District Leadership Groups

District Leadership Groups (DLG) operate across Western Australia and meet regularly to explore local issues and initiatives.
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Membership of the groups include representatives from State and Commonwealth governments, local government, the community services sector, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations and industry.

As DLGs continue to strengthen their governance and operations, their impact on improving outcomes for all Western Australians will increase.

The primary role of DLGs across the State is to:

  • identify shared local priorities
  • develop collective strategies to address local priorities
  • deliver collaborative initiatives to address local priorities
  • provide a consultation and feedback forum for State Government and other place-based initiatives, including the provision of timely and accurate local information to government and other stakeholders
  • consult with local communities, coordinate services, measure impact and share expertise and resources in their region. 

The Department of Communities is acting as the driver and facilitator for DLG development in WA by providing a program of support to each DLG, including in relation to governance, capacity development and strategic priority-setting.

The Human Services Directors General Group provides oversight for DLGs and has endorsed the Department of Communities as the lead agency for DLG Development.

What’s happening

Communities provides support to DLGs including:

  • facilitated workshops
  • a central register of membership, meeting dates and regional outcomes
  • standardised benchmarks in relation to membership, governance and operations, including standard templates and pro formas.
  • supporting the delivery of DLG funding
  • an online portal for DLG members

In consultation with DLGs and key stakeholders, Communities is continuing to work to address challenges and opportunities for DLGs to ensure they are equipped and empowered to deliver better outcomes in local communities.

Communities is also providing specific support to DLGs in the South West Native Title Settlement (SWS) area. The SWS is an agreement between the Noongar people and WA Government across approximately 200,0000 square kilometres of the south-west region. The SWS supports the WA Government to work in partnership with the Noongar people to elevate economic, social and community outcomes.

The SWS includes a Community Development Framework (CDF) and DLGs across the SWS area have been named in this as key regional engagement partners. Under the CDF, DLGs are encouraged to build relationships with the respective SWS Noongar Regional Corporations to establish ways of working together. Communities is supporting DLGs to engage with Regional Corporations. 

What people are saying

Michael Piu, CEO, St Patrick’s Community Support Centre, (Chair, SW Metropolitan DLG):

“The collective efforts of the District Leadership Group have been instrumental in achieving good local outcomes. We’ve been able to identify priorities that matter in this community, and genuinely work together to find the best way to make a difference.”

Jamie Strickland (Chair, Great Southern and Wheatbelt DLG):

“The support of the DLG Development Team has been critical with the two DLGs that I am currently Chairing. One DLG hadn’t met for some time and required a refresh, and the other had an unforeseen change in leadership. In addition, for both, there will be significant work through the implementation of the South West Native Title Settlement, which is new territory. The DLG Development Team has worked with and supported the DLGs to ensure that we have access to resources and information, including information from other key agencies and are in a good position to move ahead. They really are a key partner for the DLGs that I am involved with."

DLG in action

Keeping Kids Engaged in School

Keeping Kids Engaged in School, delivered with the support of Lotterywest is the flagship program for the South West Metropolitan DLG Imagined Futures Youth Initiative Working Group. It is an early intervention approach designed to encourage children and young people’s desire to stay at school, foster their sense of belonging, build resilience, and support their transition to, and engagement with, high school.

The project encompasses three parts:

Years 4-6 Mentoring & Resilience/Leadership Program

  • A year-long resilience and leadership program delivered in primary schools targeting students from years 4 to 6
  • Providing mentoring and transition support to year 4 to 6 students in feeder primary schools

Years 7-9 Change Champions & Resilience Program

  • A term-long leadership and resilience program delivered in secondary schools, run for separate groups in terms one and two for students from years 7 to 9
  • A leadership and mentoring program called Change Champions delivered in secondary schools in terms 3 and 4 to students from years 7 to 9

Keeping Kids Engaged in School Program 2020-21 Impact

284 students participated in the program across three primary schools and three high schools.

Participants demonstrated improvements in:

  • Wellbeing and self-esteem
  • Behaviour
  • Sense of belonging and social connectedness
  • Leadership skills
  • Engagement with education

Schools report that the program acts as a basis for culture change across the cohort:

  • A sustainable path for the model has been identified with Palmerston committing funding to future delivery of program
  • The program model has been documented, and an information pack for schools developed
  • A research project received ethics approval and data collection has been undertaken

The group also seized upon opportunities to fill gaps identified at working group meetings including:

  • Instigated and supported the development of the Neami National funded Helping a Friend online resource to assist youth if a friend disclosed thoughts of suicide to them online
  • Trialled a program to support Year 9 youth at Fremantle College facilitated by Uniting WA with assistance from City of Fremantle

Notre Dame Research Findings Case Study

Nurturing the capacity of young people is arguably the most powerful opportunity available to stem the rising tide of disadvantage we are seeing in our communities.

The Imagined Futures partnership devised the early intervention program for students spanning the transition from primary school to high school. Keeping Kids Engaged in School has brought together schools, other government agencies and local not-for-profits to deliver a strengths-based program – the content of which is driven by the students themselves.

During 2021 Imagined Futures partnered with the University of Notre Dame to undertake an evaluation of the Keeping Kids Engaged Program by capturing the views of teachers, parents and, most importantly, honouring the student voice for whom the program was devised.

The research found that the success of the program is evident – especially the key feature of the program not being a ‘one-size fits all’ approach. Instead, the program is able to evolve organically to service the needs of the particular students in each school. The students could clearly identify with the program and were proud to be involved.

Acknowledging and empowering the voices of those to whom the program is targeted is perhaps the most salient way of determining program outcomes. Together the students, parents and school personnel have provided strong endorsement for the continuation of the program in their school.