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 design and deliver their services. As we transition into the recovery phase, which will be shaped by a bleak economic outlook, there is an urgent need to understand both the changes to “felt demand” and the nature of service adaptations and the effects of these adaptations – both intended and unintended – on people who access services.
FSSI and VCOSS have been commissioned by the Department of Health and Human Services to 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.
The “Stories Into Evidence Project” will develop a more 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. The project consists of three complementary Focus Areas:
- Focus Area 1: Embracing Service Innovation will involve consulting with community sector service providers to document adaptations to service delivery and analyse the impact of these adaptations;
- Focus Area 2: Understanding Changes to Felt Demand will involve consulting with community sector service providers to identify changes to service demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Focus Area 3: Quantifying Victoria’s charitable sector – data and insights to inform recovery planning will involve an analysis of data from the latest Australian Charities and Not-For-Profit Commission’s (ACNC) Annual Information Statements released in mid-June 2020.
The “Stories into Evidence Project” complements and builds on existing work by the Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate service and practice changes implemented in response to Covid-19.