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Update on the TEI reform

You may by now have heard of some updates to the TEI reform. Firstly, we want to assure you of our commitment that all services will continue to be funded at their current level until June 2020. This will provide you with funding certainty so you can continue ongoing service delivery for your clients under your current contract, and allow ample time to collaborate around TEI planning and the development of improved local service models.

Good progress has been made regarding local planning, and soon we will share with you the results of this process. There has been collaboration with providers and peaks, detailed local analysis of existing services, the TEI Outcomes Framework has been completed, and sector capability funding delivered and commenced. This has been a long process, and we appreciate your ongoing engagement. So that we can continue to work together as we plan for the future we want update you on some of the next steps for TEI and related reforms over the next 18 months. We will focus on building on what we have learnt regarding the needs of our communities as well as improving outcomes from our ongoing investment in early intervention services.

You will not be asked to make the changes to your service delivery during this contract term, but FACS welcomes early adopters and will support those wishing to adjust their service model in line with our priorities. In the coming months we will:

  • Establish an Early Intervention Evidence Fund to support NGOs evaluate services and help build a stronger local evidence base of what is working locally.
  • Launch a showcase of What Works for prevention and early intervention research in 2019, to curate the best of local and international evidence for social and economic outcomes. This evidence base will inform re-commissioning in 2020.
  • We will begin working with you to help map your work against the TEI Outcomes Framework.
  • We will present district snapshots with the latest available data to articulate the needs of local communities.
  • We will also begin working with you to prepare for a transition to a new data collection service, the Department of Social Services’ Data Exchange (DEX). This will reduce duplication and make data recording easier for you.
  • Your peaks will continue to deliver sector assistance services to help you improve your services and plan for change if needed.
  • We will partner with you on related reforms across the service system including the Their Futures Matter reforms for vulnerable children, young people and families.
  • In 2019 we will commence planning and co-designing with you for the re-commissioning in 2020. This will be informed by current reforms underway including Their Futures Matter.
  • We will keep you updated through your Peaks, District leaders and TEI newsletters.

We are committed to developing a long-term vision for early intervention services. This means, the integration of our TEI programs with complementary reforms, including the Permanency Support Program and Their Futures Matter. We will develop this vision in partnership with you. Providers will be invited to participate in Their Futures Matter consultation for the redesign of the access system. In addition, two workshops were held with the Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) on 17 October and 13 November. The MAG was provided with an update on the work to date, and input was sought on the design and on preferred ways of working with the MAG in the future.  Insights will be presented to the TFM Board at the end of November 2018, alongside the strategic business case for consideration. Further consultation and advice from the sector will be undertaken after the board meeting in November.

We will be in touch about DEX training. Initial training has been scheduled as follows:

DEX training

Date and venue

Target audience

DEX intro webinar Available anytime
  • All stakeholders via webinar link (to be provided soon)
  • Strongly recommended for new DEX users
Sydney Metro # 1 Mon 10 Dec 2018
Parramatta RSL
  • Sydney metro TEI service providers
Sydney Metro # 2 Tue 11 Dec 2018 Mercure (next to Central)
  • Sydney metro TEI   service providers
District FACS staff Wed 12 Dec 2018 Parramatta RSL
  • FACS District   Commissioning & Planning staff

Further information is available at www.facs.nsw.gov.au. To discuss any aspect of the TEI reforms please contact Anthony Shannon, Director, Inclusion and Early Intervention at anthony.shannon@facs.nsw.gov.au

FACS and the HSOF

The Human Services Outcomes Framework is central to the TEI reform and the NSW Governments’ approach to program design, delivery and evaluation but did you know it was originally developed by FACS? We spoke to Samantha Adams, from the research arm of FACS, who explained the background.

Samantha  from FACS research, analysis and insights (FACSIAR) told us about the thinking and work behind the framework and why it’s so crucial to the reforms.

Back in 2015 the framework was developed to focus on client outcomes and for people to consolidate their thinking at the beginning of projects. FACSIAR saw that client wellbeing relies on a number of cross-agency factors and so they came up with the seven domains – education and skills, economic, health, home, safety, empowerment and social and community. The idea was then taken up by the Social Innovation Council. “That was great,” says Samantha, “because now everyone talks about it and uses it.”

Of course, coming up with the application of the framework to early intervention wasn’t a simple process. A team comprised of Commissioning and FACSIAR spent six months reviewing national and international literature. They had the comprehensive ARACY report Better Systems, Better Chances as a basis. They looked at risk and protective factors along with associated outcomes and from there they created evidence-based pathways.

What they found Samantha says, is no surprise to anyone working in the space, “The evidence is telling us the earlier you get in, obviously you’re going to minimise the negative outcomes or experience that kids would have that would potentially lead to negative outcomes.”

One of the tools developed as part of the outcomes framework is the TEI program logic. FACSIAR and the TEI reform team collaborated on it. The tool is deceptively simple – “but it took us a long time to get there,” says Samantha.  I think it’s a fantastic tool because it allows us to logically understand who we’re trying to help, how we’re gong to help them and why we’re going to do specific activities.” What’s great about it says Samantha is that “it’s a living document” designed to be tailored and modified.

