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2.3 Capability of the NGO

Government agencies need to be confident an NGO can actually do what it undertakes, and in a manner consistent with the values and standards the government expects. Information to provide this assurance can come from:

  • The track record of the NGO and the ongoing relationship.
  • From sources external to the NGO, such as:
    • The credibility of the NGO with users.
    • Accreditation, licensing or certification of the NGO.
    • External audit.
    • Legal personality.
    • Referees, including other Government organisations.
  • From the NGO itself, such as:
    • Financial information e.g. audited financial statements.
    • Disclosure of complaints against the NGO (e.g. to a relevant professional disciplinary body).
    • Evaluation of the cultural appropriateness of the organisation. This is obviously important where major recipients of a service are Maori or Pacific peoples.
    • Evidence of appropriate governance and management systems and internal controls. This may include, for example, adequate segregation of duties between the governing body and management, the presence of independent trustees or directors on boards (people who are not also managers or employees of the NGO), having good employer practices[9] or using independent auditors.
    • Evidence of investment in appropriate quality assurance systems and certification processes relevant to the sector.
    • Training and experience of staff.
    • Specific investigation.
    • Evidence of adequate recordkeeping policies, practices and systems.

Some of these issues can be reflected in the contract, for example:

  • The size of the contract.
  • How the timing of payment is structured (e.g. a cautious approach to payment might be adopted with an NGO without an established track record. This requires judgement - too cautious an approach may compromise the NGO’s viability).
  • Requirements as to the NGO’s accreditation or solvency.
  • Monitoring.
  • Ongoing assistance.

In some cases a Government agency may want to consider assisting an NGO to develop the necessary capability (see section 1.11). This will usually only be relevant for not for profit organisations, although there may be exceptions to this. Assistance could be:

  • Part of the price.
  • An additional amount directed to a specific activity or input (e.g. staff training).
  • Assistance in kind.

In some cases it may also be sensible to see whether there are opportunities for collaboration between NGOs (e.g. encouraging collaborative or partnership ventures between mainstream and Maori providers where the mainstream provider lacks the ability to provide culturally appropriate services).

Notes

  • [9]See Glossary
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