HACC Consumer Engagement Project Report 2013

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HACC Consumer Engagement Project Report 2013
TasCOSS News August 2012
TasCOSS
Tasmanian Council of Social Service
TasCOSS HACC
Consumer Engagement Program
What consumers, staff and managers tell us
Program Participant Experiences and Stories
June 2014
www.tascoss.org.au
ABN 69 078 846 944
1
phone 03 6231 0755
fax 03 6223 6136
postal PO Box 1126
Sandy Bay
Tasmania 7006
Authorised by
Tony Reidy, Chief Executive
For inquiries
Klaus Baur
HACC Consumer Engagement Program
Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
What consumers, staff and managers tell us
About TasCOSS
TasCOSS is the peak body for the Tasmanian community services sector. Its membership
comprises individuals and organisations active in the provision of community services to low
income, vulnerable and disadvantaged Tasmanians. TasCOSS represents the interests of its
members and their clients to government, regulators, the media and the public. Through our
advocacy and policy development, we draw attention to the causes of poverty and
disadvantage and promote the adoption of effective solutions to address these issues.
© Tasmanian Council of Social Service Inc.
This publication is copyright. Non-profit groups have
permission to reproduce parts of this document as long as the
original meaning is retained and proper credit is given to the
Tasmanian Council of Social Service (TasCOSS). All other
persons and organisations wanting to reproduce material
from this book should obtain permission from the publishers.
ISBN: 978-0-9923567-0-5
For further information, please contact:
Tasmanian Council of Social Service Inc.
McDougall Building, Ellerslie Road
Battery Point Tasmania 7004
Phone: (03) 6231 0755
Fax: (03) 6223 6136
E-mail: [email protected]
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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Table of Contents
Funding acknowledgement ............................................................................................................. 5
Acronyms
...................................................................................................................................... 5
Summary of findings ............................................................................... 6
1.
2.
Introduction .................................................................................... 8
1.1
What is consumer engagement?................................................................................................8
1.2.
Consumer engagement – an expanding perspective ......................................................... 9
1.3
A note on the term 'consumer'..................................................................................................9
1.4
Who are HACC consumers?....................................................................................................10
About the 2012-13 project.......................................................... 11
2.1.
The project’s objectives ....................................................................................................... 11
2.1.1. The activity workplan and core project............................................................................... 11
2.1.2. Added objectives – formal and nationally accredited training ......................................... 12
2.2.
Project components ............................................................................................................. 12
2.2.1. Assessments........................................................................................................................... 12
2.2.2. Provider talks ......................................................................................................................... 12
2.2.3 Project plans ......................................................................................................................... 12
2.2.4 Mentoring, support and peer mentoring ........................................................................... 112
2.2.5 Planned training.................................................................................................................. 113
2.2.6 Required training / training support work ............................................................................ 15
2.2.7 An adaptation of narrative inquiry............................................................................................15
2.2.8 The 15 projects ...................................................................................................................... 15
3
4
5
2.3
Evaluation methodology.............................................................................................................17
2.4.
Key project resources ........................................................................................................... 17
Approaches to consumer engagement .................................. 19
3.1
Relationship and equality ..................................................................................................... 19
3.2
Approaches, key values and philosophy ............................................................................ 20
Project environment .................................................................... 23
4.1
Changes to HACC in Tasmania ......................................................................................... 223
4.2
Voluntary participation in the project .................................................................................. 24
4.3
Working ‘with’ consumers..................................................................................................... 25
The 2012-2013 projects – learning and findings ...................... 26
5.1
Project planning, learning and outcomes ........................................................................... 27
5.2
Assessments........................................................................................................................... 27
5.3
