Supported by funding from the ACT Government and the generosity of our clients, volunteers, donors and community.
We invite you to support us by becoming a member or friend. Your membership helps us in the delivery of vital services for the Canberra community, and to be a stronger advocate for sexual and reproductive health across the region.
Keep up to date with everything that's happening at SHFPACT, plus; health news, resources, events, courses, training, volunteer days, important announcements and more.
2021-2022 has been a year that SHFPACT’s steady, determined, and persistent commitment to its purpose and mission of improving reproductive and sexual health of the Canberra community, advocacy for public policy and resourcing to address the needs of priority populations, and building for the long-term through the recent years of uncertainty and constraint, resulted suddenly in a flurry of new opportunities and growth in its work.
The year started strongly — continuing the long period of relative stability in the public health response to the pandemic — but with an abrupt return to lockdown in August 2021 in response to growing COVID-19 transmission in the ACT community. This had an immediate impact on the delivery of SHFPACT’s education and training services, especially as schools navigated a second return to online learning, and teaching staff and community workers focused on immediate needs.
SHFPACT’s clinical services were ready, however, having built on the prior year’s experience, and pivoted seamlessly to a combination of telehealth and in-person consultations, and continued providing essential face-to-face services throughout the lockdown period to mid-October 2021. It is a tribute to the commitment and flexibility of SHFPACT’s clinicians and its senior clinical leadership team in particular that constant monitoring and changes to our service settings was managed almost invisibly to our service users and clients, and that there has been no disruption to clinical services delivery since the first lockdown in early 2020.
Cancelled and deferred activity in term 3 of 2021 for community and schools education services gave the Education, Health Promotion & Training (EHPT) team some space for program planning and review. Throughout this year, the EHPT team has embarked on a range of quality improvement activities, including the design and trial of new health education materials, the ongoing policy and suite of information resources review for our NDIS services and NDIS registration quality action plan, and the review and update of ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) accredited training courses for teachers. One of the legacies of the demands for school communities to move their education settings so significantly in short periods of time has been a continuing suppressed demand for all school-focused professional development training offered by SHFPACT well into 2022.
A major change in the way public health management of pandemic-related risks occurred during the 2021-22 summer, and the SHFPACT management team returned early to review and update our COVID-safe policy and protocols in light of a significant shift from close ACT Health management of COVID exposure, isolation and quarantine requirements, to much greater individual and organisation responsibility for assessing and responding to risk. This shift proved a risk management challenge across the ACT non-government organisations sector who serve Canberra’s communities who experience high marginalisation and are additionally vulnerable to poor health outcomes.
SHFPACT staff collaborated and communicated closely with other health, education and community services providers during this period to both assess and mitigate these risks.
From January 2022, SHFPACT commenced activity for direct ACT Government funding for sexual health education and other supports for people with disabilities. This funding was a 2020 election commitment of the incoming ACT Government, and was announced in the 2021 ACT Budget. The renewed program has four focus areas: accessible sexual and reproductive health information, supporting schools based health education for students with disabilities, capacity building training for the disability support services sector, and supporting SHFPACT’s ability to engage with complex needs and community members who do not have NDIS packages in their health and support needs planning. Many of these had been significantly curtailed after the NDIS transitions in 2016, and the organisation is grateful for restored ACT Government funding support to address these unmet needs.
In early 2022, SHFPACT signed a three-year funding agreement with the Department of Social Services (DSS) for delivery of a national project as part of Australian Government policy and funding commitments to reduce violence against women and girls with disability.
The project builds on SHFPACT’s SoSAFE! Framework, and will resource implementation projects across the country using SoSAFE! Framework, as well as facilitating a health and disability support sector-development project to document good practice guidelines in the role that respectful relationships and health education programs can play in sexual violence prevention and response with women and girls with disability. SHFPACT is particularly pleased to commence its initial implementation project in Tasmania’s north-west with our longstanding SoSAFE! Training Partner, Family Planning Tasmania. And SHFPACT was successful in a multi-year Healthy Canberra Grants (ACT Health Promotion Grants program) application for a collaborative project with Hepatitis ACT to engage and support young people, with a focus on the cultural diversity of Canberra’s community, as peer advocates, educators and champions on sexual health and blood-borne virus needs. The project runs over two years.
All of these wonderful new project opportunities, combined with our ongoing service delivery commitments, have provided SHFPACT with the benefits and challenge of growing our staff team and organisation again after several years of close, conservative financial management. We have welcomed many new staff to our growing team, leased new office premises to support the Safer Girls Safer Women Project (DSS), and engaged a second Senior Director position to navigate our organisation and services development over the next years. This development includes the review and update of our strategic directions, navigating the uncertainties and opportunities of a major reform in ACT Health funding to non-government organisations through an evolving commissioning approach to health services planning and resourcing, continuing to contribute to good public policy for reproductive and sexual health outcomes, and pursuing new registration and accreditation processes in line with our current and evolving services offer in the Canberra community. On the advocacy and public policy front, SHFPACT contributed heavily to the work of the Sexual Assault Prevention & Response project through the second half of 2021, with the final Steering Committee Report being submitted to ACT Government in December 2021.
