FRSA Strategic Leadership Forum

SLF 2017 - Reaching our Full Potential Together

Join us at the FRSA Strategic Leadership Forum (SLF) 2017 to be held 28-29 March at Rydges Capital Hill and Parliament House, Canberra.

The theme of the forum, ‘Reaching our full potential together’, provides an opportunity for FRSA, senior representatives and emerging leaders from organisations within the family and relationship sector to come together and engage on the latest issues associated with commissioning of services and service delivery design.

The event will include several workshops, discussions, a parliamentary breakfast at Parliament House and the launch of an FRSA commissioned publication.

Invitation is for FRSA Members Only.

To view the SLF Program, please click on Program tab on the left hand side.

Registration has now closed.

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Forrest Suite, Rydges Capital Hill, 17 Canberra Avenue, Forrest, ACT 2603
8.00am Registration opens
9.00am Welcome to Country
Aunty Agnes Shea OAM, Ngunnawal Elder
9.10am Welcome from FRSA Chair
Michael Austin, Director CatholicCare Wollongong
9.15am 2017 Strategic Leadership Forum
Jackie Brady, FRSA Executive Director
9.20am Guidelines and Parameters for Government agencies commissioning services
Ms Kerry Markoulli, Assistant Secretary of Resource Management, Department of Finance

As a central agency in the Government’s Public Service structure, the Department of Finance sets guidelines and parameters that all Government agencies/entities must follow when purchasing services from external sources, with a specific set of guidelines for purchasing services from non-Commercial entities (not-for-profits). These are known as the Commonwealth Grant Rules and Guidelines (CGRG). They contain the key legislative and policy requirements and explain the better practice principles of grants administration. Entities then determine how they will work within the CGRG’s to achieve the best outcome. As with all guidelines, they present limitations and opportunities. Understanding what they are can assist agencies better understand how these limitations and opportunities may unfold in discussions with government about the future direction of government funded not-for-profit services.
10.00am Collaboration in a competitive world
Dr John Butcher, Adjunct Research Fellow with the Australia and New Zealand School of Government
10.45am Morning Tea
11.15am Commissioning for Outcomes
Mr Phil Brown, Branch Manager, Policy Strategy, Department of Social Services
12.00am Try, Test & Learn Fund and next steps
Mr Murray Kimber, Branch Manager, Investment Approach Taskforce, Department of Social Services
12.45pm Introduction to facilitator and setting the scene for post-lunch discussions and workshops
Ms Cheryl Kernot, Social Business Fellow, Centre for Social Impact
1.15pm Lunch
2.00pm Commissioning of Services
Workshop Session 1
3.30pm Afternoon tea
4.00pm Commissioning of Services
Workshop Session 2
5.30pm Day ends

Wednesday 29 March 2017

Transport will be provided to Parliament House from three pick up points:
The Brassey Hotel at 6.45am
Little National at 6.50am
Rydges Capital Hill at 7.00am

For arrival at Parliament House at 7.10am, for a 7.30am start.
If you are staying at hotels other than these, you are welcome to catch the bus from any of these locations.
Parliament House of Australia, Canberra ACT 2600
7.30 – 9.00am Parliamentary Breakfast
Launch of the FRSA commissioned research paper Strengthening Prevention and Early Intervention services for families into the future
Parliament House of Australia

Forrest Suite, Rydges Capital Hill, 17 Canberra Avenue, Forrest, ACT 2603
Transport will be provided to Rydges Capital Hill from Parliament House Basement at 9.10am.
9.45am Strengthening prevention and early intervention services for families into the future
The FRSA vision, background and journey thus far

Mr Michael Austin, FRSA Chair; Dr Deb Hartman, Chair and Ms Karen Field, FRSA Research Advisory Committee

Introduction to facilitator and setting the scene for post-lunch discussions and workshops

Ms Dee Brooks, Director of The Jeder Institute

10:05am Strengthening prevention and early intervention services for families into the future
Workshop Session 1

 Morning Tea

11.30am Strengthening prevention and early intervention services for families into the future
Workshop Session 2
12:30pm Lunch
1.15pm Strengthening prevention and early intervention services for families into the future
Workshop Session 3
3.15pm Wrap up and next steps
3.30pm Day ends
To register to attend, click on the Registration tab on the left hand side.
Program is current of Monday 27 March, 2017.

Ms Kerry Markoulli, Assistant Secretary in the Department of Finance

Kerry is an Assistant Secretary in the Department of Finance, where she manages the Resource Management branch.  She is responsible for the development of policy, guidance, advice and training on the Australian Government resource management framework and other areas of portfolio responsibility. Key areas of focus include: electoral policy and reform, government charging, the Commonwealth grants framework, and Finance’s international engagement. In particular, Kerry is leading reform work to improve grants processes and reduce red tape, such as the establishment of GrantConnect (AusTender for grants, see and development of whole-of-government templates. She has a MBA in Strategic Management and undergraduate qualifications in commerce, management and social services. Prior to joining Finance, she spent ten years working in the Department of Health and worked in the community sector during her early career.

