Since May this year Youth Action has been an active part of the co-design process and leadership group driving the Locally Co-Designed Services initiative. Started as part of a co-design process under Safe Home for Life reforms, the Locally Co-Designed Services initiative is seeking to overcome structural and cultural barriers in the service system.
As part of the process approximately 40 representatives of services from the Western Sydney and Nepean-Blue Mountains districts were brought together to re-design through these barriers and impediments. The experiences of clients were a visible and central feature of the room, and all design elements were tested with case studies and user experiences.
A core leadership group is currently seeking approval for the concepts (outlined below) developed through the process to be prototyped in partnership with service providers in Western Sydney.
What concepts were developed?
The workshops highlighted the complexities of our interlocking systems, and also processes that unconsciously create poor client experiences and outcomes. The central re-design elements were:
- Linkers: A central piece of feedback from clients is that they are often referred to a range of providers, with no one organisation or worker owning their overall progress. A linker is the family or individual's relationship manger - they are with them for their journey, and coordinate the services they need.
- Family-centred plan: A simple, one-page profile co-authored by the family which includes their goals. It stays with them as they are supported by the system, and is the central starting point for all services.
- Common welcome approach: With a focus on a "customer satisfaction culture", a family's first contact with the system should be welcoming, friendly and helpful, rather than feeling like an assessment.
- Place-based integrated services: Using data and information about places/communities to bring together services to tailor service provision to meet their needs.
- Common, non-stigmatising branding: Allowing services to keep their unique identities, while having them represent the one service system brand, in order to provide better recognition for clients.
- Shared brokerage: Participating services will have the discretion to spend small amounts of money in necessary situations to make a big difference for clients.
How does this relate to TEI reforms?
The concepts highlight many of the areas that are likely to receive attention in local planning/re-design processes under TEI reforms:
- Co-design is a way that service system redesign can be done locally by Districts in partnership with local NGO services;
- The co-design proposed system initiatives which are in line with the objectives of TEI reforms, while being specific to the needs of Western Sydney;
- Many of the initiatives that were developed echo the youth sector's hopes for young people who come into contact with the system, including:
- Greater support for young people through strong, supportive, long-term relationships;
- A focus on holistic client/family progress, rather than making a range of referrals;
- A warm, friendly and supportive experience for young people at all interactions;
- A more flexible system which can meet the needs of young people and their families.