Developing a service system level approach with a remote community

  • 2020

  • Service
    Public Sector Services

Designed By:

  • Today

Commissioned By:

Key Assets

Designed In:


60+ services were in place to deliver family and social services to a remote community. We developed a whole-of-system, human-centred design approach to map services and design a decision-making tool to ensure child and family wellbeing. We aligned services to core community needs, ensuring no one falls through the cracks.

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  • Child protection and family support services are notoriously difficult in remote communities. This was particularly true for this community; where complex governance, its extreme remoteness, and cultural complexities had meant that service delivery was hard to get a complete view of. Service provision is complex enough for family wellbeing and child protection, but here we had overlapping services across local, state, and federal jurisdictions, not-for-profit and private sector. We needed to map the service ecosystem and identify overlaps and gaps to better inform policy, management, and funding models.

  • Using a service design and ‘systems thinking’ approach, Today developed an outcome that supports the delivery of effective services—anchored in community needs and best practice, family-centred care. With the community front-of-mind, we built a service model through participatory design that now enables more effective service implementation across providers that meets user needs, and can be delivered efficiently from far away. A human-centred, whole system view means that policy and funding can more effectively meet the needs of children, young people and families. An evidence base is now in place that calls out coverage and gaps, with an indicator of urgency.

  • Our solution anchors decision-making in community needs. It’s a service map that provides a view of all remote services in play (70+ services and 40+ service providers) to community needs, in real-time. It allows policymakers and funders to understand user scenarios such as domestic violence, supporting more efficient service utilisation, provider alignment, and visibility across joined-up services. It helps to identify gaps, strengths, and opportunities for service delivery; informing better decision making that will ultimately keep children and families safe. The tool is now used across all levels of government as a critical decision making resource.

  • We developed a fit-for-purpose design methodology that was scalable across different service types, and could be applied to different community contexts beyond this project. The system map provides clear identification of how to meet community needs and deliver on best practice care. Updateable service status cards and service profiles complement the map to support service decisions over time. “What’s come out of this project is the fact that as an organisation, we’ve seen such value in it and now we’re able to take that work and use it as a basis for work in another remote community with a completely different context. What we’ve seen is that it allows different conversations to occur. Not only with us, internally at Key Assets, but also with other stakeholders we're working with. I think there's so much value for senior decision-makers to better understand the context, acknowledge that we're working with complexity, but also explore how we value add. I think it has helped us to answer our most important question, “How do we bring the voice of the child and the community to the table?” [Jamie Hodgson, National ED for Innovation and Strategy at Key Assets]