Dr John Butcher, ANU Visitor and Australia and New Zealand School of Government Adjunct Research Fellow

Dr John Butcher is an Adjunct Research Fellow with the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) based at the ANU. His work focusses on the working relationship between government entities and non-state actors, principally the not-for-profit sector. This work is an extension of his 2014 PhD dissertation which examines Australian and international experience of formal cross-sector framework agreements between governments and the not-for-profit or ‘Third’ sector. In 2015 John co-convened a one-day workshop entitled ‘Cross-Sector Working for Complex Problems: Beyond the rhetoric’. The workshop brought together policy researchers, makers and practitioners from academia, government and the not-for-profit sector to address challenges in policy and public administration emerging at the interface between government, the not-for-profit sector and business.

The collected papers from the workshop have been curated into a book ‘The Three Sector Solution: Delivering public policy in collaboration with not-for-profits and business’ published in 2016 by the ANU Press. John is currently a co-investigator in a research project investigating the determinants for success when working across organisational and sector boundaries. Jointly funded by ANZSOG and the John Curtin Institute of Public Policy at Curtin University, the research will entail comparative case studies of existing cross-sector initiatives in Australia and New Zealand with a view to extracting lessons about best practice and the potential pitfalls of multi-stakeholder collaborations. John is co-author, with John Wanna and Benoît Freyens, of Policy in Action: The challenge of service delivery (published December 2009 by UNSW Press).

Phil Brown 2

Mr Phil Brown, Branch Manager of Policy Strategy, Department of Social Services

Starting his working life as a teacher in outback Queensland, Philip Brown started his career in the APS in the Department of Social Security at Warwick Regional Office in 1989, moving to Canberra in 1993. Since then, he has worked across a wide range of social policy areas, including social security, youth, early childhood, Indigenous affairs, and families and communities. Roles have included policy analysis and development, research and evaluation, audit and compliance, and implementation. He has been in the Senior Executive Service since 2004, and is currently Branch Manager, Policy Strategy in the Policy Office of DSS.

Murray 01

Mr Murray Kimber, Branch Manager of the Priority Investment Taskforce, Department of Social Services

Murray Kimber is the Branch Manager of the Priority Investment Taskforce within the Department of Social Services. In this role Murray is managing the ongoing development and implementation of this new way of looking at the welfare system, which includes the development and roll out of the Try Test and Learn Fund.

Murray’s career has focused on social policy in the areas of school education, early childhood education and care, and income support and welfare policy. Murray has worked extensively in the data aspects of social policy in particular child care, income support and family assistance data.


Ms Cheryl Kernot, Social Business Fellow at the Centre for Social Impact

Her role at CSI involves providing thought leadership on social business, social enterprise and social procurement. She writes regularly on these topics, speaks at events throughout Australia and advises emerging talent and organisations. Cheryl has been elected Chair of the Fair Trade Association of Australia and NZ for the past four years. She served as an honorary board member of Foresters Community Finance for four years until 2011 and was on the founding committee of a UK charity that works to provide shelter and education for street children in Kampala, Uganda.

Cheryl is one of the National Trust’s 100 National Living Treasures. She was Leader of the Australian Democrats from 1993-1997 and the Member for Dickson and a Labor Shadow Minister from 1998-2001. Her political portfolios included, amongst many, Indigenous Affairs, Treasury, Employment and Women’s Policy. She played a major parliamentary role in the introduction of compulsory superannuation and in the introduction of Native Title. Her policy interests have been in social justice and social structural reform and in 1994 she introduced legislation to legitimise parental leave; in 1998 she introduced trial social inclusion projects to the Labor Party’s employment platform. Her work in the UK has been an extension of this pioneering policy interest. She was a member of the Council for Reconciliation from 1992-1997.

Ms Dee Brooks, Director of the Jeder Institute

Dee Brooks Director of the Jeder Institute, is a passionate and highly energetic international community engagement and development trainer who also provides professional facilitation and keynote addresses for conferences, forums and events.

Based on two decades of grassroots work, Dee has trained and presented to thousands of people at hundreds of events and workshops across the globe. Dee’s background is in youth work, community research and community development and she is a firm believer in the power of tapping into the collective wisdom of a community to strengthen and build on what’s already there.

Dee provides Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) and Art of Hosting training for a range of organisations and government departments and assists with community inclusive planning and conversations that matter.

