Catherine is currently working as a Senior Research Assistant on two ARC funded projects with Prof. Alan Morris within the Institute for Public Policy and Governance (IPPG).
Previously she ran her own business as an evaluation and social research consultant. Catherine joined the UTS Centre for Local Government (now IPPG) in 2013, leaving in 2016 to pursue her PhD. Her PhD in quantitative sociology focussing on family homelessness in Australia is currently under examination.
Catherine has well developed social research methodological knowledge in quantitative and qualitative methods and expertise in research design. Since completing the Master of Policy and Applied Social Research degree at Macquarie University she has undertaken advanced statistics and survey design training with ACSPRI (Australia) and GESIS (Germany).
In her own consultancy and within IPPG, Catherine has developed and implemented research projects incorporating qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis for a range of government departments, social enterprises and not-for-profit organisations. She has also facilitated strategic planning, program logic development and community consultation meetings, and delivered training in developing evaluative thinking to organisations.
Prior to moving into applied social research, Catherine worked for 20 years in the arts and not-for-profit sectors in project and program management as well as in government policy roles.
- Australian Evaluation Society
- The Australian Sociological Association
- International Association for Critical Realism
- social science research methodologies
- evidence in policy and program design, implementation and evaluative thinking
- sociological theory and critical realist philosophy
- Quantitative methods in social research
Hastings, C, Wortley, L, Ryan, R & Grant, BJ 2016, 'Community expectations for the role of local government in regional Australia: Meeting the challenges of 'slow burn'', Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, vol. 22, no. 1, pp. 158-180.
Regional Australia is confronted by specific demographic, social, economic and infrastructure challenges, which we are denoting as 'slow-burn' threats. This article interrogates a recent national survey concerned with the value of local government to Australian communities, focusing upon differences in responses for regional and remote areas compared to those from urban capital cities. Findings indicate that regional and remote residents place more importance on local government delivering services that specifically focus on the long-term development and sustainability of the community than their urban counterparts, particularly economic and community development roles. We argue that this constitutes a demonstration of the different expectations that regional and remote communities have of local government in the face of 'slow burn' in regional and remote areas. Further, we suggest that the relationship between local governments in regional Australia and the communities they serve is usefully conceived in terms of what we denote as 'the close economy' and 'the local state'.
Ryan, R, Hastings, C, Grant, B, Lawrie, A, Ní Shé, É & Wortley, L 2016, 'The Australian Experience of Municipal Amalgamation: Asking the Citizenry and Exploring the Implications', Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 75, no. 3, pp. 373-390.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Debate over municipal amalgamations in Australian continues to dominate local government reform agendas, with the putative need to achieve economies of scale and scope consistently set against anti-amalgamation arguments designed to preserve extant communities. Following from an examination of recent episodes of consolidation in Australia, this paper reports on citizens' attitudes to amalgamation garnered from a national survey of 2,006 individuals. We found that generally, citizens are ambivalent toward amalgamation, although attitudes were influenced by particular demographic characteristics and attitudes to representation, belonging, service delivery requirements and the costs thereof. The results suggest that, away from the local government sector itself, structural reform may not be the vexatious issue it is often portrayed as. The implications of this are explored here.
Ryan, R & Hastings, C 2015, 'Missed opportunities for democratic engagement: the adoption of community indicators in local government', The Asia Pacific Journal of Public Administration, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 33-43.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Community indicators, as a framework for the measurement of community wellbeing and progress established in collaboration with the community itself, have more than three decades of history in the United States. Although community indicator projects developed in Australia from the 1990s onwards, particularly by local governments, they have primarily been used as a reporting tool rather than as an instrument for democratic engagement and evidence-based policy development. In this article, an analysis is provided of the range of approaches to community indicators in Australia and the United States. The argument is made for the use of community indicators to enhance the democratic capacity of local government. The aim is to stimulate discussion about the potential benefits of community indicator projects for local government in Australia and increase understanding of the possible extent of their application.
Hastings, C & Weate, J 2018, 'Local governments and social enterprise: Meeting community challenges together?' in Social Capital and Enterprise in the Modern State, pp. 117-146.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018. Even though the role of local government was established in Australia in the early nineteenth century as a mechanism for tailored local service delivery provision within a narrow range of administrative functions, since World War II, local government's roles have expanded to include town-planning and a range of welfare and leisure services that have continued to diversify to the present day. Expansion in function has not been matched by expansion in funding, with this being a particular issue in rural and regional councils. A result of these pressures has been increased interest in new models of networked governance, involving more players in the process of service delivery so that local governments are not required to 'go it alone'. Social enterprises have increasingly been included as one of these other players, but there has been limited discussion in the literature about the roles social enterprises are playing for councils. This chapter situates an analysis of local government-social enterprise relationships within the theoretical frameworks of network governance and public value, with reference to examples of such relationships in regional New South Wales (NSW). It aims to stimulate discussion about the possibilities for local government-social enterprise relationships to deliver positive social and economic outcomes within regional Australia.
A report on the situation of international students residing in the private rental sector.
Ryan, R, Hastings, C & Alvarez, T 2016, Why Local Government Matters in South Australia.
Hastings, C, Gamage, S & Ryan, R UTS Centre for Local Government 2015, Community Wellbeing Survey - Lane Cove, pp. 1-62, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
Lane Cove Council contracted UTS:CLG in 2014 to develop a community indicator framework to establish a set of indicators and measures of community wellbeing informed predominantly by the social issues aligned to Council's Community Strategic Plan (CSP). The framework was built upon the objectives of the CSP and encompasses indicators and data sources that will increase Council's awareness, knowledge and monitoring of current social issues and trends in Lane Cove.
Hastings, C, Ryan, R, Gibbs, M & Lawrie, A 2015, Profile of the Local Government Workforce.
Why Local Government Matters is a major piece of social research on community attitudes to local government by the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government (ACELG), undertaken with substantial expertise from staff of the Centre for Local Government at the University of Technology, Sydney (UTS:CLG). The research aims to better understand how and why the activities of local governments, and their roles in society are valued by communities.
Ryan, R, Hastings, C, Woods, R, Lawrie, A & Grant, B Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government 2015, Why Local Government Matters: summary report, pp. 1-20, University of Technology Sydney, Australia.
Hunting, SA, Ryan, R & Hastings, C 2014, Evaluation of Who cares about the environment? research series, Australia.