Outcomes framework, collective impact, local government, social impact
Australian first: $50m+ outcomes-based health & wellness hub in Brimbank, Melbourne
The municipality of Brimbank sits in Melbourne’s rapidly-growing west. It’s new health and wellness hub is located in St Albans, a suburb which has experienced deep social and health inequities for several decades.
St Albans sits at the heart of the disadvantage that runs through the region and, in Keilor Downs on the border of St Albans is the suburb’s leisure centre (SALC). While the SALC had a loyal band of users it was well-beyond its useful life with growing maintenance costs adding to the challenges of running a tired community facility in a way that generates great community outcomes.
Council wanted to go beyond a redevelopment and create a centre of regional leadership. The aim is not just to create a world-class facility (with pool, gym, community spaces) but also to ensure the infrastructure investment addresses some of the deep social and health challenges faced by people in the area.
But how can a building do this? Typically, an infrastructure project focuses on risk, speed and staying within budget. Time is money. Often the thinking about services, impacts and site usage are delayed until after the concrete is poured.
But Council wanted to make sure the development actually addressed some of the social and health inequities in the region as well as being an example of great community built-form.
THE ROLE LATITUDE NETWORK PLAYED / THE OUTCOME
Latitude Network designed and built an ‘Outcomes-Based Infrastructure’ process for Council that put a set of health and social outcomes at the heart of the development. This involved analysing social needs and patterns in the community, governance design, outcomes framework, collaboration and management structure and service design.
The process brought together the ‘community’ vision of the site with the ‘physical’ vision for the site to make sure that the investment worked harder to achieve targeted community outcomes.
In addition to helping guide the physical infrastructure decisions as part of the Project Control Group, Latitude Network advised Council on a tenancy tender process that attracted the right social service providers to join the projects as long-term tenants. The tenancy agreements even include provisions around setting and achieving outcomes - a first for a project of this type.
THE TRANSFORMATION / IMPACT
The project has proven that the money that governments and communities spend on infrastructure can be leveraged for higher social impact without delaying the build. Infrastructure dollars can create great spaces but also be accountable for positive changes in people’s lives.
More than simply a ‘hub’, the embedding of social and health outcomes into the infrastructure process has meant that alongside new world-class facilities there are also key tenants at the site who are coming together with a program logic to address long-running social and health challenges.
The development has also spawned a ‘collective impact’ project to build community momentum around addressing local social issues using the Hub. It has been set up as the ‘Impact Brimbank’ initiative with a diverse group of community members, and is building support in advance of the opening of the Hub.
Brimbank City Council is looking for a new name for its sport, leisure, community and health facility in St Albans.
But this is no ordinary facility. It is Australia's first 'Outcomes-Based Infrastructure' (OBI) project that aims to not only provide people in the region a wonderful health and fitness experience, but also to make a measurable impact on social and health inequalities.
Latitude Network was proud to have taken Brimbank through the OBI process - we worked with executives right across Council to use the massive investment planned for this facility as a lever to improve specific identified health and social inequalities. The result is a facility that will house tenants collaborating to address outcome gaps for specific cohorts of people. Together with Council, these organisations are building a 'system logic' that locks the providers in together - even setting up a measurement and performance framework between them so there is accountability built in to everyone's performance and tenancy.
Brimbank Mayor, Cr Georgina Papafotiou said "Our unique health and wellbeing hub will offer a state-of-the-art aquatic and leisure centre, as well as a range of preventative health, education and social services delivered by co-located tenant partners CommUnity Plus Services Ltd and Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand under the one roof. This is what will set our hub apart from others, making it an ‘Australian-first".
It's very exciting and a process which we have been using in other locations such as Logan, Queensland and Dandenong in Victoria. In its recent report, Infrastructure Australia has focused on the lack of accountability for outcomes that is inherent in the current community, social and sporting infrastructure sectors - you can read their excellent work here (Infrastructure Australia Social Audit).
The OBI process helps address that by ensuring major buildings (especially community infrastructure) are clear about the social and health improvements they aim to make, and have an accountable framework and process to ensure outcomes are not lost and forgotten, but central. Tenants and services are then better designed to meet needs, with higher levels of collaboration between tenants and community members, and they therefore make a lasting social impact which is measured.
Local Councils in particular should be adopting an OBI approach for new community infrastructure such as -
Get in touch to find out more, or read the Case study here.