Dee is an ABCD trainer and consultant, an Art of Hosting trained facilitator, a founding co-creator of The Unconference, a Flow Game Host and a DRUMBEAT Facilitator.

Dee is a founding member and Facilitator of the ABCD Asia Pacific Network, an International Faculty & board member of the ABCD Institute based at DePaul University, Chicago, IL, U.S.A, the Director of Oceania for the International Association of Community Development (IACD) and a Steward of the international ABCD in Action Network.

Book your place at the FRSA Strategic Leadership Forum 2017!

Please find ticket costs below:

Ticket pricing
Member Single Ticket: $550 (including PH breakfast)
Member Single Ticket: $520 (no PH breakfast) or
Member Duo (two tickets): $990 (including PH breakfast)
Member Duo (two tickets): $940 (no PH breakfast).

Any questions?
Please click here to contact the Conference Secretariat via email, or phone on 02 6198 3218.

This is an FRSA Members only event.
If you are not an FRSA Member, but would like to attend please visit the Become an FRSA Member page for more information. 

Discounted accommodation rates for Forum attendees have been negotiated with Rydges Capital Hill (Forum venue), and Little National Hotel (400m walk from the venue).

You are able to book accommodation when you register to attend the conference. To register, please visit the Registration tab on the left hand side.

Rates quoted are per room per night (room only) and in Australian dollars (inclusive of GST). The below rates are only available by booking through this registration site.

All accommodation bookings must be accompanied by credit card details in order to secure your reservation. The credit card provided during this booking process is to secure the room and provide a guarantee for late cancellations. Your credit card details will be forwarded to the hotel to secure your reservation.

Full payment for your accommodation (as well as any room incidentals) is to be made directly to the hotel at the time of your stay. The hotel will issue tax invoices for accommodation payments.

RYDGES CAPITAL HILL – $215 per night (Superior Queen room). Room only

Rydges Capital Hill Canberra offers well-appointed guest rooms featuring comfortable Rydges Dream Beds, LCD TVs, tea and coffee makers and irons and ironing boards. Guests enjoy sound nights of sleep on beds topped with luxurious linens and plenty of fluffy pillows. Entertainment is easy to come by on the TV or over computers or tablets while using the complimentary in-room WI-FI.

Superior Queen rooms are a spacious 30 square metres, and feature a queen sized “Dream” bed, with a comfortable lounge area to provide guests with an ideal location for relaxing. All rooms have newly renovated ensuite with walk in shower. FREE, unlimited WI-FI available for hotel guests.

LITTLE NATIONAL – $249 per night (Little National room). Room only.

Little National Hotel is conceived for the business, conference and leisure guest who demands smart luxury and high amenity in a super-prime location Complimentary wi-fi for guests.

This luxurious hotel offers affordable luxury to all in an efficient space that requires no compromises. Guest rooms are compact yet use efficient spatial planning and generously proportioned sleeping spaces to ensure each guest is wrapped in comfort.

Any questions?
Please click here to contact the Conference Secretariat via email, or phone on 02 6198 3218.

What is the Strategic Leadership Forum?

Each year FRSA convenes a Strategic Leadership Forum (SLF), (previously known as a Senior Executive Forum [SEF]) where senior representatives from children, family, communities and relationship support organisations from across Australia meet.

The two day event brings organisations together from across the sector that are responsible for the delivery of programs that assist Australian families. These organisations work closely with vulnerable clients and provide them with important mental health, child protection, family violence, drug and alcohol support services.

These services are deeply embedded within the community service delivery network with Senators and Members of Parliament (Minsters, Shadow Ministers and backbenchers) to discuss current policy priorities for our sector.

The organisations receive funding through a range of sources, but at the Commonwealth Government level they receive funding from the Department of Social Services and the Attorney-General’s Department.

The SLF also includes a Parliamentary Briefing ‘Day’ as part of the two day program.  The purpose of the Parliamentary Briefing Day is to provide FRSA SLF delegates with an opportunity to meet with Senator and Members of Parliament – as part of the FRSA network, to discuss current policy priorities for the sector.

The SLF provides Executives with an opportunity to discuss some of the key pressures on children, families and communities, with the aim of delivering better outcomes and opportunities for people Australia wide.

Previous FRSA Forums

FRSA SEF and Parliamentary Briefing Day was held at Australian Parliament House and the National Portrait Gallery on 24-25 February 2016.

The theme, Embracing Diversity – Securing Futures 2016  provided an opportunity for FRSA and senior representative from organisations within the family and relationship sector, across Australia to meet with 36 Ministers and Senators (or their advisors) to share information regarding recent and future issues facing service providers and clients in the sector.

