The Departments of Finance, Treasury, and Premier and Cabinet are leading the development of Western Australia's first State Commissioning Strategy for community services.
To develop the Strategy, we've consulted with a range of stakeholders, including the community services sector, service user representatives and advocates, and other government agencies. An Independent Review Panel was also formed to provide advice on key issues the Strategy should address.
Why we are developing the Strategy
The Strategy will enable a coherent approach to strategic commissioning to be implemented across State Government.
It will provide an opportunity to:
- embed a system-wide approach grounded in outcomes
- plan and design place-based services that respond to user needs
- prioritise genuine partnership and the leadership of Aboriginal people and organisations
- ensure sustainable services that deliver value
- invest in evidence-based early intervention and prevention
- strengthen monitoring, evaluation, and review of services.
Who we consulted with
We released a discussion paper to obtain feedback from the community services sector, service user representatives, government agencies, and the general public.
The discussion paper invited comments on a range of topics, including sector engagement, commissioning best practice, capability building, place-based services, and the involvement of Aboriginal people and Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs). The paper was open for community feedback from 30 July 2021 to 3 September 2021. We also held four consultation workshops that provided a forum for the 96 attendees to provide direct feedback.
We received 40 submissions from a variety of community services organisations, consumer advocate groups, government agencies and members of the public from across the State.
Key themes emerged during consultation, including the need for co-design, capability building, sustainability, Aboriginal empowerment and self-determination, outcomes measurement, evidence-based service models and data, contract flexibility, and governance, accountability and transparency.
Co-design was referenced most frequently by consultation participants, emphasising the important role it plays in the design, delivery and evaluation of community services. It was explored in the context of service user voice, and culturally appropriate service design..
Feedback indicated that effective service user voice would ensure meaningful co-design and result in services tailored to the needs of the end user.
Flexible, place-based, and culturally safe and responsive forms of co-design were highlighted as methods to support engagement with Aboriginal people and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people.
Government agencies identified time constraints and capability as barriers to conducting meaningful co-design with service users. Transparent and ongoing feedback loops by government agencies were also recognised as vital to effective co-design.
A high proportion of respondents suggested government develop a structured co-design model that will increase participation and empower and enable service users to express their views.
Commissioning and co-design capability building across government and the community services sector were identified as essential to successfully implement the Strategy. Considerable additional skills in commissioning, as opposed to procurement, were noted as essential, as was expertise in undertaking co-design. Respondents also indicated that peak bodies need to play a significant role in facilitating capability building for their community service provider members.
Sustainability of services was considered a critical factor in commissioning and the successful implementation of the Strategy.
Sustainable services enable providers to attract and retain staff, imperative to the quality of outcomes experienced by service users. Respondents recommended shared costing and pricing models, genuine pricing reviews and independent pricing assessments to support funding sustainability.
Longer contract terms were also suggested to attract and retain staff in the community services sector, and support the sustainability of services.
Aboriginal empowerment and self-determination
Aboriginal empowerment and self-determination were explored in the context of co-design and use of ACCOs to deliver services for Aboriginal people. The role of ACCOs in enhancing Aboriginal empowerment and decision making was viewed as key to achieving outcomes for Aboriginal people and driving Aboriginal self-determination.
The development of ACCO businesses to deliver services was identified as key to driving localised Aboriginal-led solutions led by communities affected by the services. Aboriginal-led decision making and co-design around relevant services was emphasised as essential to achieving outcomes and facilitating empowerment and self-determination.
Outcomes measurement was considered a key enabler to commissioning. Embedding an outcomes measurement framework was identified as pivotal to measuring long-term outcomes of services. This included noting the need for further funding and development of WA's Outcomes Measurement Framework.
Evidence-based service models and data
Evidence-based service models were a recurring theme in responses, with an emphasis on data as a catalyst to drive evidence-based commissioning and commissioning for outcomes. Data capturing, sharing, monitoring and evaluation were also highlighted as mechanisms to achieve long-term outcomes.
Contract flexibility was highlighted as a key enabler for services to adapt to changing service user needs and demographics over time. It was also identified as a mechanism to drive innovation in the design and delivery of services, and support positive outcomes in the context of place and community.
Governance, accountability, and transparency
Governance, accountability, and transparency were explored in the context of delineation of responsibilities for the implementation of the Strategy, service design, delivery and review and the alignment of whole-of-government priorities. The establishment of governance frameworks were highlighted as vital for holding government to account.
Transparency was highlighted as a key component in the design, delivery and review of services. Transparency in government planning and decision-making and ongoing communication with the community services sector was emphasised in building and maintaining the relationship between government and the sector.