| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Following a formalised agreement on the case for change outlined in the business case in December 2012, a Redesign Programme Charter and Operating Model were created in March 2013 by the Redesign Programme Board (consisting of Families SA Executive) to provide structure and detail to underpin the Redesign. Understanding that the Programme Charter is undergoing a review and update over the coming weeks, this has been attached with this submission as evidence of Families SA’s implementation plan. These key artefacts prescribe accountabilities and responsibilities about the implementation of the Redesign across Families SA and the broader Department for Education and Child Development. The Board is accountable for the success of the Redesign, and is tasked with determining Redesign priorities and driving the transformation.
A key element to delivering the Redesign was the commissioning of the Redesign Programme Management Office (PgMO) and PgMO Manager in March 2013. The PgMO is responsible for ensuring Redesign deliverables are achieved. The role of the PgMO is to control the scope of the Redesign, deliver artefacts and assistance to the identified Redesign projects, apply and manage the overall governance of the Redesign, and provide status and performance management information to the Redesign Director and Board.
To add structure and provide focus for this endeavour, Project Managers were appointed to transform business areas across intake, assessment and support, family preservation and reunification, entering care, legal processes and therapeutic services. Projects in these business areas were supported by projects on human resources, logistics, finance and information technology requirements to ensure that resources were re-allocated where most required. Complementing all areas of Families SA business is a practice support project, which was tasked with implementing Solution Based Casework® as a mandated practice approach for the whole agency.
To guide the design, construction, commission and handover of key Redesign projects, a five-step process was designed, consisting of: initiation, justification, planning, delivery and close. For each Redesign Project, the Board created a Project Brief (initiation) during March/April 2013, which was then translated by the Project Manager into a Project Justification (justification) artefact (April/May 2013). Following approval for this piece of work, a detailed Project Plan outlining key outcomes, deliverables and artefacts was created (planning) in May/June 2013. The construction of the deliverables agreed to in the planning phase, where the bulk of the Redesign work is occurring, is where the Redesign is presently operating.
The focus on execution is to ensure that Families SA processes are integrated and that processes and procedures are meaningful and ‘add value’ to the family and child. Solution Based Casework acts as a key enabler of this intent. Family goals are converted into actions plans which are then tracked for key milestones. This information is then fed back up through Families SA Supervisors and Managers to ensure that execution is correct. By following this feedback-loop and quality assurance mechanism, Families SA is applying proactive systems thinking, not event-driven reactive work which has created the fragmentation to date.
The Redesign is using a strict organisational transformation model that focuses attention on mobilising leaders, enabling the organisation, preparing the people and sustaining the vision. This model is transferred and converted into a monthly status report as part of ongoing organisational analysis. The organisational transformation approach is further grounded in the McKinsey Seven S Change Model to ensure that all aspects of the agency are transformed through the Redesign. The McKinsey model is applied to the Quarterly and Annual reporting to ensure that the Redesign is on track.
