Fams is hearing that some organisations impacted by lockdown are having difficulty getting their financial records completed by their accountant – and then to their nominated audit – or because of movement restrictions.

We appreciate that we are still about 10 weeks out from the 31 October annual accountability deadline, but there is nervousness about the timing to get an audit complete, presented to a Board meeting, and fully endorsed for acquittal in the current situation.

We have sought advice from Eleri Morgan-Thomas (DCJ Executive Director, Partnerships, Strategy, Policy and Commissioning) and at the moment there is no plan for a general extension to the deadline. However, she encourages each organisation who is experiencing difficulty to talk to their contract managers now so DCJ can understand the size of the problem and build appropriate flexibility into the system deadlines early.

With respect to the Social Sector Transformation Fund (SSTF), we have received advice from DCJ that templates for acquittal will be available in the next couple of weeks, with a webinar scheduled for late August 2021. Please keep an eye out for an email notification with specific details about annual accountability of SSTF grants.

Julie Bye from the Energy & Water Ombudsman NSW joined us to introduce herself and the services of EWON to assist you to support vulnerable families. For advice and assistance, please email Julie at julieb@ewon.com.au or call her on 0448 106 682. For more information on EWON visit www.ewon.com.au.

Advocacy around workforce vaccination as a priority remains a key topic for discussion. It appears clear no full lifting of pandemic restrictions is imminent, with the COVID-19 Delta strain continuing to keep hold of communities. This is a whole-of-community sector issue and we will be working with our peak colleagues to press the importance of an early government commitment to keep essential workers safe.

Fams met with Minister Alister Henskens on Wednesday 12 August to raise issues you have brought to us during our weekly conversations. A full update deserved its own article in this week’s Wrap.