FSSI Link #5

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the demand for services across the community sector. The pandemic has also transformed – at least temporarily – the way in which many community service organisations deliver their services. Right now attention is understandably focused on addressing the recent spike in cases in Victoria, including increased rates of community transmission, and people living in hotspots are adjusting to the reinstatement of strict lockdown restrictions.

It is also important at this time to look back over the experience of the last few months to see what we have learned. How has demand for services changed and what are the short, medium and long term implications of these changes? What service adaptations have organisations made and what are the effects of these adaptations – both intended and unintended – on people who access services?

FSSI and VCOSS are partnering on a new project that seeks to address these questions. As part of the “Stories Into Evidence Project” – funded by the Department of Health and Human Services – FSSI and VCOSS will gather, test, analyse and interpret critical intelligence from a diverse range of front-line service providers working across a range of service areas including disability, mental health, homelessness, Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs), children and families, family violence, aged care, youth and justice.

This project will help to provide a comprehensive picture of the service adaptation and innovation that has taken place so far, the contribution (or otherwise) of those adaptations to ‘future state’ goals, and deeper insights into “felt demand” and its implications. In-depth interviews with sector peaks have commenced this week and FSSI and VCOSS will continue to engage with community sector organisations to capture learnings and insights.

If you are aware of service or practice changes that have had a positive impact, please get in touch with us.

While the news about increased cases is disheartening for all and devastating for many, it also underscores the need to ensure that Victoria has the infrastructure and workforce to provide critical, high-quality services to our diverse community. We acknowledge the incredible efforts of front line staff, and those from DHHS and other government departments who have pitched in and worked incredibly long hours to support our community. Thank you.