Community Services Directorate
The Community Services Directorate is committed to genuine community engagement by working in partnership with community, including through co-design, co-production and collective impact approaches. For example, the Directorate is implementing an innovative collective impact approach to engaging with community, through the West Belconnen Local Services Network.
The Network’s Community Development and Engagement Framework (framework) is based on the Co-production Approach, which can be utilised to create community-driven actions. The Directorate also engages community through extensive partnerships with community groups. For example, the National Multicultural Festival brings together over 150 community groups each year and is overseen by a steering committee involving representatives from around 40 different multicultural groups.
The Directorate further supports a range of constituent-specific councils, such as the Ministerial Advisory Council on Ageing (MACA), Veterans Advisory Council (VAC), Ministerial Advisory Council on Women (MACW), LGBTIQ Advisory Council (LGBTIQ AD), and the Youth Advisory Council (YAC). The Directorate supports each council to ensure the views of the community are used to inform government. The Seniors Health Roundtable organised in partnership with the MACA, brought together over 70 participants interested in discussing health issues relevant to local seniors.
The Housing ACT Capital Works Program is another way the Directorate engages with the community. A review into how the community can be best engaged on these projects is underway, with the aim of building stronger, more integrated and diverse neighbourhoods.
|Australian Early Development Census (AEDC)—Community Engagement||
The purpose of the consultation was to promote the value of the 2015 AEDC data and support the government, Catholic and Independent school sectors to respond to the developmental vulnerabilities identified through the census. |
The method of engagement was forums for principals, deputy principals, executive teachers and school psychologists held in each of the government school network regions.
Approximately 50 school representatives attended the Belconnen or Tuggeranong government school forums in June 2016.
The outcomes included an opportunity to discuss the developmental vulnerability and early intervention needs of each region, the community needs of each region as identified in the AEDC school summaries and to hear from support services in the region.
These forums were critical in promoting a local area response to AEDC results. Forums are scheduled for the Catholic and Independent school sectors.
Future forums will be held at the Child and Family Centres and Woden Community Service in July–August 2016.
|A Step Up for Our Kids: Implementation program||
Ongoing consultation has occurred through the implementation of A Step Up for Our Kids, to inform stakeholders of the implementation progress, assist them to understand the impact of changes and to seek views on operational aspects of this implementation. |
The method of engagement included meetings, think tanks, newsletters and correspondence from July 2015 to June 2016.
Foster and kinship carers, out-of-home care providers, peak organisations, government staff, the Children and Youth Services Council, Education and Training Directorate, Health Directorate, Justice and Community Safety Directorate, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body and Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) were consulted.
Approximately 60 meetings were held to engage with these stakeholders.
The outcomes are the broader out-of-home care sector has an understanding of A Step Up for Our Kids and how changes may affect them. Feedback has continued to inform various aspects of A Step Up for Our Kids and its implementation.
|NDIS Participant Reference Group||
The purpose of this reference group was to coordinate NDIS participant readiness activities in the ACT. |
The method of engagement was ongoing monthly meetings with people with disability, advocacy agencies and peak organisations.
Approximately 10 people were consulted at each meeting.
The outcome was increased awareness and understanding of participant readiness in the ACT.
|Building the Capacity of Disability Service Workforce||
The purpose of the consultation was to inform the development of a suite of innovative and evidence-based initiatives to assist ACT disability providers to address workforce capacity issues within the NDIS. |
Two open consultations were held with ACT community sector providers with approximately 30 participants. Individual meetings were also held.
The outcome was the development of a proposal to the Australian Government to obtain $1.27 million for NDIS sector development funding.
|Everyone Everyday Program||
The purpose of this program was to engage with primary schools to provide teachers with the knowledge and tools they need to explicitly teach their students concepts that foster inclusive attitudes and behaviours. |
The method of engagement was to promote the resource and professional development program through stakeholder communication channels including the Education and Training Directorate, Catholic Education Office, Association of Independent Schools of the ACT, Teacher Quality Institute, ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations, and the online version of the Australian Curriculum (through the Scootle platform).