Provider talks ......................................................................................................................... 27
5.4
Training .................................................................................................................................. 29
5.4.1 Executives, senior managers and board members ............................................................. 29
5.4.2 Team leaders – managers – project staff (Graduate Certificate) ...................................... 30
5.4.3 Follow-up session – peer training .......................................................................................... 32
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5.4.4 Consumer training and support ........................................................................................... 33
5.5
Project plans ......................................................................................................................... 34
5.6
Project implementation I - mentoring, support and peer mentoring ................................. 34
5.7
Project implementation II - The 15 projects .......................................................................... 37
5.7.1 Project 1.: ‘It’s About You’ - Launceston VFC Services Inc. ................................................. 37
5.7.2 Project 2.: ‘Development of the COS North Consumer Project Group Project Plan’ Community Options Service, North ...................................................................................... 39
5.7.3 Project 3.: ‘Happier Client and Volunteer Gatherings’ - Still Gardening............................. 40
5.7.4 Project 4.: ‘Then and Now' - Good Neighbour Council....................................................... 42
5.7.5 Project 5.: ‘Delivered Meals Review’ – Red Cross, Launceston ........................................... 43
5.7.6 Project 6.: ‘Developing a Consumer Engagement Foundation’ - Italian Day Centre ....... 45
5.7.7 Project 7.: ‘Establishment of a Consumer Engagement Committee’ - Family Based Care
North (FBCN) ......................................................................................................................... 46
5.7.8 Project 8.: ‘Carers Forum’ – Alzheimer Tasmania, North ...................................................... 47
5.7.9 Project 9.: ‘The Gingham Lounge (part II)’ - Burnie / Wynyard Community Health Centres.48
5.7.10 Project 10.: ‘Getting to know Our Consumers’ - Community Health Smithton ................... 49
5.7.11 Project 11.: ‘Chats Publications Review’ – Chats North West .............................................. 50
5.7.12 Project 12.: ‘Recreational Fishing Group’ – Chats North ..................................................... 51
5.7.13 Project 13.: ‘Client Forward Planning Days’ - Glenview - Banksia Unit ................................ 52
5.7.14 Project 14.: ‘Falls Prevention’ - South Eastern Community Care ......................................... 54
5.7.15 Project 15.: ‘Croatian Day Centre’ – Migrant Resource Centre, South .............................. 55
5.8
6
Innovation ............................................................................................................................. 56
Project coordination – sector implications............................... 57
6.1
Health Issues Centre – TasCOSS Partnership ........................................................................ 57
6.1.1 Outputs – outcomes – ahead .............................................................................................. 57
6.1.2 Face-to face time................................................................................................................. 58
6.1.3 Cloud technology................................................................................................................. 58
6.2
Project-related sector implications ...................................................................................... 58
7
References .................................................................................... 61
8
Appendices .................................................................................. 62
8.1
Definitions .............................................................................................................................. 62
8.2
Project plan template .......................................................................................................... 63
8.3
How to identify a simple, small appropriate project/activity .............................................. 64
8.4
12 steps to plan a consumer engagement project ............................................................ 65
8.5
Writing a project/activity plan.............................................................................................. 66
8.6
Planning checklist ................................................................................................................. 67
8.7
Project - activity evaluation / review planning .................................................................... 68
8.8
Sample project plan I – Still Gardening ................................................................................ 69
8.9
Sample project plan II – Chats Lifeline ............................................................................... 772
8.10
Whole of project evaluation – E-survey project evaluation ................................................ 74
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Acknowledgements
On behalf of TasCOSS I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to everyone in HACC, all
providers, all staff and team leaders, all stakeholder and support organisation staff,
consumers and carers. Many of you generously offered your time, expertise or support, or
participated in discussions and helped the program in some way to be promoted. At times
you also shared what you were planning and implementing in terms of consumer
engagement advancements outside this year’s TasCOSS project, inspiring others’ efforts and
work.
The work of this year by everyone is based on the sound research, good practice and the
