TasCOSS Annual Report 2019/20: Community Sector Development

TasCOSS’s Community Sector Development work focusses on collaboration on continuous improvement of systems, services and skill development across the community services industry workforce. We are particularly focussed on keeping our clients at the centre of all we do.

Industry-wide consultations to inform a ten-year Community Services Industry Plan (2020-2030) took place during the reporting period, with the COVID-19 health crisis delaying the finalisation of the plan. This delay has led to a more robust re-draft to incorporate the learnings of the health crisis.

The second annual Tasplan International Women’s Day Awards for Excellence were presented on 6 March 2020 with Sue Leitch (inset: second from left) and Amanda French awarded Inspirational Leader and Aspiring Leader awards in the Community Sector category.

A suite of leadership and development courses designed to broaden leadership horizons, hone new skills and explore new messaging and communication techniques were delivered in 2019/20.

The Change Your Impact program for emerging leaders adapted quickly to the requirements of the COVID-19 health crisis by transitioning to an online experience for the participants. Mentoring and between-session ‘coffee breaks’ brought a greater level of engagement with course content and allowed for networking in an online environment.

Partnering with the Tasmanian Community Fund to provide training in partnership building and collaboration at three one-day workshops in Burnie, Launceston and Hobart was also a highlight.

Moreover, the new and improved FindHelpTAS website is continuing to assist Tasmanians to find services available in their local areas. During the COVID-19 lockdown, FindHelpTAS had a flurry of activity and updates as organisations suspended face-to-face services and moved to phone or online delivery. Some services were suspended, some continued in a different way and new services emerged. FindHelpTAS has now become simpler for organisations to use and log updates to program listings.

Our community and our industry stepped up to face challenges of the COVID-19 period and Community Sector Development was no exception. Strong positive outcomes from the health crisis was the outstanding engagement in online development opportunities, and the regular COVID-19 Sector Update meetings hosted by TasCOSS. Representatives were able to receive the very latest information relevant to service delivery, grant opportunities and state emergency management plans, as well as hear from peers about successful adaptions in service delivery and staff management.  For example the TasCOSS COVID-19 Safety Planning Series on completing COVID-19 Safety Plans was well received with participants providing the following feedback:

“Clear direction was very valuable at a time when there seems to be so many varied information sources.”

“I am glad you had this session as information coming to us via other channels has been very slow.”

The swift and urgent rise of telehealth and other digital methods of communication as the primary mode for delivering services (in health and community services) became an area of opportunity for HeLLOTas! activities. Our response was to grasp this moment and offer online opportunities for organisations to access health literacy training. The Commonwealth Home Support Programme (CHSP) sector also responded well to our ‘Conversations that Matter’ series, which focussed on building skills in goal setting with clients and embedding the Aged Care Quality Standards.

Find out more about what happened in this area during 2019/20: