The Covid-19 pandemic has been hard for everyone. But it has been particularly difficult for vulnerable Australians. Older Australians, and those with a disability can have a challenging time accessing government services at the best of times. Many people in these situations rely on family, friends and public services such as libraries to access crucial digital services like Centrelink, MyGov, and printing. But during lockdowns, libraries are closed, and even when they are open, many vulnerable Australians are rightly concerned about visiting these public spaces due to the infection risks.
So how can we help people in these key vulnerable groups access digital services? Normally, our instinct is to jump to a digital solution for a problem like this. But in this case, digital technology IS the problem for these groups - what they really need is a helping hand. So we’ve decided to take more of an old-school approach.
Our team’s solution is the Digivan. The digivan will take digital services to the people who need them, when they need them.
These digi-vans will consist of a friendly face and access to services such as technology assistance. On board will be a laptop and tablet, a printer, and even a scanner - everything needed to help people connect to digital services. To ensure Covid safety, all staff with be appropriately trained, and all assistance will take place with masks on outdoors, where transmission has been shown to be significantly less likely. Need help with myGov? Staff will be trained to help you get what you need. Need a form printed? The Digivan has you covered!
We have used ABS data to understand where the highest numbers of people from vulnerable communities are located, so that a pilot scheme can be run in these communities. Using databases from service providers, Digi-van team members will contact people who may need the service, and will also be available for appointment via phone call.