YP4 – Joining up services for Homeless jobseekers

Table of contents

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Executive Summary

YP4 is a three-year trial which seeks to demonstrate that joining up programs and services in a client-centred manner will result in more sustainable employment and housing outcomes for young homeless jobseekers. YP4 is the result of extended research and developmental work by four key partner organisations responsible for delivering it: Hanover Welfare Services, Melbourne Citymission, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Loddon Mallee Housing Services.

Earlier, YP4 was known as the Young Homeless Jobseeker Trial. The new name is intended to capture the trial's purpose using language with less pejorative connotations. YP represents young people. The numeral four is in superscript, signifying 'to the power of four'. The four p's or powers are purpose (meaning a job), place (meaning a home), personal support (denoting the service being offered), and proof (acknowledging YP4's status as a trial and the importance of the evaluation framework underpinning YP4).

YP4 represents a new approach to assisting individuals who experience both homelessness and unemployment, in recognition that existing forms of housing and employment assistance are fragmented, linear, ineffective and inefficient for homeless job seekers. YP4 will offer homeless young people a single point of contact to address employment, housing, educational and personal support goals in an integrated manner over a two-year period.

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The key components of YP4 are:

  • resourced case management
  • access to a flexible pool of resources
  • timely, individualised assistance
  • negotiated pathways to employment, which could include mentoring, work experience, vocational training and/or subsidised employment
  • commitment to secure housing and a living wage

The evidence base for YP4 is contained in the foundation paper, A new approach to assisting young homeless jobseekers published in January 2003 (Campbell 2003). The trial proposal with matching title was published in March 2004 (Horn 2004). Copies of both papers can be downloaded from the 'current research' page at Hanover website.

From an evaluation perspective, YP4 has a number of interesting features:

  • An Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group has been established, which consists of eminent professors and representatives from all major stakeholders.
  • Considerable energy has been devoted over the last year to establishing a rigorous evaluation framework for the trial which was formalised even before a single participant was recruited.
  • Attention is being given (relatively equitably) to three types of evaluation activity: an outcome evaluation, an evaluation of the acts of joining up that occur in YP4 and a financial evaluation.
  • YP4 is as a social experiment of the type rarely seen (or permitted) in Australian social policy circles. The outcome evaluation methodology centres on the existence of a 'control' group whose (employment and housing) outcomes can be directly compared to the outcomes of the 'treatment' group, i.e. those who are receiving the service delivered by YP4. Importantly, young homeless jobseekers are being allocated randomly (with a few exceptions) to the 'control' or 'treatment' groups. This is possible because there are more young homeless jobseekers in each of the catchment areas than there are places in YP4.
  • The outcome evaluation is being overseen by a principal investigator, Dr. Marty Grace of Victoria University, who is independent of all of the partner organisations, including the five government departments.
  • The financial evaluation includes both a cost-benefit analysis and a cost-effectiveness analysis. It too is being overseen by independent principal investigators, but in this instance from the Department of Economics and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne.
  • The evaluation of the 'joining up' process is participatory, organic and developmental. The trial manager doubles as the principal investigator of this evaluation.

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YP4 intends to publish emerging findings from the evaluation on a regular basis.

From an implementation perspective, YP4 has encountered a range of barriers to joined up practice which are multidimensional, significant and difficult to overcome. Whilst YP4 has been successful in overcoming some of these barriers, others have proved more rigid and intransigent, despite the best efforts of individuals employed within the various service systems to cooperate in the identification of potential solutions. The process of identifying and overcoming barriers to integrated planning, service delivery and management is an ongoing challenge.

Early conclusions of YP4 are that:

  1. There is considerable and widespread goodwill and interest to join up services and programs, however, this is rarely translated effectively into action. There are a range of systemic, structural, technical and cultural barriers to joined up practice that serve to prevent its implementation. These barriers are likely to vary across different jurisdictions.
  2. It is easy to underestimate the complexity of joining up services and programs, and the length of time that it takes. Joining up services and programs is a time-consuming and challenging exercise: It has both costs and risks.
  3. To be effective, joining up activities must happen in at every level simultaneously - through direct contact with clients, in local communities, in government departments, and in politicians' offices.
  4. Joining up must also happen across many functions simultaneously. For example, joined up accountability process and joined up governance and leadership is just as important as joined up case work practice for clients.
  5. The process of joining up programs and services does not end. Disincentives for joining up will continue to appear and will require ever-creative responses.

The partner agencies believe that YP4 has the potential to profoundly influence social program provision in the future, especially the design of housing and employment assistance.

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Purpose of Report

This report has been prepared for the National Homelessness Strategy to account for funding received from this source. In 2004/2005, YP4 received National Homelessness Strategy funding of $297,000. These funds were applied to manage the implementation of YP4 in its first year. Specifically, these funds enabled the completion of all developmental work for YP4, the finalisation of agreements and protocols with participating government departments and service providers, the creation of a communication strategy and the establishment of an evaluation framework. Whilst YP4 is a three-year trial which seeks to demonstrate that joining up programs and services in a client-centred manner will result in more sustainable employment and housing outcomes for young homeless jobseekers, the focus of this report is on the first year of YP4 operations.

The purpose of this report is to:

  1. document the planning and implementation phase of YP4
  2. describe the evaluation model adopted by YP4
  3. note the implications of planning, implementation and evaluation work for future efforts to integrate program and services across diverse sectors

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Introduction to YP4

YP4 is ambitious: At its core, it is about service integration. YP4 is a three-year trial, which seeks to demonstrate that joining up programs and services in a client-centred manner will result in more sustainable employment and housing outcomes for young homeless jobseekers.

YP4 is what may be termed a bottom up initiative: It was originally the idea of Hanover Welfare Services, and its current form is the result of about three years worth of research and developmental work on the part of the four key partner organisations responsible for delivering it. These organisations are leading not for profit organisations in Victoria: Hanover Welfare Services, Melbourne Citymission, the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Loddon Mallee Housing Services.

Earlier, YP4 was known as the Young Homeless Jobseeker Trial. The new name is intended to capture the trial's purpose using language with less pejorative connations. YP represents young people. The four is in hyperscript, signifying to the power of four. The four p's or powers are purpose - meaning a job, place - meaning a home, personal support to denote the service being offered, and proof to acknowledge YP4's status as a trial and to convey the importance of the evaluation framework underpinning YP4.

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In Australia, about 80,000 young people experience homelessness and unemployment each year. The outcomes of public assistance to these people are unsatisfactory. Public assistance seems to be a step behind the requirements of a contemporary, ever-changing population, and it is plagued by oppressive and inflexible business rules and fragmentation. YP4 represents a new paradigm for assisting individuals who experience both homelessness and unemployment, in recognition that existing forms of housing and employment assistance are linear, ineffective and inefficient for homeless jobseekers1. YP4 offers homeless jobseekers a single and consistent point of contact to address employment, housing, educational and personal support goals in an integrated manner over a two-year period.

YP4 is working with 240 participants over four sites, covering inner metropolitan, outer suburban and regional areas. YP4 participants are very disadvantaged: they are in the first third of their working life (aged 18 to 35 years), they are currently homeless or have a history of homelessness and they are looking for work, although they may be deemed not to be 'work ready' as yet.

In the interests of testing replicability and maximising use of local expertise, each of the trial partners has sought a slightly different focus.

  • Loddon Mallee Housing Services will ensure that 25% of trial participants are indigenous.
  • Melbourne Citymission will ensure that all trial participants are aged 18 to 25 years.
  • Hanover Welfare Services will ensure that families are particularly encouraged to access the trial.
  • The Brotherhood of St. Laurence will remain open to all trial participants aged up to 35 years.

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There are six principles that underpin YP4. First, housing, employment and personal support must be interlocked and delivered as an integrated package of assistance. Second, the integration of housing, employment and personal support assistance must happen at every level, not just at the level of casework but also at systemic and structural levels. Third, sustainable employment is understood as the over-arching goal, which must determine the way that other forms of support are provided. Fourth, it is relationships, and not transactions, that count. Fifth, solutions must be locally specific, and joined up locally too, and sixth, coordinated case management is the key and it must be well resourced enough to ensure individualised, timely and flexible responses.

