In considering the implications of the Industry’s future direction, desired future states in seven key domains were identified alongside key success imperatives to enable the Industry to realise these future states.
Where individuals and communities who are vulnerable have the support and choice of services to improve their lives and pursue their aspirations. Where the Queensland Community Services Industry is recognised as a world-class example of a bold and vibrant industry, operating within a broader social services system that places people and communities at the centre of everything.
In 2025, we can say that this has been achieved.
The Community Services Industry has grown stronger through an embedded culture of working together supported by partnership between Government, businesses, Industry and importantly, individuals and communities. The Industry’s voice is heard alongside others in key public policy and economic forums, with its contribution measured and recognised.
The Industry has evidence that the outcomes delivered create lasting change in the lives of individuals and their communities. This is demonstrated through research and evaluation, considered integral to service improvement. Partnerships with the research sector, including major universities and specialist researchers, have played a strategic role in creating a better understanding of the value of the Industry.
The ongoing focus on people-centred approaches and a shift to designing, measuring and reporting on outcomes has helped to refocus government investment. This has also assisted the Industry to attract new funding from philanthropy and social impact investors. Services are fundamentally more flexible and responsive to the needs of individuals and their communities, and evidence has informed growth in scale and scope of services. This transformation has changed the lens from expenditure to investment by creating a long-term vision of the future of communities and society, where the Industry is viewed as vital to creating a vibrant social and economic backbone.
The way in which services are delivered has also transformed; the digital age has lent itself to the adoption of new and emerging technologies that have enhanced access, increased workforce flexibility and enabled productivity improvements. Productivity gains across the Industry have led to effectiveness and efficiency in service delivery. These gains have been amplified by reinvesting dividends in continuous improvement.
With a significant proportion of the workforce who approached retirement over the past decade, the Industry had to rethink the way the workforce is structured. This has involved the development of effective attraction and retention strategies, increasing diversity in the workforce, and improving pay and conditions. In doing so, the Industry has been able to change both the mix of the workforce and the way in which it is deployed. By leveraging its demonstration of strong social and economic outcomes, the Industry has been able to attract a high-quality workforce that is appropriately diverse and skilled. This workforce has brought with it new thinking, new ideas and new skills, particularly in digital technology.
Collaborative ventures in the form of enterprise-owned cooperatives and joint ventures have gained momentum. This has allowed for better integration of services and has broken down many program silos, providing seamless continuity of services. These new business models have provided a range of ways to enhance productivity, and optimise the use of assets and capital to continually improve. At the same time, these cooperative arrangements have helped to sustain small specialist and local organisations. There has been a rise in the number of social enterprises that have emerged across the Industry and this has increased the economic participation of people through employment.
Ten years on, the Community Services Industry has built upon its strengths, diversified its investment base and continues to deliver lasting change in the lives of people and communities across Queensland.
Okay, now that the scene is set, what will it take to move the Community Services Industry through the journey required?
In 2016, the CSIA worked with Deloitte Access Economics and the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services (DCCSDS) to establish a future state profile of the Community Services Industry in Queensland. This profile looked forward to 2025.
In considering the implications of the Industry’s abovementioned future direction, and the context in which it will operate, desired future states in seven key domains were identified alongside key success imperatives to enable the Industry to realise these future states.
These domains are based on research and evidence regarding national and international trends in the Community Services Industry, as well as the other industries transforming the way they meet the future needs of clients.
Being outcomes focused is about approaching service planning and the provision of services based on the desired end state for the client or community.
The research and innovation success imperative relates to the process of systematically investigating and studying new materials and methods (research), and the process of applying these materials and methods to improve products and processes (innovation).
Digital disruption refers to the impact of digital innovation, including advances in computing, networks and devices, and the capabilities they hold.
Here we’re talking about the mechanisms by which services are commissioned and paid for, by private investors, government and clients.
Productivity is the focus on efficient delivery of goods and services to achieve the desired outcome.
When we start talking about collaboration and cooperation, we’re talking about partnerships and collaborative models within the Industry with other businesses, institutions, investors, clients and communities.
Policy and regulation, not surprisingly, refers to the principles, plans and courses of action developed by government to enable or discourage certain behaviours of individuals, communities and industries.
For more detail on these success imperatives in a Community Services Industry context, download Forecasting the Future: Community Services in Queensland 2025.
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