Increasing the Resilience of Social Sector Organisations in the Face of COVID-19 - COVID-19 | Deloitte Australia has been saved
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As the impact of COVID-19 spreads across Australia and globally, the resilience of social sector organisations will be tested, not only in terms of commercial sustainability, but in meeting the increase in demand for their services. The well-being of our communities, now and into the future, is dependent on social sector organisations surviving, and then thriving, as we rebuild the lucky country.
The nature of the impact of COVID-19 will change work practices and the relationships between service providers and their customers, revealing the fundamental importance of investing in virtual resources, technology, data and information, cyber security and behavioural changes. This change, whilst potentially overwhelming, has the potential to create a more sustainable operating model during this period of uncertainty and lay the foundation for increasing the impact of the social sector into the future.
In this article, we unpack insights from the Deloitte Global thought leadership piece, ‘Future of Work – Ways of Working to Sustain and Thrive in Uncertain Times’, and apply it to meet the immediate needs of the social sector during the COVID-19 pandemic. This piece focuses on three key areas:
1. Changing Modes of Service Delivery
The primary goal for service providers during COVID-19 is to continue to deliver safe, sustained and quality services to all customers and people in need, including new customers as demand grows. The preference for face-to-face service delivery is now replaced by the necessity to use telephone and videoconferencing to ensure continuity of supports.
This opens up the role for corporates to support social sector organisations and vulnerable communities, for example, Optus have programs with The Smith Family and the KARI Foundation that provide free data and national calls to enable vulnerable members of the community to stay connected.
2. Utilising Work, Workforce and Workplace Levers
Depending on the mix of services and funding mechanisms, social sector organisations can optimise Work, Workforce and Workplace levers to survive, build resilience and then thrive in response to COVID-19.
As a last resort, it may be necessary to work individually and collectively with quality and safeguarding regulators to temporarily change service staff-to-customer ratios without impacting on safety and quality levels.
3. Future Fit and Thriving
COVID-19 is changing the way social sector organisations are operating and provides an opportunity to learn in real-time by testing and proving the efficiency and effectiveness of the following:
During this period of uncertainty, identifying and capturing these learnings can deliver a more sustainable operating model, build more resilient organisations and enable social sector organisations to become future fit and maximise their impact for the longer-term.
To help you, your leaders and your workforce make the most of working virtually, please refer to Deloitte’s Thought Leadership on the ‘Ways of Working to Sustain and Thrive in Uncertain Times’
Deloitte Social Impact Consulting
Deloitte Australia’s Social Impact Consulting Practice supports social sector organisations, government agencies and businesses to deliver greater social impact aligned to their vision and mission. Our team is passionate about bringing the latest trends in strategy, technology and innovation from adjacent industries and global players to support social sector organisations to be ‘future fit’ in an increasingly complex, disrupted and competitive market.
Should you require any support during this period of uncertainty, please feel free to reach out to either Tharani Jegatheeswaran (Partner – Social Impact Consulting) or Les Hems (Director – Social Impact Consulting).
Tharani leads Deloitte Australia’s Social Impact Consulting Practice, a dedicated practice supporting social sector organisations, government agencies and businesses to deliver greater social impact aligned to their vision and mission. Drawing on over 15 years’ of consulting experience, combined with a deep passion for social change, Tharani has partnered with many organisations (including, disability, homelessness, and community services providers) on their transformation journeys. Her areas of experience include – strategy, growth, operating model design, operational excellence, and governance. She is passionate about bringing the latest trends in strategy, technology and innovation from adjacent industries and globally to support her clients to be ‘future fit’. Tharani is a Director of UNICEF Australia and the Deloitte Foundation, an Ambassador for Good Return, a judge for the Good Design Australia Awards and a passionate advocate for greater corporate and social sector collaboration.
Les is a Principal in Deloitte Australia’s Social Impact Consulting Practice, a dedicated practice supporting social sector organisations, government agencies and businesses to deliver greater social impact. Les has over 30 years’ experience advising NGOs, government and business. His specialties include strategy, organisational performance, social innovation, service design, social impact investing, public service reform and social impact measurement. Les supports organisations to jointly achieve social impact, operational excellence and commercial sustainability. He works across disability, ageing, family and children, homelessness, justice, regional/remote and Indigenous communities. Les has an MBA from Aston Business School and has held senior research positions at UNSW’s Centre for Social Impact, University College London and Johns Hopkins University. Les is a board member of the NSW Centre for Volunteering and a founding member of the Social Impact Measurement Network of Australia.
Amanda is a Consultant in the Social Impact Consulting and Operations Transformation practice. She has experience in strategic project delivery, data driven consulting, process improvement, implementation planning and business case analysis and has worked with social sector, aged care, government and community-based organisations. She holds a Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from the University of Otago.
There is no doubt that, now more than ever, we need strong, resilient and compassionate leadership across the all sectors (government, business and the social sector) to instill a sense of hope and order amongst the chaos.
The well-being of vulnerable people, families and communities, now and into the future, is dependent on sustained collective leadership across social sector organisations and the sector as a whole, if we are to give ourselves the best foundation to rebuild the lucky country in the aftermath of COVID-19. The question is, are we, as leaders, prepared to rise to this challenge?