Managing when government cuts budgets
We are deep into Government budget time and, particularly in Victoria, there are challenging times ahead.
In Victoria, it is reported that there will be a 10% cut in spending on public sector wages across the board meaning a $3.6 billion cut over four years. While this may well be limited to ‘back of house’ costs, we know there will be either cuts to services or a narrowing of eligibility for some social programs. We also now know that more than half of all community health organisations are facing 15% cuts to funding that will impact direct services.
So what should we make of the spending restraint/cuts/efficiencies/austerity (choose your word) on the way? How do we try and quarantine our programs? How do we respond?
At times like this, we believe it is more important than ever to advocate not for your program and service budgets but for your client outcomes.
The steps you can implement to make sure you are advocating as powerfully as possible for your client outcomes are:
In partnership with the Australian Community Support Organisation (ACSO), Latitude Network is delivering a masterclass at the upcoming International Criminal Justice Conference in Melbourne. Drawing on a decade of experience in social impact projects, Gemma, Russ and Dale will share insights on designing programs that deliver outcomes.
The masterclass will focus on three key cohorts that face increasing rates of imprisonment. For example, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people continue to represent 30% of the criminal population, with Australian governments and services having made little to no progress in addressing this gap. In addition, data from the increase in women’s incarceration demonstrates that 27% of women entering prison were in short-term or emergency accommodation in the 30 days prior. Remandees are the third cohort that has grown much faster than the general prison population.
Building Robust, Outcomes-Focused Programs to Drive Impact and Attract Funding
The masterclass will apply Latitude Network's 'Four Pillars' framework to building outcomes-driven interventions. Topics covered include:
This in-depth, robust training for leaders in the social and justice sectors will be 'hands-on' and practical, with groups working together to apply the Latitude Network Four Pillars to their own experiences and challenges.
Participants walk away with initial solutions to some of their immediate challenges, exposure to the latest thinking on outcomes-based programming and service design as well as the opportunity to get feedback on their outcomes-based programs.
Date and Time: 12.30pm - 4.30pm, Tuesday 22nd November 2022
Venue: The Edge, Federation Square Melbourne
Address: Flinders Street, Federation Square Grove (Conference Venue)
Tickets: $150 to attend this Masterclass
Bookings: Click here to book - places are limited
Community Colleges are important providers of education and job pathways for people with various barriers to learning and employment. They sit at the intersection of adult education and social impact, and government funders are increasingly looking to explore outcomes-based funding in this sector.
Latitude Network is working with the peak body Community Colleges Australia and five community colleges to run a collaborative data project with the NSW Department of Education. The aim is to develop a common set of data collection standards across multiple colleges to allow comparative data on outcomes and performance.
This is an exciting project that demonstrates how data systems, continuous improvement and innovation processes can be applied at a systems level in social and education sectors. The project is designing a system that works for multiple different organisations using different student management systems (databases), in a range of different geographies serving a wide range of student needs. The de-identified data can then be collated across multiple organisations in a consistent way to create dashboards and analysis covering different programs, locations, services and outcomes.
In the next phase Latitude Network will build common dashboards and conduct periodic ‘deep dives’, or data analytics reports, to generate insights that enable colleges to improve (optimise) services and social impact. Comparative data is very powerful because it allows individual colleges to anonymously see their performance in the context of the performance of other organisations delivering in different regions. This provides evidence to flag performance gaps and to learn from best practices with objective data (not just those who claim to have good practice).
This work is important for peak bodies to consider as a tool to improve system performance in any sector or sub-sector of the social services system. Watch this space for more information as the project moves to implementation. Feel free to reach out to us about lessons from this project if you are seeking to improve performance in multi-stakeholder or cross-organisation collaborations.
Move the dial - youth activation
Latitude Network are thrilled to announce that we will be working with Reclink Australia and Vichealth on a unique outcomes challenge: to get 100,000 young Victorians to be more physically active and socially connected. In doing so, this project will tap into 160 different underutilised sites across Victoria to transform them into physical activity spaces for young people.
Funded by VicHealth and supported by a host of youth organisations and agencies, the project will be genuinely co-design and produced by young people, using open innovation thinking to ensure that physical activities and environments meet the needs and preferences of the young people who will use them.
Latitude Network will bring its expertise in open innovation and data-driven performance management to ensure that this project generates lasting, measurable outcomes for young Victorians, whilst building capability in Reclink (and partners) in its approach to data, program design, segmentation, outcomes and impact measurement.
More on the project here.
Prior to 2021, the South Australian homelessness funding, like most homelessness systems around the country, was divided between multiple different service providers who weren't incentivised to work together as one system.
The three key limitations of the system were:
The South Australian Housing Authority (SAHA) sought to redesign the homelessness system in order to reduce the number of those at-risk of entering homelessness and the length of time people are in the system. To do this, SAHA divided its jurisdiction into five discrete regions and called on social service providers to develop solutions.
In the Adelaide City and South region, Baptist Care SA, Lutheran Care, Mission Australia, The Salvation Army and Sonder came together to form the Toward Home Alliance.
The challenge for the Toward Home Alliance was to redesign the homelessness system so that service users received a tailored and individualised response. Resources, accommodation and services needed to be aligned to the outcomes for each of the service user groups
The challenge of service design was compounded by the prevalence of factors that contribute to homelessness such as mental health, physical health, disability, drug and alcohol and life trauma - requiring the intervention to holistically address these issues too.
THE ROLE LATITUDE NETWORK PLAYED
Latitude Network played a central role in supporting the Toward Home Alliance. The process involved uniting a diverse set of national, state, local and Aboriginal-run service providers toward a common goal of reducing homelessness in a defined geographical region. The key functions of the Latitude engagement included:
The first impact was that the innovative proposal was accepted by the South Australian Government with the Alliance winning the funding for Adelaide city and South. The funding changed on July 2021, and as with any significant system change, there are always lots of elements to work through. The team has formed well together and built a strong culture of collaboration, but it is still early days to work out how well the elements are working and how best to refine and iterate them. We will keep an eye out on the Toward Home progress and now doubt the challenges of making progress.
As we foreshadowed in our recent newsletter to you, the Victorian Dept of Treasury & Finance is now underway with its Partnerships Addressing Disadvantage (PAD) funding program. The PAD program was announced in this year's State Budget. A few key points:
As you consider your own programs, have a look at 5 elements that are key to social impact bonds.
You may also be interested in an article about what you need to be successful in developing a social impact bond.