innovative ‘Consumer Engagement Handbook’ of the previous years. A big thanks must go
to everyone in and around the project teams across 15 different providers who participated
in this year’s projects.
A particular thankyou must go to everyone in your team, staff, consumers, carers and your
leadership teams for taking on an additional, voluntary project during a time of major
changes to the overall HACC program and resulting significant amount of adjustment work
needed at the provider level.
A special thank you to Stefano from the Italian Day Centre. It turned out that one of our
project team members was a passionate video-editing expert and offered generous advice
and time in the production of the clips.
And to all TasCOSS staff, thankyou! At times what the program is doing or planning to do is
not solely founded on rational, research-based or existing good-practice approaches.
Innovation is a thread spanning four to five years now. Informal conversations, your support
and care, together with incredible professionalism are immense. You have embraced this
with courage, smiles and an immensely positive and encouraging spirit. My colleagues at
TasCOSS have been able to step back and allow this degree of uncertainty while at the
same time offering generous support, encouragement and expertise when needed.
The program would look different and take a different, more conservative direction, were it
not for the vision, encouragement, wisdom and at times even very practical support
provided by Tasmania’s HACC and DSS units. Thankyou Steve, Fiona, Erica and Michelle from
DHHS and an equal thankyou to Helen, Vicki and Angela from DSS for your consideration,
thoughtful contributions and encouragement.
Finally I would like to express a special thankyou to Dr Tere Dawson and other contributing
staff from the Health Issues Centre Victoria. This year’s involvement in a more comprehensive
manner added depth, improved learning and outcomes to the work in Tasmania and this
report.
This year’s program has seen material from HACC being tested in Victoria and other parts of
Australia in addition to us benefitting from the immense wealth of years of research, practical
experience and training of staff and consumers.
Klaus Baur
[email protected]
TasCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Program
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Funding acknowledgement
Since 1 July 2012 the TasCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Program has received an equal
proportion of its funding from State and Federal Government.
The production of ‘Consumer Engagement Training and Practical Projects – What consumers,
staff and managers tell us’ has been funded by the Tasmanian State Government through
the Department of Health and Human Services and by the Australian Government through
the Department of Social Services (formerly the Dept of Health and Ageing) under the HACC
Program.
Disclaimer
Although funding for this report has been provided by the Federal and Tasmanian
Governments, the material contained herein does not necessarily represent the views or
policies of those governments.
Acronyms
CHF
Consumers Health Forum of Australia Inc.
CHHAC
Circular Head Health Advisory Council
CSO
Community Sector Organisation
DHHS
Department of Health and Human Services, Tasmania
DSS
Department of Social Services
FBCN
Family Based Care North
HACC
Home and Community Care Program
HIC
Health Issues Centre, Melbourne
MRC
Migrant Resource Centre
TasCOSS
Tasmanian Council of Social Service
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Summary of findings
Best practice consumer engagement is still comparatively new to organisations. The overall
TasCOSS program increased the number of organisations committing to working in this
direction.
Stakeholders and participants commented on consumer engagement being a suitable
practice-ground for the shift in aged care, including in HACC, towards consumer directed
care where consumers are not only engaged, but in charge of the purchase of their services.
Projects showed that in many ways consumer engagement can’t be ‘done’. Activities,
projects or strategies are best planned carefully and allowed to grow naturally and be
flexible, underpinned by a genuine approach in working in new ways with consumers, carers
and staff.
Program partners, participating providers and their consumers, learned that new ‘team
members’ are being added to the work teams. Program directions, purpose and design
shifted and at times generated surprisingly positive outcomes both in terms of work
accomplished and improved relationships.
The key message of the TasCOSS HACC consumer engagement program was to do
something new, small: to plan, ideally together with consumers, a small, oversee-able and
safe activity, expanding current consumer engagement.
The 2012/13 program and their impacts
The overall program was successful in recruiting 15 projects across government and
community sector HACC services.
Expert advice, encouragement, mentoring, training and practical support was provided by
two services: TasCOSS and Victoria’s consumer engagement expert group, the Health Issues
Centre (HIC). This shared support arrangement assisted providers to work more easily through
challenges and arising issues.
A significant contributor to the quality of work was the introduction of the nationallyaccredited course ‘The Graduate Certificate in Consumer Engagement’, provided for the
first time in Tasmania. The program was supplemented by a one-day program for executives,
managers and board members. The training clearly assisted through the provision of
additional motivation, theoretical frameworks and practical, program-supporting information
and strategies.
As the evaluations and outcomes indicate, the program was successful in facilitating more
sustainable outcomes to support longer-term understanding, learning and commitment to
consumer engagement. Outcomes must equally be seen in the light of a longer-term
change program and vision in conjunction with a comparatively small injection into a largescale program. In summary, the program’s evaluations indicated:

