Reform and uncertainty: Implications of funding reforms on community crime prevention

G. Clancey1, H. Westcott2*

1 University of Sydney, NSW
2 University of Sydney, NSW

Morgan and Homel (2013) note the important role played by non-government organisations in community crime prevention programs in Australia. It is consequently important to consider the viability of non-government organisations delivering or contributing to community crime prevention programs. In an era typified by the ‘marketisation of social services’ (Meagher and Goodwin, 2015) there is considerable reform and uncertainty impacting on non-government organisations. Drawing on interviews with staff from small non-government organisations in an inner-Sydney community, this paper will explore the service delivery, planning and human consequences of reform and uncertainty. It will be argued that current conditions adversely impact on agencies that provide an array of social and human services, many with direct and indirect implications for the prevention of crime. Competitive tendering, widespread and perpetual reform, ongoing budgetary silos, and employment uncertainty are just some of the contemporary trends that will be considered. The findings have implications for continuity of service delivery, service planning and outcome measurement. These findings will be considered through the lens of community crime prevention.


Semi-structured interviews with staff from small non-government organisations; analysis of data retrieved from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission; review of key NSW Government policy documents and associated literature.


Interim results reveal significant funding uncertainty for small non-government organisations delivering diverse social and human services (including youth programs, alcohol and other drug treatment, post-release support, early intervention programs). This uncertainty is fuelled by reforms to funding and tendering arrangements across various State and Australian government departments.


Tentative conclusions suggest significant disruption of service delivery due to various reforms to funding and tendering arrangements, with attendant implications for current clients and future planning.


Dr Garner Clancey is a Senior Lecturer in Criminology at the University of Sydney. Before joining the Sydney Law School in 2011, Garner worked as a crime prevention consultant (between 2002-2010) and in criminal justice (including Juvenile Justice NSW and the NSW Police Force) and alcohol and other drug agencies in NSW and England (between 1992-2002).Garner is currently the Vice President of the Australian Crime Prevention Council, an Adjunct Senior Lecturer in the School of Behavioural, Cognitive and Social Science (UNE) and on management committees of the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre and the Australian Safer Communities Foundation.

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