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Cross-sectoral frameworks for community development in Western Australia

Community development and community services activities in Western Australia (WA) are funded and delivered by an increasingly complex array of government (local, state and federal) and non-government organisations. This is the result of broad trends over the past two decades towards the devolution of services from state and federal governments to local government and the non-government sector.

More recently, a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to service delivery has been promoted. Now, calls for a ‘shared services’ approach requires the local government and non-government sectors to work collaboratively on existing and planned services to increase efficiencies and, hopefully, deliver higher quality services.

While these calls for greater collaboration make sense to workers in both sectors, the ability to work collaboratively in community development/services is inhibited by a number of factors, ranging from the philosophical to the practical.

The study

The purpose of this qualitative research project was to provide conceptual clarity to the facilitating partners toward the development of a framework for and cross-sectoral collaborations by the two sectors in community development.

Nine officers from six local governments working in the area of community development and 13 staff from eight small to medium-sized non-government organisations were interviewed. Interviews were also conducted with staff of the following peak and professional bodies and state government:

  • Western Australian Council of Social Service (WACOSS);
  • Community Housing Coalition of WA;
  • Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA);
  • Local Government Community Development Association of WA (LGCDAWA); and
  • Social Policy Unit of the Department of the Premier and Cabinet.

Case studies of two non-government organisations and two local governments provide a rich, whole-of agency view of community development activities and relationships with the other sector.

The purposeful sample covers a range of local government areas across nine of the 15 WA regions (including three non-metropolitans) and six categories of local government, along with a selection of not-for-profit non-government community service organisations with regards to type, size, services and location.


Researchers

Dr Judith Pugh
Professor Sherry Saggers

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