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Implementing new ways of working in remote Indigenous communities DHS Strategic Policy Seminar. 21 May 2012 Brian Gleeson, Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services. The lay of the land. Strengthening communities. Towards RSD.

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Implementing new ways of working in remote Indigenous communities

DHS Strategic Policy Seminar

21 May 2012

Brian Gleeson, Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services

The lay of the land communities

Strengthening communities

Towards RSD communities

  • 2002– COAG trialsagreed and Overcoming Indigenous Disadvantage Report commissioned to “help measure the impact of changes to policy settings and service delivery

  • 2004 – COAG agreement to new National Framework Principles for Government Service Delivery to Indigenous Australians

  • 2006 – COAG commits to “long-term generational commitment” to overcome Indigenous disadvantage

  • 2008 – COAG announces the Closing the Gap targets and the National Indigenous Reform Agreement

  • 2008 – Cape York Welfare Reform Trials

  • Key approaches during evolution of the Closing the Gap agenda:

    • COAG trials

    • Shared Responsibility Agreements

    • Communities in Crisis policy

    • Indigenous Coordination Centres

    • Key influence throughout is finding in Harvard Project in the USA – Indigenous tribes with greater decision-making powers experience less poverty and higher levels of economic development

RSD National Partnership Objectives communities

  • Improve the access of Indigenous families to a full range of suitable and culturally inclusive services.

  • Raise the standardand range of services delivered to Indigenous families to be broadly consistent with those provided to other Australians in similar sized and located communities.

  • Improve the level of governanceand leadership within Indigenous communities and Indigenous community organisations.

  • Provide simpler access and better coordinated government services for Indigenous people in identified communities.

  • Increase economicand social participation wherever possible, and promote personal responsibility, engagement and behaviours consistent with positive social norms.

Expectations of governments communities

  • National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Services:

  • Outcome 16 (a) standards of services and infrastructure to be comparable with non-Indigenous communities of similar size, location and need elsewhere in Australia;

  • Output 17 (i) - the identification of gaps in priority local infrastructure

Government investment will be prioritised and coordinated to ensure each priority location has the infrastructure and services that support and sustain healthy social norms so people can reach their potential and communities can thrive.

Minister Arbib, 2R speech, Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services Bill, 25 June 2009

The question should not be, ‘why do women not accept the service that we offer?’


‘Why do we not offer a service that women will accept?’

World Health Organization 2005

Remote Service Delivery: a new paradigm? service that we offer?’

Improved engagement … Better service systems … Stronger communities

Governmentsworking differently by themselves and together

looking at places rather than programs and levels of government

eg 29 priority remote communities, Jurisdictional Boards of Management

Governments and communitiesworking differently together

a proper partnership with joint decisions about what will be done and how is done

eg Single Government Interface, Local Reference Groups

Communities working differently

being properly informed, making decisions, holding governments and service providers accountable

eg Local Implementation Plans, baseline mapping, performance indicators

RSD Priority Communities service that we offer?’

The Office of the Coordinator General service that we offer?’

for Remote Indigenous Services

Statutory officer established under the

Coordinator General for Remote Indigenous Services Act 2009

  • Key element of the new model

  • Independent

  • Drive reform

  • Accountability and reporting

“ we need to convince communities that this is a new way of working and not just a new way of describing what we have always done”

CGRIS second six monthly report

Oversee the implementation service that we offer?’ of the RSD partnership.

Formally report twice a year on progress, and ensure that all government agencies are held accountable for their implementation responsibilities.

Have the authority to work across agencies to cut through red tape and bureaucratic blockages and to make sure services are delivered effectively.

Work with the whole of government Regional Operations Centres established to coordinate services in communities and the single government contact points located within the priority communities.

What do we do?

Twice a year service that we offer?’, the Coordinator General formally reports to the Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services & Indigenous Affairs.

The report ensures that all government agencies are held accountable for their implementation responsibilities.

Reports have been released in November 2009, September 2010, March 2011, September 2011 and April 2012.

