Review of Finances - Northcott Society
The Northcott Society is a major provider of services to people with disability. Nucleus undertook a review of funding and finances on behalf of Northcott and the NSW Government in order to assess a proposed future financial and services strategy. Work undertaken included review of historical performance and exploration of the nature of income, costs and interdependencies between services as the basis for modelling effects of change to service level. Nucleus’ report analysed individual and consolidated service viability and made fully costed recommendations to create a more sustainable long term future for the agency.
Service Cost Benchmarking - Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
This project was undertaken in anticipation of the Victorian Government commencing competitive tendering of Youth and Family Services. To better equip member agencies to respond to tender opportunities, the Centre for Excellence commissioned Nucleus to develop a costing framework and benchmarks using an activity-based costing approach to identify key activities and cost drivers in total service delivery. The framework was comprehensive in recognising a range of costs, including infrastructure, social capital and set up costs, as well as providing articulated reference points to quality monitoring systems.
Training in Performance Monitoring and Financial Analysis
Nucleus has designed and conducted a number of training programs for government departments to address staff training needs and skills development priorities. Topics have included: (a) ‘Performance Monitoring’ to assist staff to define key results areas, performance indicators and targets for funded providers; and (b) ‘Financial Analysis’ to assist staff to understand and interpret financial reports from funded services, and in particular to apply a number of key financial ratios to ascertain any current or potential future issues that the service may face.
Benchmarking Client and Family Support Services - Department of Human Services Victoria
This project involved the development of unit cost and benchmarking processes for Victorian Government delivered disability client services (including Behaviour Intervention Support Teams, Criminal Justice Services and Information and Advocacy). Work included development of service definitions, examination of service inputs and outputs and prescription of a practical and achievable method of data collection. Once the relevant benchmarks were established, the project culminated in the proposal of an ongoing data management and monitoring system that would include the capacity to identify and share best practice in service delivery.
Implementation of Unit Cost in Disability Day Programs
Nucleus worked with over 150 funded providers to introduce unit cost funding. Components of the project included evaluation of accounting packages best suited to agency circumstances and scope of requirements; introduction of accrual accounting methods; and provision of training for agency staff and committees to ensure thorough understanding and utility of the new systems. For agencies experiencing a decrease in funding under the new system, individually tailored consultancies were provided to assess ongoing viability and re-profile services where required to ensure sustainability.
Financial Reviews of Funded Agencies
As the basis for establishing an objective method for assessing NGO requests for additional funding, the NSW Government commissioned Nucleus to develop a standard consultancy module to determine the nature and extent of any financial ‘crisis’ and identify causes and possible remedies. Intermittently thereafter, Nucleus has been engaged to apply the module with a range of agencies, large and small, to review nature and urgency of financial issues including any underlying organisational or management practices which, over time, have culminated in the presenting financial problem.
Unit Costing - Specialist Children’s Services
Specialist Children’s Services comprise a range of early intervention programs for children from birth to school entry and are designed to support children with additional needs and their families to reduce the impact of developmental delay or disability. This project sought to determine unit costs for services provided by the funded sector. To achieve this, services were broken down into components (eg intake, inclusion support, therapy, etc) and a detailed survey of actual costs carried out.
Financial Systems for Community Legal Services
The Commonwealth Attorney-General’s Department provides funding to over 100 Community Legal Services nationally. In order to provide a more sustainable platform for service delivery, this project involved the development and introduction of standard financial systems for the sector, including policies and practices. An accrual accounting information package, chart of accounts and recording rules were designed to assist Centres to meet new reporting requirements, and training was conducted across Australia to assist Centre staff and governance to implement the new systems.
Review of Major Funding Programs - NSW Department of Community Services
This project involved an analysis of the internal management of major funding programs and resource allocations to ensure the objectives of strategic policy and funding plans were optimised. Key issues forming part of the review included accountability, management, new and non-recurrent resource allocation transparency and financial administration systems. A range of separate grants programs were contrasted and a preferred system proposed covering linkages between components, controls, reporting mechanisms and data outputs.
Financial Review of the Statewide Forensic Service
The Victorian Department of Human Services funds and operates a Statewide Forensic Service to provide a variety of support services to people with disability both in secure and community settings. Nucleus was retained to undertake a detailed financial review of service operation, management and administration, drawing on activity statements, staff rosters, audit reports, business plans and budgets. The findings of the review provided a clear statement of financial operation, future projections, sustainability assessment and recommendations.