Delivering essential services
Thank you for continuing to support people in NSW during the COVID-19 pandemic. Services for vulnerable children, families and individuals are essential and should continue.
We’ll work with you to develop new, flexible approaches that keep staff and clients safe and allow you to continue providing essential services.
On this page:
- Planning ahead
- Changing the way you deliver services
- Keeping your staff safe
- Providing face-to-face services
- Travelling for work
We encourage you to plan ahead to ensure you can continue operating at this time. Assess the risks associated with delivering services and make changes to mitigate these risks and meet the needs of your clients. If you provide residential programs, you must prioritise preparedness planning.
People with underlying illnesses that make them more vulnerable to respiratory disease are at increased risk. Be sure to assess the vulnerabilities of your particular cohorts, and how they can be mitigated.
COVID-19 will coincide with seasonal flu. So, ensure your contingency planning considers the service disruptions this may cause.
Resources to help you plan for service continuity are on the NCOSS website.
Changing the way you deliver services
We want to continue delivering essential services in ways that are safe for the community. Many of our clients are already experiencing a range of hardships and it‘s important we maintain a strong level of support.
We understand it may be necessary to scale down non-essential services to ensure essential services can continue to be delivered at this time. You may also need to change the way you deliver services to meet social distancing requirements and keep your clients and staff safe.
Funding will continue, even if you need to make changes to how you deliver services. If the contracted obligations of your organisation are impacted by COVID-19, please inform your DCJ contract manager.
You don’t need to ask our permission to makes these changes. We know you’re the experts in the needs of your community. Please tell your DCJ contract manager what changes you’re making.
Examples of measures already implemented by service providers include:
- continuing the core services of supporting clients
- limiting face-to-face interactions wherever possible to minimise the risk of spreading the virus
- using all forms of technology and communication apps to ensure they can communicate with clients and access their information and documents
- for face-to-face interactions, designating private and confidential open spaces in offices to minimise contact in enclosed environments that would increase the risk of spreading the virus
- reducing or staggering opening times for drop-in clients
- suspending playgroups and reallocating resources to support families and children
- providing alternative formats to keep people connected, for those who are isolated from their usual community activities
- only providing take-away meal services rather than sit-down meals, and encouraging clients not to stay at the premises
- requiring staff to wash their hands before and after every face-to-face client interaction, and asking clients to do the same
- introducing protocols for home visits
- cancelling non-essential group activities
- moving programs online
- ensuring offices have new cleaning and sanitisation programs
- running mandatory online e-learning on preventing infection.
Funding will continue if your service needs to make changes because of COVID-19. It will also continue if your service needs to shut down or reduce services because of a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19. Please inform your DCJ contract manager of any changes to service delivery.
You may receive funding from more than one source, for example the Federal Government and State Government. In this case, notify each of your funding bodies about your situation and any planned changes.
Keeping your staff safe
Your organisation will need to have safety instructions in place to support all staff and keep them safe.
The SafeWork NSW website has resources to help you do this.
If you need more information on work health and safety, please contact your DCJ contract manager.
Providing face-to-face services
Reduce face-to-face contact by delivering services to clients using other means, for example by phone, email or video.
If it’s essential you provide the service in person, call or SMS clients ahead of time to assess the risk they have been exposed to COVID-19. Ask clients:
- Have you or anyone in your household returned from overseas within the last 14 days?
- Do you or anyone in your household have a fever, cough, breathing difficulties or any other flu-like symptoms?
- Have you or anyone in your household been told to self-isolate?
If a client answers ‘yes’ to any of these questions, delay face-to-face contact until they’re no longer at risk.
If you have concerns about self-isolation arrangements, such as a client not following the advice of NSW Health, please contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 for advice.
Travelling for work
You can travel in a vehicle or in other forms of transportation with other people where it’s required in order to deliver a service.
It’s recommended that you limit the number of people in a vehicle and provide space between passengers where possible.