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C-BERS Services Review

Between December 2000 and March 2001, we conducted a review of C-BERS Services to help the management committee assess how C-BERS Services is performing and plan for the future. We reviewed:

  • functions and structure,
  • outcomes achieved and
  • value-for-money.

In summary, we found that:

C-BERS Services developed out of a unique circumstance. There was no precedent for such an organisation. It has unique management structure and accountability arrangements. Essentially the focus is on service provision and management of those services, by an independent management committee, in a way that ensures the service operates appropriately and is functionally independent from the Congregation of Christian Brothers [who fund the organisation] but is financially accountable.

Over 400 clients have used C-BERS Services. This is approx 50% of the potential client group if all were still living, needed and wanted to use the service.

C-BERS Services functions well, providing a wide range of high quality services designed specially to meet the changing needs of the men who were resident in Christian Brothers child care institutions and some other clients. Services include:

  • Travel assistance
  • Counselling
  • Information services
  • Resource centre
  • Newsletter
  • Website
  • Advocacy
  • Literacy/adult education
  • Financial assistance
  • Loans
  • Funeral assistance
  • Telephone reimbursement
  • Heath and welfare
  • Tracing
  • Reunions and
  • Specific projects as needed

C-BERS Services provides services in a way that exceeds the original intent expressed in the terms of reference, as it has continually modified services to meet changes in need.

Feedback suggested that the needs of many of the men are being met. However there is no regular evaluation of work with clients and no systematic way of ascertaining the ongoing needs of the men. This is important to assess the outcome and impact of the work of C-BERS Services and to help direct future service development. To ensure that future needs continue to be considered, we have recommended that there be a review of the current status and anticipated needs of C-BERS Services clients to help direct future service development.

Working relationships with other organisations are generally very positive.

Management systems are appropriate considering the size and nature of the organisation. An audit was not required. Some minor changes in financial reporting were recommended.

  • A value-for-money analysis for the period 1996-2000 shows that for every dollar spent,
  • 50 cents is spent directly on the client (in travel etc)
  • 31 cents pays the salaries of counselling and administrative staff
  • 12 cents goes to operating costs such as rent and stationery and
  • 7 cents is spent on management and service development.

We concluded that C-BERS Services provides an excellent service that we believe could be improved by some minor changes. We have recommended changes to ensure that client needs continue to be met in an appropriate way. These include evaluating client services on an ongoing basis, researching clients’ future needs, considering the feedback from other agencies and making some minor changes to internal management and financial reporting.

Ron Metcalf FCPA, FCA
Margaret Stockton Metcalf B Soc Stud, MBA


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