Start small and keep building
“For any outcomes framework to be successfully implemented within services, it must be both useful and convenient for workers.”
Throughout the design phase, Anglicare Victoria focused on key outcome areas as opposed to trying to measure every outcome that may possibly be of interest. The research team reduced the total number of questions from several hundred to more manageable 30-75 questions (depending on the age of the child or young person).
The revised survey includes a mix of
psychometric measures and specific questions relating to placement quality issues. Check out the measures Anglicare Victoria used at the bottom of the page.
Most importantly, the survey now only takes between 5 – 15 minutes (depending on the age of the child) and can be completed over the course of several input sessions – providing staff with the opportunity to gather additional information if required.
Reducing the administrative burden
A major consideration for the design team was to save staff time, which would increase the likelihood of survey completion and quality data.
By structuring the survey in accordance with the LAC developmental domains, workers can simply copy and paste straight from the results-report into the required fields for DHHS reporting, specifically the qualitative-input fields of the DHHS Review of Care and Placement Plans and 15+ Care and Transition Plans.
Survey scheduling is also built into each child or young person’s individual placement review cycle, enabling survey-related work to be staggered across the year, rather than all coming at once for all children and young people within a worker’s caseload.
Embedding a commitment to practice improvement
When designing the practice framework, Anglicare Victoria identified instruments and questions that could serve as a measure of client psychosocial wellbeing and developmental progress, as well as an assessment of placement and service quality. The survey results-report enables practitioners to reflect on client strengths and challenges, including in relation to the quality of placements.
This highlights useful areas of focus for the next six months, leading up to the next review. Additionally,
principles and advice is automatically included within the results-reports. This provides useful practice guidance around how to intervene regarding areas of difficulty highlighted in the data for an individual child.
Selecting IT systems to support success and foster confidence
Anglicare Victoria recognised the need for the survey interface to be easy for workers to access and use. Their Learning System Grant enabled the agency to use the services of Orima Research, which provide the interface and secure data-capturing systems for the survey. However, organisations with a smaller budget could potentially harness existing data analytics services offered by the government.
Having the right skills and expertise for the job
Anglicare Victoria’s research team dedicated significant thought to the development of the outcomes tool. The project drew on in-house expertise of staff in key positions, including executive management and principal practitioner roles, research and analytics, and direct service staff. This kind of multi-disciplinary collaboration helps ensure the finished product meets the needs of all stakeholders – including service staff, researchers, management, funders and – most importantly – clients.
“Your assessment/review measures and outcomes measures should be the same tools in a process sense…requiring workers to complete separate assessment/review and outcomes measures is just too much work. They need to be spending as much time as possible engaging with clients, not completing paperwork.”