The number engaged included 467 teaching staff and pre-service teachers, representing 41 schools, who participated in the professional learning sessions.
The program updated teachers on current perspectives on disability and inclusion, and encouraged the use of the program in primary schools to change negative attitudes relating to disability and inclusion.
|Connect and Participate Expo||
The purpose of this expo held on 19 March 2016, was to provide Canberrans of all abilities with the opportunity to come to the one place on the one day and discover the diverse range of groups and clubs that exist in the community, encouraging them to participate in a community group. |
The method of engagement was to form a working group from government and non-government sectors and contact a diverse range of groups and clubs, offering the opportunity for them to showcase what they do.
The event was promoted to the whole of the Canberra community using a multi-strategy approach.
Approximately 150 groups and clubs participated in the Expo, which was attended by over 8,000 Canberrans, including approximately 20 percent of people with disability.
The outcome was that people with and without disability were able to join groups which promoted inclusiveness and were active within the local community.
|Disability ACT Accommodation Support Family Forums||
The purpose of this forum was to conduct information sessions for families of Disability ACT households on the continuing service and transitions to the NDIS. The method of engagement was an open forum with Disability ACT Accommodation Support clients, families and guardians from July 2015 to June 2016. |
Over 100 people participated in the sessions. Attendance decreased at the end of the year as people transitioned to the NDIS and new service providers.
The outcome was that families have up-to-date information on the continued service and NDIS transition. These forums have now concluded.
|Disability Sector Forum||
The purpose of this forum was to provide information and tools to build the capability of the disability sector. |
The method of engagement was a quarterly forum with funded organisations providing disability services.
The approximate number consulted was 100 people/organisations each quarter.
|Home and Community Care/Disability Services Network||
The purpose of this network is to build the capability of the funded organisations to operate in an NDIS environment. |
The method of engagement was monthly forums in 2015–16 with funded organisations providing disability and home and community care services.
The approximate number consulted was 20 to 30 people/organisations each month.
|Evaluation of Reforms to the Specialist Homelessness Services Sector||
Following the release of the Report on the Evaluation of Reforms to the ACT Specialist Homelessness Service System on 3 August 2015, Housing and Community Services consulted with specialist homelessness providers to redesign the key elements of the homelessness system under the ACT Government’s
Better Services framework. |
The consultation and engagement involved two facilitated workshops with 26 organisations. A joint position paper was developed by the Joint Pathways Executive and Housing and Community Services on the future delivery of homelessness services in the ACT.
Learnings and findings from the consultation and engagement were reflected in new contracts that were negotiated in May 2016 with 29 homelessness service providers.
Together these contracts will deliver 47 homelessness services across the ACT. The new contracts promote flexibility within the sector and better reflect the work of services through the separation of support services and tenancy management under the umbrella of the Human Services Gateway.
|Common Ground Canberra||
Between July and December 2015, Housing and Community Services consulted monthly with the Common Ground Advisory Group about the provision of services at Common Ground Canberra. |
The aim of the consultation was to ensure that a holistic approach to the wellbeing of residents was maintained in line with the philosophy of a Common Ground model. Quarterly meetings were held from January 2016.
The consultation with the Common Ground Advisory Group involved 15 groups and individuals including the Common Ground Canberra Board, ACT Health Directorate, Capital Health Network, Northside Community Service, and Argyle Community Housing.
|Development of 110 Baldwin Drive Kaleen||
Housing and Community Services has continued conversations with the Belconnen and Kaleen community in relation to the development project to establish 66 older person units on the former Bocce Club site. |
Consultation with the Huntington Body Corporate, Kaleen High School and the Canberra Organic Growers Society has continued through the design approval process, including early civil works on Baldwin Drive, road works for McLeod Street and issues to do with traffic signalisation.
|Public Housing Renewal Program—redevelopment of Owen Flats, Lyneham||
Housing and Community Services has continued to engage with residents of Owen Flats to provide information about the Public Housing Renewal Program and the planned redevelopment of the site. Tenant engagement activities included fortnightly barbeques and an on-site shop front. |
The number of tenants attending the barbecues ranged from four to 11 tenants at any given time and up to six tenants attended the shop front each day since it opened on 18 June 2015.
