Catholic Social Services Australia’s new chief executive Ursula Stephens believes there’s a strong role for CSSA to provide evidence-based research to government. Source: RiotACT.
“CSSA has the biggest footprint of social services across Australia. Our Catholic service organisations operate in 650 locations,” said Dr Stephens, a former New South Wales senator.
“We are able to provide information to the government on how programs and services are working on the ground and use our extensive network to undertake research to help inform government policy," she said.
“Importantly, our role is to support and advocate for our members who are delivering these services and for a fairer, more inclusive society.”
The peak body is developing a number of significant research projects with various member partners and the ANU Centre for Social Research Methods. The Countering Entrenched Disadvantage research project aims to develop a nationwide comparison of poverty drivers with most impacts across suburbs. The outcomes of this research have the potential to influence and target service delivery design and implementation.
“Our aim is to be able to provide governments and agencies with real-time evidence of the social impact of their policies … We have a large membership network of Catholic organisations and a significant capacity to generate stronger collaborative impact for those in need,” Dr Stephens said.
Her experience in government and campaigning and her lifelong rural communities focus has given Dr Stephens a good window view into current social issues. Improving access to palliative care, homelessness, Indigenous issues, an ageing population, increasing healthcare costs, and how the NDIS is working for consumers are among the big issues for government.
“CSSA will continue to be critical of government policies that we see the impact on the dignity, equality, and participation of people most in need. We will advocate strongly for a fairer society, however, I will be working to build a constructive relationship with all sides of politics to promote the profound breadth and depth of community work that our members do.”