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CEO Q&A - Marianne Hubbard, Pinarc Disability Support
Pinarc Disability Support is a not-for-profit, multi-service community sector organisation providing support to people with a disability and their families across the Grampians region of Victoria.
What are the key benefits of implementing an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plan?
Seeing the cost savings in time, reduced travel and the immediate benefit to clients in terms of increased reach and access to specialist services.
What are your top tips for others thinking about establishing an ICT plan, or just getting started?
Everyone has to start somewhere.
1. Increase awareness and actively educate management and staff around the potential of ICT for the organisation
2. Set up an ICT Steering Committee
3. Include ICT in your organisation’s Strategic Plan
With the interest and support of our Leaders Group Pinarc have now come to a point where the language has changed from “we could” or “we should” to “when” and “how”. Our increased focus on ICT means that it is now included in our thinking when we are planning new initiatives.
Implementation of our Strategic Plan will require Managers to spend time supporting staff through ICT changes. As a leadership team we understand the importance of clear and open communication as an essential ingredient in all our work. Our internal communication is well developed with clear pathways for information flow and staff input into decision making.
How are you using technology to enable you to achieve your key strategic directions?
A light bulb moment came for me at one of the iTaNGO workshops when we were discussing ICT planning and in particular linking it to strategic planning. This, of course, made immediate sense and given that we were in the process of developing our new three year strategic plan I have been able to include it as a clearly defined element. Our plan looks quite different this time around: for each activity identified to meet strategic goals, we are articulating considerations for finance, risk, ICT, infrastructure and profile. This identifies more than just risk in each area as it also captures opportunities. This information will now allow us to complete the iTaNGO ICT plan template.
Central to all decision making, for us to align with our mission, is the question “how does this make a positive difference for people with a disability in our community?”
We are planning to broaden our reach of services across the region and use ICT to both increase access to specialist services in remote areas and provide connection to our multi-disciplinary team for outreach staff. Staff support will be achieved in part through face to face contact but reduction in travel will be achieved by supplementing some clinical supervision and case consultation through ICT.
Why do you use social media?
- To raise awareness about issues related to disability
- To promote inclusion through engagement in conversation
- To deliver our strong and proud messages about acceptance for people with a disability
- Our community awareness campaign “see me as I am” has received 1,252 views since it was published on YouTube 1 December 2010
- To influence the continued sustainability of the disability sector
We were already strongly committed to a social media strategy to promote our vision of a fully inclusive community and we are active users of WordPress, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. I believe in the power to reach the broader community through social media. We plan to develop the opportunity for closed group discussions through a forum and develop more videos for community awareness campaigns going forward, from seeing the success achieved to date having monitored the number of ‘followers’, page visits, video ‘views’ and new blog entries. We had 29,425 visits to our redesigned website from July 2010 – June 2011, which has increased our ability to provide information to clients and families.
What are the main challenges you’ve come up against with social media?
With very little experience in social media, it has been a very slow process to get staff involved. I know that a number of our younger staff are active social media users outside of work, however, they seem hesitant to submit blogs for work. It seems that everyone at work is very positive about the idea of social media but perhaps it is just one more thing to add to an already very busy workload?
What are your next steps towards reaching your key strategic directions with the use of technology?
- We are planning a ‘think tank’ inviting all interested staff to come and discuss what the barriers might be to submitting social media blogs for work, and how we might get more involvement.
- I have added participation in our social media strategy into two recent advertised position descriptions (my Executive Assistant and Project Officer – Capacity Building)
- We have created a new Training & Development Manager position and will be undertaking a training needs analysis across the organisation. We have already agreed that the iTaNGO training needs assessment tool will be very helpful to be included with a little modification.
Has iTaNGO helped you?
Yes. I think the iTaNGO Communities of Practice (COPs) are a wonderful idea and I am particularly pleased that there is an opportunity to share knowledge and see how other organisations are using ICT.
Photo: Provided by Pinarc Disability Support
(on screen) Marianne Hubbard, CEO - Pinarc Disability Support
Sara Cavanagh, Senior Services Manager - Pinarc Disability Support