Emergency Relief and COVID19

Community Data Solutions has developed an online Emergency Relief software tool used by Community Information & Support Victoria CISVIC, a peak body for helping delivering Emergency Relief in Victoria. Kate Wheller CEO of CISVIC outlines below how they are adapting to the new circumstances of COVID19 in delivering Emergency Relief throughout Victoria.

CISVIC has over 30 sites in Victoria delivering federally funded emergency relief. We’ve been using CDS since 2014 to support our DSS funded program. CDS, being the web-based platform it is, has allowed us to seamlessly transition to remote service delivery; workers can access the site from home, safely and securely.

Most of our sites are now delivering ER remotely. The service looks like this:

  • Calls are diverted to paid workers mobile phones
  • Phone assessments completed using electronic assessment form
  • ER provided to client via:
    • e-voucher, EFT transfer or vouchers sent via snail mail. E-vouchers, offered by Coles and Woolworths can be emailed directly to a client)
    • Knock-and-drop ER food parcels – client picking up from the agency or agency delivering to client’s home with strict social distancing and hygiene protocols in place
  • Phone assessors entering data into CDS 
  • Admin workers process ER to client (e.g. purchase e-voucher and send directly to client)
  • Telstra Phone Assistance program delivered remotely by arrangement with Telstra
  • Bill assistance- we can still process support with household bills if clients scan/email or SMS a photo of the bill
  • Regular communication is key: In the first two weeks we had daily zoom meetings so we could iron out issues and refine the model. We are now doing these meetings every second day – more so to ensure that staff feel connected.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister announced additional funding for ER services. This is welcomed, and we hope the funding will remain flexible so local providers can use some of the additional administrative and technological costs we are likely to incur with remote delivery.