The last year has seen the organisation engage in challenging restructuring to ensure a continuing high quality offer to the Canberra community and financial sustainability, and the consolidation following major changes in the funding environment.
After a period of uncertainty in funding, in January 2017 SHFPACT commenced working with ACT Education Directorate on shaping an ACT-specific model for continuing work started under the national Safe Schools Coalition Australia program providing support to Canberra schools and education programs to be safe, inclusive and welcoming of al students, regardless of sexual orientation, intersex status, or gender identity/presentation. This followed a decision last year made with our collaborating partners that continuing under national arrangements could not make sense in the ACT.
ACT Government support and commitment to maintain has translated into a development project that has involved continuing engagement from our collaborating health and community service partners in the old program model, and an expanded reference group and consultations with other stakeholders to ensure this support to school communities continues to reflect unique ACT contexts and needs as the ACT Safe and Inclusive Schools Initiative. SHFPACT recognises the political leadership and resource support shown by the ACT Government in this important area.
SHFPACT, like our sister family planning organisations nationally, stepped up to address the lack of information and confusion about changes to Australia’s cervical screening program, and the alarm that was generated about poorly understood risks to women’s health and lives. The delay in implementation of these changes, at short notice, from May to December 2017 also affected health service provision, health workforce training, and community-direct health information. Through social media and health information resources, and from October 2017 onwards a specific health workforce briefings and training opportunities, SHFPACT has attempted to ensure the Canberra community is supported. Nationally, family planning organisations also engaged in a very public debate to correct misinformation and misunderstandings about the changes.
Demand for training to support social safety for people with disabilities under the SoSafe! Program, acquired by SHFPACT last year, has continued to be popular, and we’re forging partnerships to provide support, tools and knowledge to people across the world. IN the coming year, we will be completing a major review and refresh of the primary resource material and framework, and developing new tools for implementation. The SHFPACT Education & Training team have developed several new groupwork, behaviour support and parent/carer support programs based on the concepts and tools provided in SoSAFE! Program. These services are primarily provided through NDIS plans for individuals, with small numbers of ‘scholarship’ places offered at no cost or free for those people without an NDIS plan and who cannot afford the fees. Through our training partnerships, we will look to share and expand these SoSAFE!-based activities with others nationally and internationally.
Inside our organisation, the SHFPACT Council and team worked through important restructures of programs and staffing to respond to our changing environment. Throughout, SHFPACT has endeavoured to minimise the impact to clients and community, and communication of changes to what can be offered and fee structures for previous funded work have been important challenges to meet. We have sought to identify new opportunities, and to minimise impacts of changes in our service delivery profile, especially for people with disabilities, and for access to clinical services for people on low incomes.
We’re pleased to have achieved a small surplus in this year’s financial accounts, after the implementation and consolidation of important budget decisions last year to achieve this result. SHFPACT will continue to work to increase this surplus result, so that we can channel retained earnings back into service-provision. We want to make sure everybody can use our quality health services, and we know that people who struggle financially have to make important decisions about how their limited resources are stretched, and can often go without when it comes to healthcare. SHFPACT will continue to do more to make sure nobody misses out on the high-quality information and services that enables them to enjoy safe and healthy sexual and reproductive lives.
Finally, and most importantly, we’d like to thank our staff and volunteers. It can never be said too often or too much: without your commitment, enthusiasm and specialist skills, SHFPACT would not be the respected, high-quality organisation that it is. Thank you.
- President: Joanna Spratt
- Treasurer: ane Hadrill
- Executive Director: Tim Bavinton