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Research Services

Page history last edited by Social Policy Library 11 months, 2 weeks ago

Timeline  - Home  Organisational aspects  - Home.

 

The Brotherhood has had an active research arm since 1943.  Since that time, "research services" have been called various names, including Social Action and Research to the Research and Policy Centre.  Current research reports and an overview of activities can be accessed via the Brotherhood website

 

1943

First research officer appointed  - John Reeves (Brotherhood Action Winter 1995, p.6) .  


1944

First research & advocacy publication - John Reeves’ Housing the Forgotten Tenth  (Holden 2008, Divine Discontent).

 

1959

BSL statement on Why Voluntary Organisations? is printed in the 1958-1959 Annual Report, identifying and elaborating on five points:

  • They pioneer new services
  • Voluntary agencies fill gaps
  • Carry out research
  • Agents for social action
  • An interpreter for the individual
  • Christian method

 

(BSL Annual Report 1958-1959, p.2)

 

1961

The Research & Social Action Department was set up under the direction of Janet Paterson (BSL Annual Report 1970,, p.6).

 

1963

Elaine Martin joined the BSL as the first social worker appointed in a research capacity and begins work on a major study of the housing problem of low income families.  The aim of the study is “to give a qualitative picture of the kinds of accommodation which some families are obliged to occupy, the choice available to them, the effect of living in overcrowded, obsolete housing, and the impact of high rents” (BSL Annual Report 1962-1963 p.7). 

 

1964

Forgotten People Appeal to extend Brotherhood social services, only the second public appeal run by the Brotherhood.  The target was £75,000 to help finance five projects - additional accommodation at Carrum Downs and St Laurence Park, Lara; an annexe to provide more beds at Carinya (many chronically ill people were being turned away); a research program into social welfare needs of the community; a visiting and occupational scheme for the “shut-in” elderly and physically handicapped people; and a permanent youth camp for young people from the inner suburbs (BSL Annual Report 1963-1964 p.2.). 

 

Research began on a second study on families in Housing Commission flats as a “response to assertions which were largely unfounded and socially denigrating about the attitudes of tenants to high rise-flats” (Scott in Magree (ed.) Looking forward, looking back: The Brotherhood’s role in changing views of poverty 1993, p.11).  This was completed in 1966 and published in 1967 as High Living: A Study of Family Life in Flats (Anne Stevenson, Elaine Martin & Judith O'Neil).

 

1965

Service summary at 1965 - the Brotherhood of St Laurence provides:

  1. Independence, security and activities for 220 elderly residents at its housing centres
  2. Professional nursing care for 20 frail old people at Carinya
  3. Professional social workers to counsel and assist some 800 families each year
  4. An after school leisure centre for 50 children in Fitzroy
  5. The Coolibah Club for 150 age pensioners
  6. Holidays for 150 elderly or handicapped people each year at its holiday home
  7. A Youth Club for 150 young people
  8. A program of research into community problems
  9. Avalon conference centre at Lara   

     

1966

Janet Paterson, BSL’s Senior Social Worker,  becomes the BSL’s first Director of Research & Social Action (BSL Annual Report 1964-1965 p.3; Also Janet Paterson in Catherine Magree (ed.) Looking forward, looking back: The Brotherhood’s role in changing views of poverty 1993 p.4).

 

The Church of England Social Service Advisory Council commissioned research “to prepare an overall picture of the work of Anglican agencies, and then to look at it in greater depth in terms of integration at a service level, coordination, accountability and flexibility”.  Miss Janet Paterson, BSL’s Director of Research & Social Action, was Secretary of the Steering Committee (Hughes 1967,  A Survey of Anglican Social Work Agencies, The Church of England Social Service Advisory Council 1967).

 

1967

BSL Executive consists of “the Director, Associate Director, Secretary, Chaplain, Director of Research & Social Action and the Manager of St Laurence Park, Lara.  … The Social Service Bureau is not represented at (their meetings) except when matters of policy involving the Bureau are discussed.  The Senior Social Worker has her own ‘direct line’ to the Director.” (Helen M. Hughes A Survey of Anglican Social Work Agencies, The Church of England Social Service Advisory Council 1967, Pt.1 p.5).

 

1968

Research project commenced with the aim of describing “in practical terms the people who use the resources of the BSL’s Social Work Service (laying) the foundation for essential data collection and evaluation, as well as helping in clarifying policy and philosophy about the problems and solutions for the low income group”. (O’Neill & Nairn 1972 The Have Nots: A study of 150 low income families 1972 p.2). 

