The NSW government is now considering the applications received as part of the second round of the Expert Advice Exchange (EAX). The EAX is a platform developed by the NSW Government to connect social sector organisations with private sector organisations that can provide pro bono assistance (including pro bono legal assistance).
The NSW Government launched its Social Impact Investment Policy in February 2015, extending on its successful 2013 social benefit bonds projects. The Social Impact Investment Policy is based on the idea that positive social outcomes can be achieved when the public, private and not-for-profit sectors work together. The EAX is an important part of this Policy.
The EAX facilitates the provision of pro bono assistance to not-for-profit and social enterprises in six key areas:
- finance and accounting;
- program development;
- program implementation; and
- program evaluation.
There are currently 30 advisory firms listed on the EAX, including law firms, financial service providers and IT consultants. Eighteen of the 30 advisory firms listed are law firms.
Advisory firms listed on the EAX commit to providing a specific amount of pro bono resources to assist not-for-profits and social enterprises over a 12 month period. Particular activities are excluded from the EAX, including:
- advocacy or lobbying;
- dispute resolution;
- litigation; and
- representation in major transactional work.
In order to be eligible for assistance through the EAX not-for-profits and social enterprises must first apply to the Office of Social Impact Investment. Applications are assessed against the eligibility criteria by an independent panel. The EAX then connects not-for-profits and social enterprises with advisory firms that can assist with their particular needs but plays no further role.
The first round of applications for the EAX closed in June 2015 and has facilitated the provision of professional advice to approximately 40 organisations. The second round of applications closed on 20 September 2015.
For more information about the EAX and for details about how to apply please see the Office of Social Impact Investment.