Coronavirus (COVID-19) Information for Members
Below are resources to support FRSA Members, their workplace and our sector with the latest information, advice and resources.
For more health information please call the National Coronavirus Helpline on 1800 020 080 which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week or visit the Department of Health website.
For latest advice from Government Agencies visit australia.gov.au.
For the latest National Cabinet response to COVID-19 visit federation.gov.au/national-cabinet.
Please note that as official COVID-19 guidance is updated, this information will be amended to reflect new information and advice.
This information is by way of general information and is designed for discretionary use. It does not replace the requirement for the reader to obtain specific operational, legal, insurance, or other advice. FRSA accepts no responsibility for any errors in the information provided, nor the effect of any such errors.
Page last updated: 8 March 2022
State and Territory Governments COVID-19 Websites
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic FRSA has been working to support our members with the swift and radical adaptation of service delivery from one that has predominantly been delivered face to face to technology-supported service delivery.
Below are the results of research projects based on discussions with FRSA members affected by the pandemic.
This report presents the outcomes of focus group discussions held with FRSA members to explore experiences and perspectives on the use of telepractice in the family and relationship services sector.
It builds on the survey report, Family and relationship service providers’ experience of telepractice during COVID-19, released in November 2021. FRSA felt it was important to further explore the benefits and disadvantages, of telepractice across each program type to inform telepractice developments in the sector.
The purpose of this second phase of exploring telepractice use by family and relationship services was to gain a more nuanced understanding of the suitability and practice implications of telepractice as a service delivery method post COVID-19 and into the future. We sought to respond to the question: In what circumstances is telepractice a safe and suitable mode of service delivery in the family and relationship services sector?
This work stemmed from a member discussion in June 2020, which looked at how a robust picture of demand (including unmet demand) could be captured by the sector. The discussion took place against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, and on the tail of devastating bushfires and floods.
Anecdotally, FRSA members reported increases in demand for some family and relationship services, and anticipated increases in demand for others – particularly as the longer-term effects of isolation, unemployment and financial uncertainty from the pandemic played out.
What became clear through the member discussion, however, was that there was no simple way to pull together data on service demand trends from across the sector to inform the Government’s response to the pandemic crisis. Members outlined several challenges to collecting data in a consistent way across programs and across providers.
It was agreed that FRSA would establish an advisory group to explore how to better identify and track service demand and need data. The Advisory Committee agreed that two pieces of work should be undertaken:
- Develop an issues paper that further explores the barriers to collecting accurate service demand data
- An exploratory survey with members to gain insights on the early impacts of COVID-19 on service demand.
The survey report shows that the first six months of the COVID pandemic impacted service demand levels across the sector in diverse ways. The complex service demand picture presented by respondents revealed the multiple factors at play in influencing service demand patterns – for example contextual factors like policy settings and different supply-side and demand-side factors.
The survey report brought to life the considerations and challenges to effectively capturing service demand discussed in the issues paper. Notwithstanding these challenges, FRSA believes that it is important our sector works with government to do more to understand the demand picture as the effects of the pandemic and other health, social, environmental and economic challenges unfold over time.
This project was commissioned by Family and Relationship Services Australia (FRSA) and undertaken by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS). It was conceptualised in response to the necessary and rapid increase in use of telepractice due to COVID-19 in family and relationship services in Australia.
FRSA wanted to capture the experience of service providers and through them, the children, men, women and communities they worked with during this time. AIFS conducted the research drawing from the experience of FRSA members.
Resources for Organisations
- Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19 by World Health Organization (WHO) (3 March 2020)
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) information sheet for employers by the Department of Health (2 May 2020)
- Coronavirus and Australian workplace laws from the Fair Work Ombudsman
- COVID-19 Information for workplaces by Safe Work Australia
Find out about your workplace entitlements and obligations if you’re affected by the outbreak of coronavirus.