 

1969

In relation to research: “Communication and interpretation is becoming more complicated.  As ‘the slums’ are demolished there is a danger of narrow public stereotypes about poverty and delinquency transferring to ‘the flats’.  The problem is aggravated because with few exceptions our clients cannot do justice to themselves on television.  If we do not continue to do the explaining, their problems will be overlooked.” (BSL Annual Report 1968-1969 p.7). 

 

1970

Brotherhood Research became a separate department under the direction of Associate Director, Revd Peter Hollingworth, with Mrs Judith O’Neill as Senior Research Officer (BSL Annual Report 1970, p.6) . 

 

1971

BSL staff at their annual conference decided “they would attempt to formulate a model for the development of integrated family treatment”.  (Connie Benn in Catherine Magree (ed.) Looking forward, looking back: The Brotherhood’s role in changing views of poverty 1993, p.25). Following this, the Family Centre Proposal arises out of “discussions between the Revd. P.J. Hollingworth, Assistant Director of Social Services, Mrs. J. O’Neill, Research Department, Mrs J. Davey, Social Work Service and Mr G. Bull, Youth and Children’s Services (Benn 1972 The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept First Report, p.2).

 

1972

Research worker for the Family Centre Project appointed (Michael Liffman). A grant from the Commonwealth Commission of Enquiry into Poverty enabled the appointment of a research assistant (Benn 1972 The Family Centre Project - A Dynamic and Evolving Concept First Report 1972 p.12). 

 

Family Centre Project, a three year action and research anti-poverty experiment, formally commenced in November with 56 families (For the selection criteria see Liffman 1974 The Family Centre Project: A First Overview (Family Centre Project Research Report No.1, p.9; BSL Annual Report 1972-1973, pp.3-4).  At this time the sole activities were a sewing group and the coffee lounge (Liffman 1974 The Family Centre Project: A First Overview (Family Centre Project Research Report No.1 pp.1 & 15 (BSL Library 362.82 LIF). Of the 56 families, four had left the project within a year and a further eight were included to make up the proposed 60 families. 

 

Establishment of the Social Issues Department, grouping together research, social action and community education activities, headed by Peter Hollingworth (BSL Annual Report 1972-1973 p.1). 

 

1973

New department established combining research, social action and community education.

 

Research (by Carol Ride) commenced on the experiences of 60 low-income families in seeking housing which satisfied their needs during three years. This report was published in March 1976.

 

1974

Research program, financed substantially by the BSL, under way to study the developments in Family Day Care programs in three districts - Fitzroy, Knox Shire and the Municipality of St Kilda.   “The present funds will be exhausted in September 1974.  Since its inception as the first project of this type under a voluntary agency’s auspices in Australia, several similar programs have been initiated, particularly by local councils (BSL Annual Report 1973-1974, p.4). 

 

1977

Connie Benn appointed as BSL’s Director of Social Policy, Research & Innovations (Magree 1993 (ed.) Looking forward, looking back: The Brotherhood’s role in changing views of poverty 1993 p.9). 

 

1981

Mrs Concetta (Connie) Benn left the position of head of the Social Policy & Research Department to head the School of Social Work at Phillip Institute of Technology (now RMIT Bundoora) (BSL Annual Report 1981-1982, p.9).

 

1983

A research study into food cooperatives and assessment of their needs was funded by the Ministry of Employment and Training (BSL Annual Report 1983-1984 p.5). 

 

1984

Publication of Paying the Price for Sugar and Spice: A study of women’s pathways into social security recipiency (Meg Montague and Jenny Stephens of the BSL for the National Women’s Advisory Council), the outcome of a major research study of the circumstances and life histories of approximately 80 women receiving government pensions (Montague & Stephens 1985 Paying the Price for Sugar and Spice: A study of women’s pathways into social security recipiency 1985; BSL Annual Report 1982-1983 p.8; BSL Annual Report 1983-1984 p.7). 

 

Research undertaken to investigate the viability of the Brotherhood manufacturing low cost furniture.  Arising partly from the inadequate supply of furniture for Material Aid, this was seen as a potential innovative project to provide secure jobs for  long term unemployed people.  A furniture designer produced a range of prototypes (BSL Annual Report 1983-1984, p.8). 

 

1987

Dr Veronica Brady, as an honorary Visiting Fellow for 1987, assists the BSL’s Social Policy & Research Department with studies examining Australian culture in depth through Australian-made film successes of the last decade. “This will compose a picture of the values of average Australians.  The study should help to explain why decent people are savagely critical of supporting mothers and people who do not have a job.” (Brotherhood Action No.268 March 1987).

 

The Social Policy and Research Department became the Social Policy and Research Centre (BSL Annual Report 1986-1987, p.9). 