At Parliament House, the Minister for Social Services, The Hon Christian Porter, kicked off the event with a Ministerial address to highlight the directions of Government programmes as part of the ongoing collaboration between DSS and FRSA.
FRSA has commissioned a research report with Professor John Toumbourou at Deakin University to produce, titled Strengthening prevention and early intervention services for families into the future. With the completed report to be available, August 2016.

A highlight from the two day event, shared interest for a number of Federal Politicians to establish a Family and Relationship Services Parliamentary Friendship Group. This group will provide an opportunity for Parliamentarians to keep abreast of the live and pertinent issues in the family and relationship sector and the related impacts of children, families and communities.

There was plenty of expressed interest with around 20 Senators and/or MPs from our meetings in either Championing the Group or being part of the group. FRSA will pick this up and further look into the establishment of a Parliamentary Friendship Group after the 2016 Election.

FRSA SEF Families, Worth the Investment 25-26 March 2015 at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra. This SEF examined the changing landscape in Australian Social Services and how Family and Relationship support services are an investment in Australia’s most vulnerable people with widespread benefits to Australia as a whole.

With increasing financial pressure from the Federal Government in terms of reduced expenditure on children, families and community based programmes, FRSA felt it was important to restate the key role that our services play in supporting children, families and communities and that families are indeed a worthwhile investment.

Minister for Social Services, the Hon. Scott Morrison addressed SEF and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Families and Payments, Senator Carol Brown also addressed forum delegates during the breakfast function on day 1 of the Forum.

SEF 2015 delivered a nationally and internationally renowned list of professionals and leaders within the children, families and communities and family law sectors, to challenge conventional processes, identify developing opportunities and provide a contemporary context within which to discuss some of the key strategic issues for the network.

SEF 2014— Service Delivery for the Future: Turning the Curve
The 2014 FRSA Senior Executives’ Forum was held at the Hyatt Hotel in Canberra on 18‑19 March 2014.

The event titled Service delivery for the future: turning the curve provided an opportunity for Senior Executives to come together and engage on the latest issues associated with service delivery, policy and funding.

Two presentations, two workshops and the Parliamentary Briefing day were conducted. Presentations covered opportunities and challenges for new approaches based on lived experience and customer feedback; and global trends, local solutions and leading innovation and investment for public good.

Overall, the 185 delegates in attendance considered the Forum to be a solid success. FRSA also used the Forum as an opportunity to consult members on priorities for the year ahead.

The 2013 FRSA Senior Executives’ Forum 2013 was held at the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra on 13-14 March.

It provided an opportunity for service providers and funding bodies to come together to discuss the delivery of Family Support Program services, including any areas of uncertainty or challenge.

In 2013 FRSA released the ‘Value for Everyone’ report to help MPs and policy makers understand the social and economic benefits gained from investing in family support services.

The delegates discussed with The Hon Kevin Andrews, the importance of maintaining funding to vital family support services despite the tight fiscal environment. FRSA also used the Forum as an opportunity to consult members on priorities for the year ahead.

The Minister Andrews also addressed the FRSA SEF, transcript of his presentation can be found here.

The Forum received some excellent feedback. 86% of attendees rated the event as either ‘Above Average’ or ‘Excellent’, an improvement of 10% or more on both the 2011 and 2012 Senior Executives’ Forum evaluation results.

Jeff McMullen’s keynote address was very well received with delegates describing his presentation as ‘inspirational’ and ‘thought provoking’. The overall planning and organisation of the event was highlighted as a key strength through comments such as ‘a great logistical exercise’.

FRSA SEF 2012 was held on 31 July–1 August 2012 at the CQ Functions Centre. Melbourne.

It was in 2012 the decision was made to combine the SEF and Parliamentary Briefing Day (in a critical election year) to become a staple of the FRSA events calendar going forward.

The 2011 FRSA Senior Executives’ Forum was held at the National Wine Centre in Adelaide on 9th August. The Forum provided an opportunity for Senior Executives, Departmental representatives and related peak networks to come together to discuss issues and projects within the sector.

The Forum also featured a half-day workshop on developing Indigenous Action Plans as part of the Vulnerable & Disadvantaged Client Access Strategies required in new FSP contracts.

FRSA also used the Forum as an opportunity to consult members on priorities for the year ahead. Discussion topics encompassed changes to program objectives, contract arrangements and reporting requirements, along with workforce issues and future directions in service models.

The first FRSA Senior Executives Forum 2010; Proven, Possible, Probable: Shaping the Future of Family Services was held in Canberra on 23 – 24 March 2010.

There were 110 participants, including Senior Executives from FRSA member organisations as well as representatives from the Australian Government’s Department of Families, Housing Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) and Attorney-General’s Department (AGD).