External validation through a High Commendation from the Australian Institute of Project Management in September 2013 for the change process and procedure undertaken to date has provided further evidence that Families SA are going about this transformation the right way.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Redesign Programme Director
• Mr David Waterford PSM – Deputy Chief Executive, Child Safety, Department for Education and Child Development
Redesign Programme Board
• Ms Susan O’Leary – Director, Metropolitan Services
• Mr Rod Squires – Director, Country Services
• Ms Nicole Stasiak – Director, Residential Care
• Ms Rosemary Whitten – A/Executive Director, Families SA Operations
Redesign Programme Management Office
• Manager, Redesign Programme Management Office: currently vacant
• Project Coordinator: Mr Matt Mooney
• Strategic Communications Advisor: Mr Stefan Kmit
• Programme Office Assistant: Ms Courtney Trimboli
• Project Managers: Mr Brenden Boyce, Mr Chris Campbell, Ms Jackie Campbell, Mr Justin Coote, Ms Lisa Farina, Ms Anne-Marie Scanlon, Mr Paul Searston, Ms Robyn Skilbeck, Ms Daniela Suarez and Mr Hugo van Roermund
The following internal parties will also play a major contribution to the development of the Redesign:
• 1000 randomly-selected Families SA staff invited to participate in Focus Group sessions
The following external parties have played a major contribution to the development of the Redesign:
• GKforge Pty. Ltd. (Ms Genéne Kleppe, Executive Director; Ms Kasia Panayiotiou, Project Portfolio Coordinator; Mr Alistair Punshon, Tranier, Project Scheduling)
Key contributors – design and construction (external)
• Families and children who come into contact with the child protection system
• Children and young people under Guardianship of the Minister
• Guardian for Children and Young People
• Other Government child protection and community welfare services (SAPOL, SA Health, Crown Solicitor, Youth Court and Family Court)
• Tertiary institutions (Flinders University, University of South Australia, Adelaide University)
• Peak bodies (SACOSS, Child and Family Welfare Association, Connecting Foster Carers, Grandparents for Grandchildren, CREATE Foundation, National Centre for Education and Training on Addiction)
• The Australian Centre for Social Innovation
• Families SA funded non-government organisations (Ac.care, Anglicare SA, Aboriginal Family Support Services, CARA, Centacare, Baptist Care SA, Leveda, Life Without Barriers, Lutheran Community Care, Junction Australia, Key Assets, Salvation Army, Service to Youth, Time for Kids, Uniting Communities)
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
One of the unique challenges posed in realising the Redesign was the need to ensure the transformation was cost-neutral. The constrained fiscal environment meant that no extra funding was available to facilitate the critical change needed to improve the child protection system.
The decision was therefore made that Redesign Programme Office staff (i.e. Project Manager, Project Officers and Programme Office staff) be reassigned from their existing positions within the agency. No extra funding has been apportioned from outside the existing Families SA budget. The Board also shared the load of this burden, as Families SA Director’s undertook Redesign Board responsibilities on top of their ‘business as usual’ duties.
As of 17 December 2013, the Redesign consisted of 17 staff members, with 9 Project Managers, 9 Project Officers and 3 Programme Management Office personnel; this compromises 1% of the Families SA staffing quotient.
A dedicated Project Coordinator was employed by the Redesign Programme Management Office in September 2013. The Project Coordinator was tasked with working with Project Managers to increase their knowledge and proficiency in the theory, development and utilisation of key project methodology tools and products, along with assisting them to design and construct critical project management components such as work breakdown structures, scheduling and end-to-end process maps.
A software investment was made on two fronts: first, the introduction of dedicated project management software to better track the progress of the Redesign projects in achieving their deliverables. Microsoft Project® licences were purchased for all Redesign Board members and staff; dedicated training is continuing to be provided for project scheduling. Second, work undertaken during the project justification phase identified the need for a greater understanding of process mapping and the connection between different parts of the business. Therefore, Microsoft Visio® licences were purchased for Redesign Board members and selected Redesign staff.
Potential Project Managers were identified by the Board and invited to lead one of the projects. Project Officers were selected following an internal Expression of Interest process undertaken at various stages as project officers were required. All staff engaged to work on the Redesign underwent an induction process led by their Project Manager or respective Programme Office Manager/Coordinator. To ensure the Redesign message was fully embedded in those working on the Redesign, all new Redesign staff underwent multiple induction processes (usually 3 sessions).
Regarding fiscal expenditure, the Redesign will cost an estimated $2.259M in salaries, wages and related payments and $879K in goods and services per annum with the current staffing figures. It is anticipated that this will increase over the coming months as more project officers are recruited to action project deliverables.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
1) Building the case for change to drive the transformation from within
The significance of achieving Redesign outcomes is unique: in almost every other Australian jurisdiction, major transformational changes in child protection services are driven by the reports of independent, commissioned reviews.
2) Greater engagement within the organisation
Three facets helped in gaining traction with Families SA staff:
• Expression of Interest recruitment - A number of internal Families SA recruitment drives have been held for the Redesign. The application rate has improved over time, signalling Redesign work is of great interest for staff.
• Cascading communication model - A cascading communication model has been employed provide clarity about the Redesign, starting with the Redesign Director and filtering down to all Families SA staff through Managers and Supervisors.
