12 March 2020

Community Services response to COVID-19

Community services play a crucial role in looking after our community. We are proud of the caring role we play delivering services to people experiencing vulnerability. We are also proud of how we care for our staff and how we work together as a sector to respond to challenges and deliver better outcomes. So, we are providing an update on our responses to COVID-19 and sharing with you the best links and resources.

Our aim is to ensure you are well-informed of the key issues for your organisation, staff and service users, so you can plan how best to respond.

We will ensure updated information, resources and links are available on the WACOSS website here.

Here is a list of links where you can get the latest information from trusted organisations who are leading the response.

It is important that your staff know how to look after themselves and their clients to reduce the risk of infection. There is no need to panic or stockpile, but simple precautions like washing hands, not shaking hands or kissing can help. Here are some useful links: Contingency Planning

Your organisation, board and management team may want to develop a contingency plan to respond to potential issues as they emerge.

What you need to do may vary depending on the kind of services you deliver and the way you interact with service users, other agencies and the public.

Some services may need to wind down or use other modes of outreach to maintain social distancing or respond to changes in demand, while others may need to ramp up and change the way they deliver help to those relying on their support.

Here are some examples of contingency plans generously shared with us by Ruah and Anglicare WA.

Anglicare and Ruah have also offered to work with us to develop a template to assist organisations with contingency planning, which we will share with you as soon as we can.

Any organisations who are happy to share contingency plans for their industry or service types, please get in touch via [email protected] We aim to be able to share plans for aged care, childcare, homeless, emergency relief as well as the range of counselling services.

Caring for our Community – Our ongoing advocacy

WACOSS and other WA human services peak bodies are working closely with the WA Government to look out for the best interests of the WA community and the services that support them.

WACOSS and other peaks met with leading WA Government agencies this week. We are particularly concerned to ensure that the most vulnerable in our community are cared for and can continue to access essential services safely.

In support of the Department of Health, the Department of the Premier and Cabinet has established the Pandemic Coordination Unit, which will partner with the key Departments in their engagement with the community services sector on issues arising in regards to COVID-19.

We will continue to work with the WA Government to provide good practical advice from the sector and support contingency planning for all levels of impact. We will continue to advocate so that the needs of our clients are front-and-centre, our staff are supported, contracts are fair and services are sustainable.

Finally – it is up to us to look out for our service users, our staff and the community. We need to ensure we stay well informed, counteract misinformation and discourage others from panicking so that our response is balanced, realistic and effective.

Thank you for your support and keep up the great work!

COVID-19 Resources
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