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Targeted Early Intervention FAQs - For service providers

Answers to frequently asked questions on Targeted Early Intervention

TEI - next steps

Q - What are my options in the TEI reform as a service provider?

The reform is currently focused on testing the implementation of the TEI Outcomes Framework, and initiatives to support more evidence-informed practice. This is a ‘test and learn’ phase for both providers and FACS to try a more evidence-informed and outcomes focussed approach.

There are two pathways available for service providers, both of which involve retaining current funding commitments and contracts until 30 June 2020:

  • Pathway 1 - service provider chooses to align with the TEI Outcomes Framework (service providers may also choose to review service activities, location or client groups to align with District priorities).
  • Pathway 2 - service provider chooses to continue business-as-usual (existing service delivery and program data collection continues).

For more information about the two pathways, see the related flow chart Provider-led Targeted Earlier Intervention (TEI) Pathways and Factsheet.

Q – What are the benefits for my organisation in choosing Pathway One?

Service providers that opt into Pathway One will benefit through participation in TEI reform activities. These include:

  • Collecting and reporting TEI client outcome data using the DSS Data Exchange (DEX)
  • Testing optional client outcome measurement tools, such as the Personal Wellbeing Index; and,
  • Developing a TEI program logic that shows how your activities link to evidence and client outcomes over the short and longer term.

You will also have priority access to support and training under the TEI Sector Assistance Strategy.

Information about the DEX

Pathway 1 is optional and not compulsory for service providers. However Pathway 1 offers considerable benefits to service providers and the communities we serve. It is about testing and learning, an improved focus on client and community outcomes, moving towards more evidence-informed practice, and supporting innovative practice.

Service providers will be able to use the DSS Data Exchange (DEX) to capture data  that will help build the evidence about TEI service delivery. It is intended that all TEI funded services will be using DEX from July 2020, so getting started now gives you a longer lead in time to get used to the system. It’s also an opportunity to look at your service delivery and consider the impact it has on clients and how you measure it.

Q- My organisation has chosen to opt into Pathway 1. What do we do next?

Your next step is to fill in the Activity Mapping template. This will help you map your current service delivery to the TEI Outcomes Framework and Department of Human Services (DSS) Data Exchange (DEX).

No changes to your service delivery are required in this process. However, if you do want to make changes to your service delivery, discuss this with your local FACS team to make sure any proposed changes are in line with District priorities. Once you have checked this, you can complete the Activity Mapping template and send it to your local FACS team for review.

FACS will let DSS know which activities you have agreed to deliver, and DSS will then set up your service in DEX. You will receive a letter once DSS has set your TEI activities up in DEX.

Q - What timeframes should I be aware of?

Current contracts and funding arrangements remain in place until 30 June 2020.

At present, there is no set timeline for services to decide to opt into Pathway 1 or to undertake the Pathway 1 activities. We want to support the different needs of service providers, minimise impact on service delivery, and reduce resource implications. If there are any changes to time frames, we will let you know via TEI Inform.

Q - What is the update on District Plans?

FACS is updating data and will use the information in the district plans as we work with the sector at a local level to plan and design the service system. This brings together the TEI planning already done, and the System Transformation work led by Their Futures Matter.

Your FACS District office can provide information on District priorities, such as service activities, locations or client groups.

Q – What will be the impact of Pathway 1 on service delivery?

Service providers are not required to make changes to their current activities, locations or client groups. Current contracts and funding arrangements remain in place until 30 June 2020. Service providers may choose to review their service delivery to better reflect what they already provide, and/or better align with changing local priorities. Any agreed changes will be recorded in the Activity Mapping template rather than Program Level Agreements (PLA) or Service Delivery Schedules (SDS).

Q - What will happen from 1 July 2020?

What happens from 1 July 2020 will be informed by re-commissioning planning and design work with the sector in 2019. This will include FACS and Their Futures Matter (TFM) working together, and a consultation process with TEI services, other service system stakeholders and communities.

