Working with government

enny Macklin (centre) meets with women from the Straight Talk conference

Oxfam interacts with various levels of government — local, regional and national, in Australia and in other countries where we operate. We also work with government agencies and political and economic associations like the United Nations and European Union, where appropriate.

Types of engagement:

  • Financial: we receive funding from the Australian Government, national governments of other countries and government associations such as the European Union
  • Program partnerships: in some countries, such as Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, we work with local, district, provincial and national governments to deliver long-term development and emergency response programs
  • Advocacy: we partake in proactive advocacy with members of parliament, government ministers and opposition spokespeople on foreign aid and other issues affecting people living in poverty
  • Event partnerships:  we with work with land managers in all levels of government with regard to trails and logistics for events such as Oxfam TRAILWALKER

Working with government

Government funding

In 2010–2011, 32% of our total income came from government funding, up from 31% in 2009–2010.

Income from the Australian Government increased by $8.3 million to $24.6 million, including a $1.4 million increase in funds received annually under our Australian NGO Cooperation Program partnership.

AusAID funding accounted for 83% of our grant income this year, up from 76% in 2009–2010. This included a new $2.55 million contract for recovery activities in South Sudan, following its independence. We have also signed a new agreement with AusAID for partnerships in Africa, to the tune of $7 million over five years.

We have been working closely with six other main Australian international aid agencies to develop a new Humanitarian Partnership Agreement with AusAID (to replace the Periodic Funding Agreement for humanitarian funding). Already proposals for disaster risk reduction and management to the value of $1.5 million have been approved under this mechanism. It is likely to release up to a further $15 million over the next three years.

Process for securing government funding

We regularly monitor donor trends and opportunities and, based on analysis, proactively develop relations with key bilateral donors (eg, AusAID) and multilateral donors (eg, European Union). Through these relations, the agency seeks to collaborate and, where appropriate, develop program proposals which align both to the funding body’s priorities as well as to our own strategic plan.

This might entail:

  • a response to calls for proposals (such as AusAID’s cooperation agreements)
  • negotiations with AusAID around a multi-year partnership agreement encompassing elements of all our program work
  • reactively brokering a possible response to humanitarian crises through existing channels and relationships

Any proposal will be developed and appraised internally for both quality and strategic fit –  as well as how well it might comply with donor requirements – before submission.

Reporting and accountability

We provide reports on all programs and projects funded by governments and other institutional donors, in line with the reporting requirements that are negotiated when funding contracts are signed. The expenditure of income received is acquitted in accordance with standard accounting principles. Specific conditions allowed, such as whether funds may be carried forward or not into future periods, are subject to negotiations with the donor.