UniSA and AnglicareSA establishing research centre to drive social change

Adam and Brittany Boccher and their son Blake. Photo courtesy Creative Commons. COMMUNITY
Adam and Brittany Boccher and their son Blake. Photo courtesy Creative Commons.

UniSA and AnglicareSA have announced a new partnership to help drive change in Australia’s social services sector.

The Australian Alliance for Social Enterprise (TAASE), based in UniSA’s Business School, will be run by Professor Ian Goodwin-Smith, an advocate for social justice with many years of experience in the sector. 

Announcing the partnership, UniSA’s Deputy Vice Chancellor: Research and Innovation, Professor Tanya Monro, says: “Australia is being transformed by social, political and economic developments – all affecting the country’s social services provision.

“Social services are being stretched and challenged in new ways in 21st century Australia. These new conditions mean that service providers need to develop a more business-like approach to their operations,” Prof Monro says.

Prof Monro says the partnership with UniSA’s Business School will help AnglicareSA and other not-for-profit social service agencies in the State thrive amid the fast-changing business and policy environment in Australia.

“It will also give UniSA’s researchers and its industry partners an opportunity to take a leading role in shaping evidence-based policy in this space.”

UniSA Dean: Research and Innovation, Professor Andrew Beer, says the partnership is timely with widespread changes taking place nationally and globally in the development and delivery of social services.

“Examples of such change include the introduction of Consumer Directed Care (CDC) for older Australians, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), changes in the social housing sector, child protection reforms and the delivery of services for people with psychiatric disabilities,” Prof Beer says.

“New thinking is required to address old problems. We need to be innovative and look at social enterprise models that work for the sector. Population growth, an ageing demographic and structural changes to our economy demand a new approach.”

TAASE will focus on achieving better outcomes for vulnerable Australians in need of social support, according to AnglicareSA CEO Peter Sandeman.

“There has never been a more important time to draw on evidence-based research to improve social policy, practices and outcomes across Australia and internationally,” Mr Sandeman says.

“We need to find ground-breaking ways to address social and financial inequality to make our State a more inclusive, stronger economy and a more equitable society.”

TAASE director Prof Goodwin-Smith says: “What we’re interested in is the potential for innovation and reform that you find when you step outside of the echo chamber and listen to the aspirations of people and communities. People are enterprising. As researchers, our job is to witness that, to prosecute that message, and to bring learned experience and lived experience together in pursuit of an inclusive future.”

The research centre will be officially launched in early 2019.