Service Sector Reform Project
5 February 2013 at 11:38 am
A new Victorian Government project aimed at reforming community services is an historic opportunity to improve outcomes for vulnerable people and communities, according to the Victorian Council of Social Service.
“Times are tough for a growing number of people in our community, which means greater demand on the many services provided by VCOSS members – especially on the outer fringes of Melbourne and in rural and regional Victoria,” VCOSS Chief Executive Officer, Penny Wilson said.
“People are also presenting with multiple and more complex needs which need to be addressed early and in smart and integrated ways to avoid more difficult and expensive crisis intervention later,” Wilson said.
VCOSS says the launch of the Government Service Sector Reform discussion paper, Towards a more effective and sustainable community services system by Professor Peter Shergold, will kick-start important discussions in government and across the community.
The Victorian Government funds the community service sector to deliver around $2 billion worth of welfare services. The Department of Human Services provides around $1.4 billion, and the Department of Health over $200 million.
“VCOSS is pleased to be taking a lead role in the Government’s Service Sector Reform Project on behalf of the community sector and looks forward to working closely with Professor Shergold and other members of the Project team,” Wilson said.
“VCOSS President Micaela Cronin is chairing the Service Sector Reform Project Reference Group, a key forum for the sector to contribute to the process,” Wilson said.
“This is an important, once in a generation opportunity to hear from all the stakeholders in the community sector to build a better system; the people who use our services, other players outside the sector such as the education system, government at all levels, those who support the sector including philanthropists, the corporate sector and most importantly volunteers,” Cronin said.
“Our members and the wider community sector have been urging reform, on the understanding and evidence that the greatest savings."
VCOSS says benefits can be gained from:
- early intervention – not waiting for a crisis to unfold
- integrated services – making sure that services are focused on people, not service models or program structures
- place-based solutions – that recognise local need and support local initiative
- flexibility of services – no ‘one size fits all’ model
- scaling up good practice and investing in innovation
- asking the right questions about what needs we are trying to meet.
The VCOSS Ideas Paper on service sector reform outlines 10 priority areas to improve government and community services to they can achieve better outcomes for all Victorians, particularly those who face disadvantage.
- Structure services around the needs of the person, not around service models or program silos
- Meet the different needs of different geographic regions
- Develop place-based approaches to best meet the needs of local communities
- Pursue better collaboration between and within government, community sector organisations, philanthropic organisations and the corporate sector
- Link up government and community services so there is ‘no wrong door’
- Focus on better prevention and early intervention
- Recognise the lifelong impact of trauma and strengthen cultural competence
- Use data so it supports better planning and outcomes not just processes
- Structure funding to support best practice and foster innovation
Maintain and build on the expertise and social capital of Victorian community sector organisations