Most participants said that their own team’s commitment to consumer engagement had
improved significantly or showed some improvement, however, fewer respondents said
that their overall organisation’s commitment to consumer engagement has improved
significantly or showed improvement. In fact, one respondent referred to the fact that
the training had provided them with “ammunition” to argue for consumer engagement
in their organisation. This suggests that staff may feel in need of support to engage
management and Boards in practising consumer engagement in their organisations.
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
With regards to the training (Units 1&2 of the Vocational Graduate Certificate in
Consumer Engagement [22092VIC] and executives day of training), most respondents
considered it very effective or moderately effective, and the majority said that the
training supported their long-term passion and involvement in consumer engagement.

In terms of changes observed after the training and participation in a consumer
engagement project, the majority of respondents said that their team or organisation’s
understanding of the aims, principles and benefits of consumer engagement has clearly
improved.

Another area of change identified by respondents was the relationship they have with
their consumers and carers. Most respondents said that, after completing a consumer
engagement project, they would engage in authentic dialogue and care with their
consumers and carers; ask more questions; listen more; and allow more planned time
with their consumer and carers.

In terms of the breadth of consumer engagement work undertaken by the participating
services, the emphasis was on engagement in specific programs or activities rather than
at high-level decision making in the organisation. The majority of respondents said that
they were planning to engage consumers and carers actively in programs or projects;
hear the needs of consumers more systematically; and integrate consumers and carers
into events in a similar way to staff. Fewer responses were related to engaging
consumers and carers in strategic planning, program or service development or
governance.

Most participants responded that they were satisfied with the project’s completion and
their aims and objectives achieved. A few respondents referred to issues affecting the
completion of the project to their satisfaction, but that they were in progress and/or
tracking towards a satisfactory outcome.

Most participants said that the support received from TasCOSS and Health Issues Centre
was either excellent or good.
Since the conclusion of the 15 projects one of the participating providers has been
approached by a national aged care conference organiser to present on the story-telling
(narrative inquiry) aspects of their work on the TasCOSS program. This is a significant
recognition of the provider’s work and of the overall program.
Using this resource
We invite you to browse this report, to go to the provider’s project examples, to connect with
and discuss their projects and associated learning.
The 2012 - 2013 program report is filled with consumer, staff, manager, stakeholder and expert
quotes and stories. One of the core innovations about the program is the use of an
adaptation of narrative enquiry, the eliciting and production of experiences of all involved in
the projects as both an evaluation tool and a way to facilitate cultural change.
Please take some time to view the brief, two to four minute consumer, staff or provider video
clips, hearing their stories and experiences, showing authentically the impact, learning and
benefits consumer engagement has provided to them.
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1. Introduction
‘There is no better endorsement of what a service does,
than that provided by its clients.’
Former HACC State Program Manager

This publication serves as an avenue to share with the wider Tasmanian HACC service,
and the wider health and community sectors, about the program’s learning, outputs
and outcomes, in particular the individual service providers’ projects, their staff and
their consumers’ experiences, stories and how they view the significant achievements
of the program.
1.1. What is consumer engagement?
‘Consumer engagement is about consumers working together with service
providers and participating in decision-making that affects their lives and their
community. It is about the lived and experienced expertise of consumers, and
their related needs, wants and emerging issues. It is also about mutual, respectful
partnership and caring, two-way relations in all work and service interactions.’
‘Good practice consumer engagement shows that consumers, including their
carers, are treated as equal and are engaged in ongoing, active, appropriate,
innovative and attentive ways. Their involvement is at all stages and levels,
including planning, service delivery, evaluation or review of services or programs,
and the Board or Management Committee.’
Consumer engagement was defined in the 2011 report and in the 2012 handbook. TasCOSS
is also learning more about consumer engagement and how paradigm and cultural changes
are needed to work in new ways, more engaging, more as equals with our consumers or the
communities we work with and for. With an increased awareness and understanding at
TasCOSS colleagues redefined consumer engagement, as stated above.
Some of the participants of the 2012 - 2013 project offered the following practical,
experience-based definitions:
‘Where the individual person in receipt of care/services has the ability to decide
on what consumer engagement means for them and has active involvement
with the service provider in how service providers can assist the person in
achieving this.’
‘Just ask.’
‘Embracing progress, by provider, together with input and empowerment from
consumers; and together to be continuous improvement and inclusion.’
‘As service providers we need to stay mindful that there are many ways to
involve consumers/service users in services but we need to provide opportunities
and then support to enable people to be involved.’
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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‘A simple tool to enable our service to focus on the true path to our goal of
consumer satisfaction, self determination and empowerment while ensuring
better outcomes.’
‘Dynamic process of interaction and communication.’
1.2
Consumer engagement – an expanding perspective
The initial TasCOSS consumer engagement work program focussed on consultative, researchbased projects with HACC service providers and their consumers followed by a report with
recommendations.
It became evident from the literature, and in terms of good practice, that major changes
had occurred nationally and internationally over the past decade in theory, understanding
and practice.
In 2009/2010 a developmental and more continuous consumer engagement approach
started to underpin the TasCOSS work. It became evident that this approach connected
TasCOSS more closely to services and it created models of cooperative approaches; in turn
allowing these to be adopted and expanded to staff and consumers; starting to blur the
boundaries between these two main groups.
At the same time TasCOSS, having looked interstate and overseas, commenced work with
HIC in an ad hoc manner for specific tasks, projects and workshops. The input provided by
HIC assisted in two ways:

