Services Connect was first implemented across five Department of Human Services trial sites from 2012. Community Services Organisations subsequently participated in a two-year trial of the program across eight Services Connect Partnership sites, between October 2014 and October 2016.
The program was subject to extensive independent evaluations.
The Services Connect Client Support model was tested across five lead sites between 2012 and 2014.
Evaluations found client support staff were working hard to make the model work for clients and that over time clients were experiencing some reduction in the use of intense services and in the number of case managers or workers they interacted with.
However, the evaluations also found that the main objective of the model was not being achieved – more than 40 per cent of clients did not have a single, comprehensive needs assessment completed. Services Connect worker’s caseloads were lower than their peers and that cases were often “cherry picked” so as not to include the more complex client cases.
Further design work was needed to make the model work more broadly, and more time was needed to ensure clients received a consistent, reliable service that would meet its ambitious objectives.
However, the Services Connect lead site tests have provided significant learnings on integrated service delivery.
The future design of Victoria’s community service system must consider all current reform agendas, trials and innovations, inquiries and recommendations. These include but are not limited to the:
- Royal Commission into Family Violence
- Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse
- Roadmap for Reform and the
- National Disability Insurance Scheme.
This collective knowledge will form a foundation for future service system design - one premised on enhanced service integration and better outcomes for vulnerable people and families.
Services Connect Partnerships were established at 8 sites in Victoria, involving 115 agencies in the community services sector.
The two-year partnership trials ran from October 2014 to October 2016.
Pricewaterhouse Coopers was engaged in partnership with the University of Melbourne and the Parenting Research Centre to evaluate the Services Connect trial.