Updated guidelines for NGO - government contracts

  • Trevor Mallard

Associate Finance Minister Trevor Mallard welcomed updated guidelines on contracting between non-government organisations (NGOs) and government agencies, released by Treasury today.

“The revisions to the 'Guidelines for Contracting with Non-Government Organisations for Services Sought by the Crown' increase the clarity and usefulness of the guidelines for government agencies and also NGOs,” Trevor Mallard said.

"This Government is committed to building strong and respectful relationships with community, voluntary, iwi and Mâori organisations, and the updated guidelines will promote that.

"They provide best practice in contracting, ensure that the Government and NGOs get mutual benefit from money spent on Government objectives, and promote accountability for public money."

The revised guidelines are the result of Treasury reviews in 2002 and 2003 of the guidelines; progress in other government initiatives that impact on the community and voluntary sector; and the findings and recommendations from recent inquiries into aspects of government agencies’ funding and contracting relationships with NGOs.


Are the guidelines mandatory?
The guidelines are not mandatory, as government agencies need to scope to negotiate funding arrangements appropriate to a wide variety of relationships and circumstances. Government agencies are however expected to have good reasons if they wish to depart from the suggestions made in the Guidelines.

What are the key changes to the guidelines?
The most significant changes to the Guidelines are:

  • an increased emphasis on reducing unnecessary compliance costs, and the appropriate monitoring of contracts – particularly by structuring monitoring arrangements according to documented assessments of risk;
  • an increased emphasis on better documentation by Government agencies of their funding and contracting decisions, especially where an agency has departed from its own policies or procedures;
  • a broader discussion of making payments, including references to structuring payments to align with expected deliverables where this is practicable (the Guidelines acknowledge that this is not always desirable or possible) and to ensuring that the Government is not paying twice for the same service (“double funding”); and
  • the inclusion of references to Government agencies encouraging “good employer” practices and ethical standards among the NGOs they fund.