It follows that the key components of the YP4 service model are:

  • Resourced case management
  • Access to a flexible pool of resources
  • Timely, individualised assistance
  • Negotiated pathways to employment, which could include mentoring, work experience, vocational training and/or subsidised employment
  • Commitment to secure housing and a living wage

This may not sound like anything new. The idea of coordinating and integrating services for disadvantaged people is widely regarded as a good thing and for years, professional case managers have been client-centred, flexible, outcome oriented and eager to work in a holistic way. Community agencies, too, are keen to work in partnership with others and inter-agency agreements abound. Individual practitioners and community agencies which try to implement integrated practice on a wider scale encounter a range of systemic barriers - including structural and cultural barriers, which are extraordinarily difficult to overcome. For example, professional casework takes place in the context of a set of program parameters, which are often narrowly defined and sometimes serve to prevent those who may be inclined to see and solve problems that exist outside those parameters from doing so. YP4 is aware of the range of barriers to coordinated service provision and joined up practice and remains committed not just to tinkering around the edges, and seeing what practitioners and service managers can do differently, but rather to challenging the structural, cultural and other barriers in ways that can potentially lead to real change.

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STEVE'S STORY

Last year looked good for Steve: He had a good flat in a good area and he had started an apprenticeship in the building industry. But he could not manage his rent on apprenticeship wages, he fell behind and got evicted and when homeless, he could not continue with his job. Steve has since found himself a place in a boarding house in North Melbourne for which he pays $120 a week. It is neither cheap nor appropriate. He is keen to find a new home in the area. And ideally, he would like to go back to his apprenticeship. Such a job would likely put around $200 a week in his pocket which, Steve figures, won't be enough to get decent accommodation anywhere near North Melbourne. Steve is now tossing up whether to hold out for a better-paying job - a risky move given his low education - or move somewhere cheaper which is further away from his friends and his job opportunities. It is appalling that young people like Steve need to make such hard choices that essentially trade off housing against work and education.


To this end, the YP4 case managers face a tall order: They are asked to transcend the program boundaries that the rest of us have been professionalised to look for to help us feel safe and to help give our work meaning. They are asked to tolerate a high level of uncertainty about the boundaries of their work, the business rules of this work, the resources at their disposal and the like. Further, they are asked to tolerate this uncertainty on an ongoing basis. To explain, YP4 case managers work in an environment where the commitment to joined up practice is operationalised everywhere they look. Nothing is off limits, it seems. YP4 is about joining up at every level, not just on the ground where direct practice occurs. YP4 is riding the interface between policy, interdepartmental relationships and direct service practice in order to more comprehensively assist young homeless job seekers to make the transition to independence.

Conceptually, YP4 is new. Succinctly conveying what it means to other people is a difficult challenge. It is not a concrete program or service and does not accord with normal expectations and community understanding about how programs and services exist and operate. Its flexible nature, its model-like qualities (as distinct from program-like qualities), and its fluidity make it difficult to describe and pin down. The risk of being misunderstood is omnipresent.

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These difficulties notwithstanding, the paradigm shift embodied by YP4 seems to have been understood by many in public life, as YP4 has attracted considerable support from many different government departments, peak bodies and community organisations. YP4's supporters include (but are not limited to):

  • The Commonwealth Department of Family and Community Services, which has shown support through National Homelessness Strategy funding
  • The Commonwealth Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, which has shown support through the Employment Innovation Fund, through the Personal Support Program, through the Job Placement and Employment Training program (JPET) and by facilitating access to the Job Network
  • Centrelink, which has provided the primary gateway into YP4 and significantly assisted with the collection of evaluation data
  • The Department of Victorian Communities, which has shown support through a significant Community Support Grant and by facilitating access to the Community Jobs Program
  • The Victorian Department of Human Services which has shown support through the Supported Accommodation and Assistance Program, transitional housing and the Housing Establishment Fund
  • The William Angliss Foundation, the first investor in YP4 in 2002
  • The Ross Trust, Perpetual Trustees and Buckland Foundation which have each provided for staffing costs
  • Three peak bodies, the National Employment Services Association, Jobs Australia and the Council to Homeless Persons are each represented on the Inter Agency Coordinating Committee overseeing YP4
  • Other organisations which have supported YP4 include Job Futures and Whirlwind.

The partner agencies and many of their supporters believe that YP4 has the potential to profoundly influence social program provision in the future, especially the design of housing and employment assistance.

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Planning and Implementation

This section addresses the governance model of YP4 and communication practices of YP4, and specifically explains how potential barriers to YP4's implementation have been identified and resolved.

Governance

Trial development working group

In early 2003, a trial development working group was convened comprised of representatives from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), the Department of Family and Community Services, the Victorian Department of Human Services, the Department of Victorian Communities, Centrelink, Hanover Welfare Services, the Brotherhood of St Laurence, Melbourne Citymission and Loddon Mallee Housing Services. This group met regularly through 2003 and the first half of 2004. The group oversaw the development of the trial proposal and worked through some of the logistical issues expected to confront the trial, including the conflict of business rules which required relaxing, approval to reallocate funds, etc. As agreements for trial funding neared conclusion, the trial development working group supported the employment of a trial manager.

Inter agency coordinating committee

The Inter Agency Coordinating Committee was convened in late 2004 once trial implementation was confirmed and a trial manager was employed. The Inter Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) provides direction to and oversight of YP4. Membership of the IACC is similar to that of the trial development working group, but with the addition of three peak bodies - the National Employment Services Association, Jobs Australia and the Council to Homeless Persons. Terms of reference of the IACC can be summarised as follows:

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The IACC is responsible for

  • Ensuring all trial activities are well-coordinated and consistent with the intent and objectives of the trial as set out in the Foundation Paper and Trial Proposal documents
  • Reviewing progress of the trial, approving amendments, variations and new initiatives within the trial and in turn making appropriate recommendations to the relevant funding bodies
  • Recommending overall allocation of funds within the trial consistent with agreed protocols and program accountabilities
  • Reporting on the progress of the trial and trial findings to the funding bodies and publishing findings and recommendations, as appropriate
  • Providing direction to the Trial Manager
  • Establishing and receiving reports from subcommittees and advisory groups which may be required from time to time, including the Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group
  • Overseeing the evaluation of the trial, with advice from the Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group
  • Monitoring the activities of the trial to ensure compliance with privacy legislation and ethical standards
  • Inviting or coopting additional individuals or representatives to the IACC, as required

Local reference groups

In discussions with community agencies within some of trial sites, it has been suggested that local reference groups be created to support local implementation of the trial. Reference groups already exist for pilot projects funded under the Victorian Homelessness Strategy in two of the sites, both of which appear keen to continue through supporting the trial. Ultimately, the formation and resourcing of such reference groups is at the discretion of, and a responsibility of, the partner agencies, each of which already has strong local networks and connections. Partner agencies are expected to take responsibility for passing on any advice that such groups may wish to provide to the IACC.

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Communication

A communication strategy for YP4 has been developed with input from each of the partner agencies. A copy of the strategy is attached in Appendix 3. Key components of the communication strategy are:

  • Brochures, employer prospectuses and a website
  • Fortnightly updates sent electronically to all stakeholders
  • A quarterly policy newsletter, the first issue of which is scheduled for release in Winter 2005
  • Conference presentations, which are expected to occur quarterly.

YP4 has a strong and increasing profile among the target audience of policy makers, social policy analysts, government officials, and service sector workers.

Barriers to implementation

A range of barriers to joined up service provision have been identified through YP4. At its second meeting, the IACC proposed that a workshop be held to sort through in closer detail some of the logistical problems that could beset YP4. In response, a 'mechanics workshop' was held on Friday 24 September 2004 to explore how various government-sponsored housing and employment systems could provide integrated responses for the benefit of YP4 participants. The workshop was primarily intended to collect information about current practices. Specifically, the aim was to:

  • share knowledge about existing processes and systems through which potential YP4 participants currently navigate
  • understand the range of logistical problems that may arise for YP4 participants when seeking access to YP4 and negotiating relevant government supports
  • check the flexibility of responses available to YP4 participants
  • identify both temporary and sustainable solutions to any system problems that may be identified

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The workshop was successful in achieving the first three of its objectives. In particular, the workshop was instrumental in clarifying and scoping the issues facing YP4 participants. The fourth objective of identifying solutions was largely not achieved. A subsequent meeting, dubbed the post-mechanics workshop, was held on Friday 5 November 2004 and had more success in identifying solutions to the issues. Some amendments to or clarification of the trial model were required in light of proposed solutions, and these were the subject of deliberations by the IACC Executive and YP4 team in November 2004.

