The Queensland Government has launched its Social and Human Services Investment Framework which is based on the three principles of:
- customers first
- red tape reduction and
These three pillars are expected to lead to more sustainability, efficiency and transparency in the planning and service delivery in the social services sector. Combined, the health and social services sectors employ 12 per cent of the state’s workforce and they are only set to grow in the foreseeable future. The sheer size of these sectors dictates that investment decisions need to be based on evidence about what works well, where it is needed, and who is best placed to provide the services. The aim is for services to enhance overall well-being and to maximise the customer’s own potential for self-sufficiency.
The Investment Framework fits into a suite of plans already released by government, including the Queensland Plan, frameworks for cultural diversity, a procurement policy, public service reform and the Queensland Audit report. The uniting principles of these plans are the government’s commitment to making the role of government smaller and more accountable, with an increased focus on early intervention and sustainability.
By putting the customer first, the government is undertaking to take a holistic approach to service planning and delivery. At the same time they are seeking to enhance the individual’s resilience so that support is given in time, and in sufficient amounts, to ensure personal responsibility and mutual obligation. The framework emphasises cooperation, both across government departments and sector wide, in order to ensure innovative solutions based on ethical practice. Transparency is sought across the planning, data sharing and contracting tasks of government, which include testing the market for services which are purchased by government. This should lead to value for money driven by a balanced investment process that ensures both shorter and longer term needs are addressed, as well as universal and more targeted services across the social services agenda. The desire for flexibility and responsiveness to the changing needs of our society will mean that those of us delivering services need to be flexible, innovative and able to measure outcomes and the efficacy of what we do.
At QCOSS we welcome this planning approach as we have been advocating for increased investment in those universal, non-stigmatising services which can catch vulnerable people before their problems become entrenched. Change which can bring the vision of ‘joined up’ service delivery closer is also an appropriate approach. Expectations are high and the changes are coming so be prepared to meet the challenges and manage the fall-out and opportunities that holistic strategic planning can bring.
Read the QCOSS commentary on the framework