During 2020 NCOSS partnered with the Reading Writing Hotline to better understand the role of local community organisations in assisting people with literacy challenges to fill in the forms required to access Government services. Our survey of 70 organisations highlights that forms have increased in number and complexity and moved online. Many NGOs are now playing the role of ‘literacy mediator’, helping clients understand instructions, navigate technology and apply for assistance - but this role is not formally recognised or funded. The research also finds that established government guidelines to ensure content and materials are easy to understand are not consistently applied, causing barriers for people needing to access support and additional work for local NGOs. The report recommends government agencies adhere to the guidelines, provide telephone assistance for those who are struggling and that money saved from moving application processes online be reinvested in community organisations providing frontline literacy support.
You can access the report here: Helping Clients Fill in Forms Research 2020 - Report of Findings