The whole idea of the reforms is to change life trajectories. “We can support children to stay in school but the long term impact is that we then want to see that they can go onto further education.” While it’s going to take a long time to see those sort of results, Samantha says in terms of just measuring what our services are delivering, “We should be able to see them in a couple of years.” It’s the very start of achieving lasting change.

Focus on outcomes for Metro Assist clients and staff

The DEX, or data exchange, is an Australian Government reporting framework designed to create stronger community outcomes. A number of targeted earlier intervention providers recently took part in a trial. We spoke to Michelle Lazaris of Metro Assist who was surprised at how the DEX helped them to see their client’s outcomes so soon. When asylum seeker Long  arrived in Australia 18 months ago with her husband and three small children, her dream was to find a good job. What she didn’t expect was that getting her youngest daughter into childcare would be such an expensive barrier. Long turned to Metro Assist for help.

It just so happened that as Long started her journey with Metro Assist, they were undertaking a trial with the Data Exchange as part of the TEI reform. Metro Assist Family Services Manager, Michelle Lazaris, says using the DEX allowed them to take clients like Long along on the journey “to see themselves and see the growth that comes with that.”

Long took part in a 12-week program whereby she was paired up with a caseworker who helped her to find the most affordable rates for childcare in her local centres. She ended up getting her daughter into childcare two days a week which enabled her to secure a part time job.

What was beneficial about using the DEX at the same time, says Michelle, is that they were able to demonstrate the client outcomes.

While collecting this data allowed them to keep the client’s needs front and centre, using the system also had added benefits for staff. “It was a time for staff to grow,” says Michelle. Taking a step back and reflecting on the outcomes of their work, she says, is not something caseworkers often get to do. “We were able to make sure what we’re collecting is meaningful for client outcomes and not just collecting for sake of collecting.”

Perhaps the best testament of all though, says Michelle, was the beautiful paintings Long’s children did showing how happy the family were. “It just makes you realise that something that seems quite small like securing childcare and getting a good job, is a really significant achievement for the client. The DEX allowed us to demonstrate that significance.”

DEX fact sheet and training schedule

An MOU has now been signed between FACS and the Department of Social Services to configure DEX for the TEI program. Work is now underway.

After researching a range of data systems and conducting a data trial project, the DEX was chosen for its whole of government approach and client focus.

Have a read of the attached fact sheet about using the data exchange. The fact sheet outlines information about:

  • Why the DEX was chosen
  • What data will be collected
  • DEX training and support
  • Applying for an Auskey, which allows you to access and send business information to government online

DEX training schedule

LocationDateConfirmed VenueRegistration
Wollongong Thursday, 14 February 2019 The Quality Suites, Pioneer Sands
19 Carters Lane, Towradgi  NSW 2518
Register here
Wollongong Friday, 15 February 2019 The Quality Suites, Pioneer Sands
19 Carters Lane, Towradgi  NSW 2518
Register here
Wagga Wagga Tuesday, 19 February 2019 Wagga RSL
Kincaid St & Dobbs St, Wagga Wagga NSW 2650
Register here
Orange Wednesday, 20 February 2019 Orange Ex-Services Club 
231-243 Anson St, Orange NSW 2800
Register here
Blacktown Thursday, 21 February 2019 Blacktown Workers Club
55 Campbell St, Blacktown NSW 2148
Register here
Sydney City Friday, 22 February 2019 The Portside Centre
Kent Street, Sydney
Register here
Armidale Tuesday, 26 February 2019 Armidale Bowling Club
92-96 Dumaresq Street, Armidale
02 6772 5666
Register here
Ballina Thursday, 28 February 2019 Ballina Byron Islander Resort and Conference Centre
1 Ronan Place, West Ballina  2478
6686 8866
Register here
Gosford Tuesday, 5 March 2019 Mingara Recreation Club
Mingara Drive, Tumbi Umbi NSW 2261
Register here
Newcastle Wednesday, 6 March 2019 Novotel Newcastle Beach
5 King Street, Newcastle 2300
Register here
Maitland Thursday, 7 March 2019 Hunter Gateway Motel
11 Denton Park Drive, Rutherford Hunter Valley 2320
4937 7999
Register here
Queanbeyan
(CANCELLED)
Tuesday, 12 March 2019 Kangaroos League Club
74 Stuart Street Queanbeyan NSW 2620
6297 6222
SESSION CANCELLED
Dubbo Thursday, 14 March 2019 Lazy River Estate
29R Old Dubbo Rd, Dubbo NSW 2830
Register here
Coffs Harbour Tuesday, 19 March 2019 Opal Cove
Opal Boulevard, Coffs Harbour 2450
Register here
Nepean Blue Mountains Wednesday, 20 March 2019 Panthers
123 Mulgoa Road, Penrith
Register here
Liverpool Tuesday, 26 March 2019 Cabravale Diggers Club
1 Bartley St Canley Vale, NSW 2166
Register here

What can I do to prepare for training?
Have a look at the DEX website, it has lots of resources. We ask that you view the Data Exchange 101 - Introduction Webinar. See the story in our last newsletter about MetroAssist who took part in our DEX trial. And see our DEX fact sheet. We also strongly encourage you to register as soon as possible for an AUSkey.

If you have questions relating to the use of the DEX, or would like to get in touch with the TEI reform Team.

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Last updated: 11 Jan 2019
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