Decisions/changes/solutions made at the post-mechanics workshop or shortly thereafter were:

  • Small change to formula for participant intake: 25% of YP4 participants will be eligible for the Personal Support Program or JPET, not 35% as advised in the Trial Proposal. 75% of YP4 participants will be eligible for Intensive Support - Customised Assistance.
  • Agreement that automatic 'Intensive Support - Customised Assistance' status would be secured for job-ready YP4 participants (as a safety net)
  • Commitment to create a safety net to ensure that YP4 participants do not become obligated to complete Work for the Dole or other mandatory mutual obligation activities
  • Protocol to ensure that participation reports specific to YP4 participants are not acted upon without reference to a YP4 case manager
  • Fast tracking of Jobseeker Supplementary Assessments for YP4 participants (by Centrelink)
  • '0' job search requirement for job-ready YP4 participants on a temporary basis (for six months) - to minimise the possibility of non-compliance with mutual obligation during the initial phase of participant engagement with YP4

Some of the opportunities for streamlining processes for YP4 participants, discussed at the 'post-mechanics workshop' held on 5 November, have proved difficult and time-consuming to secure in practice. For example,

  • Automatic 'Intensive Support - Customised Assistance' status for job-ready YP4 participants (as a safety net) has not been able to be delivered as hoped, as it is inconsistent with other DEWR policy.
  • Formal advice about whether the job search requirement for job-ready YP4 participants can be set to '0' is conflicting. DEWR indicate that it can be done, however, Centrelink advise that they are unable to implement this. This issue is yet to be resolved.
  • Also, formal advice is expected to be issued by DEWR to both Centrelink and to Job Network members regarding their obligations vis a vis YP4 participants, however, this is yet to occur.

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Additional barriers to joined up practice identified since the mechanics and post mechanics workshops include:

  • Difficulty in accessing identifiable information about participants from the National Data Collection Agency, which maintains information about the use of crisis accommodation services on a nation wide basis.
  • Failure to secure National Data Collection Agency codes specific to YP4, despite earlier assurances that new codes could be allocated.
  • Difficulty in extracting information from the Centrelink database (mainframe) that facilitates the systematic identification of disadvantaged, homeless jobseekers, largely due to the poor interface between the Centrelink mainframe and DEWR information (Job Seeker Classification Instrument scores). It is also acknowledged, however, that Centrelink information systems were not designed with identification of homeless people in mind and as such, it is not a surprise that these systems have performed poorly when applied to the task.
  • Continuing examples of business rules which increase the disadvantage of those that they are intended to assist, and which cannot be applied with flexibility. For example, YP4 team members requested that participants be allowed to present the usual income declaration forms to Centrelink on a four weekly cycle, rather than on a two-weekly or 12 weekly cycle, as this would make it easier for case managers to support participants in meeting their mutual obligation to government. (Currently, Centrelink customers are required to submit forms on a two weekly cycle to a 16 weekly cycle or anywhere in between, depending on their circumstances and the nature of the program in which they are participating.) Four weekly lodgements are possible for YP4 participants, but this requires a Centrelink staff member to manually override the automatic (system-determined) form lodgement cycle. Manual system entries must be manually removed, and cannot be automatically reversed when, for example, a participant secures employment. The risk to YP4 participants in this instance is that they have a higher likelihood of incurring a Centrelink debt in the event that they secure employment, if there is a manual entry on their file requiring four weekly form lodgement.
  • Maintenance of discreet key performance indicators for YP4 by each of the funding bodies contributing to it, and the purchase of nominated, distinct components of YP4 by each funding body. Such non-integrated accountability measures, in effect, require YP4 management to artificially separate the integrated work of YP4 for reporting purposes and potentially expose YP4 to claims of 'double dipping'.

The barriers to joined up practice are multidimensional, significant and difficult to overcome. Whilst YP4 has been successful in overcoming some of these barriers, others have proved more rigid and intransigent, despite the best efforts of individuals employed within the various service systems to cooperate in the identification of potential solutions. The process of identifying and overcoming barriers to integrated planning, service delivery and management is an ongoing challenge. The full documentation of barriers, how they have been challenged and how they have been overcome (or not) will be a key feature of the evaluation of YP4 and is further explained in the next section of this report.

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The Evaluation Agenda

Considerable energy was devoted in 2004 to establishing a rigorous evaluation framework for the trial, even before a single participant was recruited. To assist with this process, an Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group was established as a standing subcommittee of the Inter Agency Coordinating Committee. The Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group (EEAG) consists of eminent professors as well as representatives from all the major stakeholders who have partnered YP4.

The EEAG prepared an evaluation framework for YP4. The broad purpose of YP4's evaluation framework is to ensure that the lessons learnt from YP4 and its implications for program design and practice are documented, fully understood, shared and, wherever possible, realised.

There are three questions or groups of questions that drive the evaluation, each of which has a series of sub-questions associated with them.

  • By joining up services and programs, does YP4 assist participants to progress along a pathway that will achieve more sustainable employment and housing outcomes than would current interventions and, if so, do those outcomes persist over time?
  • What is our experience of joining up services and programs for young homeless jobseekers, how best can we understand these processes, and what is their value?
  • To what extent do the benefits achieved by YP4 justify the cost involved and to what extent does YP4 represent a cost-effective alternative to other types of intervention?

The questions suggest three key components of the evaluation: summative, formative and financial evaluation. Attention is being given equitably to these three streams of the evaluation. Subsequent sections of this chapter detail, in turn, the approach taken for each of the three components of the evaluation.

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The most significant feature of the evaluation agenda is that YP4 can be understood as a social experiment in that the outcome evaluation methodology centres on the existence of a 'control' group whose (employment and housing) outcomes can be directly compared to the outcomes of the 'treatment' group i.e. those who are receiving the service delivered by YP4. Importantly, the allocation of young homeless jobseekers to the 'control' or 'treatment' groups is, with a few exceptions, occurring randomly. This is made possible by the fact that there are more young homeless jobseekers in each of the catchment areas than there are places in YP4. Social experimentation of this type is rarely seen (or permitted) in Australian social policy environments.

Overall, the evaluation framework makes explicit the commitment of YP4 to the highest standards of ethical behaviour. The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) determine ethical standards for all research involving people in Australia and these standards are recorded in the “National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Research Involving Humans” (1999). All human research ethics committees in Australia are bound to follow the standards set out in the statement: They must register with the NHMRC, report to it annually, and are subjected to audits.

Many of the community agencies and government departments represented on the Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group have formally constituted Human Research Ethics Committees (HREC) within their own organisations. Rather than secure ethics approval individually from each of these committees, the Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group collectively applies the national standards of ethical conduct, and ensures broad compatibility with the internal ethical requirements of each member organisation. External contractors linked to research institutions who are appointed to conduct evaluation activities on behalf of YP4 are expected to secure more formal ethics approval from within their home institutions.

Protection of privacy for trial participants is another imperative for YP4. YP4 complies with all relevant privacy legislation. A requirement of participation in YP4 (including the control group) is the provision of informed consent to access personal data from specified sources.

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Outcome evaluation

The outcome evaluation is being overseen by a principal investigator who is independent of all of the partner organisations, including the five government departments who are participating. The principal investigator is Dr. Marty Grace of Victoria University. The following extracts from the application for ethics approval from the Victoria University Human Research Ethics Committee provide a useful summary of the outcome evaluation of YP4.


1. Title of project

Outcome evaluation of the YP4 trial


2. Aim of project

The overall aim of the project is to contribute to knowledge and policy activism regarding effective ways of delivering services to young homeless jobseekers.

The specific aims of the project are:

  • to investigate the outcomes for young people participating in the YP4 trial;
  • to feed back information on impacts of the trial to the sponsor organisations;
  • to assist sponsor organisations to understand and articulate the policy and service delivery implications of the findings; and
  • to work with sponsor organisations to publicise the project findings and their implications.

The YP4 trial involves randomly-assigned participants who will receive services either in the standard way or in a new joined-up way that has been developed specifically for this trial.

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The following research question will guide the research:

By joining up services and programs, does YP4 assist participants to progress along a pathway that will achieve more sustainable employment and housing outcomes than would current interventions and if so, do those outcomes persist over time?


