What We Do
What is NTCOSS and what does it do?
The Northern Territory Council of Social Service (NTCOSS) is a peak body for the Social and Community Sector in the NT and an advocate for social justice on behalf of people and communities in the NT, who may be affected by poverty and disadvantage.
Who are the members and key stakeholders of NTCOSS?
NTCOSS has a broad membership base, which is made up of non government and community organisations, Indigenous organisations, and community councils across the NT, as well as other organisations and individuals who are committed to social justice issues for people and communities who are socially and financially disadvantaged in the NT.
NTCOSS is governed by a Board which includes broad representation from across the Social and Community Sector in the NT, including regional representatives and representatives from the range of social policy areas.
The Board and staff of NTCOSS work closely with its members, the general community, government policy officers, service providers and funding bodies, the media, politicians, business, other State and Territory Councils of Social Service and the Australian Council of Social Service, to address priority social policy and sector issues.
What role does NTCOSS play?
NTCOSS plays a coordination, advocacy, policy and sector support, and leadership and information role for the Social and Community Sector in the NT.
- Sector Support – provision of industry support and advice to the Social and Community Sector, including training and advice on community management issues and on running an organisation, e.g. administration, staff management, finance and funding issues. It also includes undertaking specific sector development and capacity building projects.
- Advocacy on behalf of the Sector, to Government, in relation to industry issues, e.g. funding issues, workforce issues such as changes to the SACS Award, introduction of new funding guidelines, and legislation and the impact of these changes on the Sector, etc.
- Social Policy and Advocacy – NTCOSS undertakes policy development, analysis and research on social policy issues and develops policy positions that reflect the views of the Social and Community Sector and their consumers. Social Policy Areas include – community services, income support, employment, education, housing and homelessness, law and justice and social policy in relation to the range of different population groups, e.g. Indigenous people, young people and people with disabilities etc. NTCOSS helps shape the public policy agenda by responding to Government proposals and by advocating to Government on the concerns of the Social and Community Sector and their constituencies.
- Advocacy in relation to social justice issues for people and communities in the NT who are socially and financially disadvantaged.
- Information for members and stakeholders – e.g. regular newsletters and updates, access to a resource library as well as a comprehensive directory and electronic database of community services in the NT, etc.
- A Territory specific focus to national issues throughout the State, Territory and National Council of Social Service network.
How does NTCOSS operate?
NTCOSS operates on a collaborative and participatory approach. Working groups, hosting and facilitating conferences and forums on key issues and establishing partnerships on a project and ongoing basis are some of the ways that people are involved in the work of NTCOSS. Gathering information through State, Territory and National links, conducting reviews and research and the two ways sharing of information through a regular newsletter, updates and forums ensures that the advice, comment and advocacy role of NTCOSS is well informed. NTCOSS provides a voice on the needs and interests of Territorians on a range of Territory and National groups.
Who does the work of NTCOSS?
NTCOSS is made up of a team of core staff located in Darwin and Alice Springs.
In addition, as previously noted, NTCOSS operates on a participatory basis, which involves a number of players, e.g. Board Members, co-opted advisors in priority policy areas, working groups and committees, as well as the development of strategic alliances with other peak/Territory bodies etc.
To promote an awareness and understanding of social issues throughout the NT community and to strive towards the development of an equitable and just society.
- To promote and assist the development of all aspects of social services throughout the NT
- To provide to organisations, services and support such as training, a resource base, research and consultation relating to social issues
- To contribute to the debate on social issues
- To ensure the Council is representative on a sector wide and regional basis in the NT as well as representing the interests of members
- To promote and make representations on behalf of socially disadvantaged groups and those disadvantaged in the NT community by policy decisions
- To be the peak organisation providing a focal point for the community sector and a reference point for government
- To provide advice and policy input to all levels of government and other appropriate organisations and agencies on behalf of the NT community sector
- To contribute an NT perspective to the national Council of Social Service (COSS) network.
The COSS Network
Australia’s Councils of Social Service (COSS’s) are the peak councils of the community welfare sector and the principal voice for people affected by poverty and disadvantage.
There are nine independent organisations, (one for each state and territory in Australia and a national body), which work together to reduce poverty and promote social justice.
Key Areas: the COSS network is active on many fronts in key areas of social and economic policy, including: social security and income support, community services, health, including mental health, housing and urban development, law and justice, rural and regional communities, Indigenous communities – rights and reconciliation, economic development and taxation, employment, education and training.