Guidance material

Corruption risks associated with government-funded human services delivered by community organisations

This information sheet highlights potential risks and drivers of corruption associated with government-funded human services delivered by community service organisations. It aims to raise awareness of these issues so funding agencies and regulators can assist community service organisations to identify, manage and prevent corruption risks.

Community service organisations play an important role in delivering a range of welfare and social services to support the needs of individuals, families and communities. This information sheet focusses on community service organisations that deliver human services partially or fully funded by the State Government. The community expects these organisations to act with a high level of integrity, and that public funds are appropriately spent for the benefit of the community.

IBAC conducted research into corruption risks associated with government-funded human services delivered by community service organisations, to inform future prevention and operational activities. The research identified risks that may arise, in part, due to the nature of the not-for-profit sector, complicated regulatory and funding arrangements, and outsourcing processes for service delivery. In developing its findings, IBAC consulted with a range of public sector agencies, experts in the sector, reviewed intelligence, investigations, complaint and notification data, as well as other relevant public reports and information.

The majority of community service organisations are performing exemplary community service, often with limited resources. Although not all of the risks and drivers identified in this research apply to all community service organisations, they merit attention so that community service organisations, regulators and funders are able to make informed assessments of the risks facing the sector and invest in appropriate prevention and detection strategies. Many of these risks also apply to the public sector and for-profit funded services.

IBAC acknowledges that many community service organisations, funders and regulators are already taking steps to mitigate corruption risks. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), for example, has developed a range of resources for use across the sector, and these outline the policies and requirements of funded organisations, as well as principles, domains, roles and responsibilities of quality governance.

This information sheet does not assert that corruption is widespread within the community services sector, it highlights potential corruption risks.