Vulnerable and Disadvantaged Client Access Strategy

Overview

The Family Support Program (FSP) continues to deliver broad-based and early intervention services for families.  The Australian Government is seeking to make FSP services easier to access and more supportive for Australia’s most vulnerable children and families.  A key part of the FSP reforms therefore is asking services to ensure they actively assist vulnerable children and families to access relevant services while acknowledging that the program includes broad based services that all Australian families can use.

The new FSP requires all funded providers to consider how best to strategically improve service accessibility, responsiveness and outcomes1 for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged (including Indigenous) families in the Activity Delivery Area.  This will be recorded in a Vulnerable & Disadvantaged Client Access Strategy (the Access Strategy).

The Access Strategy is intended to help you identify the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families in your Activity Delivery Area(s) and how you can more effectively work with key stakeholders to offer more holistic service responses. 

Most FSP funded organisations2 will also be required to provide an Indigenous Access Plan.  The Indigenous Access Plan has been integrated into the Access Strategy and therefore has elements in common with the overarching Access Strategy.  Completion will result in the creation of an Indigenous Access Improvement Target.

Due to the Government’s priority on Closing the Gap, the FSP is emphasising the direct effort it expects services to place on vulnerable and disadvantaged Indigenous families.  For this reason, the Indigenous Access Plan requires more detailed planning and development.

Your Access Strategy should be developed:

  • In consultation with key stakeholders.
  • For your Activity Delivery Area(s) as outlined in your Funding Agreement. 

Which providers do not need to complete the Access Strategy template?


Communities for Children Facilitating Partners

Providers who only deliver Communities for Children (CfC) and CfC Plus (Facilitating Partner model CfC sites) do not need to complete the Access Strategy template.  These organisations will be asked to update their Community Strategic Plan to ensure they cover all required elements of the Access Strategy and include an Indigenous Access Plan and target.

Providers who only receive limited FSP funding

Providers who receive less than $80,000 per year in total FSP funding will complete an Abridged Client Access Strategy (Abridged Strategy) template in recognition of the capacity provided through their funding.

The Abridged Strategy has fewer obligations (than the Access Strategy):

  • Indigenous client targets are not required; and
  • Providers are expected to demonstrate Networkedd3 relationships with local key stakeholders.

The Abridged Access Strategy must be signed-off by your Board or CEO.

Details on the Abridged Access Strategy requirements will be made available during funding agreement negotiations.

State Playgroup Associations only funded for community playgroup Activities

State Playgroup Associations only funded for Community Playgroup Activities are not required to complete an Access Strategy or Abridged Access Strategy.

All other providers4

All other providers must complete an Access Strategy on the template provided which will include guidance on the type and level of information required.  Further clarification on the Access Strategy requirements will be made available during funding agreement negotiations.

One Access Strategy (including an Indigenous Access Plan) will be required per Funding Agreement.

In practice an Access Strategy should:

  • Identify ways of best supporting the collaborative service system given your organisation’s resources and role in the community.
  • Help ensure the full range of support required to meet the needs of the most vulnerable families is available, culturally appropriate and accessible.
  • Link the complexity of family needs to the level of collaboration required.

It is therefore:

  • The responsibility of each FSP funding recipient to determine its contribution to increase or maintain service delivery to improve outcomes for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families. 
  • Anticipated that this will require collaboration at the Coordinated or Integrated levels3. 

The Access Strategy has two parts:

  • Part A includes material relevant to all vulnerable and disadvantaged families and Indigenous families.
  • Part B (the Indigenous Access Plan) requires organisations (unless exempt) to provide further information on the measures they will implement to improve the accessibility and appropriateness of their services to Indigenous families.

If your organisation is funded for a single Activity Delivery Area, the Access Strategy must provide detail at that level.

If your organisation is funded for multiple locations, the Access Strategy:

Must describe the overall approach across all funded Activity Delivery Areas.

  • Should reflect the diversity across all Activity Delivery Areas.
  • May include additional detail applying to local/regional areas or service hubs as needed.

Where multiple FSP providers are funded in a given region, they have the option of providing:

  • Individual Access Strategies, or
  • A jointly produced and agreed Access Strategy.

If your organisation chooses to jointly produce an Access Strategy with other FSP providers, you must:

  • Submit your own copy to FaHCSIA.
  • Ensure the role and responsibilities of your service and the other service(s) is clearly outlined.
  • Ensure it is signed-off by the Board or CEO of each participating FSP funded organisation.

In the case of consortia, the Lead organisation will be responsible for documenting each member’s role in the Access Strategy.

The Access Strategy must:

Identify target groups from the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families.  This should be supported by demographic information and your knowledge of local / regional social issues and trends.  Extensive formal research is not required.