 

Jan Carter, Director of the Social Policy and Research Centre, appointed as a Commissioner to the National Inquiry into Homeless Children and Young People by the Human Rights & Equal Opportunities Commission.  The report Our Homeless Children was published in 1989 (BSL Annual Report 1987-1988, p.10). 

 

1989

Launch of the book Aussie Battlers by Jenny Trethewey at a weekend barbeque at the Atherton Gardens estate.  The book was based on the experiences of ten of the fifty-seven low-income families who participated in the Social Policy & Research Centre’s Income and Expenditure Study (BSL Annual Report 1988-1989 , p.10). 

 

An agreement was finalised between the Social Policy and Research Centre and Collins Dove publishing house for the distribution of the BSL’s books and the co-publication of selected Brotherhood titles.  A small bookshop opened at the Fitzroy office (BSL Annual Report 1988-1989, p.13). 

 

1990

BSL Board resolved:

a) to establish a new region (called Metropolitan) to encompass all programs not included in either the Peninsula or Geelong Regions and to be launched on 19 December;  

b) that representatives of the Geelong & Peninsula Regional Committees join the Board, with existing Board member to represent the Metropolitan Region;

c) not to continue with staff elected representatives on the Board;

d) that the current titles of Director be changed to Regional Manager except for the Executive Director;

e) that Social Policy & Research be described as a department rather than a centre. 

(November)

 

1991

In late 1991 special functions were hosted by the Hilton on the Park Hotel and Moonee Valley Racing Club to thank 300 long serving volunteers in the Metropolitan Region, head Office and the Social Policy & Research Unit (BSL Annual Report 1992, pp.22). 

 

1992

Alison McClelland returned to the Brotherhood as Director, Social Policy& Research following the departure of Jan Carter to take up the Chair of Social Work at the University of Melbourne (March) (BSL Annual Report, 1992 p.5). 

 

1993

Service liaison officer appointed to improve links between BSL research & policy work and its service delivery.  A cross-regional Services Development Forum was established with service staff from each region and Social Policy & Research to critically examine new service proposals and, with a framework and criteria for service development, to develop a more strategic focus in planning for service delivery (BSL Annual Report 1993 p.21),

 

Research seminar Looking forward, looking back: The Brotherhood’s role in changing views of poverty held to commemorate the Brotherhood’s 60 years in Victoria.  The presentations were also videotaped (BSL Annual Report 1993 p.21.) 

 

Service liaison officer appointed to improve links between BSL research & policy work and its service delivery.  A cross-regional Services Development Forum was established with service staff from each region and Social Policy & Research to critically examine new service proposals and, with a framework and criteria for service development, to develop a more strategic focus in planning for service delivery.   

 

1994

Joint conference Social Development in Australian-Asian relations organised by BSL’s Social Policy & Research department and Community Aid Abroad (6 November)

 

BSL Inner Urban Family & Youth Services (at the Cottage) piloted a program aiming to give support to socially isolated young women who were pregnant and planning to parent for the first time.  The program drew on volunteer women willing to devote 4-6 hours a week to a long-term (at least 12 months, preferably 2-5 years) supportive friendship with a young mother.  From October 1994 the program intended to test research findings that emphasised the need of such friendships for optimal parenting.

 

Literacy in Families Together Project (aka the LIFT Project) was a six-month demonstration and research project funded as part of the Commonwealth Adult Literacy Program grant.  This program was for adults with literacy difficulties who have young children and provided intensive individual support to a small number of families to enable them to attend literacy programs.  Research involved the Brotherhood staff from the Peninsula and the Social Policy & Research Centre, La Trobe University and the Women’s Activity Group (WAG) Community House.  The Report was published in March 1995.  re collaborative relationship with Social Action & Research (BSL Annual Report 1995 p.18, Lift project: Literacy in Families Together. Unpub.; Year - 1995).

 

 

1995

Professor Ronald Henderson died December 1994. Professor Henderson had acted as a consultant for the BSL’s Social Policy & Research after retiring in 1979 from the University of Melbourne’s Institute of Applied Economic Research, and had been a patron for the Brotherhood’s Future of Work Project.

 

Prevention of Youth Homelessness Project’s definition of prevention and objectives were revised and it was decided to cease the work in Dandenong and concentrate on a smaller range of activities in Ballarat.  There was a particular focus on schools, a much closer integration of service delivery and research and a wish to encourage the greater perspective of young people in the Project.  A separate metropolitan proposal did not proceed since no funds were available.