3. Plain language statement of project

YP4 (formerly known as the Young Homeless Jobseeker Trial) seeks to demonstrate that joining up a range of services and programs in a client-centred manner will result in more sustainable employment and housing outcomes for young homeless jobseekers. YP4 is an initiative of four community organisations: Hanover Welfare Services, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Melbourne Citymission and Loddon Mallee Housing Services. The 'YP' represents young people. The '4' refers to the four 'p's: purpose (a job), place (a home), personal support (offered by the project) and proof (the evaluation). The number '4' also represents the number of partner agencies and the number of sites for the trial.

YP4 represents a new approach to assisting individuals who are experiencing both homelessness and unemployment, in recognition that existing forms of housing and employment assistance are fragmented, linear, ineffective and inefficient for homeless jobseekers. YP4 will offer homeless jobseekers a single point of contact to address employment, housing, educational and personal support goals in an integrated manner over a two-year period.

An Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group (EEAG) provides expertise and advice to the Inter Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) for YP4, regarding all evaluation and research processes and outcomes required by the Trial. An evaluation framework has been prepared and formally approved by the Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group. The purpose of the evaluation is to ensure that what is learnt from YP4 and the implications for program design and practice are documented, fully understood, shared and wherever possible, realised both within the project and beyond.

There are three components of the YP4 evaluation: an outcome evaluation, a process evaluation and a financial evaluation. This Ethics Application is for the outcome evaluation only. The other aspects of the evaluation will not involve Victoria University directly.


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4. Nature of research, including methodology and a list of all procedures to be used on human subjects.

This project falls within the tradition of critical social research. It is informed by contemporary critical social theory that synthesises postmodern insights regarding diversity and multiple sites of power with more traditional concerns regarding inequality. Critical social research has a central purpose of contributing to transformational change that will challenge and reduce the oppression of the people who experience the social problems that are the focus of the study.

The overall approach or methodology for this research is iterative, with cycles of data collection and analysis, feedback, reflection and action. These processes will be undertaken in partnership with project staff, the Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group, and the Inter Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC). The 'action' could include changes to the project, changes to the evaluation plan, targeted advocacy and strategic dissemination of particular findings.

The evaluation will be structured around the documented objectives of the project:

  • Enhance participants' employability and reliance on income from work
  • Improve the housing situation of trial participants (in terms of appropriateness, accessibility, affordability, and security/stability)
  • Improve participants' health and wellbeing
  • Better integrate trial participants into their communities
  • Join up housing, employment and personal support services for trial participants

Project documents detail the strategies to be used to achieve these objectives, the outcomes intended and the indicators that will be used as evidence. These details (Appendix 1) will provide the starting point for the outcome evaluation.

The trial design largely determines the outcome evaluation design, with two randomised groups receiving services in different ways. The group receiving services in the standard way will be called 'S' and the group receiving joined-up services will be called 'J'. The outcome evaluation will give priority to researching and comparing the outcomes for the two groups.

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Data collection strategies and procedures

Project staff have already undertaken considerable work on the data collection plan, particularly in negotiating with Centrelink, other holders of data, and the service-providing agencies. The data collection and management for this project will be particularly complex, involving a number of sources, data in different formats, collections at different points in time, and the need to integrate the data into a single SPSS data set.

Data collection will include:

  • i. Annual collection of data from existing data sets (groups S and J participants: n=480) for four years.
  • ii. Quarterly collection of data from service providers (relating to group J participants only: n=240) for two years
  • iii. Individual interviews with group S and J participants (n=480) at intervals of 0, 6, 24, 36 and 48 months
  • iv. Up to eight focus groups over two years

The project's research and evaluation officer will be responsible for establishing and maintaining a single merged data set. The Principal Investigator will provide consultation regarding the structure and management of this data set.

(i) Existing data sets

Data will be collected from existing data sets, in accordance with consent granted by participants. (NB: Provision of consent is a condition of entry to YP4. These data will relate to recorded income, employment, unemployment, and periods of ill health.

YP4 staff have developed protocols with holders of data to ensure timely access to all relevant data. The YP4 research and evaluation officer will undertake preliminary consolidation of all datasets, including de-identification. These data will be collected annually commencing March 2005 and continuing until January 2009.

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(ii) Data from service providers

J group participants' case managers within YP4 will provide structured feedback on individual participants' progress at 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 21 months and 24 months. The indicators detailed in Appendix 1 will form the basis of this data collection.

(iii) Individual interviews with group S and J participants

Individual interviews, either face-to-face or by telephone, will be conducted as soon as possible after the participant joins the trial, and at 6 months, 24 months, 36 months and 48 months thereafter. Interview content will relate directly to the objectives of the YP4 trial (see above).

The YP4 project team has negotiated with Centrelink that their in-kind contribution to the project will include conducting individual interviews with all participants in both groups at set points in time following a participant's acceptance into the trial. These interviews will be up to one hour in duration. The possibility of using telephone surveys has been canvassed by Centrelink and is yet to be considered by the Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group. The Principal Investigator will be involved in training the staff who will be conducting these interviews.

Participants will receive $30 worth of vouchers in return for each interview. Vouchers will be used in order not to compromise participants' eligibility for income support.

(iv) Focus groups

Four focus groups with YP4 case managers will be conducted over the two year period of YP4 service delivery i.e. March 2005 to June 2007. The purpose of these groups for the outcome evaluation will be largely to explore reasons for findings as they emerge from the other data.

Four focus groups with Group J participants will be conducted over the two year period of YP4 service delivery i.e. March 2005 to June 2007. The purpose of these groups for the outcome evaluation will be largely to explore reasons for findings as they emerge from the other data.

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Data analysis

Data analysis will be carried out following each major data collection event, at present planned for 3 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 21 months and 24 months. The YP4 research and evaluation officer, as the person with responsibility for the hands-on maintenance of the data, will assist with the data analysis, and will be involved in review of output and plans for further analysis.

The Principal Investigator will report on findings quarterly in 2005 and 2006, and annually in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The reports will include a brief written report and a presentation. A major report will be presented by December 2007, with addendum reports in December 2008 and December 2009.

Dissemination of findings

Dissemination of findings will be a crucial aspect of this research. Considerable time and effort will go into working with the project manager, the Ethics and Evaluation Advisory Group, and the Inter Agency Coordinating Committee (IACC) to plan and prepare publications, media releases, submissions and presentations. While excellent work has been done to prepare the foundation paper and trial proposal, ongoing review of the literature will be necessary throughout the project.


5. Number, type and age range of subjects

A total of 480 persons aged 18-35 years will participate in the research. All participants will be homeless jobseekers.


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6. Any other relevant comments

This research is an outcome evaluation for the YP4 trial. Arrangements for this trial have been the subject of about three years' work by the participating agencies, Hanover Welfare Services, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Melbourne Citymission and Loddon Mallee Housing Services. Early work involved noticing the unsatisfactory outcomes of work with homeless jobseekers, reflecting on the reasons, and examining the literature. Further work involved developing a model that would have a better chance of success with the target group. The proponents have obtained funding and in-kind contributions from a wide variety of government departments, philanthropic organisations and in-house sources.

Recent intensive work has involved negotiations among the service delivery agencies and development of protocols with relevant government departments.

Process Evaluation

The process of joining up government programs and services in client centred ways is complex and time-consuming. Some examples of the complexity of joining up were outlined in the 'Planning and Implementation' section of this report.

The process evaluation will enable a better understanding of the complexities of joining up. The YP4 manager doubles as the principal investigator of the process evaluation. The key questions guiding the process evaluation are: What is our experience of joining up services and programs for young homeless jobseekers, how best can we understand these processes, and what is their value?

Before answering these questions, it is important to consider what joined up services and programs might mean or might look like. The term 'joined up' can be understood as a catchy new name to describe a longstanding concern for better coordination between different parts of a system (Chandler 2000). Coordination of policy is an 'eternal' problem which dates back to Chadwickian reforms of British local government in the 1830s (6 2004). 'Joined up' is mostly used in relation to government, having been coined and then enshrined in legislation by the Blair government in the UK in the late 1990s. Most of the literature about joined up government assumes that both vertical and horizontal integration will result in more seamless services and an enhanced customer experience of interacting with government. Di Maio (2004) acknowledges that the target of efforts to join up are not limited to horizontal and vertical integration of government departments, but extend to process hierarchies like management, and operations as well as between public and private entities.