Recommissioning for TEI services will consider recommendations made by the TFM review of the entire child and family continuum, and how the system (including TEI services through to statutory protection) could be redesigned to better serve vulnerable children and families.

The TFM System Transformation program of work will help inform where changes may need to be made in TEI to support better outcomes for children, families and communities. More information about TFM can be found here.

Q – How will data be reported in each pathway?

Service providers who choose to take Pathway 1 will report through DEX. This means that these providers will stop their current program data reporting arrangements on the day they start DEX reporting. Service providers choosing Pathway 2 will continue current reporting arrangements.

TEI - Sector Assistance Strategy

Q – What is the update on the Sector Assistance Strategy?

The TEI Sector Assistance Strategy (SAS) will continue to be available to TEI services, with priority access given to services adopting Pathway 1.

Click here for the latest updates on the Sector Assistance Strategy.

TEI - Activity Mapping

Q – What is Activity Mapping?

Activity Mapping is how you record your new or existing service activities, mapped across to the TEI service options and flexible activities.  You will need to complete this mapping to be able to collect data using the Data Exchange (DEX). DEX has been set up to collect data against TEI Service Options and Flexible Activities, not the service activity descriptions in the current funded programs for Community Builders, Families NSW, Aboriginal Child, Youth & Family Strategy, Child Youth and Family Support, and Getting It Together.

The Activity Mapping template will also be able to be used as a record at the end of the reporting period to explain any deviation between contracted service activities and actual service delivery.

Q – Where can I get help completing the Activity Mapping template?

There are three main ways to get help completing the Activity Mapping template – by referring to the User Guide; by contacting your local FACS District; or by emailing the TEI mailbox.

Q – Do I need to complete the Activity Mapping template before I can use the DEX?

Yes, the Activity Mapping template maps TEI activities to DEX service types which enables each service to be set up correctly on the DEX.

Q – I can’t see the activities we deliver reflected in the descriptions for service options and flexible activities. What should I do?

The descriptions provided in the Targeted Earlier Intervention (TEI) User Guide: Activity Mapping Template and Appendix B to the Data Exchange Protocols are intended as a guide, containing examples of service delivery. They are not exhaustive descriptions. Use your judgment and talk to your local FACS office to decide where your activities best fit.

Your feedback is invaluable and we want to learn from you, so please send an email to TEIReform@facs.nsw.gov.au with suggestions of ways we can improve the resources available to the TEI sector. We intend to update resources and systems over time to best serve our communities and the sector supporting them.

Q - What is the link between activity mapping and the TEI Program Logic?

We would recommend using the activities found in the 2019 Activity Mapping User Guide, this is the most up-to-date resource. After the Program Logic for the TEI Program was developed, the Flexible Activities under TEI were updated to align with the Data Exchange (DEX) service types. We are currently updating the Program Logic to reflect this. The Service Options in the Program Logic remain the same.

TEI - Completing a Program Logic

Q - What is expected of services regarding program logics right now?

If your service has chosen Pathway 1, it is important to start thinking about your program logic, and how you can involve your whole team in its development. Development of a program logic is one of the key components of implementing the TEI Outcomes Framework under Pathway 1.

If your service has chosen Pathway 2, we still encourage you to develop a program logic, to help to describe your service delivery in the context of evidence and client outcomes. Program logics are an important process, and support thoughtful program design and review.

Learning the basics about program logics is a good starting point. Training is available under the Sector Assistance Training (see FAQs under Sector Assistance Strategy for more information),  and FACS is developing resources to support you too, which will be available online shortly.

In TEI, your program logic/s will need to reflect a broad range of good quality evidence that supports interventions and practices, and show an understanding of the needs of target groups. Evidence used in program logics should be closely linked to specific program components and activities.

Q – When do program logics need to be completed?

In line with services being able to opt into Pathway 1 at any time, there is no timeframe for developing a program logic. It is important not to rush into completing a program logic, the process itself is as important as the finished document.

Q - What program logic template should I use?