In June 2022, the ACT Government response was received, assenting to the vast majority of recommendations. SHFPACT joined with other civil society actors to publicly call for ACT Government to back its policy support with funding commitments in ACT Budget 2022, and a range of immediate priority actions and resources were announced. SHFPACT will play an ongoing role in the prevention agenda for sexual violence, in keeping with the organisation’s longstanding work in health promotion and health education. ACT Budget 2022 also announced new ACT Government financial commitments to fund abortion access and long-acting reversible contraception for Canberrans, and SHFPACT looks forward to contributing to the design and roll out of the service system to deliver on this commitment in the coming year.
Sexual Health and Family Planning ACT (SHFPACT) is a community not-for-profit, non-government, membership-based incorporated association and an ATO-endorsed health promotion charity and deductible gift recipient. We have served the Canberra community and the region for nearly fifty years. There are a range of ways you can engage with us by becoming a Friend or a Member of SHFPACT.
We improve sexual and reproductive health for the Canberra community within a framework of human rights, social justice, and prudent financial management for long-term sustainability.
We are a dynamic, effective and trusted organisation leading and contributing to coordinated responses that support sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly of priority populations.
We believe that sexual and reproductive rights are human rights related to sexuality, reproduction and relationships and that the expression of sexuality occurs across the lifespan. We affirm and advocate anti-discrimination principles set out in ACT and Australian laws and international conventions.
We work using a public health and health promotion model to enable increased access to sexual and reproductive health services for all Canberrans with a focus on priority populations through capacity building approaches and working in partnership with others.
We prioritise the following populations to access and achieve improved sexual and reproductive health:
Furthermore, we recognise the needs of these priority populations are not uniform and many people may experience multiple forms of disadvantage. SHFPACT addresses sexual health barriers by:
1. We will address barriers to and improve sexual and reproductive health and rights status of the Canberra community.
(a) We will deliver high quality services that support and improve the sexual and reproductive health status and wellbeing for all Canberrans.
(b) We will make our services known, accessible and used by those who need or benefit from them.
2. We will increase the profile of sexual and reproductive health issues and address barriers to reproductive and sexual health with policymakers, decision makers and the broader community.
(a) We will collaborate effectively with key partners and build new partnerships to achieve We will demonstrate and share effective models for improving reproductive and sexual health and rights, and address barriers to reproductive and sexual health
(c) We will lead responses that support sexual and reproductive health and rights, and influence public policy and systems to improve health outcomes and respect for sexual and reproductive health and rights for individuals, couples, families and communities.
3. We will strengthen our organisational systems, capacity and capabilities.
(a) We will invest in the staff, facilities, information and communications technology infrastructure required to achieve our goals and mission.
(b)We will accurately understand our relative strengths and competitive advantage, and plan accordingly.
(c) We will invest our financial resources to support services, activities and programs that improve reproductive and sexual health and rights in the Canberra community.
SHFPACT provides a client-centred suite of reproductive and sexual health primary healthcare services, including sexual health screening, contraception, pregnancy, menopause, and women’s and men’s healthcare. Services are provided from a primary clinical site and through outreach activities.
SHFPACT provides Canberra’s only free unplanned pregnancy counselling service that is client-centred, non-directive and refers for all pregnancy options. SHFPACT supports people with disabilities through one-to-one and group counselling programs to enhance relationships, sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, and social safety skills and understanding.
SHFPACT delivers theory and clinical attachment training for medical practitioners, registered nurses and allied health professionals in sexual and reproductive healthcare, and a wide range of professional development and training activities to support workers in the education, youth, community, and disability support and advocacy sectors to improve reproductive and sexual health.
SHFPACT provides comprehensive, responsive and tailored programs to a broad range of community groups and schools on all aspects of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and sexuality and relationships education.
SHFPACT works with community partner organisations to promote access to sexual and reproductive health services, and improve sexual and reproductive health literacy through community-based health promotion projects and activities. SHFPACT provides a range of health information resources in person, in print and online to inform decisions about sexual and reproductive health.
SHFPACT Council is the governing body of the organisation, its members are elected from the wider membership at Annual General Meetings for two-year terms, or appointed to fill vacancies throughout the year with appointed member terms ending at the next AGM.
