Doing IT BetterVictorian Council of Social ServiceMonash University

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20 September 2010
Doing IT Better final report now available

VCOSS and Monash University are pleased to announce the publication of the full final report of the Doing IT Better project. Containing detailed overviews of the seven intensive case studies and the interoperability project as well as comprehensive discussion of the project methodology and findings, the report is both a focused snapshot of the state of play with regard to ICT (information and communications technology) in the Victorian community services sector and a resource and launchpad for further action.

The report will be of interest to community sector managers, social researchers and planners,students and academics, as well as policy makers in the human services and technology fields. Its lessons are of relevance both in Australia and internationally. Key recommendations are:

  1. That the Victorian Government fund a Centre for ICT Excellence in Community Services
  2. That funders allow for sustainable ICT costs when resourcing community service organisations
  3. That a methodology for assessing the impact of ICT investment on organisational and service outcomes be developed; and
  4. That partnerships between the community service sector and both government and higher education be established and resourced to support ICT sustainability in the sector.

Download the full report (pdf)
Download the summary report (pdf)
The full report can also be purchased directly from VCOSS ($20 for members, $25 for non-member individuals or community organisations, $35 for others). Postage cost is additional: $3 for one copy, additional depending on destination for two or more. For more information or to purchase the report, please contact dean.lombard@vcoss.org.au


18 June 2009
2009 Conference:
Things they never taught me about IT
Integrating IT know-how into community organisations

The 2009 conference will focus on education and training: how can we integrate information technology and knowledge management into the social and community service education curricula? A panel discussion followed by workshop sessions will provide an opportunity to hear viewpoints, explore issues, and plan for future work. In addition, a hands-on session will be included where people can demonstrate significant productivity tools. [More information]


May – December 2009
2009 Seminar Series

Throughout 2009 we will be hosting seminars on various topics of interest and value for community sector organisations. Areas to be covered include choosing a client records system, current and future innovative usage of ICT tools in the sector, doing a self-audit using Doing IT Better’s action research model, moving towards interoperability, and how to write as strategic plan. The first, about ICT audits, is on 20 May. More information on that one here. Information on the series as a whole is here


5 March 2008
Interoperability Forum

On 5 March 2009 the Doing IT Better project hosted a one-day forum to develop a shared vision and a practical strategy to address the interoperability challenges facing the community sector. (Interoperability describes the mechanisms by which data and information designed, created and captured for one particular set of purposes is exchanged and subsequently re-used for a completely different set of purposes. This is necessary to eliminate the multiple reporting that plagues government funded community service organisations.) Key resolutions included seeking endorsement from the Victorian Peaks and Statewides Forum for a sector-wide interoperability strategy and forming a sector-based community of practice to guide collaborative work with government, researchers and technical experts. Read more...


10 December 2008
New funding opportunities

The Victorian Government is establishing a new fund, the CIIF (Collaborative Internet Innovation Fund), to help community organisations develop and implement innovative information and communications technology (ICT) projects. We have arranged for Peter Ziebell from Multimedia Victoria to talk about the fund, how it will work, what type of projects it will fund and how to apply. He can also talk about other potential funding for ICT projects that may not meet the CIIF criteria.This is happening at The Queen Victoria Women’s Centre (in the Victoria Room on Level 4), 210 Lonsdale Street Melbourne, on Wednesday 10 December at 2.45 pm. It’s a free event, but spaces are limited. Book online by Friday 5 December at www.trybooking.com/FZ


17 November 2008
2008 Conference Report published

The report from the June 17 conference has been published and is available to download here. Through summarising the keynote address, presentations and workshop outcomes, the report is a useful overview of the project — especially with regard to the outcomes arising from the case studies — and a solid foundation for upcoming work. In particular, there is a wealth of information from both workshop participants and visiting expert John Davies on the pitfalls and promises of developing an ICT-specific skilled volunteering service. This will be used as the basis of our work next year to establish such a service.


27 October 2008
Interoperability position paper published

The Interoperability Working Group (IWG) has published a public draft of its position paper [click here to download]. By analysing the data and information systems and relationships that exist between government and funded community service organisations and identifying seven key challenges and three broader issues, the paper gives a robust definition of the problems and sets a firm foundation for developing both technical and relational solutions. [More information]


20 October 2008
ICT audits for small community organisations

The ICT Services division of Infoxchange is about to undertake a major project to conduct comprehensive ICT reviews of more than 120 community service organisations (CSOs) across Victoria. Participating organisations will receive a documented ICT strategy outlining the current technology in the organisation, identifying immediate savings and providing recommendations for future ICT services and systems implementation. [More information]


14 October 2008
New interoperability summary paper published

The second instalment in our series of summary papers on interoperability will be published in the November edition of VCOSS Noticeboard [click here to download]. In this article, we discuss the likely impact of imminent changes in the funding relationship between the Commonwealth and the States on community organisations' service monitoring and quality assurance obligations. We also consider the relevance of the proposed National Compact to these matters, and remember that the ultimate goal of work in this area is to enable agencies to direct more of their resources to addressing disadvantage and facilitating social inclusion.In other news... currently we are planning next year's workshop series. Topics under consideration include measuring service outcomes, client record management systems, current (and future) innovative use of technology for the sector, and how to develop a strategic plan. Summary reports on this year's workshops are also being prepared, along with a discussion paper on ICT implications or connections in the Victorian Government's Strengthening Community Organisations Action Plan.

Doing IT Better is a social justice initiative of the Centre for Community Networking Research (Faculty of Information Technology, Monash University) and the Victorian Council of Social Service, generously funded by a foundation.