Spatial analysis

The Spatial Analysis was conducted by Deloitte Access Economics on behalf of the Evaluation Steering Committee. It mapped Keep Them Safe specific expenditure across NSW for financial years 2008-9 through 2011-12 against population characteristics regarding relative disadvantage, reporting rates to the child protection system, and other risk factors for future contact with the child protection system.

Deloitte's Report shows that funding under Keep Them Safe has generally been highest in areas of the State with the highest levels of need. Areas in the North and West of the State and on periphery of Sydney all have high needs, whether measured by the number of children who are the subject of child protection reports or using indices of relative disadvantage. These are also the areas which have received the highest levels of funding. Conversely, the South and East of NSW and the North and East of Sydney, where indices of need are lower, received less funding. It also shows that funding has not been distributed equally among all high-needs areas. Non-metropolitan areas of the State received more funding than metropolitan areas. There are also some non-metropolitan areas with high levels of relative disadvantage which have not been funded to the same extent as others (e.g. parts of the Far West, Murrumbidgee and Southern regions).

The Report did not attempt to explain these variations, but they do not necessarily suggest that Keep Them Safe funding has been poorly allocated. Other plausible explanations include the differential cost of service delivery in regional/remote areas compared with metropolitan areas; the fact the report only maps funding under Keep Them Safe without attempting to map mainstream NSW child protection spending or Commonwealth funding or non-government agency activity funded through private means; and the fact the analysis maps funding until the end of financial year 2012 (as of that date, several significant Keep Them Safe initiatives were still at the pilot stage or partway through being rolled out, e.g. Family Referral Services).

Deloitte's report can be downloaded here. Note that this document contains several blank pages. These are included so that the black-and-white cross-hatched maps can be printed on transparencies and overlaid on the coloured maps, to aid in visualising the alignment between funding and other mapped data.