Six Monthly Reports

Some of the issues raised: service that we offer?’

community governance and community development approaches;

governance of governments;


flexibility of funding;

delivery of infrastructure projects;

service availability, including renal services;

ground up engagement, effective community participation in informed decision making; and

integrated strategies.

Key issues from reports to the Minister

Engagement and community strengthening service that we offer?’

  • Long term success and safer, stronger and vibrant communities are only achievable if communities are strengthened through their engagement with government.

  • RSD includes a focus on contributing to:

  • community led planning and decision making;

  • improving the level of governance and leadership within communities and community organisations;

  • more highly developed capacity in Indigenous communities; and

  • the development of local skills and a stable local workforce.

Place based engagement service that we offer?’

Staff working at the community level must have the capability, resources and scope to:

  • communicate and engage with all stakeholders, in particular Indigenous community organisations and individuals;

  • assess a situation and define a vision and mandate;

  • formulate strategies and play a central role in identifying whole of government policy solutions to match local circumstances;

  • budget, manage and implement strategies in partnership with communities; and

  • evaluate, monitor and report progress and have the scope to adapt to changing circumstances.

Place based engagement service that we offer?’

Locally based teams need the following supports:

  • well understood community and government needs, aspirations and actions, incorporating the lessons from the many years of engagement between the communities and government;

  • a process which respects culture, diversity and community dynamics, preferably through strong and existing social network systems;

  • a willingness to relax control and be responsive to community perspectives;

  • the inclusion of all community interests and affected groups, including women and youth;

  • a commitment to ensuring all stakeholders are fully informed – both of the process and of the evidence they need to make informed decisions; and

  • well developed communications products which are meaningful to local community members.

Policy and program service that we offer?’

Programs and services should contribute to Closing the Gap … while being appropriate to local community needs (C8)

Using evidence to develop and redesign programs, services and set priorities and recognising the importance of early intervention (C10 (a) (i) and (ii))

Build the capacity of governments and service delivery organisations to develop and implement policies, procedures and protocols that recognise Indigenous peoples’ culture, needs and aspirations (C10 (c) (iii))

Ensure services are provided in an integrated and collaborative manner both between all levels of governments and between services (C12 (c))

Ensure mainstream service delivery agencies have strategies in place to achieve Indigenous outcomes and meet Indigenous needs (C13 (b))

New ways of working

Engagement and capacity building service that we offer?’

Engage and empower Indigenous people … in the design and delivery of programs and services(C9 (b))

Be transparent regarding the role and level of Indigenous engagement along the continuum from information sharing to decision making(C9 (e))

Develop the skills, knowledge and competencies … of Indigenous people and organisations(C10 (c) (i))

Support Indigenous communities to harness the … corporate, non-government and philanthropic sectors(C10 (c) (ii))

Support the capacity of Indigenous service sector and communities to play a role in ensuring services are responsive, accessible and appropriate(C13 (f))

New ways of working

Examples of ISD service that we offer?’

  • the Human Services Legislation Amendment Act 2011 integrated the services of Medicare Australia, Centrelink and CRS Australia on 1 July 2011 into the Department of Human Services

  • this integration is part of the Government’s Service Delivery Reform agenda and allows for:

  • over the next three years the Department of Human Services will co-locate all their offices, an initiative that will boost the number of Medicare sites from 240 to more than 500

  • Centrelink and the Northern Territory Government are progressing a trial of combined service delivery in Centrelink’sWurrumiyanga office

  • more one-stop-shops

  • more self service options for customers

  • more intensive support for the people who need it most

Summary – government’s role is to service that we offer?’

  • create an environment where communities can improve their own circumstances

  • empower communities in their efforts to solve their own problems

  • respond to priorities that lead to sustainable outcomes

  • support capacity building efforts

  • provide ongoing support and investment to meet community priorities

Insanity : doing the same thing and expecting a different result

Albert Einstein

Questions? service that we offer?’

Here is Edward Bear, coming down the stairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it.

(from A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh)