Summary Consultation Report - Community consultation

The Government has consulted widely on phase one of the project, and this has included regional focus groups as well as an online survey for workers, clients and carers.

Regional focus groups were held around the state in August, for government and community sector service providers as well as clients and carers.

Regional Focus Groups

3pconsulting conducted focus groups in Burnie, Launceston and Hobart over a two week period in August 2014. There were six focus groups held in total: One client focus group and one service provider focus group in each of the three cities.

In addition, there was a separate focus group held in Hobart for service providers who are already implementing integrated service models in their current work.

Focus groups were well attended and valuable insights into the current system as well as areas for potential growth and development were identified.

The consumer focus groups told us that many consumers have an average of five workers, with some having up to seven workers. Key themes from consumers included:

  • The need for a 'significant person' who is not necessarily a clinical worker but is able to act as a mentor, advocate, broker, negotiator and navigator of services.
  • Consumers welcome a one-on-one approach to meet their needs, provide support and build their confidence.
  • Initial contact with organisations is often easy, but subsequent contact can be overwhelming and exhausting as it often involves multiple referrals and appointments, retelling ones' story, forming relationships with multiple workers and receiving dense and complex information.
  • Clients identified that while retelling their story to multiple organisations was sometimes frustrating, it was not always negative thing and it was at times helpful. It was not seen as a negative as long as
  • Clients could tell their story to a trusted person who is really listening
  • Clients were given choice about how much and when they tell their story
  • Case notes could be shared between multiple case workers, when the client consents to that sharing.
  • The ability to establish a relationship of trust with workers was seen as vitally important, and it was noted that this was easier to achieve with some service providers than others and often was easier with non-government providers.
  • Support when transitioning out of services could be improved and one key worker or 'significant person' who would stay in touch with the client as required during the transition between or out of services would help with this.

Service provider forums showed there is a high level of good will and willingness to collaborate to improve the human services system.

Common themes emerging from participants included:

  • In making changes to the service system, it is important not to compromise or lose what is already in place and working well.
  • Joined up service responses need flexible funding and resources, particularly 'at the edges' where clients may not easily fit program based eligibility requirements.
  • One point of contact with the client at the centre would be advantageous.
  • Shared planning and flexible models of case management involving development of one plan per client would help.
  • Sharing of client information between organisations is important and needs to be improved.
  • An improvement in knowledge of the service system and a good understanding of what other services are available along with relevant referral pathways amongst workers is key.
  • Information technology platforms are required to support streamlined referral, case management, transitional care and client support.
  • Workforce capacity and organisational cultures that support multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches as well as shared language and values is needed.

Client, carer and service provider survey

As part of the community consultation, the DHHS also ran an online survey to gain further direct input into the project from clients, carers and workers across the human services system.

The survey was open for four weeks over August and September 2014 and was promoted widely across the sector.  Close to 600 responses were received over this period.

The majority of survey respondents (90%) were workers within the human services system. These responses evenly split between government workers and community sector workers. Around 10% of responses of the survey responses were from clients and carers.

57% of responses were from people in the South of the state, 26% from the North and 16% from the North West.

Client and carer responses came from a wide range of service areas including aged care, mental health, disability services, housing and homelessness, home and community care, primary health and commonwealth services including Centrelink.

The majority (76%) of client and carers indicated there were times in their lives where they required support from more than one service provider at the same time.

The services identified by clients and carers as the ones they accessed most frequently were:

  • GP services (62%)
  • Community Health services (44%)
  • Hospital Services (44%)

These three top responses were followed by:

  • Specialist disability (37%)
  • Mental health services (31%)
  • Aged care or HACC (27%)
  • Education and learning support services (24%)

It is important to note that while the survey was targeted at clients and carers in the human services system, all respondents indicated that the services they accessed most frequently were general health services including GPs, community health and hospital services.

This result indicates the potential for increased linkages between the health and human services systems and the importance of a recognition that the client base for health and human services is often the same client base.

Graph 1 - Services accessed by clients and carers

The majority of clients and carers indicated they needed help coordinating the services they required and that there were several factors which could have made coordinating services easier for them. Some of these factors were:

  • 'Knowing what's out there'
  • 'Having a contact person to help with information'
  • 'Making one call to a central information centre'
  • 'A coordinated approach'
  • 'More collaboration between agencies'.

Service provider responses were evenly split between government service providers and community sector service providers, and were from a broad cross section of the service system. Respondents were asked to identify the main areas they work in or the main services their organisation provides. The top responses were:

  • 25% Community services (sexual assault, family violence, gambling support, neighbourhood houses, financial counselling etc)
  • 23% Youth services
  • 22% Community health (social work, allied health, palliative care, community nursing etc)
  • 20% Mental health
  • 19% Aged care or HACC
  • 19% Specialist disability services.

Graph 2 - What sectors workers are from

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