Housing and Community Services and the Public Housing Renewal Taskforce engaged tenant relocation officers to work individually with each public housing tenant to identify their preferred relocation areas.
Through the Transforming Communities Partnership, Housing and Community Services worked with community sector partners to indentify individual tenant requirements and to support tenants throughout the relocation process. All 39 tenants were successfully relocated by December 2015.
Housing and Community Services has followed up with each tenant in their new properties with a 90-day visit.
|Public Housing Renewal Program—redevelopment of Allawah Court and Karuah housing complex||
Throughout the year, Housing and Community Services has consulted and engaged with the residents and the community around Allawah Court and the Karuah public housing complex to provide information about the Public Housing Renewal Program. |
Tenant engagement activities have included barbeques and an on-site shop front to enable tenants to discuss issues about the renewal program. Housing and Community Services and the Public Housing Renewal Taskforce have engaged tenant relocation officers to work individually with each public housing tenant to identify their preferred relocation areas.
The officers engaged with 150 tenants throughout the year. Through the Transforming Communities Partnership, Housing and Community Services is working with community sector partners to indentify individual tenant requirements and to support tenants throughout the relocation process.
|Public Housing Renewal Program—redevelopment of Red Hill||
Beginning in April 2016, Housing and Community Services has consulted and engaged with the residents of the Red Hill public housing precinct to provide information about the Public Housing Renewal Program. |
Forty-six tenants and interested community members attended a barbeque on 29 April 2016. As for other complexes, Housing and Community Services and the Public Housing Renewal Taskforce have engaged tenant relocation officers to work individually with each public housing tenant to identify their preferred relocation areas.
At 30 June 2016, the officers had engaged with 116 tenants. Through the Transforming Communities Partnership, Housing and Community Services is working with community sector partners to indentify individual tenant requirements and to support tenants throughout the relocation process.
|Block 3 Section 58 Macquarie||
In May 2016, Housing and Community Services provided information to the Belconnen Community Council and neighbouring residents (approximately 150 households) about the proposed development in Bowman St, Macquarie. |
The Development Application was released for public notification in May 2016 and no negative comments were received.
|Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Older Persons development—Block 9 Section 275 Kambah||
Housing and Community Services consulted with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body about the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Older Persons development project in Kambah. |
A number of formal meetings were held with the Elected Body during the design development stage. The Elected Body provided endorsement of the site selected and the design for the project, with a particular emphasis given to the landscaping design.
Regular updates have been provided to the Chair of the Elected Body about the progress of the project. Commencing in February 2016, members of the Elected Body have been invited to monthly Project Control Group meetings held at the construction site.
In September 2015 Housing and Community Services provided information about the proposed development and design to the Tuggeranong Community Council and the surrounding neighbourhood (including the Australian Sri Lankan Buddhist Association). A presentation was made to the Tuggeranong Community Council on 6 October 2015.
Approximately 30 people attended the presentation and provided positive feedback.
A meeting was held with the Australian Sri Lankan Buddhist Association on 7 December 2015 and approximately 20 members attended.
Some concerns were raised about potential noise generated by activities undertaken at the Buddhist Temple and the impact this may have on the future tenants.
These issues were resolved and no representations were made against the Development Application. The project is expected to be completed in September 2016.
|Changing lease to allow Newpin to operate from a property in Macgregor||
In February 2016 Housing and Community Services in partnership with Uniting consulted with adjoining neighbours and the community to provide information about the proposed use of 21 MacFarlane Burnet Avenue Macgregor to deliver the Newpin program. |
Newpin provides support and empowers families to break the cycle of child neglect and abuse.
