SNAICC has released a new report outlining the findings from analysis of the information submitted through our online partnership audit tool completed by organisations currently involved in partnerships to provide service supports to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families.
Earlier this year, we invited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous services working in partnership to complete a voluntary audit of their partnership using this tool which provides a framework for measuring progress towards achieving genuine partnership goals.
The Genuine Partnership Project Self-Audit Report shows that 19 partnerships completed the audit, representing a mixture of organisations in urban, regional and remote settings. For 17 of these partnerships, non-Indigenous organisations completed the audit for the partnership.
Across the three partnership phases included in the audit, on average, respondents self-rated their progress in their partnerships as highest for ‘establishing the partnership’ (3.97 out of 5), lower for ‘sustaining the partnership’ (3.53 out of 5), and lower again for ‘reviewing the partnership’ (2.80 out of 5).
Meanwhile, across the audit’s four partnership domains, on average, respondents self-rated their cultural competence as highest (3.67 out of 5). Next was capacity building at 3.58 out of 5, then relationships at 3.31 out of 5. The lowest ranking partnership domain was process, governance and accountability, at 3.17 out of 5.
Results of the audit process indicate initial interest, motivation and engagement in establishing a genuine partnership is strong; however, over time, less attention and effort is placed on process elements and the work required to maintain a genuine partnership. This aligns with the negative experience that many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have had of tokenistic relationships labelled as ‘partnerships’, which has led to a belief that some non-Indigenous organisations may use partnership to tick the boxes of cultural competence and community engagement, without a deeper commitment to sustainable relationships or local community empowerment.
The findings from the self-audit will help SNAICC better understand the development of these partnerships, and we will use the results to support partnerships to strengthen their relationship through SNAICC-facilitated workshops and resources.
Engagement with child and family support services is critical to strengthening Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and improving life outcomes for vulnerable children. Genuine and respectful partnerships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community-controlled organisations and non-Indigenous service providers are key to providing this support and require a shared ongoing commitment.