NGO Peak Body Research

Challenges for NGO peak bodies in Human Services in disaster response and recovery: rebuilding community within a market environment.

Information Statement for the Research Project:

You are invited to participate in the research project identified above which is being conducted by Associate Professor Wendy Foote and Dr Jenny Mason from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Newcastle, and Associate Professor Amy Conley Wright from the School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney.

Why is the research being done?

The study aims to understand the role that peak bodies have played during recent disaster responses, specifically the COVID crisis. The study aims to identify any adaptations or innovations and/or facilitators and barriers to responding to this crisis environment. The study will seek to identify what, if any, changes to the peak’s role are likely to continue beyond the immediate COVID crisis and changed vision in relation to the role of NGO peaks. It will also seek to identify the peak’s role in the service system, the nature of collaboration between peaks, government, and other NGOs, and the use of technology. The findings will build evidence about the current experience of NGOs for operating under the current contracting environment. The research findings will be used in publications that will be shared with participants.

Who can participate in the research?

The research will involve an online survey and/or interview with CEOs and Chairs of Boards of Management of all peak bodies in state, territory and national levels that pertain to Child and Family Welfare areas and adjoining service areas (including out of home care, neighbourhood, family support, food and homelessness). (Participants can nominate to participate in one or both processes).

You have been invited because you are a member of one of these interest groups, and we have contacted you by using published contact details on the web.

Excluded from the research are government representatives.

What would you be asked to do?

Participants can nominate to participate in the online survey, the semi structured interview or both of these.

1. Undertake an online survey through RedCap

If you choose to take part, you will be asked to complete an online survey that will take approximately 30 minutes. The survey relates to the changing role of peak bodies and large NGOs, and in particular, their role in response to the COVID 19 pandemic. The survey will ask questions about the response that has been required to the pandemic, emerging needs, financial impacts, collaboration with government, other peak bodies and NGOs and specific COVID 19 responses that your organisation has made, in addition to any gaps in the service sector. You will be able to undertake it in different sittings, and once you have completed and submitted the form, the data will not be retrievable.

All data will be de-identified and reported in aggregate form unless express permission has been granted to report data in an identifiable way.

You are, of course, under no obligation to participate in the survey and no adverse consequences will flow to you or your organisation if you decline to participate.

2. Semi Structured Interview

Participants may take part in semi structured interviews. If you do, we will be asking your opinion about the role of a peak body or large NGO in a crisis, and what changes have taken place during the COVID 19 response – and of these, the value of these responses. Are there any that should continue and are there any that have limitations and should not continue? We will ask about the quality of collaboration within the NGO sector and government, the financial impacts on your organisation and any service gaps that you have identified. We will also ask you about any ‘lessons learned’ from your experience. The survey questions will be used to discuss each issue with a member of the research team. This will take place online via Zoom (V.5) or by telephone and will take between 30-60 minutes.

If you wish to take part in the interviews, contact the research team by email:

Interviews will be undertaken in a way that will provide maximum coverage across jurisdictions, and sizes and types of organisations, and within the time constraints of the project.

If you choose to take part, all data will be de-identified and reported in aggregate form, unless express permission has been granted to report data in an identifiable way. Notes from the interviews will be first shared with you as soon as possible after the interview in order to be verified as an accurate record of the interview and will also allow for any corrections or changes to the record. Any quotes proposed to be included in published research will be anonymised and you will have the opportunity to veto or amend such quotes if you believe that material may inadvertently identify you.

What choice do you have?

Participation in this research is entirely your choice. Only those people who give their informed consent will be included in the project. Whether or not you decide to participate, your decision will not disadvantage you.

If you do decide to participate, you may withdraw from the project for up to one week following the completion of the survey, or after undertaking an interview, without giving a reason.

How much time will it take?

1. The Survey – through RedCap will take approximately 30 minutes at a time convenient to you.

2.The semi structured interview will take approximately 30-60 minutes at a time agreed by you, either by telephone or Zoom (V5) if this is convenient for you.

What are the risks and benefits of participating?

You will be contributing to the building of an evidence base and influencing the concepts contained in the evidence base in Australia about peak bodies and the role of large NGOs. Your contribution will also shape future research directions.

