VCOSS-Department of Education Community Sector Governance Group

Partnership agreement with the Victorian community sector


In September 2018, the Secretary of the Department and the CEO, Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) signed the Department-Victorian Community Sector Partnership Agreement 2018-22, refreshing the 2014-2018 partnership agreement.

The partnership agreement recognises the community sector as an important partner to the Department 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.

It recommits the Department and the community sector to increased collaboration, consultation and engagement. The aims of the partnership agreement are achieved through annual action plans agreed to by the Department and VCOSS, who is responsible for furthering the partnership on behalf of the sector.


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 Department, 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.


Some significant achievements to date include:


  1. The establishment of the Victorian community partnership governance group, which provides a regular forum for relationship building, policy development, and the exchange of information.
  2. Annual Victorian community sector forums on topics of mutual interest, which are attended by Ministers from all three education portfolios.
  3. 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.




DET-CSO Governance_Group Partnership_Agreement_2018 – 2022