26 September 2023

ANZSOG studying pandemic service changes

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The Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) has launched a research project into the way the acceleration in online Government service delivery caused by the COVID-19 pandemic affected communities.

The research shows that hybrid and physical place-based models can complement each other, and that Governments needed to encourage and build evidence for innovation into different ways to deliver services.

The research project, co-sponsored by the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet, aimed to identify the emerging considerations for Government in designing and delivering hybrid (i.e. virtual and face-to-face) services and hybrid place-based initiatives (PBIs) — specifically those relating to social services.

Led by Ilan Katz of the Social Policy Research Centre at the University of NSW, the final report How Do Place-based Services Evolve in a World of Virtual, Physical and Hybrid Service Delivery? has been published as part of ANZSOG’s Research Insights series.

Professor Katz’s team found that while there was no clear agreed definition of a PBI, there was agreement that PBIs addressed both people and place in a specific location, often with a focus on integrating or joining up different services, and with elements of community co-design.

“COVID-19 expanded the range of services Governments provided online, and as a result many are now being delivered in a hybrid form,” the professor’s team said.

“The study found that the increasing use of online service components is coexisting with a greater focus on place and locality,” they said.

The report said future Government initiatives needed to consider how virtual services could be included and integrated to interact with face-to-face components.

“The original assumption underlying the project was that there is a tension between PBIs and virtual services because, by definition, virtual services are not dependent on place and can be accessed anywhere,” the team said.

“However, the findings showed that virtual components can be complementary to face-to-face services and programs, and hybrid services can not only substitute face-to-face services, but can improve service delivery and accessibility.”

ANZSOG’s 34-page Report can be accessed at this PS News link.

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