The risks of participating are that confidentiality is not maintained if you have disclosed sensitive information inadvertently either in the survey or the interview. To manage this, the researchers will de- identify any information that you disclose that may identify you or your organisation unless you wish for this to be retained. (See below for details of permission for such use).

You may experience distress as a result of the context of the study being the organisation’s response to the pandemic. You may wish to access your workplace’s Employee Assistance Program, or Lifeline on the 24hour phone service - 131114, chat facility- and email-

How will your privacy be protected?

All data generated by the project will be kept in a secure office, in a locked filing cabinet. Electronic data will be stored in the University’s secure files which are not accessible to others.

Data will be retained securely for a minimum period of 5 years from completion of the research and managed/stored in accordance with the University’s Research Data and Materials Management Guideline (see or any successor Guideline, and applicable University of Newcastle policy provisions (as amended from time to time). Access to any identifiable data will be limited to members of the research team, unless: you have consented otherwise, or except if required by law in order for us to comply with our regulatory obligations.

Information which might identify you will not be disclosed without your prior consent. Explicit consent would be sought before using any material that may be identifiable. Any research assistant used in the project will be bound by the same confidentiality agreement. Any notes of the semi structured interviews will be kept by participant number, rather than name, in order to ensure that the identity of participants is not accidentally shared. (The key to the identity of participants will be kept in a separate physical location).

Similarly, if any identifying information is revealed in the online survey, it will be de-identified.

Information provided by participants will be treated in whole or in part on a non-attributable basis. All details that would identify individual participants will be removed at the time of the interview unless participants wish to leave those details in the notes.

You are of course under no obligation to participate in the survey and no adverse consequences will flow to you or your organisation if you decline to participate.

Details of the study, the ethics approval for this survey and contact details if you have any concerns about the study are in the attached Participant Information Statement.

How will the information collected be used?

Online Survey

1. The study’s survey will be open for a period of up to 3 months, during which time invitations to participate will be sent to each potential participant. The research team will also be undertaking semi structured interviews throughout the period.

2. The results will be analysed, and preliminary aggregated findings will be shared and discussed with participants in a joint zoom meeting prior to finalisation. This discussion will contribute to the research process by engaging participating organisations in discussion and interpretation about the findings.

Semi Structured interviews

1. The results of the interviews will be analysed, and preliminary aggregated findings will be shared and discussed with content experts and those who were invited to take part in the study in a joint zoom meeting prior to finalisation. This discussion will contribute to the research process by engaging participating organisations in discussion and interpretation about the findings.

The findings from the interviews will be aggregated and augmented by analysis of the data from the whole research project, literature, media reports and other public documents.

Non-identifiable data may also be shared with other parties to encourage scientific scrutiny, and to contribute to further research and public knowledge. Publications will be submitted to industry journals, and conferences. E.g. a preliminary report may be made at the ACWA Conference 2021. Participants may seek details of any publications from the research by contacting the Chief Investigators via: after December 2020.

What do you need to do to participate?

Please read this Information Statement and be sure you understand its contents before you consent to participate. If there is anything you do not understand, or you have questions, contact the researcher.

If you would like to participate, please

Send your contact details to the project email address:

State how you would like to participate, i.e.:

· ‘I am interested in participating in the semi structured survey’,

· ‘I am interested in participating in the online survey’, or

· ‘I am interested in participating in both the survey and the semi structured interview’.

One of the research team will send you a consent form, link to the survey and/or an appointment for interview.

Complaints about this research

This project has been approved by the University of Newcastle’s Human Research Ethics Committee: Approval No. H-2020-0032.

Should you have concerns about your rights as a participant in this research, or you have a complaint about the manner in which the research is conducted, it may be given to the researcher, or, if an independent person is preferred, to the Human Research Ethics Officer, Research & Innovation Services, The University of Newcastle, University Drive, Callaghan NSW 2308, Australia, telephone (02) 4921 6333, email

Further information If you would like further information, please contact:

Thank you for considering this invitation.

Associate Professor Wendy Foote – Chief Investigator HASS, UoN

Doctor Jenny Mason – Chief Investigator HASS, UoN

Associate Professor Amy Conley Wright – Chief Investigator USyd

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.