Summary Consultation Report - Key themes from free text responses

All survey respondents were given the opportunity to provide 'free text' responses to address how they viewed the current system.

These were a series of detailed questions, designed to gain insights into respondents' experience and views of the service system, what they saw as the key strengths and weaknesses of the system and where they identified opportunities for improvement or enhancement.

A range of key themes emerged from responses to the free text questions. They were:

High level themes

  • Coordination
  • Collaboration
  • Commissioning
  • Consumer engagement
  • Information Accessibility
  • Service delivery
  • Workforce

In order to give detailed analysis to the free text comments received, these high level themes were then broken down into several sub themes. Some of the themes emerged as requiring an increase or a decrease in a particular area. others were more diverse with some respondents indicating they want to see an increase, others a decrease in a particular area.  This is displayed as appropriate in the table as well as the analysis following below.

High level theme

Sub theme


  • One phone number
  • One shop front
  • Increase in accurate up to date online information
  • Increase development of a service directory
  • Increase sharing client information between workers and organisations


  • Increase sharing of service worker expertise
  • Decrease 'silos' and the fragmentation of the system


  • Decrease competitive tendering
  • Decrease compliance burden and red tape
  • Increase flexible funding models including pooled funding
  • Increased funding for existing and new services
  • Increase focus on outcome measures
  • Increase single funding agreements for CSOs

Consumer Engagement

  • Increased consumer involvement in planning and implementation of own care
  • Increased consumer involvement in service design

Information Accessibility

  • Increased automated sharing of client information through IT systems
  • Increased access to information in languages other than English
  • Increased access to information in non-web based form
  • Increase in access to information in plain English
  • Improve navigability of the system - information is difficult to find and people don't know where to go to access services

Service Delivery

  • Increase advocacy services
  • Case management
  • Increase use of common assessment tools
  • Increase diversity of services
  • Decrease duplication of processes
  • Increase time for clients
  • Increase worker time to keeping clients informed (of their services, waitlists, referrals)
  • Increase person-to-person communications and service delivery
  • Increase multi-disciplinary teams
  • Have one key contact person
  • Increase outreach services
  • Increase streamlined referral systems
  • Successes are key person dependent or based on informal relationships
  • Decrease waiting lists


  • Increase clarity of roles and responsibilities
  • Increase morale of workers
  • Increase mutual recognition of skills
  • Improve organisational culture
  • Ensure service worker skills suit services
  • Increase opportunities for training

Each of the themes above arose in differing numbers across the survey.

The highest ranking ten reoccurring issues identified overall were:

  1. Increase sharing client information between workers and organisations
  2. Decrease 'silos' and fragmentation of the system
  3. Increase person-to-person based service delivery options
  4. Increase consumer involvement in the planning and implementation of their own care
  5. Increase funding for existing and new services
  6. Increase streamlined referral systems
  7. Increase opportunities for training
  8. One contact point
  9. Increase automated sharing of client information through IT systems
  10. Increase accessibility of information and ease of navigation of the system for providers and clients.

This is displayed in the table below

Graph 4 - Top ten survey response themes

These top themes display some common issues that indicate the views of the system currently are that it is fragmented, difficult to navigate, information is difficult to find and the culture of working in 'silos' continues.

This information has been incorporated into the work of the Design Team, which comprised government and community sector representatives who have worked on high level design options for the project.

Regional analysis

Many of these same themes arose when the data was broken down to a region-by-region analysis.

As displayed in the tables below, the sharing of client information between workers and organisations remains the highest ranking issue in all three regions. The responses in this area were focussed on collaboration and cohesive working relationships between organisations, as well as between government service providers and community sector providers. Some respondents also wanted to see an increase in information sharing within larger organisations including within and across government agencies.

These responses were not focussed on IT based client information sharing (which emerges as a separate theme in many of the responses), but rather on increasing the collaboration between workers to better support clients who are accessing multiple services, as well as to benefit organisations and the sector as a whole.

Decreasing the 'silos' and fragmentation in the system also emerged as a key theme, ranking second in the North and the South, and third in the North-West.

An increase in person-to-person of face-to-face service delivery options was also seen as important, ranking second in the North-West and fourth in the south. Responses in this area focussed on workers wanting to have more time to focus on client work, to have greater capacity to keep clients up to date on their services and to provide more face to face individual contact and support.

The need for one contact point, be it a single front door or 'no wrong door' ranked fourth in the North West and fifth in the north. Responses in this area also talked about the need for streamlined referral systems and key workers to coordinate complex care.

More funding ranked high, being the third most common theme in the North and the fifth in the South. This included increased funding for existing services, as well as for new services to add to the current diversity of services available in the system. Also relevant to this theme was the issue of waiting lists, which many respondents identified as being too long.

Consumer engagement was a key priority in the South, with many workers wanting to see an increase in consumer involvement in the planning and implementation of their own care. And finally, streamlined referral systems to reduce duplication and increase access and efficiency was seen as a priority in the North, ranking fourth amongst those respondents.

These themes are displayed further in the tables below.

Graph 5 - Response themes, North West

Graph 6 - Response themes, North

Graph 7 - Response themes, South

Key current strengths

Survey participants were asked to identify the three key strengths of the current human services system. Responses to this question showed that for most workers across government and community sector organisations, quality, committed and skilled staff were seen as the biggest strengths in the current system.

Graph 8 - Key current strengths

Ranking first and second as key strengths, were committed staff who are highly skilled and dedicated to their clients.

Also seen as key strengths was the diversity of services in the current system and the fact that in many parts of the sector there is a good amount of client choice for services, and that workers have a good knowledge of the system and of other services available across the sector.

A commitment to reform was also seen as a key priority, recognising that most workers in the system have a positive approach to trying to improve the system where needed.

The current move to a more outcomes focussed approach was also identified as a key strength.

Some comments provided in this question include:

"experienced and passionate workers and a range of agencies"

"flexibility of service providers, willingness for services to work together for reform: the chance to have a say in the system of the future"

"choice of providers, fantastic and committed staff, services based where the clients are"

"variety of services available for clients, good communication between service providers"

"focus on improving the circumstances of individuals"

 "commitment to work collaboratively across community sector and government"

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