Draft Models Report Published

The draft models for consultation in Phase 2 of the project have been published.  The Draft Models Report outlines the stakeholder feedback from the first phase of the project and develops models for consultation in Phase 2.

Click here to find the Draft Models Report and several appendices, including reports from the Phase 1 survey and focus groups.

We’ve also written this NCE Consultation – Phase 2 Commences – Comms Pack, with suggested key messages, tweets and Facebook postings if you or your organisation would like to promote the project and opportunities for people to have their say.

Read more below.


What could a Centre for Civil Society do for you?

CSI recently published a mid-project report describing draft models for the proposed Civil Society National Centre for Excellence (NCE).

The draft models were developed through a process of consultation over six weeks and will be refined and a preferred model finalised through a second phase of stakeholder consultation during August.  CSI will make its recommendation to the Australian Government about the preferred model in early September.

Everyone with an interest in strengthening civil society is invited to participate in the consultation process.

What did we hear?

Phase 1 of the consultation process explored understandings of civil society and what a National Centre for Excellence for Civil Society could aim to achieve in this context.

The overall feedback from stakeholders so far is that there is a need for an NCE that can:

  • greatly improve the accessibility of existing tools, resources, education and capacity development programs, research and more
  • facilitate connections and networks between people in communities and in community organisations with common interests and needs in strengthening civil society outcomes
  • be a champion and thought leader, providing the evidence base for civil society best practice and leading thinking in this field.

In all of the draft models proposed, the report suggests that the NCE will need to have key competencies including outstanding use of online technologies, strong partnership management and collaborative skills, the ability to effectively engage people from different levels in civil society and being a respected thought leader.

People also feel that the NCE should be a “network” organisation, working through partnerships with existing service providers, educators, researchers, peak bodies and more, and should seek not to duplicate existing resources and services.

Some international examples of organisations with elements of the proposed functions are explored in the Draft Models report.

Diverse views about “Civil Society”

While stakeholder feedback was consistent about the nature and key competencies for the NCE outlined above, there was little agreement about the concept of “civil society.”

Some equated civil society with what we might summarise as the “charity and not-for-profit sector”; others feel that it is really about local relationships within communities and smaller community groups and networks. Some argue that civil society is evolving and should include relationships with government and business sectors; others argue strongly against this.

Draft Models

In the context of the varied views about civil society, there was a wide range of opinions about the focus or scope for the NCE.  Three proposed models are recommended for the second phase consultation process, including:

  • “The Centre for Effective Civil Society Organisations”  The focus in this model is broad capacity development for Australian “civil society organisations” – charities and not-for-profits, social enterprises, associations, mutuals and coops, and more. The rationale for this model is that stronger and more effective civil society organisations equates to stronger civil society.
  • “The Centre for Civil Society from Grassroots to Government”  The focus in the second model is strengthening culture, systems and processes for effective engagement in civil society from local community to charities and not for-profits to interactions with business and government.  The rational for this model is that through connecting and empowering people, organisations and sectors we create a stronger civil society.
  • “The Centre for Stronger Civil Society Organisations as Catalysts for Civil Society”  The third model is a hybrid of models 1 and 2; the rationale for this model is that stronger, more productive civil society organisations acting to connect people, organisations and sectors create a stronger civil society.

The report also describes an alternate option, which is summarised as Power to the People: The Centre for Local Community”.  In this model, the focus is connecting, empowering and enabling people in communities, with the rationale that the strength of civil society rests in social relationships between in people in communities.  The report suggests this model may be a valid model in response to stakeholder feedback, but also suggests that it may not be the right model for the proposed National Centre for Excellence – see the Draft Models report for more information.

The report also explores options for organisation models and financial sustainability, with sustainability in particular identified as a key challenge for further development in the project’s second phase.

What did Phase 1 of the consultation process involve?

The aim of the first phase of the consultation process was to develop draft models for the proposed NCE for further consultation in the second phase. Phase 1 consultation involved:

  • An online survey, with 227 responses at the survey close date
  • Focus groups in Sydney, Melbourne and Kingaroy in Queensland
  • Desk research on potential models drawing on examples internationally
  • Stakeholder interviews (which will continue in Phase 2).

What will Phase 2 of the consultation process involve?

The second phase of the consultation process refine and gain further feedback on the Draft Models report from Phase 1, and will include:

  • A second online survey
  • Consultation workshops in Perth (5th August), Melbourne (6th August), Sydney (12th August) and Brisbane (13th August).
  • Additional stakeholder interviews as well as desk research and analysis.

Everyone with an interest in civil society is invited to participate in the Phase 2 survey and workshops.  The final report is due to be completed in early September.

Quick links:

The second phase of the consultation process refine and gain further feedback on the Draft Models report from Phase 1, and will include: