Working in partnership
In September 2018, the Department of Education and Training and Victorian Council of Social Service signed a Partnership Agreement.
This Partnership Agreement built on previous commitments, and stood in recognition of the community sector critical role as in the development of policy, the delivery of services and the improvement of outcomes of all Victorians, particularly for those who are vulnerable or experiencing disadvantage.
DET and the community sector are committed to increased collaboration, consultation and engagement.
The Partnership Agreement emphasises cooperation and commitment to the following principles:
- a shared vision to achieve the best possible learning and development outcomes for all Victorians, particularly the vulnerable or disadvantaged
- mutual respect for each partner’s autonomy and responsibilities, while recognising that true partnership may require change, innovation and risk
- collaboration and the fostering of opportunities to work together on issues of mutual benefit or concern
- communication, consultation and engagement on decisions by one partner that will impact upon the other
- transparency of financial relations between the DET, VCOSS and the sector, subject to relevant legislation and policies
- a relationship that celebrates success, addresses challenges and acknowledges contributions to outcomes that are achieved
- joint leadership of the partnership, including joint agenda setting.
- The establishment of the Victorian community partnership governance group, which provides a regular forum for relationship building, policy development, and the exchange of information.
- Annual Victorian community sector forums on topics of mutual interest, which are attended by Ministers from all three education portfolios.
- The publication of Creating engaging schools for all children and young people: What works – research by the community sector identifying principles of good practice to keep children engaged at school.
Community Sector Education Forums
Each year VCOSS and the Victorian Government co-hosts an invite-only forum to discuss advances and challenges in education.
The most recent forum was held in October 2021, and featured keynote presentations from the three Victorian Government Ministers responsible for education:
- James Merlino (Education and Mental Health),
- Gayle Tierney (Skills, Training and Higher Education) and
- Ingrid Stitt (Early Childhood Education).