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ANZSOG research to look at future of place-based services in post-pandemic world

27 September 2021

News and media


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A new ANZSOG-supported research project will examine how place-based services are evolving and examine the effects of virtual and hybrid modes of service delivery on stakeholders and local communities.

The research is sponsored by the New South Wales Department of Premier and Cabinet. UNSW Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) has been selected to undertake the project to examine place-based service delivery, and identify features which promote community capability and wellbeing, economic development, collaborative governance and give vulnerable populations access to services.

Many government services have begun to shift to online and virtual modes of delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic and the research aims to identify the effects this will have on stakeholders and the public, as well as identify policy settings and resources that can support this shift.

These include the privacy and security requirements, digital inclusion frameworks organisational work practices; and a data collection and monitoring system that will enable service managers to assess if community goals are being achieved.

ANZSOG Deputy CEO (Research and Advisory) Dr Subho Banerjee said that the research would bring practitioners and academics together for a project that would help public services work more effectively.

“Place-based services are a valuable model of service delivery. When done well, they can deliver services in a way that responds to the needs of communities and create innovative ways of dealing with complex, interlinked policy issues at a local level through joined-up services,” he said.

“Like so many other aspects of public services’ work, they have been changed by our response to COVID and the shift to virtual service delivery. This project will gather evidence on how place-based services can adapt to the post-pandemic world.

“This project allows ANZSOG to use our experience to manage research that that will be of practical assistance not just to NSW, but to other jurisdictions across Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand.”

Place-based services aim to address issues that exist at the community level such as social isolation, gaps and overlaps in service provision and social inequity, and are typically anchored to communities through physical infrastructure from which services are offered directly to clients.

COVID-19 has accelerated changes to this model, and this project will fill a gap in existing research around the effectiveness of place-based models in a world of virtual and hybrid delivery of services.

The research team will be led by UNSW Professor Ilan Katz. The project has three primary phases, and will take place over approximately nine months. An initial literature Review will feed in to a discussion paper, followed by an in-depth study involving around 40 participants from government, academia, service provision and other key stakeholders.

The final report will be a brief, highly accessible summary of the project which will include a framework or set of principles for designing and delivering place-based service delivery through virtual, physical and hybrid services and identifying the roles and responsibilities of key actors—in the government and non-government sectors—in policy development, implementation and monitoring; service delivery; advocacy and consumer representation.

ANZSOG’s Research Strategy takes a demand-led, practice-driven and collaborative approach to research based on our unique ability to connect academics and practitioners. This is one of two demonstration research projects examining major issues of interest across the public sector in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand.

ANZSOG has a unique ability to connect academics and practitioners to produce research that examines major issues of interest across the public sector in Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand.

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