Community Services COVID-19 resources

Community services play a crucial role in looking after our community.

This page provides general health advice and links to resources that community service organisations may find useful. For the latest WA Government information and advice, visit wa.gov.au/government/coronavirus-covid-19.

If you suspect you may have COVID-19, call the Coronavirus Health Information Line on 1800 020 080.

We are working together with our members, other WA human service peak bodies and the WA Government to ensure you have access to the latest trusted information and resources.

Contingency Plans 

Your organisation needs to develop a plan, based on the kind of services you deliver and the way you interact with service users, other agencies and the public.

We have collated some examples generously shared by WACOSS members and they can be found in this Google Drive.

(*Please note these plans are based on the best information at the time and are being revised and updated continually as the situation evolves.)

Please get in touch if you are happy to share your contingency plan for your industry or service type. Key elements of a comprehensive plan might include:

    • Protocols for staff if they have travelled, may have been exposed or show symptoms (including shortness of breath or cough, with or without a fever);
    • HR guidance including advice on staff leave arrangements if they are directed to quarantine;
    • How to respond if a client shows symptoms (noting it could just be a cold);
    • How to deliver ongoing support to a client diagnosed with COVID-19 (when relevant and with support);
    • Contract management to ensure if you are unable or directed not to deliver some services you won’t be penalised;
    • How to scale up if necessary to provide additional services to the community if requested.

Safety Plans

The McGowan Government announced that all businesses reopening after COVID-19 must complete a Business and Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan – here are further safety plan guidelines that may be helpful.

This is the specific advice for community service providers.

This is the Safety Plan template prepared by the WA State Government that may be of use, along with the Social Distancing Guidelines in the workplace.

We have collated some examples generously shared by WACOSS members and they can be found in this Google Drive.

Other recovery and safety planning documents and templates that may be of use, include:

ACOSS – Working Arrangements during COVID-19 to help with workplace planning.

Our Community and Institute of Community Directors Australia – Damn Good Advice on Creating a COVID-19-Safe Workplace, A guide for NFP boards and Managers – covers a range of topics, from preparing the workplace and consulting with staff, to modifying the workplace and events, dealing with the public, transport, and incident procedures. There are plenty of helpful checklists and templates that may be useful in your planning.

Communication and Newsletters 

WACOSS has issued specific COVID-19 updates on the issues directly impacting the community service sector.

Read the COVID-19 Communiques.

Trusted information sources

Advice on health, care and safety

Advice for Aboriginal Communities 

The Aboriginal Health Council of Western Australia (AHCWA) are providing updates on their website here.

Advice for people on Temporary Visas

The Red Cross has created resources on how to access emergency relief in a range of different languages, for people who hold Temporary Visas.

Advice for Homelessness Services 

Shelter WA have put together a webpage to assist services who provide housing and homelessness services. Visit the page here.

Advice for the Alcohol and other Drug Sector 

The Western Australian Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (WANADA) have prepared information for the AOD sector. Read more.

The Alcohol and Drug Foundation has launched an advertising campaign encouraging Australians to consider their drinking patterns during recent COVID-19 lockdowns.

Advice for the Mental Health Sector

The Western Australian Association for Mental Health has prepared information for services in the mental health sector. Read more.

The Australian Government have strengthened a number of digital and telehealth support services:

  • Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service is specifically designed to help people through the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • COVID-19 Support Line for Senior Australians offers mental health support for senior Australians, their families and carers. Phone 1800 171 866
  • Head to Health is a good place to start if you, or someone you care about, needs help managing anxiety and worry. It provides access to free and low cost telephone and online mental and support services.

Read about other Mental Health services available. 

Advice for Children and the Youth Sector

The Youth Affairs Council of WA is committed to acting as a leader for the youth sector during the COVID-19 outbreak, and have a dedicated COVID-19 Resources Hub for young people.

The Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth (ARACY) has produced Principles of Rapid Innovation and Evaluation: Responding to COVID-19, to support organisations to capture and evaluate learnings, identify what has worked, what has effectiveness, and what could or should be discarded.

Financial Counselling Advice

The Financial Counsellors’ Association of WA provide resources, tools, and counselling for people experiencing financial hardship in WA, and they have prepared some  COVID-19 specific resources which can be found here.

Free and independent local financial cousellors can be found via the Financial Counselling Association of WA website, or you can call the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007 to speak to someone over the phone.

Financial Counselling Australia have developed Preparedness for the Financial Counselling Sector resources.

Advice for Residential Care Facilities 

The Federal Government have provided guidelines for outbreaks in residential care facilities which can be found here.

The Department of Communities shared a fact sheet on Tips for transporting children and supervising contact.

Advice for Volunteers

Volunteering WA have put together information to help volunteers and volunteer involving organisations consider what steps you may need to take in light of the emergency. Visit webpage.

Advice for Neighbourhood and Community Resource Centres

Linkwest has provided resources for Neighbourhood and Community Resource Centres when planning contingencies for their staff and operations. Read more.

Centrelink Advice

 

Advice for Community Service Organisations

 

Family and Domestic Violence Advice 

The Women’s Council for Domestic and Family Violence Services WA have shared a fact sheet on COVID-19 and FDV. Download the fact sheet.

Stopping Family Violence work to raise awareness of family and domestic violence and to change perceptions. They have provided COVID-19 specific resources here.

Our Watch have released a statement about COVID-19 here.

The Women’s Community Health Network WA have produced three fact sheets on FDV in the context of COVID-19:

Relevant Training

 

Sector Communications from the State Government

Department of Finance – Funding and Contracting Services – Bulletin 20 March 2020
Department of Communities email to Community Services Sector – 20 March 2020
Department of Finance – Funding and Contracting Services – Bulletin 31 March 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 31 March 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 1 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 3 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 6 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 7 April 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 9 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 14 April 2020
Department of Finance – Funding and Contracting Services – Bulletin 14 April 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 17 April 2020
Department of Finance – Funding and Contracting Services Bulletin – 20 April 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 22 April 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 24 April 2020
Message from the Department of Justice, Corrective Services – 30 April 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 1 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 1 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 6 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 6 May 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 8 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 8 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 8 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 13 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 13 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 14 May 2020
Message from the Director General, Department of Communities – 18 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 20 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 22 May 2020
Message from Acting Director General, General Community Services, Department of Communities – 22 May 2020
Message from the Community Sector Partnership Team – 2 July 2020

 

Advocacy

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, WACOSS the Councils of Social Service, including the Australian Council of Social Service, continue to advocate on behalf of community service sector organisations and the people in our communities that they support. Here is just some of the advocacy that has been undertaken that relates to COVID-19.

  • Council of Social Service Network and the Australian Services Union called on the Federal Government and Prime Minister Scott Morrison to support the community services sector in responding to COVID-19 on 20 March 2020. These asks were updated on 2 April 2020.
  • WACOSS wrote to the State Government in late March 2020 making a number of recommendations on behalf of the sector. Download recommendations here.
  • The Australian Council of Social Service have collated advocacy from across all states and territories, and asks to the Federal Government on the Coronavirus Information Hub on their website.

Travel Alerts and Self Isolation Guidelines

There is currently an international travel ban in place – follow travel advice at at Smartraveller.

The Western Australian Government introduced strict intrastate travel rules. Exemptions may be possible for work or on compassionate grounds. Before travelling, read the advice about travelling to and around WA.

All people who arrive in Australia, or think they may have been in close contact with a person diagnosed with Coronavirus, are required to self-isolate for 14 days. The Federal Government has prepared Isolation Guidance in this here.