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For the purposes of YP4, it is useful to understand joined up practice as a multi-dimensional issue that is also multi-layered (multilevel). Understanding joined up practice in this manner facilitates identification of three critical issues:

  • the processes of interest to YP4 (problems) and
  • the tools used to integrate programs and services (solutions)
  • the evaluation method

A schema has been developed to facilitate articulation of the lenses through which the process of joining things up can be understood. This schema guides the process evaluation, and is reproduced in appendix 2. The schema is an advance on the notion that joined up government is a matter of vertical and horizontal integration. Such a notion is implicitly two-dimensional. A multidimensional schema better captures the complexity of joined up practice. To explain further, the dimensions of joined-up practice as understood by YP4 are:

Experiential

Of great interest to YP4 is the lived experience of joining up as felt by clients, case managers, participating services, agencies who have relationships with YP4 providers, government departments and community members in YP4 localities. Integrated services may be experienced in qualitatively different ways than fragmented services.

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Programmatic/Technical

The programmatic dimension of joined up practice is technical and practical - involving managing the interface and boundaries between programs and services. This dimension is mostly about implementation. For example, joining up programs may require the sharing of a database. In such instances, it is important to ensure that the right people see the right information on the right screen at the right time.

Conceptual

This dimension of joining up is about the way in which the joining up process is understood, for example, what is meant by joining up, how it is understood and thought about and what language, metaphors and models are used to explain it. Evidence of joined-up thinking must be apparent in the ways that service providers and government officials talk about planning, delivering and managing integrated services.

Systemic/Structural

This dimension of joining up operates at a macro-policy level. The policy platforms which ground the work of YP4, the contractual arrangements which shape it and the organisational structures which support it must be coherently integrated. For example, the accountability processes, leadership and governance of YP4 must all be joined up.

Cultural/Environmental

The cultural dimension concerns the impact of the environment in which joining up happens such as how the organisational culture allows/promotes or inhibits joining up, the extent to which there is a cultural match or mismatch between current practice and joined up practice and the extent to which there is an alignment of values and collaboration and partnerships are valued and rewarded.

The issues mapped here have different impacts on YP4's efforts at joining up, depending in part on where within the system energy is invested. This suggests that joined up practice needs to occur at various levels simultaneously.

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Primary

ie. Internal to YP4. For example, the act of joining up services when they are delivered to clients, what it takes to deliver a joined up service, how to communicate through the various channels of the governance/management structure, how the different components of YP4 talk to each other and 'make it happen'.

Secondary

How do local trial providers network within their localities in order to develop the options needed for a joined up service, what different strategies are employed at a local level, or at the overall YP4 trial level, at the sectorial and departmental levels to ensure the secondary service systems work with YP4 and that services and programs can indeed be joined up.

Tertiary

How does the broader system of service delivery generally impact on YP4's efforts at 'joining up'? What are the challenges of joining up the 'silo's' of the service system in a more than temporary way? What could joining up the delivery of services look like… holistically - what will need to be done on the macro level for this to happen?? This dimension is about policy development and the political.

Consider row 1, column 1 of the schema. Clients' lived experience of receiving services is fraught. Often the client has to do the joining up of services themselves, they find long waiting lists for service, strict eligibility criteria and slight changes in status can lead to being ejected from a service and clients often have to fit in with the model of service being offered. For YP4, concessions have been secured that will enable fast-tracking of clients into services and will provide temporary exemptions from the business rules that are most likely to result in ejection from a service - like zero job search requirements for 6 months, like two years stay in transitional housing instead of the usual one. YP4 is committed to work with clients for two years regardless of changes in their status, so becoming a mother, going to prison or moving to another area does not automatically mean that the YP4 service will cease.

Consider also row 3, column 4 of the schema. This is where governance fits in. YP4 is overseen by an interagency coordinating committee which is comprised of the four partner agencies, representatives of each of five government departments which support YP4 and three peak bodies. A lot of important work occurs in committee meetings where members share a common goal and task.

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Colloquially, the schema of joined up practice is being referred to within YP4 as the ice cube tray model of joining up. In the same way as packing the ice cube tray into the freezer when some of the little cubes do not contain water can be inefficient, so too YP4's hypothesis is that ignoring any one of the various dimensions of joined up practice will ultimately result in the potential of more sustainable employment and housing outcomes for young homeless jobseekers being less than fully realised.

To date, most of the effort invested in the process evaluation has gone into developing the framework or schema for understanding joined up practice. Future priorities for the process evaluation are to determine a methodology specific to each of the dimensions and levels of joined up practice and collate evidence specific to each dimension and level. At this stage, it is clear that the evaluation of the acts of joining up which occur within YP4 will be a participatory, organic and developmental process.

Financial Evaluation

The financial evaluation includes both a cost-benefit analysis and a cost-effectiveness analysis. It is being overseen by principal investigators who are independent of all the partner organisations. Professor Jeff Borland, Dr Roger Wilkins and Dr YiPing Tseng, researchers from the Department of Economics and the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research at the University of Melbourne, are the co-Chief Investigators undertaking the financial evaluation.

The following information is an excerpt from an application for funding submitted to the Australian Research Council by the co-Chief Investigators.

Cost-benefit analysis involves estimating the value of benefits and costs to society from a program or policy. In the financial evaluation of YP4, application of cost-benefit analysis will involve three main stages: (a) Identifying the main sources of costs and benefits associated with the YP4 trial; (b) Calculating an estimate of the monetary value of each specific benefit and cost; and (c) Aggregating estimates of costs and benefits to calculate the cost-benefit ratio for the program.

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The main potential benefits of YP4 derive from its effects on employment, housing status, and health/well-being. Improved outcomes in these areas may yield benefits from: reduced direct cost to government (for example, reduced unemployment payments and rent assistance, and increased tax payments); and reduced usage of government and not-for-profit welfare services (for example, reduced demand for public housing and SAAP services, and reduced demands for health services and contact with criminal justice system).

The main costs associated with YP4 will be the extra time spent by case managers in managing YP4 participants, and extra expenditure on programs for participants relative to the benchmark of non-participants who would not have access to integrated services.

An important aspect of the project will be to describe in a precise manner the policy effect being identified. Estimates of the effects of a program on participants measure the effect of receiving services as a participant, relative to services provided to non-participants. In this project what is being received by participants, and not by non-participants, is the 'joining up' of services, rather than necessarily access to services per se. Hence, for the project to provide a meaningful basis for future policy development, it will be critical to document and describe how the experience of participants has differed from non-participants.

The methodology of the project is to apply the approach of cost-benefit analysis to the YP4 trial. Application of cost-benefit analysis involves estimating the value of benefits and costs to society of the YP4 trial. This involves the following three main stages:

Stage (a): Identifying the main sources of costs and benefits associated with the YP4 trial

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Identification of the main potential benefits and costs of the program has already occurred in development of the methodology for data collection before and during the trial. (One of the Chief Investigators, Professor Jeff Borland, has been involved in development of this methodology.) In relation to potential benefits, data will be collected on 22 types of outcome measures from YP4 participants and members of the control group that relate to labour market, housing, health, and community engagement. Relating to potential costs, data will be collected on services accessed and payments made to YP4 trial participants and control group members, and on time and other costs associated with case management of trial participants. Part of this project would be collecting data on costs associated with case management.

Stage (b): Calculating an estimate of the monetary value of each specific benefit and cost

This stage involves two steps - first, estimating the impact of the YP4 trial on each outcome, and then calculating a monetary value of that outcome. For example, one type of outcome that will be examined is employment. The project will then provide an estimate of the effect of participation in the YP4 trial on the probability of being in paid work at various stages after commencement of participation in the trial. This can be converted into a monetary value by estimating the value of reduced/increased unemployment (or related) welfare payments and on tax payments to government due to that effect of the YP4 trial on participation in paid work. Other examples of outcomes to be examined will be tenure in secure housing; engagement with local community; health status; and participation in formal education programs.

The YP4 trial is being implemented as a random experiment. This means that the experimental approach is likely to constitute the basis of the empirical approach to estimation of impacts of the YP4 trial on outcomes. In an experimental approach, individuals in a population are randomly assigned between participation and non-participation in a program, and the outcome of interest is compared between those groups. Random assignment should generate groups of participants and non-participants where each group has the same average characteristics. Hence the comparison between the two groups can be thought of as a comparison between two 'individuals' who have the same characteristics, except for whether they are assigned to participate in the program. Comparison of outcomes for the two groups will therefore provide an estimate of the causal impact of program participation.

