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NGO physical and sexual abuse insurance: inter-jurisdictional working group (IJWG)

Update on inter-jurisdictional work to develop a long-term solution to the lack of available physical and sexual assault (PSA) insurance for out-of-home care (OOHC) and youth homelessness service providers in Australia.

Progress update

Overview and work plan

  • The IJWG has developed a work plan setting out the key milestones for developing a sustainable long-term solution to the lack of available PSA insurance for government funded out-of-home care (OOHC) and youth homelessness service providers, with the aim of identifying a solution, for future implementation, by the end of 2022.

  • Finity Consulting (Finity) has been engaged to support the work of the IJWG. Finity has extensive experience in insurance and related sectors, and in identifying insurance-like solutions.
  • A brief overview of Finity’s proposed project plan and approach to consultations can be found here. (NB. Phase 2 timeframes noted in the slide deck have been moved back by approximately 3 weeks).
  • Finity will deliver work in two key phases:

      - Phase 1 : identify potential solutions and recommend a preferred option (completed in August 2022)

      - Phase 2 : develop a concept implementation plan of the preferred option by early December 2022.

Phase 1 Report

    Finity delivered its final version of the Phase 1 Final Report in September 2022. A copy of the report can be found here . The report canvassed all potential solutions including government-led, sector-led, market-led and government-private sector collaborations and recommended state and territory governments provide insurance or indemnity as the preferred long-term option.

  • The finding and recommendations of the report have been considered by both the IJWG and the Non-Government Advisory Group (NGAG) and there is broad agreement that the preferred option should be costed and a concept implementation plan be developed for consideration of the IJWG.

Consultations and the Non-Government Advisory Group

  • The work of the IJWG is informed by broad consultation. As part of phase 1, Finity held informal interviews and interactive workshops with representatives from over 50 government agencies, insurance sector bodies and a cross-section of NGO service providers. This included faith-based organisations, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations, large/multi-jurisdictional providers, small/regional providers and peak bodies.
  • Further consultations will be held at appropriate times throughout the project.
  • In June 2022, the IJWG established a Non-Government Advisory Group (Advisory Group) to support the work of the IJWG in designing and delivering the long-term response. The Advisory Group has met three times since its establishment and is comprised of NGO service provider and insurance sector representatives from across the country, as well as representatives from the IJWG.
  • The Advisory Group has a key role. Its purpose is to:
    • provide expert input to the IJWG on key aspects of the project to identify a sustainable long-term solution to the issue of access to PSA insurance;
    • represent the interests of non-government stakeholders, including NGO service providers and the insurance sector, in the development and implementation of a solution; and
    • assist in ensuring any solution identified is fit for purpose.
  • The Advisory Group is operating in addition to wider service provider consultations.
  • More information on the Advisory Group and its role is contained in the Group’s terms of reference.

Next steps

  • Finity has begun work on Phase 2 and will deliver its Phase 2 report to the IJWG in December 2022.
  • Whilst the IJWG is keen to provide certainty to the sector, it will take some time to reach agreement and implement a long-term solution. In the interim each jurisdiction is responsible for implementing an approach to manage the PSA insurance issue in the short-term.

Background

Government-funded NGOs providing out-of-home care (OOHC) and youth homelessness services are having difficulty obtaining insurance for physical and sexual abuse (PSA). This issue may also impact NDIS-funded accommodation outside the family home for children and young people.

Service providers have raised serious concerns about exposure to uninsured abuse claims and some have advised they are seriously considering exiting their contract. The exit of providers from the market will have a significant impact on essential service delivery for vulnerable children and young people, and will likely lead to market failure. This is a national issue impacting providers across the country.

The purpose of the IJWG is to identify feasible long-term options for a response to this issue. Its establishment was endorsed by the Community Services Ministers’ meeting (CSM) in August 2021, which is also the reporting body for the IJWG.

The IJWG is aware this issue may also impact some National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) funded providers of accommodation outside the family home for children and young people, and will consider the needs of these providers in the design of the long-term solution.

Members and terms of reference

The IJWG meets monthly and is chaired by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. Its membership is comprised of departmental representatives of line agencies responsible for OOHC and/or youth homelessness services from every state and territory, as well as representatives from the Commonwealth. The IJWG terms of reference can be accessed here.

Contact

Questions about the IJWG can be forwarded to the Secretariat at NGOindemnityscheme@facs.nsw.gov.au

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Last updated: 27 Oct 2022