Support workers and their organisations

Support workers and their organisations

Support workers in services that provide direct support to your community, e.g. rural and indigenous services, crisis centres, disability services, health, legal, parenting, relationship, aged care and child services, job centres, youth, and families services.

Many of these services are provided by non-government or community organisations. Often these organisations need to apply for funding from both government and non-government sources so they can offer their services to your community.

When organisations obtain funding to provide services, they must then follow funding guidelines laid down by the funding source, e.g. a government department such as the Department of Communities, when providing services.

Here is an example of a funding agreement with the Department of Communities, Disability Services and Seniors.

The Department of Communities use streamlined agreements for non-government organisations.

Types of service your organisation delivers

The type of services offered by organisations varies according to the needs of the local target community, the mission statement of the organisation, and of course the funding guidelines under which the organisation works.  Services provided include:

  • indigenous learning support
  • homelessness services
  • community recreation activities
  • aged care
  • child care
  • youth
  • disaster relief and recovery management
  • suicide prevention
  • crime prevention
  • counselling services
  • disability services
  • juvenile justice centres.

The make-up of service work teams

Your work team/group includes others with whom you work in order to meet the needs of clients. Your work team/group or staff/team meetings would provide support in your work- these are generally colleagues in the same office, service/program area- through daily interaction, collaboration and team/staff meetings.

There may be a specific reference group/committee to guide some areas of work in an organisation (usually project work or particular work areas, say training) that could include other parties, eg government representatives, client/consumer groups and other relevant stakeholders- such as the list below.

  • psychologists
  • social workers
  • health workers
  • teachers
  • volunteers
  • community members
  • researchers.

As a support worker, you may be part of a wider network of stakeholders.  This broader network could include:

  • workers or colleagues from other sections of the same organisation
  • representatives from government and non-government bodies
  • representatives from specialised and non-specialised agencies.

In attempting to meet the needs of clients and their community, support workers should maintain effective relationships with other workers from both their immediate team and representatives from their wider networks.

Your role in the organisation

Being aware of the overall structure of your organisation will assist you to better understand your role in the organisation.  Within most organisations there are three levels of responsibility.  These are overall management, day-to-day management and service provider.

Within most organisations, there are three levels of management. These are overall management, day-to-day management and service provider. Support workers are at the service provider level.

Your role as a support worker will be defined by your job description. This contains a list of duties and responsibilities and outlines the specific skills, knowledge, attributes and qualifications you are required to demonstrate.

To ensure that you are clear about your role in your organisation, you should consult your job description. You may need to clarify your employer’s expectations and you do need to know how your performance will be measured (e.g. formal performance appraisal).
View examples of duty statements for support workers:

The following activity will help you understand how to read a job description and understand your role within the organisation. This activity will also assist you to identify the criteria your supervisor will use to assess your performance.

Activity 1.1: Job Description

Activity 1.1 (Word Document 50KB)

To assist you with this activity, watch the demonstration on reading job descriptionsaudio transcript (Word Document 388KB)).

Activity 1.2: Performance appraisal

Activity 1.2 (Word Document 50KB)


Last modified: Tuesday, 11 December 2018, 9:52 AM