Council membership was largely consistent across the 2021-22 year, with a core continuing group of members elected at the 2019 Annual General Meeting continuing in key roles of the Executive Committee. Janelle Weissman ended her period of service on the SHFPACT Council at the AGM 2021 and Sophie Fisher was elected President of the Council in August 2021 to support a smooth transition in Council leadership. Lucy Mitchell and Zyl Hovenga-Wauchope were co-opted to Council in October 2021, bringing valuable clinical and business operations skills to the Council mix.
Key focuses for Council across 2021-22 were supporting SHFPACT management and team to adjust to the COVID-normal environment, bedding down strong strategic governance of the many exciting, new initiatives taken on by the organisation across the financial year and ensuring the organisation has the necessary capacity to deliver on this broader agenda, including through the growth of the senior management team.
The establishment of the Finance, Audit and Risk Management subcommittee, led by Council Treasurer Josephine Schumann, has also provided an important additional layer of due diligence to the organisation. The Council met with senior executive staff in March 2022 to undertake a review of strategic plan priorities in light of the new and emerging opportunities, and in light of the impacts of the public health response to the global pandemic on progression of those priorities in the previous two years.
Council commends the SHFPACT management team and broader staff for their resilience, agility and commitment to continuing to deliver important services to our community over a number of very challenging years.
After the previous financial year’s extraordinary results, SHFPACT has returned to a financial performance result more in line with trend of recent years and delivered a small surplus result of $34,612 (FY2021: surplus $307,494).
The result is better than the budgeted forecast, which anticipated a deficit result for increased employment costs that has been mitigated by increased funding during the year not anticipated in the original budget approved by Council.
Members and other stakeholders will notice significant increases compared to the prior year in the cash assets and other current liabilities in the balance sheet and cash flow position for the financial year that reflects increased funding streams and income in advance received in financial year 2022 and carried forward to future years, most notably from the first payment tranche in May 2022 of SHFPACT’s new funding contract with Department of Social Services for the Safer Girls Safer Women project.
Other income in advance from the ACT Healthy Canberra Grants and unexpended funds from ACT Health for the sexual health services for people with disabilities projects also contribute to this difference. SHFPACT ended the financial year with a current ratio of 1.35:1 compared with FY2021 2.54:1.
This falls below the financial sustainability target of a current ratio of 2:1, as a result of the carrying balances for project funds carried forward. The relevant funding contracts permit such carrying forward of unexpended funds, and will continue for at least the next two financial years. ACT and Australian Government financial supports for community organisations and businesses were more targeted in the second lockdown period in August-October 2021, and SHFPACT benefitted from the ACT Government’s COVID Business Support Grants to mitigate loss of fees income for unfunded service activity, albeit as a much smaller quantum than the previous financial year’s pandemic-related government financial support.
SHFPACT’s fees income for unfunded clinical services grew by 20% despite another lockdown period, where education/training income was generally lower due to the impacts especially in the schools/education sector of this lockdown. In line with SHFPACT’ strategic revenue diversification goals, income from the SoSAFE! Framework increased this year for the sale of SoSAFE!
Resources to participants and SoSAFE! Training Partners interstate and internationally, who are also experience increasing demand for the training programs they offer, as has SHFPACT in the courses provided directly in Australia. SHFPACT’s investment in the 2016 acquisition of the SoSAFE! Framework continues to provide a net positive contribution to revenue and financial position of the organisation, in addition to its furtherance of SHFPACT’s mission and purpose, and total revenue from related activity has already significantly exceeded the original purchase price. In this financial year, the SoSAFE! Framework was a core factor in securing DSS funding for the next three years. SHFPACT Council approved a budget in June 2022 anticipating a surplus result of $15,386 for financial year 2022-23. The audit of SHFPACT’s financial statements for financial year 2022 was conducted by Bellchambers Barrett. This is the third audit conducted by the firm for SHFPACT. The audit finding is an unqualified result.
Our members and clients who donated to SHFPACT, and employees of the Commonwealth and ACT Public Services who donated to SHFPACT through payroll deduction schemes, contributing to our continuing ability to improve reproductive and sexual health in the Canberra community.
Presenters from our community partner organisations and community of professional support who contributed to outstanding learning opportunities for participants in our training programs.
Students and staff of ACT schools who supported delivery of sexual health and relationships education programs and sexual health promotion activities.
Residents and staff of university residential colleges who facilitated and participated in sexual health promotion outreach activities.
Members of the SHFPACT Council, who voluntarily contribute their time, expertise and wisdom to guide the organisation on behalf of the wider membership.
Members of the ACT Legislative Assembly for continued public advocacy to support all students to be welcome, safe and included in Canberra schools regardless of sexuality, intersex status, or gender identity/presentation, and for sexual health public policy that supports a diverse community.
SHFPACT’s SoSAFE! Training Partners:
Sexuality and Ageing
Keep up to date with everything that's happening at SHFPACT, plus; health news, resources, events, courses, training, volunteer days, important announcements and more.