A drop-in session for neighbours was held at the property on 4 February 2016 and a briefing was provided to the Belconnen Community Council on 16 February 2016.
|Development of Teen House at Cook Community Hub||
Housing and Community Services, in partnership with the Ricky Stuart Foundation, consulted with the community about the proposed construction of a respite centre for teenagers aged 13–18 years with disability at the rear of the Cook Community Hub on Templeton Street, Cook. |
Two drop-in information sessions were held on 10 November 2015 and 17 December 2015. Invitations were sent to tenants of the Cook Community Hub and flyers providing details of the sessions were sent to all Cook households.
About 50 people attended the two sessions and provided comments on the proposed development which are being incorporated into the design plans and Development Application.
Further consultation will be held with the community as the project progresses.
|Joint Community Government Reference Group (JCGRG)||
The purpose of the Reference Group is to foster a partnership between the ACT Government and community sector to progress social and sustainability policy issues affecting the ACT community and community services sector. |
The Reference Group meets every two months, and in 2015–16 met seven times. The Reference Group consults with community sector peak bodies, community sector representatives, and senior ACT Government officials.
There are 15 members of the Reference Group.
|ACT Community Services Industry Strategy Steering Group||
The purpose of the Group is to oversee the development of an industry strategy for the ACT community services sector. |
On behalf of the JCGRG, the Steering Group engaged a consultant to undertake broad consultation with the community sector to develop the Strategy.
The group considered and provided advice on expenditure of the co-contribution levy to develop the Industry Strategy.
Membership comprised four representatives from the community sector, two representatives from the ACT Government, one union representative and one consumer representative.
|The Domestic Violence Service System Gap Analysis Project Final Report||
The Domestic Violence Service System Gap Analysis reviewed the domestic violence service system in Canberra with a focus on the identification of best policy and practice and how to deliver an integrated and more effective support system for women and children in the ACT who are victims of domestic
The project involved a literature review, extensive consultation with service providers and mapping of the current service system.
Consultation with stakeholders included 29 face-to-face consultations, an extensive online survey of 83 workers and three workshops with approximately 70 participants in total.
The Domestic Violence Service System Gap Analysis Project Final Report was released on 20 May 2016.
|Seniors Health Roundtable||
The ACT’s first Seniors Health Roundtable, a key action of the 2015–16 Action Plan of the Active Ageing Framework 2015–18, was held on 11 May 2016. |
The purpose of the Roundtable was to provide an opportunity for local seniors to discuss issues of importance in regards to health services and supports.
Over 70 delegates from 36 organisations attended the event, including a diversity of representatives from the ACT health sector and various community groups including representatives from diverse cultural backgrounds, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer community and veterans and seniors.
|ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement 2015–18||
The Agreement is the overarching document that will guide Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs over the next two years. |
The agreement leads the way for the ACT Government to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to fully participate in and enjoy the social, economic and wellbeing benefits of living in the ACT.
An Outcome Performance Reporting Co-Design Workshop was held on 31 May 2016 bringing ACT Government employees together.
The purpose of the workshop was to begin discussion on identifying the required reporting requirements to measure the effectiveness of the Agreement.
The consultation sought broader engagement with stakeholders and external service providers to co-design a final outcomes performance framework for the Agreement.
|Promotion of the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs (OA&TSIA)||
The purpose of this consultation was to promote the work of OA&TSIA and to build relationships. |
The method of engagement was ongoing face-to-face discussions with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander service providers, community organisations and ACT Government business units.
In 2015–16, OA&TSIA arranged and attended 43 consultations and meetings within various ACT Government business areas and 28 meetings with community groups and organisations.
The Office also assisted the Independent Reviewer at nine community forums as part of the Review of the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body Act 2008.