- National COVID-19 Safe Workplace Principles – Safe Work Australia (October 2020)
National Cabinet met on 24 April 2020 and agreed to develop nationally-consistent, industry-specific work health and safety guidance on COVID-19, accessible via a central hub provided by Safe Work Australia.
- Social distancing by the Department of Health (25 August 2020)
A fact sheet about social distancing and how it helps to stop coronavirus (COVID-19) from spreading. This fact sheet is in Easy Read format.
- COVID-19 isolation and quarantine by Health Direct
An information that answers questions about home isolation for those people who are unwell with a suspected or confirmed case of coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Returning to your community by the Department of Health (6 March 2020)
An information sheet for people who have been required to be in home isolation or quarantined and have completed their 14 day period without showing signs or symptoms of being unwell due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
- Cash flow assistance for businesses (including NFPs) – The Treasury
- A compilation of COVID-19 information resources by the Department of Health, including translated resources
- Practice update on Men’s Behaviour Change Programs – Stopping Family Violence (19 March 2020)
Guidance for managers and program staff associated with intervention and case management responses to perpetrators of family violence.
- Kids Central tools and resources – Institute of Child Protection Studies
Developed to use with children and young people in vulnerable circumstances, the Kids Central Toolkit is full of practical ideas to support your work with children and young people.
- Addressing social issue areas in the context of COVID-19 – Centre for Social Impact (23 October 2020)
A playbook based on external and internal research at Google to help guide employees, managers and leaders through distributed work experiences.
- Safeguarding children during COVID-19 – Institute of Child Protection Studies, ACU
The Institute of Child Protection Studies have developed resources to help children, young people and their families make sense of what they are seeing, hearing and feeling during this challenging time of COVID-19:
- Tips for Charities operating in a Physical Environment – Keeping Workers Safe – The Impact Suite (7 April 2020)
- COVID Community Hub – ACOSS
A useful summary of members’ advocacy and resources in response to the crisis.
- A guide to the key Government opportunities available to not-for-profits and charities during Covid-19 – Social Ventures Australia (30 July 2020)
- Good habits for working remotely – ACWA
The COVID-19 pandemic has many people working from home. But as we settle into this new normal, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. ACWA has put together some tips on how to keep good work habits while working remotely.
- Revisiting agile teams after an abrupt shift to remote – McKinsey & Company (28 April 2020)
- A leader’s guide: Communicating with teams, stakeholders, and communities during COVID-19 – McKinsey & Company (17 April 2020)
- Virtual Offsites That Work – Harvard Business Review (25 March 2020)
- Are You Leading Through the Crisis … or Managing the Response? – Harvard Business Review (25 March 2020)
- You at Work: Doing Your Best Work Remotely – Harvard Business Review
Poster resources for office spaces:
Simple steps to stop the spread – Department of Health
Practise good hand hygiene – Department of Health
It’s important to get a COVID-19 test if you have symptoms – Department of Health
COVID-19 infographics – WHO
- Managing your mental health when working from home – Black Dog Institute
Information and advice for people working remotely at home during COVID-19.
Together with mental health organisations, experts and leaders, the National Mental Health Commission has developed #InThisTogether – a national online conversation sharing practical tips to support the mental health and wellbeing of Australians during COVID-19.
- How to approach an employee who may have poor mental health during the coronavirus lockdown – Not-For-Profit People (14 April 2020)
- Three sources of staff burnout in your NFP – and how to tackle them – Not-For-Profit People (5 June 2019)
- Four ways your NFP can support employees’ wellbeing during the coronavirus crisis – Not for Profit People (12 May 2020)
- Importance of self-care planning – Black Dog Institute
- Guidance released for vaccine rollout in Australian workplaces
Guidelines for vaccine rollout of workplaces have been released by the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) and Safe Work Australia (SWA).
As a guiding principle, both the FWO and SWA have said:
- Most employers cannot require employees to be vaccinated
- Employees cannot refuse to attend the workplace on the basis of another employee being unvaccinated.
- Employers also have a duty to eliminate or minimise risk of COVID-19 exposure in the workplace and must do so under work health and safety laws in line with the release of the vaccine.
