A key accountability arrangement under the NSW Government’s plan for Aboriginal affairs, Opportunity, Choice, Healing, Responsibility, Empowerment (OCHRE), includes the establishment of a new whole-of-government Solution Brokerage function.
Solution Brokerage requires NSW Government agencies to work with each other, and to collaborate with non-government organisations (NGOs) to find practical solutions to issues that:
- “fall between the cracks,” with no agency having a clear mandate to resolve;
- have whole-of-government implications; and
- are otherwise identified by the Secretaries Board.
The authority to invoke the Solution Brokerage function is vested in the Head of Aboriginal Affairs.
Criteria for Solution Brokerage include where the issue:
- is a current issue;
- requires multiple agency engagement;
- has the potential to bring about significant benefit or avoid significant harm;
- is capable of a sustainable solution which can be implemented within 6 months; and
- can be managed within existing agency resources.
A three tiered approach to Solution Brokerage enables Response Plans to be tailored to the complexity and scale of the particular issue.
Tier Three is for major policy reform integration; extraordinary or state-wide issues or issues that require directed agency response.
Tier Two issues will be more complex local or regional issues.
Tier One will be local or community-specific issues.
Response Plans and Disputes:
All Solution Broker issues will have an assigned Officer in Charge responsible for managing and coordinating the Response Plan, and overseeing development and implementation of the Plan.
Every attempt should be made to resolve issues and disputes between agencies and communities locally. This may include mediation between agencies and communities. Where issues cannot be resolved locally, they can be escalated to the Secretaries Board by the Head of Aboriginal Affairs for determination.
Roles and responsibilities for NSW Agencies:
- NSW agencies have a positive obligation to comply with reasonable requests from the Head of Aboriginal Affairs in relation to Solutions Brokerage.
- Solution Brokerage issues may be identified by the Head of Aboriginal Affairs, or nominated to the Head of Aboriginal Affairs, by third parties (government agency, NGO, or community organisation).
- The Head of Aboriginal Affairs will apply the above Solution Brokerage criteria when declaring a Solution Brokerage approach is warranted and notify relevant agencies in writing when a declaration is made.
- The Head of Aboriginal Affairs will appoint the Officer in Charge. The Head of Aboriginal Affairs may appoint staff from agencies other than Aboriginal Affairs, if warranted by the particular circumstances of an issue.
- Issues and disputes should be resolved at the local level wherever possible.
- Tier One and Two Response Plans will be jointly developed and approved by relevant agencies, coordinated by Aboriginal Affairs.
- All Tier Three Response Plans will be signed off by the Secretaries Board.
- NSW agencies will implement actions in accordance with an approved Response Plan.
- The Head of Aboriginal Affairs will provide performance reports to the Secretaries Board on Solution Brokerage and will escalate issues to the Secretaries Board as appropriate.
- The Deputy Ombudsman (Aboriginal Programs) has the discretion, through existing powers, to engage in facilitation to resolve disputes where Solution Brokerage mechanisms have been exhausted.
- The Minister for Aboriginal Affairs is expected to provide six-monthly reports on Solution Brokerage Response Plans to the Social Policy Cabinet Committee.
Agencies should refer to the Solution Brokerage operational framework for further information
Who needs to know and/or comply with this?
- Executive agencies related to Departments
- Separate agencies
- Statutory Authorities/Bodies
- Not Mandatory
- Date Issued
- Mar 3, 2015
- Review Date
- Mar 3, 2023
- Replaced By