The outcome was increased engagement across community and government sectors.
|Better Services Local Services Network||
The purpose of this consultation was to engage with members of the Local Services Network to participate in a Collective Impact Workshop, an approach to achieving social change at a population level. |
The method of engagement was a face-to-face meeting at the Flynn Community Hub on 22 February 2016. The audience were members of the Network, with more than 30 in attendance.
The workshop discussion supported the Network’s activities in 2016 for achieving social change.
|West Belconnen Kids Winter Festival||
This event was held in response to feedback from the West Belconnen community about the need for more services for children during the week and outside work hours. |
The event was held at Kippax Uniting Community Centre on 4 June 2016 and included events for children and their families. There was a particular focus on school readiness.
Of those surveyed, 82 per cent said the Festival had helped them and their children with school readiness. More than 300 families attended the Festival and 25 stallholders were present.
|Breaking of the Fast||
During Ramadan 2015, the ACT Government, in partnership with the Australian Government and members of the local Islamic community, held special Breaking of the Fast events at mosques and places of Islamic worship and education throughout Canberra. |
The purpose of the event, on Saturday 4 July, was:
Thousands of Canberrans from all faiths attended the event at locations which included:
|Ministerial Advisory Council on Women and the ACT Women’s Plan 2016–2026||
The Office for Women provides support to the Ministerial Advisory Council on Women (MACW). Women are appointed to MACW based on their capacity to represent the views of a broad spectrum of ACT women. Council members’ ongoing formal and informal engagement and consultation with women ensures the
views, ambitions and barriers experienced by ACT women are conveyed to Government, and inform policy and practice. |
In addition to the ongoing consultation undertaken by members of MACW throughout the year, during November–December 2015 MACW undertook a targeted consultation to gain input from women into the development the ACT Women’s Plan 2016–26. An online survey was conducted, generating 338 responses from women living in the ACT. Survey results identified women’s safe and stable housing, health equality and safety as priority areas to address. This feedback informed the identification of key priority areas of the ACT Women’s Plan 2016&ndsah;26.
|Youth Advisory Council||
In October 2015, the Youth Advisory Council participated in the St. Vincent de Paul Community Sleepout. This event was supported by St. Vincent de Paul and Communities@Work and aimed to challenge the Canberra community to sleep rough for a night to raise awareness of homelessness. |
The Youth Advisory Council members are strong advocates for youth homelessness and in particular the hidden forms of homelessness such as ‘couch surfing’. The Youth Advisory Council successfully raised over $500 for St. Vincent de Paul homelessness programs.
|Gap analysis of the domestic violence service system||
The gap analysis project aimed to identify the steps required to bridge the gap between where the service system currently is, and where it needs to be, to deliver effective and integrated support for the women and children who are victims of domestic violence and to hold perpetrators to account for
their behaviour. There were 29 targeted face-to-face consultations, an extensive online survey to which 83 human service professionals responded and three workshops attended by 70 participants. |
As a result of the engagements with victims of domestic violence, the following challenges were identified: a lack of financial support and advice; the lack of understanding and service provision for children who have experienced domestic violence; and the lack of coordinated case management. In addition, victims particularly noted: inadequate responses to the (often repeated) breaches of protection orders (this was the single issue most identified by victims); the lack of knowledge of victims about where to get help; and the lack of safe and varied housing options.
As a result of the engagements with service providers, the following barriers were identified: limitations and impacts of a siloed crisis driven service system; no recognition of coercion and control; lack of case coordination/case management; lack of recognition of and response to the needs of children who have experienced domestic violence; women being re-traumatised by legal systems and processes; and lack of knowledge and training across the service system; not holding perpetrators to account; and not having a shared and common risk assessment across the service system.
As a result of this engagement, and in response to two additional reports into family violence, the ACT Government made a commitment to boost funding to reduce violence against women and children by $21.4 million through a $30 household levy.