• Focus groups - Comments about proposed approaches and processes are gained through facilitated focus group sessions with randomly-selected staff. Feedback obtained from these sessions form a key step in ensuring Families SA is driven by delivery.
3) Development of a new practice framework
A new practice framework has been established through the Redesign, outlining in clear detail the vision, aim and goals for Families SA. Business and practice have been merged through the introduction of the Solution Based Casework practice approach.
4) Instilling better business practices
Four key areas have transformed Families SA’s application of good business practice:
• Understanding of resourcing schedule versus a timeline - Families SA Executive have undertaken training and development in Microsoft Project® and scheduling to better address future resourcing issues.
• Changing the perception of ‘management’ in Families SA - Families SA managers were expected to decide on scope and direction and both work on and manage projects. The Redesign is changing this perception by modelling better management behaviour, acknowledging the role of Managers is project management, not content experts.
• Clearer reporting requirements - The Redesign has introduced weekly, monthly and quarterly reporting across milestone reporting, prioritisation reporting, programme control management and forecasting.
• Introducing business assurance mechanisms - An assurance group consisting of Principal workers validate the overall process and assess the impact of assurance from cultural, psychology and social work perspectives.
5) A new child protection system grounded in safety and family preservation
Families SA has introduced a specialising approach, dedicating resources to protective intervention efforts with families in the reunification and family preservation space. This has been introduced to focus support where it is needed the most and enable more Families SA staff to work intensively with vulnerable families.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
During the Redesign, a number of mechanisms were initiated in order to monitor progress and evaluate implementation. Initiatives correspond to the following categories:
• Creation of an Assurance group consisting of Principal Aboriginal Consultants, Principal Practitioners and Principal Social Workers. This group played a key role in validating the overall process and assessing the impact of assurance from three perspectives – culture, psychology and social work. The group was also tasked with developing and testing the tool/s required to assure the new processes, including templates, instructions, definitions, terminology and duration.
• Development of Focus Groups to enable participants to provide feedback on distinct parts of proposed core business processes. Comments about the proposed approach and processes outlined during the discussion provided the Redesign Programme Management Office and Project Managers with a critical, independent perspective on key delivery functions. The feedback obtained from the sessions formed a key step in ensuring Families SA created an agency driven by delivery.
• The Redesign Programme Management Office implemented a Risk and Issues register to log all potential factors that may impact the completion of project deliverables. Alongside this, a Decisions register has also been created to note any decisions arrived at by the Board. Outstanding items on the Risk and Issues register are presented for discussion and action (where possible) at every Board meeting.
• Each Redesign Programme staff member undertakes an exit interview upon leaving the Redesign. The results of these interviews are presented to the Board for consideration and are utilised to evaluate what changes can be made to improve the implementation of the Redesign.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Adopting a programme management approach is fundamentally different for human services and government organisations. Families SA is a government agency, built by and built on human services. Products are services to vulnerable children and their families. In that sense it’s quite different to an average commercial organisation, where the focus is on financial profits, and therefore efficiency in internal processes. Within a governmental environment, it is a different challenge to create a culture which is accepting towards efficiency arguments.
Until the moment that the programme management methodology was introduced in the organisation, decision making was all about consensus seeking, making sure everybody is on the same page; there was no focus on costs or efficiency gains. With the introduction of a programme management methodology Families SA had to come from far. Build acceptance in the organisation, even among executives, took time and has proven to be a challenging journey. A shift in thinking was necessary, and continuous focus on the ‘new’ methodology and adopting it in everyday business is an ongoing challenge.
Within the Redesign Programme, every project manager and project officer attended multiple induction meetings, in which the essential aspects of the methodology are articulated, where new rules are made clear. This process has proved to be very challenging, as not every employee was ready to adopt the new methodology. Some employees who were seen as potential project managers were not able to adopt the methodology and returned to their everyday jobs. Others still struggle with the methodology, but are determined to make it work, as they see the benefits over the old way of working. It is work in progress, but a basis for acceptance and enthusiasm is established, which will drive the future phases of this long process of organisation change.