Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS)

ProjectCommunity Service Health Check Project

Amount$90,000 over two years


ProgramOther Past Programs

This grant was approved under previous grants policy
Rural and regional Victoria Work with up to 60 community organisations in the Loddon Mallee, Grampians, Hume, Barwon-South West and Gippsland regions
Building organisational capacity Enable organisations to objectively assess their governance and financial management practices
Collaboration and partnership Australian Institute of Management, local government, Department of Health and Human Services and VCOSS members including Neighbourhood House networks and Volunteering Victoria

Online governance and financial management resources for regional community service organisations

VCOSS aims to build the capabilities and capacity of community organisations through targeted online tools. Better governance and financial management for Victoria’s regional organisations will lead to stronger strategy development and help organisations evolve and respond to the rapidly changing community sector environment.

Image VCOSS team members test the governance health check self-assessment tool.


  • This project builds on the successful outcomes of a 2015 pilot program funded by HMSTrust, which developed self-assessment tools for organisations to identify areas for improvement in governance and financial management.
  • The Governance and Financial Management Health Check pilot provided evidence of the strong need for capacity building efforts for regional community service organisations.
  • The health check assessment tools that were developed from the pilot will be used as the basis for an online tool to be developed over 24 months.
  • Using the online tool, which is embedded in the VCOSS website, will result in a report that will link the organisation with pre-existing resources and support.
  • Successful development of the online resource will become the backbone of VCOSS’ sector capacity building activities. The aim is that additional modules addressing other topics can be added in the future so that community services organisations will be able to assess their capability and address weaknesses in a range of further areas such as communications and human resources.


“This will be a powerful tool that allows board members to assess their organisation’s financial and governance health, and be immediately assisted to make improvements. It’s going to drive healthier organisations and better outcomes across the community sector.” Emma King, CEO, Victorian Council of Social Service