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Often however it has been found that problems can arise with implementation of a random experiment methodology that mean that it is invalid to undertake empirical analysis assuming randomisation (see for example, Breunig et al., 2003). For this reason an important aspect of this project would be to validate whether the YP4 trial has been undertaken in a way that does allow it to be treated as an experiment. Besides a process evaluation of the trial, this involves performing statistical tests for whether the potential determinants of outcomes are independent of who has been assigned between the trial and the treatment group (that is, whether the distributions of individual characteristics are similar between treatment and control group). In the case that treatment and control groups are similar enough, the impact of the YP4 trial can be calculated (as has been described above) by comparing mean outcome measures between the participants and control group. In the case that assignment between the trial and control group is not random, then it is necessary to use a quasi-experimental matching approach. The matching method estimates the program impact by comparing outcomes for program participants and non-participants in the time period(s) after the program commences. That is, it uses data on outcomes of non-participants in the period after program commencement to estimate non-participation outcomes for the group of participants. The term 'matching' is used since the comparison is made conditional on observable covariates that affect both the outcome and whether individuals are assigned to the program. For evaluating this program it would be most appropriate to use the 'propensity-score' matching method (see Blundell and Costa-Dias, 2001, Sianesi, 2004, and Borland et al., 2005).

An alternative approach for estimating the impact of YP4 trial participation on outcomes is through estimation of hazard function models for the determinants of exit from unemployment or receipt of unemployment/welfare payments. In this approach the program impact is identified as a time-varying covariate for duration - see for example Abbring and Van Den Berg (2003), and Van Den Berg et al. (2004). For some outcome measures, such as tenure of secure housing, a duration type approach may be applied to estimate the impact of the YP4 trial.

The basis for the evaluation of the impact of the YP4 trial on outcomes will be a data set being compiled by Hanover Welfare Services. This data set will merge data from:

  • Existing administrative data sources - for example, Commonwealth Departments of Family and Community Services and Employment and Workplace Relations - that provide information on demographic characteristics and payment receipt of YP4 trial participants and the control group;
  • Collaborating organisations on outcomes for YP4 trial participants at quarterly intervals during the 2-year period of the trial; and
  • Trial participants and control group through interviews on demographic characteristics and outcomes at time of joining the trial, and at 6, 24, 36 and 48 months after trial commencement.

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While this data source will be a primary input to estimating effects of the trial on outcomes, it is also expected (based on the investigators' previous experience of using data from administrative sources, and that data pooled with other sources) that it will be necessary to spend a large amount of time in converting the data set to a form that will be usable for empirical analysis - for example, validating and seeking clarification about issues that arise in using the data, and generating descriptive statistics. The other main task in this part of the project will be programming estimators to use to calculate the effects, and undertaking that estimation. Given the large number of outcome variables being used in this study (22), this is also likely to take a considerable amount of time.

Part of the approach in the project will be to generate measures of the impact of the YP4 trial, and cost-benefit ratio, at several points through the trial. This will have the advantage of providing an early feedback on outcomes, but as well will contribute to the international literature that suggests significant differences may exist between short-term and long-term program impacts (for example, Lechner et al., 2005).

The second step in estimating a monetary value of benefits will be to calculate the monetary value of impacts of the YP4 trial. This will involve collection of information on welfare payments and taxes (to estimate values of reduced receipt of payments), and costs of services (to estimate values of reduced usage of services); and matching that information to estimates of impacts on outcomes.

Calculating estimates of the costs of the YP4 trial will involve comparison of usage of services and receipt of payments between trial participants and the control group, and collection of data on welfare payments and costs of services in order to value those differences; and collection of data on time and other costs of case management and collection of data to value those costs. This latter activity is likely to involve visits to the collaborating organisations.

Stage (c): Aggregating estimates of costs and benefits to calculate the cost-benefit ratio for the program

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In undertaking this stage it will be important to recognise what factors it may not be possible to have valued in monetary terms, and the implications for the cost-benefit ratio. The cost-benefit analysis will allow separate analysis of the private benefits to YP4 trial participants, and an overall analysis of social costs and benefits.

Main tasks and timeline

Tasks in the research project would be undertaken in an order, and with a sequencing, to match with the implementation of the YP4 trial. The 2-year period of the trial is expected to conclude in mid to late 2007. The proposed time line of activities is as follows:

Year 1 (2006)

  • Document implementation details of the randomised trial.
  • Learn about and validate data source from Hanover Welfare Services, develop processes for integrating with other data sources for cost-benefit analysis, and convert data to format for empirical analysis.
  • Conduct preliminary analysis on initial program data collected, including validation of the randomisation process of implementation of YP4 trial.
  • Collect information on program implementation costs for trial participants and control group.
  • Development of software programs for estimation of impacts on outcomes of YP4 trial, and for cost-benefit analysis.
  • Conduct preliminary short-term impact evaluation analysis of program at 12 months duration (data available from mid-2006).
  • Advise collaborating organisation, Hanover Welfare Services, on new data to be collected.

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Year 2 (2007)

  • Compile and analyse additional data from the second year of the trial.
  • Collect information on program implementation costs for trial participants and control group.
  • Advise collaborating organisation, Hanover Welfare Services, on any additional data to be collected on program participants and control group.
  • Collect information required to convert outcome measures into monetary values.
  • Conduct medium-term (24-month) impact evaluation (data on outcomes at 24 months into the program available mid-2007).
  • Undertake medium-term (24-month) cost-benefit analysis of the program.
  • Prepare report, and research papers, on findings from medium term outcome and cost-benefit analyses.

Year 3 (2008)

  • Refine impact evaluation and cost-benefit analysis of short-run (12 month) and medium-term (24-month) effects of YP4 trial.
  • Undertake impact evaluation and cost-benefit analysis of medium long-term term (36 month) effects of YP4 trial.
  • Prepare report, and research papers, on findings from medium long-term outcome and cost-benefit analyses.

Research findings

The specific research findings from this project would be expected to include:

  • Estimates of the impact of the YP4 trial on a variety of outcome measures relating to labour market status; housing status; health; and community engagement and general well-being.
  • Estimates of social costs and benefits of the YP4 trial.
  • Estimates of how program impacts and cost-benefit measures may vary during a program, and after the conclusion of a program.
  • A case study of validation of application of a social experiment on policy design for service delivery.

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Key Finding and Learnings

Reflecting on the initial challenges of establishing YP4, some themes are already starting to emerge. One such theme is about the trade-off between flexibility and security. YP4's challenge is to somehow hold and stay with the tension of, on the one hand, wanting to have and offer flexibility to clients, provide concessions and exemptions from business rules and work outside normal program parameters, yet on the other hand, needing certainty and security about the service on offer to clients.

A second theme centres on the role of trust and goodwill in building a new paradigm of joined up practice. It seems that the currency of the YP4 paradigm is trust and goodwill and an insistence on the documentation of agreements would be counter-productive; slowing down the integration process, inviting caution and ultimately not producing the best results. Creative strategies are required for acknowledging, harnessing and building the trust and goodwill that is so critical for the successful development and establishment of YP4.

The third and final theme is about privacy and confidentiality. Privacy issues inevitably arise when sharing information (which is a precursor to delivering a joined up service).

Early conclusions from YP4 can be summarised as follows:

  1. There is considerable and widespread goodwill and interest to join up services and programs, however, this is rarely translated effectively into action. There are a range of systemic, structural, technical and cultural barriers to joined up practice that serve to prevent its implementation. These barriers are likely to vary across different jurisdictions.
  2. It is easy to underestimate the complexity of joining up services and programs, and the length of time that it takes. Joining up services and programs is a time-consuming and challenging exercise: It has both costs and risks.
  3. To be effective, joining up activities must happen in at every level simultaneously - through direct contact with clients, in local communities, in government departments, and in politicians' offices.
  4. Joining up must also happen across many functions simultaneously. For example, joined up accountability process and joined up governance and leadership is just as important as joined up case work practice for clients.
  5. The process of joining up programs and services does not end. Disincentives for joining up will continue to appear and will require ever-creative responses.