There are many program logic templates available, and services can choose a template that suits their unique context. There is no mandatory template.

The FACS program logic template, developed for broad use across all of FACS program areas, is an optional starting point for services. TEI specific resources are being developed to help guide both the step by step program logic process and thinking about what evidence to include.

Q - Where can I get support to develop my program logic?

ACWA CCWT is currently running an introductory level outcomes training course as part of the TEI Sector Assistance Strategy, which involves getting started on developing a program logic. Find out more here, including how to register. If you miss the face-to face version of this training, keep an eye out for the online version of the training which will be available soon and promoted via TEI Inform.

NCOSS and FAMS are conducting Outcomes Measurement Practice Workshops which also include a practical component on developing Program Logics. Register here.

Services that have accessed the available training and find they still need additional help can consider contacting NCOSS for individualised support. Click here for information about how to apply.

You can also seek support via your local FACS District.

Q – Does my program logic need to be approved by FACS?

You will not be required to formally submit your program logic to FACS for approval. However, we are interested in this work and keen to learn from services about their experience of the process.

A program logic may also be a helpful tool to explain changes you might like to make to service delivery as part of the Activity Mapping process.

Reporting and working with the Data Exchange (DEX)

Q – I missed the DEX training? Will there be more sessions?

DEX face-to-face training sessions were held between December 2018 and March 2019 in 20 locations across the State. The DEX face-to-face training is now finished. If you weren’t able to get to a DEX face-to-face training session, there are still plenty of ways to learn about DEX, including:

  • Watch the Data Exchange 101 webinar on the DSS website.
  • Read the Data Exchange Protocols including Appendix B – State Agencies, which includes detailed TEI program specific information.
  • Look at the DEX Training presentation slides:
    • Session 1 provided participants with:
      • an introduction to the Data Exchange and core concepts including priority requirements, clients, cases and sessions.
      • an explanation of how TEI will work in the Data Exchange, including demonstration of how to enter data using TEI examples
    • Session 2 covered the Data Exchange partnership approach, collection of outcomes information and how to use the Data Exchange reports.
  • You can also access a range of task cards and e-Learning modules that describe and discuss the different processes on the Data Exchange.

Q – What else do I need before I can start using DEX?

Besides mapping your activities, you will need an AUSkey for each member of staff using the DEX. AUSkeys are managed by the Australian Business Register. Find out here how to set up an AUSkey. As the process can take time, the sooner you get started on this the better.

Q – How can I try the DEX before we start entering data?

DEX does not have a learning environment to enter test data. However, there is a very helpful learning resource on the DEX website called ‘Task Cards’ that provides screenshots and guidance for using the DEX.

Q - If we have already been using the DEX will we have to re-enter client details?

No, clients are only entered once in the DEX and are never closed.

Q - Who will be able to see client details and data on the DEX?

In line with privacy laws, FACS and DSS can only see de-identified data. Visibility of clients within each organisation depends on each staff member’s DEX access level. Organisations can choose who has access to what internally. Clients are not visible to other organisations, however de-identified data can be shared between organisations through what is referred to as a handshake.

Q – What data is reported in DEX?

The DEX Protocols and Appendix B detail how TEI activities (or DEX service types) will be reported in DEX for each of the five TEI service options (or DEX program activities).

Data to be reported includes:

  • client demographics and need
  • service provider activities (e.g. number of events, number of parenting groups)
  • short-term client and community outcomes reported via SCORE (please refer below for more information on SCORE).

Q - For group activities, do individual clients need to be entered into the DEX system? And if so, what data will need to be recorded about them?

If the group activity falls within Service Options 4 and 5, under the Wellbeing and Safety Program Stream, then it is expected that the majority of participants in group activities will be known to the service and included as clients in DEX. An example of this would include a parenting program.

If the group activity falls within Service Options 1, 2, or 3, under the Community Strengthening Program Stream, an unidentified group may be reported in DEX. Service providers may also report a mix of identified and unidentified clients. Examples of where the use of unidentified group clients may be appropriate include large group information sessions or community groups or events. However, providers should aim to collect individual client details for each participant/attendee where practical.

