funding


Teaming up with other NFPs

  • Need more ‘mentoring’ relationships to sustain meaningful work
  • Competition between service providers and organisations does not create collaboration –  there is a substantial fear for survival
  • Charities need to work better with for-profit sector:
    • Better communication
    • Staff engagement
    • Communicate to corporates the demonstrable benefits of their investment
    • Encouraging partnerships and merging of organisations is necessary to reduce the number of players doing the same thing
    • Creating events and spaces for people to share their passion – an important factor in knowledge sharing and avoiding burnout


Volunteers and human capital

  • A major issue is a loss of face-to-face social engagement with the rise of digital dependency
  • Local context is everything. Understanding and drawing from the assets, people and unique factors of local area make a big difference to efficacy and impact
  • Important to facilitate grassroots decision making
  • How roles are defined is important
    • Individuals should be encouraged and empowered to ‘self-select’ how they add value
    • Acting as ‘connectors’ between a community and organisation – volunteers can act as brand ambassadors
    • Inclusive – providing opportunities for those who find it difficult to engage
    • Skills required from volunteers should be clearly defined and expectations actively managed
      • This includes management of organisational and volunteer limits
      • Volunteers used on project-based work to demonstrate tangible achievement for having contributed
      • Focus on giving opportunities for volunteers to up-skill to create long term incentive to contribute their time and energy
      • Need to look for ways to increase active membership and buy-in
      • Volunteer grants program to pay for some of the costs e.g. petrol
      • Peer-to-peer models have found to be very valuable e.g. youth groups add value to individuals who in turn promote (referral pathway)


Service models

  • Innovation and effective work happens at the local scale
  • Previously, the community had common responsibility for services and needs. Now the recipient has a personal responsibility for ‘buying’ a service and to have a need met. Organisational approach to work should be geared toward this reality.
  • Discussions of rebuilding social capital at local level must be with people, not for people.
  • Innovation is problematic as there is also an expectation that initiatives be evidence-based –experimentation needs separate investment to provide security in testing ideas without core functions and funding being affected
  • Need more think tanks at a community level with capacity to speak for the needs of a particular community


Some of the participants are pictured below, contacts for all of the organisations who registered an interest in this project can be found here.


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Cnr Gungahlin Pl and Efkarpidis Street, Gungahlin ACT 2912 | 02 6247 4396 | [email protected] | Authorised by A. Leigh MP, Australian Labor Party (ACT Branch), Canberra.