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Appendices

Appendix 1: The relationship between YP4's objectives, strategies, expected outcomes and indicators

Increase participants' employability and reliance on income from work
Strategies Outcomes Indicators
Assist trial participants to identify realistic career aspirations and develop pathways towards these aspirations Participants adopt and maintain realistic employment aspirations

Participants have a clear plan/pathway for securing employment
  • Experience of paid work in past 12 months
  • Feedback from participants
  • Feedback from resourced case managers
  • Existence of individualised employment plan for each participant
Assist participants to find employment (or embark on pathway to employment) Participants find employment

Participants rely on income from work and reduce reliance on benefits
  • Number of episodes and duration of (open) employment
  • Duration of unemployment
  • Income from work/Reduction in benefits
Provide subsidised employment to trial participants (eg. Community Jobs Program) Participants access subsidised employment opportunities

Participants have current work references

Participants have recent work history and work experience

Participants have enhanced resume
  • Number of participants employed in subsidised employment programs
  • Number of episodes and duration of subsidised employment by participant
  • Existence of reference from subsidised employment, quality of reference
  • Existence of resume, quality of resume
Provide work experience to participants Participants have increased skills and knowledge around employment and training options available to them

Participants have current work references

Participants have recent work history and work experience

Participants have enhanced resume
  • Amount and type of work experience undertaken
  • Participant feedback
  • Existence of reference from work experience, quality of reference
  • Existence of resume, quality of resume
Provide opportunities for participants to volunteer within the community Participants access voluntary work opportunities

Participants have current work references

Participants have recent work history and work experience

Participants have enhanced resume
  • Number of volunteer placements made
  • Type of voluntary work undertaken by participant
  • Number of voluntary hours completed
  • Existence of reference from voluntary work, quality of reference
  • Existence of resume, quality of resume
Provide links to apprenticeships, traineeships, and other similar opportunities Participants access apprenticeships and traineeships
  • Participation rates in apprenticeship and traineeships
Provide access to vocational skills training Participants undertake vocational training, as required

Participants have increased vocational skills
  • Participation rates in vocational training
  • Participant feedback
  • Extent of accredited training undertaken by participants (in hours? by module/qualification?)
Provide access to generic education (e.g. literacy and numeracy) Participant access general educational opportunities, as required

Participants have enhanced literacy and numeracy skills
  • Participation rates in general educational programs
  • Education levels of participants
  • Documentation of increased literacy and numeracy skills (?)
  • Participant feedback
Establish continuity of support for trial participants Participants remain engaged for duration of trial
  • Participant retention rates
  • Case manager retention rates (turnover)
  • Episodes of participant disengagement from trial (number and extent)
  • Reports of participant non-compliance to Centrelink (number and nature)

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Improve the housing situation of trial participants (in terms of appropriateness, accessibility, affordability, and security/stability)
Strategies Outcomes Indicators
Provide up to 2 years of secure tenure in transitional housing Participants' housing is stabilised and secure
  • Number of moves in the past 12 months
  • Type and duration of accommodation over a set period (say 3 months)
  • Reasons given by participants for leaving accommodation
  • Episodes of homelessness (number and extent)
Provide financial support to maintain private rental Participants' housing is affordable (and does not exceed 25% of income).
  • Proportion of income spent on housing
  • Reasons given by participants for leaving accommodation
  • Episodes of homelessness (number and extent)
Ensure that housing type/location supports employment aspirations Participants' housing is appropriate to individualised employment aspirations.

Travel (time and distance) between housing and training/employment is minimised.

Employment options are diverse and accessible from housing location.
  • Time spent travelling between housing and employment/training options
  • Distance travelled between housing and employment/training options
  • Number and range of employment opportunities which can be identified as accessible
  • Participant feedback about appropriateness of housing to employment
Ensure access to crisis accommodation as required Housing crises do not jeopardise participation in training and employment.
  • Incidence of use of crisis accommodation
  • Time spent waiting for crisis accommodation
  • Record of issues impacting on access to crisis accommodation
Build relationships with local THMs Good relationships exist between participating agencies and local THMs.

Transitional housing stock is available.
  • Existence of protocols between trial providers and THMs
  • Type and duration of accommodation over a set period (say 3 months)
Establish continuity of support for trial participants Participants remain engaged for duration of trial
  • Participant retention rates
  • Case manager retention rates (turnover)
  • Episodes of participant disengagement from trial (number and extent)
  • Reports of participant non-compliance to Centrelink (number and nature)

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Improve trial participants' health and wellbeing
Strategies Outcomes Indicators
Identify and address any health issues experienced by trial participants Participant's health issues are individually identified and addressed
  • Type and extent of illness/health issue
  • Use of general health, mental health & drug treatment services
  • Record of issues impacting on service access
  • Participant feedback
Use brokerage funds to help pay for health services as required Participants' health issues are addressed in a timely fashion
  • Use of general health, mental health & drug treatment services
  • Time spent waiting to access health services
  • Financial records held by case manager
  • Participant feedback
Support participants in their personal development (e.g. assertiveness, time management, anger management) Personal development supports are accessed where appropriate

The personal skill base of participants is strengthened
  • Number and type of personal development supports accessed
  • Feedback from participants
  • Feedback from resourced case managers
Offer life skills training and support as required Participants have increased ability to manage difficult life situations

Participants' interpersonal relationships improve
  • Number and type of personal development supports accessed
  • Reduction in family conflict (self-report?)
  • Case manager and participant feedback
Build relationships with health services (including mental health, drug treatment and general health services) Good relationships exist between health services and participating agencies

Referrals of trial participants to health services are not problematic
  • Existence of protocols between trial provider & health services
  • Feedback from health services
  • Feedback from resourced case managers
  • Number of assisted referrals
  • Participant feedback
Maximise secondary consultations undertaken by case managers in relation to specialist health issues Case managers are adequately resourced to support participants
  • Number & nature of secondary consultations
  • Feedback from resourced case managers
Establish continuity of support for trial participants Participants remain engaged for duration of trial
  • Participant retention rates
  • Case manager retention rates (turnover)
  • Episodes of participant disengagement from trial (number & extent)
  • Reports of participant non-compliance to Centrelink (number & nature)

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Better integrate trial participants into their communities
Strategies Outcomes Indicators
Increase participants' engagement in community activities Participants engage in local recreational activities

Participants have increased sense of community and place (belonging)

Participants are less socially isolated

Participants are less involved in crime
  • Number and range of recreational activities in which participants are engaged
  • Extent of involvement in recreational activities (frequency)
  • Feedback from participants
  • Feedback from resourced case managers
  • Number of arrests and convictions of participants; length of imprisonment
Provide community based mentors for participants Participants are integrated into and valued in the work place

Participants have access to informal support
  • Number of mentors recruited, trained and matched to a participant
  • Number of contacts between participant and mentor
  • Participant, mentor and case manager feedback
Ensure good understanding of the trial and its objectives in local communities Community understanding of the trial is high
  • Number of press releases issued about YP4
  • Media coverage (column centimetres, air time)
  • Number of presentations given about YP4
  • Audience feedback
Secure support for YP4 from diverse community sources Community support for/involvement in YP4 is high

New options for trial participants are generated within the community.
  • Number of local, community-based businesses/organisations involved in trial
  • Number and type of new options generated for trial participants
  • Number of local reference group meetings held and number of individuals attending/organisations represented
  • Feedback from agencies
Establish continuity of support for trial participants Participants remain engaged for duration of trial
  • Participant retention rates
  • Case manager retention rates (turnover)
  • Episodes of participant disengagement from trial (number and extent)
  • Reports of participant non-compliance to Centrelink (number and nature)

NB: This objective is unlike previous objectives, in that it is focussed on the service system rather than directly focused on trial participants.

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Join up housing, employment and personal support services for trial participants
Strategies Outcomes Indicators
Secure flexible use of funding Accountability mechanisms are not overly onerous.

Service system is simpler, better integrated and more effective.
  • Number of hours spent accounting for government funds (including data entry)
  • Number and nature of obligations on trial participants
  • Participant and case manager feedback
Secure seamless interface between service systems Service system is simpler, better integrated and more effective.
  • Number of meetings/workshops held to secure seamless interface
  • Feedback from YP4 funders/supporters
  • Feedback from Inter Agency Coordinating Committee members
  • Extent of parallel servicing of participants
  • Extent of parallel data-entry for participants
  • Accuracy of JSCI
  • Participant feedback
Establish interagency protocols between relevant service providers Good relationships exist between participating agencies and other relevant service providers.

Service system is integrated and more effective for participants.

Referrals of trial participants to other services are not problematic.
  • Number of protocols established
  • Breadth of coverage of protocols
  • Effectiveness of protocols
  • Agency/trial provider feedback
  • Participant feedback
  • Number of additional services used; extent of usage
Maximise secondary consultations undertaken by case managers in relation to specialist issues Case managers are adequately resourced to support participants
  • Number and nature of secondary consultations undertaken
  • Feedback from resourced case managers
Minimise 'double handling' of trial participants Participants have improved experience of accessing services.

