This Demand for Community Services Snapshot 2019 is a report of demand for community services in 2019 based on information derived from the forthcoming Australian Community Sector Survey (ACSS) 2019. This research was conducted by the Social Policy Research Centre at UNSW Sydney in collaboration with the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the network of Councils of Social Service of Australia (COSS Network), supported by Community Sector Banking.
The survey was completed by 1,454 community sector staff, including 406 organisational leaders, in October 2019. In the 2019 ACSS, several survey questions were asked to capture how community sector organisations were positioned to deal with the demand for their services. Survey questions captured community sector staff and leaders’ experiences of service demand, how demand for their services is changing, and how unmet demand is impacting the community. The responses were clear.
- There is significant unmet demand for community services in Australia
• Demand for services is increasing.
• Unmet demand is impacting people accessing services, their families and their communities.
• The vast majority of community sector workers (82 per cent in total) reported that in the last year, levels of demand in the community either ‘increased’ (50 per cent) or ‘increased significantly’ (a further 32 per cent).
• Three in five community sector workers (60 per cent) reported an increase in the numbers of clients their service was unable to support during 2019.
• Around a quarter of respondents (24 per cent) described their main service as ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ able to meet demand, and only five per cent said their service was ‘completely’ able to meet demand.
• Staff involved in housing and homelessness, financial counselling, and legal services were most likely to report demand pressures. In addition, high levels of unmet need were observed in regional and rural areas.
• Community sector staff described how unmet demand for services was generating stress, undermining wellbeing, and contributing to cascading crises relating to housing, poverty, debt, violence, physical and mental health, and the law. Unmet need also impacts workers, impeding their capacity to work effectively with people with the most complex needs, and to undertake advocacy work.
SOURCE: ACOSS. “Demand for Community Services Snapshot.” ACOSS, December 2019.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence acknowledges and recognises the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we live and work, and we pay our respects to their Elders both past and present.
Produced by the librarians at the Brotherhood of St Laurence in Melbourne, Australia