National Conference on Reconciliation, Multiculturalism,Immigration and Human Rights

Ms. Pendo Mwaiteleke
Lecturer, School of Social Work & Social Policy, Curtin University of Technology

Approaches to Settlement Services

In 1997 the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) introduced a contracting system for funding of settlement services delivered by NGO's. The new funding system has greatly impacted on the nature and models of service delivery. Casework (individual-centred work) has become the model favoured by DIMA's new funding criteria. Policy development & advocacy was until 1997 an important part of settlement funding accessed by Migrant Resource Centres and peak state and national organisations. Previously, funding for policy development and advocacy among other things, allowed NGO's to work collaboratively with state and federal departments and institutions to influence design and delivery of mainstream programs. The underlying assumption behind this approach is that the design and delivery of mainstream programs should take account of the diverse nature of the clientele group, hence promoting the question of access, quality and effectiveness of services.

The emphasis on casework services is also given precedence over community development. The latter is seen as a less credible strategy as is perceived not to deliver quick and tangible results.

Furthermore, the paper will demonstrate the manner in which funding is now more targeted. I will examine the difficulties of targeting and how this may be defeating principles of not only access to quality service, but also the lack of effectiveness arising out of the overly restrictive funding criteria. The effects of contracting and tendering system on the notion of community development and also access and equity will be central themes running throughout this paper.

The paper will draw from field experience and knowledge being generated in Western Australia. The response of WA multicultural sector in dealing with the new system will also be discussed.

Pendo Mwaiteleke is a lecturer at the School of Social Work & Social Policy at Curtin University of Technology. Previously, she spent 10 years in the field including multicultural, health and disability sectors. Her early work has extended through casework, community development, and policy development & advocacy. Currently, she is also undertaking her doctoral studies at Murdoch University, exploring the impact of National Competition Policy on family support and labour market programs.

Presentation Type
30 min paper

University of Technology, Sydney, 1-2 December 2000

Papers & Workshops