 

1996

Alison McClelland, Director of Social Policy & Research, undertook a 3-week study tour of South-East Asia (Thailand, Indonesia & the Philippines), incorporating the international conference of the International Council on Social Welfare in Hong Kong. The trip “was prompted by the concern by the BSL that internationalisation, or globalisation, was having an impact on the perceived capacity of governments in Australia to respond to poverty and inequality” (McClelland 1996, Report of Asian Study Tour July-August 1996). 

 

 Social Action & Research conducted evaluation of two service areas:

  • Case management evaluation - designed to assist services in the design and delivery of case management in the Brotherhood and to provide information for policy development in relation to case management
  • Income support project - designed to contribute to future service directions in material aid, emergency financial relief and the no interest loans scheme and to strengthen advocacy work about income support needs of people on low incomes 

 

1997

An Early School Leavers pilot project Work it Out - to involve the Employment Action Centre, the Social Action & Research Unit & Community Services - began with appointment in February of a project worker.  The first partnership with Brunswick Secondary College was formally launched in July.   The Work It Out transition project aimed to become an integral part of the support network for students facing hardship either in study, or during the transition from school to the labour market.  The key innovation was locating Brotherhood staff at the school in order to develop relationships with the young people before they left school, enabling ongoing support.  Students unable to access intensive assistance in the new Job Network system were assisted into further training and employment.

 

Future of Work material was used extensively in a CD ROM for all NSW secondary schools.  Further research from the project led to submissions on workplace relations legislation to the Senate Economics Committee and the Australian Industrial Relations Commission during the ‘Living Wage’ case. (Annual report 1997 p.10).

 

The BSL was an industry partner, together with the Committee of Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), in a major two-year project on tax reform conducted by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economics and Social Research.  The project was to develop options for tax changes which meet both equity and efficiency objectives.  The BSL also contributed to the dialogue on tax reform auspiced by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI). (Annual report p. 11)

 

1999

Dental Research for residents at the Settlement was conducted over April-May. All the residents in residential facilities and 100 Cottage residents took advantage of the free service. The researchers were to return in a couple of months for follow-up examinations and recommendations.

 

2000

The Brotherhood of St Laurence, on behalf of the Yarra Social Issues Network, developed a research proposal and received funding from the City of Yarra's Community Grants Program to produce a profile of the municipality's private rooming houses and their residents.  This information, in the report Better than nothing? The future of private rooming houses in the City of Yarra, was to be used as a benchmark with which to measure changes in the supply of affordable, single housing, the needs of rooming house residents and their access to support services (Sally Jope, 2000 Better than nothing? The future of private rooming houses in the City of Yarra, Journal article in Parity 13 (8). 

 

2003

The position of head of the BSL’s Research and Policy Unit became a professorial position in partnership with the University of Melbourne (BSL Annual Report 2002 p.2; BSL Annual Report 2003 p.18). 

 

The BSL received a $500,000 bequest to fund a research and policy project focused on the relationship between ageing and poverty. (BSL 2003 Annual report, p. 15)

 

2004

STEP and Social Action Research compiled the research and learnings from the employment and training programs at the Atherton Gardens Public Housing in the report ‘Helping Local People get Jobs – Insight from the Brotherhood of St Laurence experience in Fitzroy and Collingwood’

 

2006

Collingwood College Year 9 Advance students researched and produced Digital Stories of Agencies connected with the Brotherhood of St Laurence and services in the City of Yarra, with stories to be displayed on large screen in the surrounding Housing Estates (funded by the BSL and UNESCO with Collingwood College) (September) (Collingwood College Newsletters 21 April & 6 September 2006).

 

Work continues - see www.bsl.org.au

 

Social Action Research (SAR)

 

Research and Policy Centre (RPC) 

 

[dates query - 

 

2013                    Director, Professor Shelley Mallett, Social Policy and Research Centre; joint position at University of Melbourne as Professorial Fellow of Social Policy.

2003–2013          General Manager Professor Paul Smyth – joint professorial position with University of Melbourne)

1992                    Director, Alison McClelland – built strong links with ACOSS especially around tax and transfers issues

1977                    Director  Concetta (Connie) Benn Social Policy, Research & Innovations (SPRI) – influential Family Centre Project (FCP) in early 1970s

1975–80              Graeme Brewer – published ‘groundbreaking’ qualitative research on unemployment 

1967                    Senior Research Officer Judith O’Neill

1965                    Director Janet Paterson – first Director of Research & Social Action’ Department 

1963                    Social worker Elaine Martin – social worker appointed in research capacity 

1954                    'Organising secretary’ David Scott – responsible for advocacy and public influence 

1943                    Research Officer John Reeves – the Brotherhood's first Research Officer appointed , investigating public housing issues 

 

 

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