The DEX Protocols and Appendix B include guidance on the proportion of unidentified clients reported for each service option. For example, a high number of unidentified clients are expected for community support activities, and a low number is expected for more targeted and intensive activities. The percentages are a guide to support quality data and shared learning, rather than a strict rule. It is most important that service delivery is client centred, and not driven primarily by a need to ensure compliance with data reporting guidelines.

Q – How do I report outcomes in DEX and what is SCORE?

DEX provides services with flexibility on outcomes measurement.

Short-term client outcomes will be recorded in DEX through the SCORE (Standard Client/Community Outcomes Reporting) framework. SCORE is a methodology for standardised reporting of outcomes data.

Services can choose to use validated outcomes measurement tools, such as the Personal Wellbeing Index (PWI), or their own in-house tools, and then translate these to SCORE to report into DEX.

Alternatively, services may choose to use SCORE assessment questions directly to measure outcomes.

Client and community outcomes can be achieved in a variety of different ways, and progressively over time. They range from immediate short term outcomes to longer-term changes that positively affect a client’s life circumstances.

There are four different types of outcomes measured through SCORE; three for individual clients (their circumstances, goals and satisfaction) and one for a group/community.

  • Circumstances - changes in client circumstances, such as mental/physical health, material well-being and situation.
  • Goals - progress in achieving specific goals, such as behaviours, skills of lessening the impact of a crisis.
  • Satisfaction – did the client feel the service met their needs?
  • Community - changes in group, organisation, and community capacity to address identified needs.

SCOREs are captured at the session level, and are reported using a five-point rating scale. This provides a consistent and comparable way to translate outcomes across programs using the Data Exchange. A SCORE is also recorded in two parts; using an initial SCORE towards the beginning of service and a subsequent SCORE either at the end of service delivery, or at regular intervals into the future to track a client’s progress.

Not all SCORE questions have to be asked by service providers. Service providers have the flexibility to choose the most appropriate questions based on the outcome they are trying to achieve with each separate activity.

Further information on SCORE and details of the validated tools that are translated for SCORE can be found in the Data Exchange SCORE Translation Matrix.

Q - How will data reported in DEX be analysed and used?

Data reported in the DEX will better support FACS and service providers to work together to deliver quality services and achieve client and community outcomes.

Services can access and analyse their own data, and may choose to share their data with other organisations and local governance groups or learning circles. Services will be able to use the data to inform quality and practice improvement by better understanding if the intended outcomes of their activities are being achieved.

FACS will only see de-identified data and will not be able to identify individual clients. Data will be used by Districts and service providers to support shared learning. FACS will work with stakeholders to develop reports for this purpose at District and state wide levels.

Prior to recommissioning, FACS will use the data reported by a service in Pathway 1 to test, learn and improve the reporting process While we are in this test and learn phase, the quality and amount of data reported in DEX will not be used by FACS to inform recommissioning decisions.

Q - Will there be any feedback provided to service providers once they submit their data?

Yes.  Opportunities for shared learning is key, including DEX data reports, local governance discussions and ongoing District contract management and support.

Q -Will services be required to report on how they are achieving long term client outcome indicators at the population level, such as reductions in ROSH reporting or school attendance rates?

No, service providers are not accountable for longer term client outcomes as indicated by population level measures such as ROSH rates. Service provider activities contribute to longer term client outcomes, but services are only accountable for performance level data, including shorter term client outcomes.

TEI – Evidence and Evaluation Fund

Q – What is the Evidence and Evaluation Fund?

A TEI Evidence and Evaluation Fund is being established to help build the local evidence base for earlier intervention and innovation. The Fund is expected to allow successful applicants to evaluate and demonstrate their effectiveness.

Q – When will an EOI be released for the Evidence and Evaluation Fund?

An EOI is currently being developed and will be distributed when finalised later in 2019.

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Last updated: 04 Jun 2019
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