The guidance was developed after a series of roundtable meetings with employers and unions. While it aims to be comprehensive, every workplace will be different and anyone still unsure about their obligations is urged to seek independent advice.
Click here to view the full guidelines from the Fair Work Ombudsman ( 18 November 2021)
- Managing vaccines in the workplace – Justice Connect (8 December 2021)
Justice Connect have put together information on managing COVID-19 vaccine requirements in the workplace. They have also released resources specific to Mandatory Vaccination Orders that impact employees in Victoria (Victoria’s COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Orders) and NSW (NSW COVID-19 Mandatory Vaccination Directions).
Resources on IT, cyber security, software and more:
- Cyber security advice – The Australian Signals Directorate
The Australian Signals Directorate (ASD) would like to remind you to incorporate cyber security into your contingency planning. As more staff may work from home, and the use of remote access technology increases, adversaries may attempt to take advantage. ASD’s Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) encourages Australians to remain vigilant and ensure sound cyber security practices.
- Not-for-profit technology resources for the COVID-19 crisis – Infoxchange (23 April 2020)
Infoxchange have listed a number of free or heavily discounted remote work resources available to charities and NFPs. Some of these are available to qualified Connecting Up members via their web store, and others are available directly from the supplier.
- WESNET resources
Knowing that you are working with vulnerable children and people, moving to online service delivery can come with its own challenges. Here are some resources that were developed by WESNET that might be applicable/useful to you as you need to move towards increasing your work activity in these areas:
- COVID-19: Resources for DFV Agencies wanting to use technology – WESNET
- Using Technology to Communicate With Survivors During a Public Health Crisis – WESNET
- Best Practices When Using Mobile Devices for Service Delivery – WESNET
- How to Operate as a Remote Service During a Public Health Crisis – WESNET
- Frontline Services’ Best Practice Guide: Employee Smartphones & Tablets – WESNET
- A practical guide to video mental health consultation – Mental Health Online
Mental Health Online have created a free guide for anyone moving to online delivery of support and therapeutic services.
The eSafety commissioner has issued a specific e-safety resource for people working with victims of family violence.
Below are some useful policy and guideline templates that may be relevant to your organisation:
- NFP Epidemic/Pandemic Policy Template – Institute of Community Directors Australia
Epidemics or pandemics, and create increased risks for the community, these occasions require specific policies targeted at the particular disease in question and general efforts at preparedness. Institute of Community Directors Australia have developed an Epidemic/Pandemic Policy Template for NFPs.
- Volunteering and COVID-19 – Volunteering Australia (25 March 2020)
Volunteering Australia has published two policy position papers, Volunteering and National Policy Settings; and Safeguarding Volunteers and Volunteer Involving Organisations; in order to clearly articulate their position around a number of issues regarding COVID-19 and the volunteering sector.
Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) has developed a template for Workplace guidelines for COVID-19 response for staff. QCOSS has shared an example of their own guidelines which organisations can adapt for their own use.
The guidelines include information about working from home arrangements, ways of working, travel, meetings and events.
- Justice Connect’s NFP law have put together a COVID-19 briefing paper which gives guidance to community organisations on some of the most pressing issues raised by COVID-19, including employment, contracts and insurance.
- COVID-19 – how should your board respond? – Australian Institute of Company Directors (6 March 2020)
- Charity meetings and AGMs – ACNC
Many Members may encounter issues holding their regular board meetings – or even their scheduled Annual General Meeting – due to concerns about public gatherings.
If you decide to cancel your AGM due to social distancing requirements and an inability to hold them electronically, you should consider alternate ways to demonstrate accountability to members within the context of your current operational circumstances. If you delay or postpone your AGM because you cannot conduct it safely, the ACNC has said that they will not take action against a charity unless there is evidence of wider non-compliance.
And if your charity believes it might need to delay or postpone its AGM, you may need to contact your state or territory regulator for further guidance.