Participants maintain dignity; feel respected.
  • Number and nature of obligations on trial participants eg. number of independent assessments undertaken, number of intake interviews attended
  • Extent of parallel servicing of participants
  • Extent of parallel data-entry for participants
  • Participant and case manager feedback

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Appendix 2: Schema of joined up practice


DIMENSIONS OF JOINED UP PRACTICE
LAYERS/LEVELS OF JOINED UP PRACTICE   Experiential Programmatic or technical Conceptual Systemic/Structural Cultural/ Environmental
Primary

ie. internal to YP4 (although still complex because of the involvement of a wide variety of partners)
Clients and case managers' lived experience of receiving/delivering a joined up service Agency protocols/policies/processes that support joined up practice Language/metaphors used within YP4 that adequately describe our work and build consensus for joined up practice Organisational structures that support joined up practice Organisational culture that values joined up practice; staff who value holistic ways of working
Secondary

i.e. local or regional service systems
Other service providers' lived experience of being part of a joined up service system Inter agency protocols / memorandum of understanding /partnerships that facilitate integration Language/metaphors used across the local service system that reflect a commitment to joined up practices Local or regional committees or other similar infrastructure that supports and promotes joined up practice Networks that reinforce value of joined up practice
Tertiary

i.e. macro-level, structural and political systems
Lived experience of managing and coordinating a joined up service system, from the perspective of management staff, politicians, senior public servants, etc Inter departmental communication practices /technological initiatives that support integration Language/metaphors/written materials/models eg. in high level policy documents and inter departmental committees etc that recognise and describe the value of joined up practices Policy commitments and funding agreements that support joined up practice Political cultures and ideologies that support joined up practice

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Appendix 3: YP4 communication strategy

YP4 is a three year trial which aims to show that joining up programs to respond to the inter-related needs of individuals will result in more lasting employment and housing outcomes for young homeless jobseekers.

The purpose of the communication strategy is to:

  • Raise awareness of need for and generate support for YP4 among key identified stakeholder groups
  • Communicate clear and consistent messages about YP4 through the four partner agencies
  • Lay foundations to facilitate a change in the design of social services after completion of YP4

Target market and key audiences

Groups with some understanding of or involvement in YP4 (Internal)

  • Funding bodies/contributors - Centrelink, Federal Government Departments of Family and Community Services and Employment and Workplace Relations; State Government Department of Victorian Communities and Human Services; philanthropic trusts.
  • Staff and team members within each of the partner agencies
  • Collaborating agencies in each region - for example, Personal Support Program providers, JPET providers, Local Learning and Employment Networks, Job Network providers, etc
  • Members of Parliament (state and federal)

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Groups or individuals who may not yet be involved in YP4(External)

  • Employers of young homeless jobseekers
  • Policy analysts, program designers
  • Professional support base - eg, academics, ACC members, Office for Youth, Department of Education, etc

Key messages of YP4

  • YP4 is joining up services and programs to help homeless unemployed people get a job and a home.
  • YP4 is about joining up at every level, not just on the ground where direct practice occurs.

Supporting messages around need for change

  • Every year, 80,000 young Australians experience homelessness and unemployment. They share the dreams and aspirations of other Australians: a job, a home and a family.
  • Current services and systems do not produce good outcomes for young homeless jobseekers.
  • There are a range of barriers to coordinated service provision and joined up practice.
  • YP4 will not just tinker around the edges of existing programs, and see what practitioners and service managers can do differently, but rather YP4 will challenge the structural, cultural and other barriers to joining up in ways that can potentially lead to real change.
  • The collaboration of so many diverse organisations in the interests of young homeless jobseekers is unprecedented.

Communication activities

Internal and external

  • Regular reporting of key milestones of YP4 (incorporated into various communication means as outlined below)
  • Development of website

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Internal

  • Regular reporting - through inter-agency coordinating committee, ethics and evaluation advisory group, team meetings, meeting funding requirements, etc (monthly or bi-monthly)
  • E-newsletter updates - fortnightly reports to all stakeholder groups (fortnightly)
  • Annual report
  • Internal portal access to component of website (pending availability of resources)

External groups

  • Media launch of YP4 - will need to be in conjunction with other milestone activity, and endorsed by various funding bodies. (Consider 'housing week', 'youth week' or something similar).
  • Prospectus - 4 page, A4 prospectus for initial introduction of employers to YP4. This should be distributed via direct contact with the various agencies (as one off, with updating on milestones as required)
  • Presentations to employer groups eg service clubs, Chambers of Commerce. Powerpoint presentation template required.
  • Brochure - 2 page, trifold for general overview of YP4. Multipurpose.
  • Regular policy newsletter for supporters of YP4. Digital or hard copy if funding allows (quarterly)
  • Lobbying to federal and state governments and opposition re: YP4 through continued contact and linking to current or relevant issues (to be developed)
  • Conference papers, one-off guest speaking engagements (estimate: quarterly)

Known communication outlets specific to YP4

  • IACC and EEAG meetings
  • Trial team meetings
  • Deputations
  • Management reports
  • Reports to funding bodies

Hanover-specific communication outlets

  • Hanover website
  • Newsletter to supporters - 2 times per year (next in November)
  • Annual Report (currently in production) and AGM (scheduled for 25 November 04)

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Brotherhood of St Laurence-specific communication outlets

  • BSL website
  • Newsletters - internal and external eg Brotherhood Comment
  • Lunchbox sessions
  • Annual report and AGM

Melbourne Citymission-specific communication outlets

  • MCM website
  • Insight newsletter (monthly to all staff)
  • Annual report and AGM

Loddon Mallee Housing Services -specific communication outlets

  • LMHS website
  • Annual report and AGM

Timelines and key responsibilities

(to be inserted)

Develop data base of contacts YP4 manager, with support from Rob Packer, Sarah Priest and Janet Harris

Budget

 
ITEM SUPPLIER AMOUNT                         
Visual
Website
Brochure (x 1000)
Prospectus (x 1000)
Launch
In-house
Powerpoint template
Meetings (travel reimbursements, catering)
Whirlwind
Job Futures
Whirlwind
Whirlwind
In-house
Whirlwind
in Kind
TBC
TBC
TBC
in Kind
TBC
TOTAL $9,000

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Rererences

Abbring, J. and G. Van den Berg (2003), 'The nonparametric identification of treatment effects in duration models', Econometrica, 71, 1491-1517.

Blundell, R. and M. Costa Dias (2000), 'Evaluation methods for non-experimental data', Fiscal Studies, 21, 427-468.

Borland, J., Y. Tseng and R. Wilkins (2005), 'Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Methods of Microeconomic Program and Policy Evaluation', in Quantitative Tools for Microeconomic Policy Analysis (Canberra, Ausinfo).

Breunig, R., Cobb-Clark, D., Dunlop, Y. and M. Terrill (2003), 'Assisting the long-term unemployed: Results from a randomized trial', Economic Record, 79, 84-102.

Campbell, Susan (2003) A New Approach to Assisting Young Homeless Jobseekers, Hanover Welfare Services, Brotherhood of St Laurence and Melbourne Citymission: Melbourne

Chandler, J. A. (2000) Joined Up Government: I Wouldn't Start Here If I Were You, Paper presented to Political Studies Association - UK, 50th Annual Conference, 10 -13 April 2000, London

Di Maio, Andrea (2004) Move Joined Up Government From Theory to Reality, downloaded from www4.gartner.com on 6 December 2004

Horn, Michael (2004) A New Approach to Assisting Yong Homeless Jobseekers: Trial Proposal, Hanover Welfare Services, Brotherhood of St Laurence, Melbourne Citymission and Loddon Mallee Housing Services: Melbourne

Lechner, M., R. Miquel and C. Wunsch (2004), 'Long-run effects of public sector sponsored training in Germany', mimeo, University of St.Gallen.

Sianesi, B. (2004). 'An evaluation of the Swedish system of active labor market programs in the 1990s', Review of Economics and Statistics, Vol. 86, pp. 133-155.

Van den Berg, G., B. Van der Klaauw and J. van Ours (2004), 'Punitive sanctions and the transition rate from welfare to work', Journal of Labor Economics, 22, 213-41.

6, P, (2004) Joined-up government in the western world in comparative perspective: a preliminary literature review and exploration, Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. 14 (1) 103-138

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