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Innovation in a Time of COVID-19

One of the great joys that I have in my role is seeing how programs adjust to adversity and produce diamonds. Service provision can sometimes feel like a balancing act between managing internal caseloads, performing required functions and adapting to new external funding body requirements. But what happens when you throw a worldwide pandemic into the mix? First and foremost: we must learn not only to adapt… but to innovate!

 

You may have read the famous book “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Dr Spencer Johnson. The basic premise is that the food source for inhabitants in a maze has dwindled. Instead of languishing in non-action, steps must be taken toward adapting to meet this challenge, and indeed thriving, as one locates new sources of nourishment. Thankfully, it’s been plain to see where Baptist Care SA has adjusted and pivoted to the disruptions caused by COVID-19 and found new ways of doing business; whilst still retaining a client-centred, caring service approach. This has been visible in many of the services audited this year through the Internal Audit program.

 

Besides the strong anti-infection measures, many services have flexibly adapted program activities whilst retaining their adherence to contractual and service requirements. For example, I have seen specific group activities being transformed to ‘one on one’ activities, so our clients can still participate, but in a safe, socially distanced way. Several services have used video conferencing, even building up business as external educational centres embrace this “new ways of doing things”. In terms of welfare provision, food has switched from “in-house”, sit-down environments to portable takeaway packages. Perhaps most heartening, vulnerable clients have been sensitively assisted to understand COVID-19 and mentored as to how to enhance their own safety in the current climate.

 

What is the takeaway from this current COVID-19 narrative? From an internal audit perspective, it appears we are well-positioned as an agency to not only face change but to embrace it. We CAN adjust our approach to care: but it requires a listening ear to our social and demographic context, a willingness to trust in our professional abilities, and a prayerful approach to practice adjustment. R.C. Sproul stated that faith is “not a leap into the darkness” but a “leap out of the darkness and into the light.”  Let’s not allow the current crisis or future crises to stymie us; instead, let’s find a way forward that is both compliant with COVID-19 safety and caring toward our clients, in whatever shape or form this may need to take.

 

We CAN meet the challenge – are you ready?  

 

Jonathan McQueen
Internal Auditing Officer

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