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Social inclusion initiatives: the effect of joined up approaches Justine McNamara and Alicia Payne Paper presented at the 11 th Australian Institute of.

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Presentation on theme: "Social inclusion initiatives: the effect of joined up approaches Justine McNamara and Alicia Payne Paper presented at the 11 th Australian Institute of."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social inclusion initiatives: the effect of joined up approaches Justine McNamara and Alicia Payne Paper presented at the 11 th Australian Institute of Family Studies Conference, Melbourne, July 7-9 th 2010

2 2 Acknowledgements This research was initiated and funded by the ACT Chief Ministers Department on behalf of the ACT Community Inclusion Board. The authors would like to thank Robert Tanton and Ann Harding of NATSEM for their advice on this project, and Linda Dwyer of NATSEM for her assistance in sourcing materials for this study. We are also grateful to Claire Barbato of the ACT Chief Ministers Department for her helpful comments on a draft version of the report on which this presentation is based.

3 3 Background In 2009, the ACT Chief Ministers Department commissioned NATSEM to undertake a review of social inclusion initiatives which used a joined up approach Critical analysis focusing on: -Types of factors that contributed to program success -Lessons from evaluations -Contextualising findings

4 4 Scope and definitions What to include as a social inclusion initiative? - Focused on programs aimed broadly at reducing social exclusion (rather than addressing particular sources of disadvantage) and on interventions with families and communities with multiple vulnerabilities

5 5 Scope and definitions How to define joined up? Joined-up services are those involving more than one agency that are coordinated and integrated around the needs of the individual citizen in the context of his or her family and community (Tasmanian Social Inclusion Unit 2008, p. 12) -Not just whole of government but also collaborations with and between community sector organisations -Can relate to policy and/or service delivery -Vertical and horizontal

6 6 Assessing the quality of evaluations process and outcome not all outcome evaluations support causal inferences mixed methods difficulty of teasing out the effects of joined up approaches from other program characteristics

7 7 Complex problems, complex programs, complex evaluations Complex, community-based initiatives are hard to evaluate because of their size and the speed with which they are being rolled out, and because they are trying to address multiple problems within shifting political environments (Coote et al. 2004, p. ix)

8 8 International evaluations -Many place-based -Often an overarching strategy which is then implemented at a local level -Most evaluations based on qualitative enquiry, sometimes supplemented with analysis of general quantitative indicators, rather than control group comparisons.

9 9 International evaluations Program areas with relatively strong evaluations include: neighbourhood renewal, high risk children, highly disadvantaged public housing tenants, school-based community initiatives

10 10 Australian evaluations -Many place-based -Not all gave enough information about nature of joined up approach -Some smaller scale, demonstration projects

11 11 Australian evaluations Programs with relatively strong evaluations include: -Communities for Children; -Breaking Cycles, Building Futures (part of Victorias Best Start initiative); -Neighbourhood Renewal Victoria; -School Retention Action Plan, South Australia

12 12 What types of outcomes appear to improve? Examples (from both Australian and international evidence): School retention rates Workforce participation Child development Crime rates

13 13 What types of outcomes appear to improve? Plus service delivery improvements: identification of gaps, reduction of duplication, better referral systems, higher client satisfaction Note: hard to get at effect of joined up part of program innovations, but were often deeply embedded in implementation

14 14 What works? Strong, strategic, centralized leadership Community and client engagement Importance of involving universal services: unstigmatised platforms from which to reach vulnerable families in holistic ways (Scott 2008, p.3)

15 15 What works? Key worker, place manager or single entry systems Collaboration in relation to resources, training and information sharing Benefits of pre-existing relationships between agencies Flexibility and tailoring (including funding)

16 16 Potential pitfalls and problems Differences in service culture and values Overcoming entrenched ways of working Problems with achieving outcomes for all target groups Problems with moving from pilot to mainstream Unintended negative consequences

17 17 What can be learned from all this? Good planning essential, including good understanding of local conditions Wide possible range of target populations (many successful social inclusion initiatives have a preventative focus) Joining up needs to happen not just between service providers/policy makers but also with target populations/communities

18 18 What can be learned from all this? Place-based programs can be successful in smaller and larger geographic areas How to best engage with /make central the role of universal services and community agencies How to effectively join up services for the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach

19 19 Full paper available at: 4839/social_inclusion_initiatives.pdf

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