  • Identify the key stakeholders that are already connected to the target group(s).
  • Describe service limitations and/or barriers for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families.
  • Describe in concrete terms what you will do (over the course of the Funding Agreement) to address these limitations and barriers.
  • Include an implementation timeline.
  • Be signed-off by your Board or CEO.

Performance Measurement

Providers will be required to report on the implementation of their Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy as specified in the Funding Agreement.  Reporting is required at the level of detail provided in the Access Strategy.

The funding agreements include a related Key Performance Indicator to determine if the needs of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families are being met by FSP providers.

The performance indicator is: "A satisfactory rating by us of achievement to increase or maintain service delivery to FSP priority groups" 5

To obtain a satisfactory rating providers must:

  • Submit an Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy to FaHCSIA of a required standard.
  • Report against the Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy on how service delivery to priority groups has been increased or maintained.  This may be supported by data provided through reporting on client characteristics.  In the cases where data is not supportive, an explanation should be provided.

FaHCSIA funding agreement managers will review the submitted Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy and provide feedback by 30 March 2012.  FaHCSIA will advise providers by 30 June 2012 whether it has accepted their Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy.

Failure to meet performance expectations may result in remediation strategies being implemented and increased monitoring by FaHCSIA funding agreement managers.  This will also be reflected in a provider’s overall performance assessment.

What will FaHCSIA consider in its assessment?

FaHCSIA will consider a range of issues when assessing your strategies for improving outcomes for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families.  This is to recognise that each provider’s role and contribution may be different depending on their circumstances and issues present in their Activity Delivery Area(s), even for providers of similar size and resources. 

In general, providers completing an Access Strategy will have responsibility for establishing and driving collaborative initiatives.  This approach is intended to provide a level of equity across services while being responsive to the needs of individual locations.

When reviewing your Access Strategy/Abridged Access Strategy the Department will consider if it:

Reflects the key social issues present and appropriately prioritises target groups.

  • Demonstrates appropriate engagement with key external stakeholders (including State government services where practicable).
  • Identifies areas for improvement, and sets out concrete actions for addressing them.
  • Includes all information required by the relevant template.
  • Has an appropriate focus (within scope of the Funding Agreement and funded Activities) on collaboratively improving:
  • Service accessibility for all families.
  • Holistic service responses and improved outcomes for the most vulnerable and disadvantaged families and children.

Other considerations include:

  • The organisation’s size, location, geographical reach, skill base and level of funding.
  • The presence or absence of other key stakeholders involved with and/or supporting identified target group(s).
  • The nature of service delivery by other key stakeholders, particularly special expertise or skill in engaging and servicing vulnerable groups.

Achievement against Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy will be assessed based on information:

  • Provided in the Annual Service Report or 6 Monthly Performance Report as appropriate; and
  • Obtained from service assessments and site visits.

 

Timelines

The following timelines relate to the Access Strategy and Abridged Access Strategy:

Year Month Item
2011 9 December Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy, Indigenous Access Plan due
2012 January Decision by FaHCSIA funding agreement managers on whether to release full milestone payment on completion of all milestones
  February to April Service Assessments conducted by FaHCSIA funding agreement managers
  30 March FaHCSIA funding agreement managers provide formal written advice on Access Strategy / Abridged Strategy / Indigenous Access Plan quality and targets
  30 June FaHCSIA funding agreement managers agree with Access Strategy / Abridged Strategy / Indigenous Access Plan
  1 July Implementation of agreed Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy / Indigenous Access Plan
Indigenous client targets in place for 2012-2013
Decision to release full milestone payment based on completion of all milestones (FaHCSIA funding agreement managers)
2013 January Decision by FaHCSIA funding agreement managers on whether to release milestone payment
  February to April Service Assessments
  31 July Providers report on progress against Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy / Indigenous Access Plan
2014 January Decision by Network on whether to release milestone payment
  February to April Service Assessments by Network
  April Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy/ Indigenous Access Plan fully operational.
  31 July Providers report on progress against Access Strategy / Abridged Access Strategy / Indigenous Access Plan

Related documents:

  • Related Information – Collaborative Service Delivery in the Family Support Program
  • The New Family Support Program - What does ‘vulnerable’ mean for the Family Support Program?

 

  1. The New Family Support Program - What does ‘vulnerable’ mean for the Family Support Program?
  2. FaHCSIA funding agreement managers will advise providers if they are not required to complete an Indigenous Access Plan
  3. Further information including a description of the levels of collaboration is available in Related Information –– Collaborative Service Delivery in the Family Support Program.
  4. Providers who receive at least $80,000 in FSP funding per year.
  5. There is no specific measure for ‘collaboration’. This recognises that collaboration is a key strategy for improving outcomes for vulnerable and disadvantaged families and children, but is not the sole mechanism for doing so.
Content Updated: 23 April 2014