it facilitated the injection of practical experience and a wealth of resources from
Australia’s consumer engagement expert group into the project; and

HIC functioned as a sounding board for local innovation, new approaches and gave
credibility to the direction of the project.
The project has clearly benefitted from this partnership. It is no doubt fair to say that HIC has
enjoyed a more than usual practical, on the ground and direct project involvement. At
several points the HIC consultant shared that the Centre is equally learning and at times
amazed by some of the overall project or individual project results and impacts.
How relevant or important is consumer engagement for HACC in Tasmania at this time and
looking further ahead? A project participant’s view perhaps best illustrates:
‘The promotion of and being able to demonstrate sound consumer strategies and
practice has perhaps become even more relevant considering the recent Aged
Care Reforms, the introduction of Consumer-Directed Care and the NDIS.’
1.3
A note on the term ‘consumer’
For consistency we would have liked to use only one term, ‘consumer’ or ‘client’. Providers in the
past made it clear to us they don’t mind the term ‘consumer’ but prefer ‘client’. To acknowledge
this we left ‘client’ where providers or others have used it and general have used ‘consumer’ in
other parts of the document.
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1.4
Who are HACC consumers?
The new federal HACC program funds services for people 65 years and over, and Aboriginal
and Torres Strait Islander people 50 years and over.
Services are intended for older people who need support to continue living in the community
and who have difficulties with everyday tasks, such as getting dressed and showering.
People with a disability will receive HACC services under the recent reforms, funded by state
and territory governments. Funding is for basic community care and specialist disability
services for people aged under 65 years or under 50 years for Aboriginal and Torres Strait
Islander people.
2. About the 2012-13 project
The project work plan for the year was developed carefully and in consultation with
stakeholders, professionals and the sector. It is the reflection of a stream of activities flowing
through what the project has created over the past five years.
The overall direction is to shift ownership increasingly to providers and their teams to weave
sustainability-promoting elements into the work program.
Over the past four to five years the project has supported the sector, to offer resources,
information and practical assistance to decentralise HACC consumer engagement, to raise
awareness and create competencies with a view to enthusing a widening range of service
providers and their staff in the field.
The project’s approach is more to find the balance that is right in every situation, for every
consumer, with a focus on partnership and relationship and to jointly make the best decisions.
2.1.
Who are HACC consumers?
HACC Consumers are defined as:
People who live in the community who, without basic maintenance and support
services provided under the scope of the Program, would be at risk of premature or
inappropriate long term residential care including:
○ younger persons (aged less than 65 years and less than 50 years for Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Islander people) with functional limitations as a result of moderate, severe
and profound disabilities
○ such other classes of people as are agreed upon, from time to time, by the State
Minister, and
○ the unpaid carers of people assessed as being within the programs target
population.
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2.2. The project’s objectives
2.2.1. The activity workplan and core project
The five guiding project objectives for the 2012 - 2013 TasCOSS HACC consumer engagement
projects were:
1. To support providers in the planning, implementing and evaluating of consumer
engagement activities with a view to align providers, and over time the HACC
services in Tasmania, with best-practice approaches and with sustainable, consumerfocussed strategies.
2. To identify a minimum of 15 HACC providers across government and non-government
services interested in advancing their consumer and community engagement
strategies and / or activities.
3. To identify some participating providers who are additionally characterised by some
form of disadvantage; for example remote location, size (in terms of budget and / or
staff numbers), high number of volunteers workers, working with CALD communities or
clients, etc.
4. To facilitate organisational or departmental consumer engagement assessments in
relation to:

Current client / consumer and community engagement understanding and
policy, strategies and activities; and

Organisational capability and readiness to embark on a consumer engagement
project.
5. To support participating providers in planning, developing and reviewing consumer
engagement activities or projects, through the TasCOSS Consumer Engagement
Handbook (2012 edition) and with practical, professional support as required and as
appropriate.
2.2.2. Added objectives – formal and nationally-accredited training
TasCOSS took the opportunity, based on a stronger HIC – TasCOSS partnership, to pilot formal
and nationally accredited consumer engagement training in Tasmania.
This initiative involved the introduction of the Vocational Graduate Certificate in Consumer
Engagement (22092VIC) as a Tasmanian-first into the overall project. The course is aimed at
team leaders, coordinators, managers and consumer engagement initiative-driving staff.
The following additional project objectives were formulated:
6. To promote and introduce the first two modules of the Vocational Graduate
Certificate in Consumer Engagement to participating project participants;
7. To run and evaluate the course modules; and
8. To supplement the training for team leaders/coordinators/managers/staff with training
for the senior managers, executives or board members of the project participants.
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2.3. Project components
2.3.1. Assessments
It was important for the HIC – TasCOSS project team to gain a realistic and in-depth
understanding of the current state of participating providers’ policies, strategies, projects and
any activities surrounding their consumer engagement work.
An “assessment” tool and approach was designed to provide that information to the team
and equally offer guiding questions for the initial, formal contact with participating providers.
The provider talks commenced with a view to ultimately be able to best support providers;
not as a tool to judge.
2.3.2. Provider talks
Dr Tere Dawson from HIC and the TasCOSS project coordinator visited every participating
provider team. The project team was conscious of maintaining a balance between asking
questions, being guided by the ‘draft assessment tool’, while equally being guided by the
providers’ staff needs, issues, questions and project ideas.
As such, the provider talks ended up being a combination of consultation, motivation,
education, sharing of experiences and resources, awareness raising, planning and
assessment.
2.2.3
Project plans
Every participating provider was required to develop a project plan. An initial template was
provided to everyone (see appendices 8.2 to 8.5).
At a later point, and once the first project plans were submitted, sample good practice plans
were circulated to providers to assist with their thinking, process and energy to develop a
plan.
Provider teams were encouraged to consider planning together with individual consumers or
small consumer groups. This was welcomed and taken up by most providers even though the
idea and practice of planning something outside consumers’ case plans was new to many.
2.2.4
Mentoring, support and peer mentoring
An integral part of the project was the commitment by TasCOSS, together with its key
program partner, HIC, to adequately and appropriately support the participating providers
and their staff.
The objectives were to give practical and professional support to providers to plan, develop,
implement and review consumer engagement activities or projects, referencing best
practice and encouraging sustainable strategies.
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2.2.5 Planned training
To support the delivery of practical consumer engagement projects by participating
providers and to encourage flow-on effects from intensive training sessions the following two
programs were later included and became a pivotal part of the project:

Executive / Senior Management Program: Consumer Engagement - Policy – Strategies
– Good Practice; and

The Vocational Graduate Certificate in Consumer Engagement (220929VIC).
Both programs were delivered in mid March 2013 in Launceston.
The second program, the nationally-accredited graduate certificate course, consisted of the
first two of a total of four modules needed in order to meet the course requirements and to
obtain the certificate.
The notion of delivering structured full-day and formal training as part of the project was new
to the project team and a significant unknown: this training had never been offered in
Tasmania.
The project was looking to HIC for some guidance with regard to this innovation and the
program parameters and some of its content was jointly developed by both HIC and
TasCOSS. To understand the possible program impact it is helpful to look at the certificate
course’s aims and outline / content.
The certificate course is designed to provide consumer engagement leaders and health
services staff with the competencies to work collaboratively in a range of settings to provide
strategic consumer engagement services to consumers, health services and their staff, and
government and nongovernment bodies.
The certificate consists of four units:

Work within a consumer engagement framework - CODE VU20266

Support consumer engagement planning - CODE VU20267

Support the implementation of consumer engagement - CODE VU20268

Develop and implement consumer engagement strategies - CODE VU20269
Undertaking and completing the full course, participants will be trained to:

Evaluate best practice for consumer engagement in health to inform policy and
practice in own work;

Recommend evidence-based best practice improvements to the current consumer
engagement practice of an organisation;

Operate within community development, consumer engagement and/or health
promotion principles;

Work effectively within a social inclusion framework and with diversity in the
community;

Evaluate the capacity of an organisation to meet legal and reporting requirements in
relation to consumer engagement;

Develop/review the consumer engagement plan of an organisation;
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
Promote consumer leadership within an organisation;

Develop effective consumer leadership within an organisation;

Engage the organisation with key external stakeholders relevant to consumer
engagement;

Seek funding for consumer-led initiatives;

Design processes to evaluate a consumer engagement plan;

Implement consumer engagement in an organisation;

Facilitate the professional
engagement;

Manage the learning and development of consumers in consumer engagement;

Manage partnerships with key external stakeholders and networks;

Manage systems for the recruitment and management of consumers;

Involve consumers in staff selection, interviews, appraisals and training;

Encourage the conduct of research into consumer engagement;

Review consumer engagement systems and structures of an organisation;

Manage the effective operation of a Consumer Advisory Committee/Group
(CAC/CAG) in an organisation;

Design and implement community consultations and needs assessments for an
organisation;

Administer the establishment and maintenance of a consumer register in an
organisation; and

Improve the consumer health information systems and strategies of an organisation.
development and training of
staff in
consumer
1
The Executive, Senior Management and Board Member program was more informal and
designed to cater for a more strategic, planning focus.
2.2.6 Required training and training support work
In May and June 2013 it became evident that the goodwill and attendance at the graduate
certificate course was not enough input and support to facilitate all the possible training
outcomes the project had intended to achieve.
Almost everyone, given a busy schedule and being in the midst of a significant whole-ofHACC program change, found it hard to either make time to complete the required
assessment tasks or to find the energy or perhaps confidence to do so.
TasCOSS, together with the key project partner HIC, planned, designed and implemented a
further training session which was entitled ‘Training Follow-up Session’ with a view to offering
professional, peer and structured support to maximise completion of the program for as many
Content is taken from the course flyer.
www.healthissuescentre.org.au/documents/items/2013/01/676339-upload-00001.pdf
1
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
What consumers, staff and managers tell us
participants as possible of the first two modules of the whole graduate certificate course by
the end of the project and reporting period.
The TasCOSS project coordinator also participated in the training course both as a cofacilitator with small roles and as a participant in the graduate certificate course.
2.2.7
An adaptation of narrative inquiry
The project team has observed that narrative inquiry, the utilisation of consumer or staff
stories, has found increasing use by health and community services professionals.
When staff, service managers or consumers tell their stories, share their experiences as being
part of the project their learning, realisations and associated experiences can have an
impact on their peers and other people within and around their services.
Due to its nature it lends itself as an evaluation and program support tool. The project utilises
consumer, staff, stakeholders and managers’ experience in both written and video-recorded
form to share their experiences.
The narrative enquiry-based video clips form an integral part of the evaluation and will be
made available in a range of forms and as per consent given by each individual. It is
intended that some of them will feature on the TasCOSS website, some will be used to
promote the project and consumer engagement to the whole of HACC, and some will be
utilised in workshops and formal training in the coming years.
2.2.8 The 15 projects
TasCOSS proposed the identification of 15 projects across both the government and
community sectors.
Projects were spread across the three regions of Tasmania and across a group of providers
ranging from very small to large with each of them facing challenges and opportunities in
embarking on a consumer engagement project.
A supplementary objective was for TasCOSS to engage at least one government service run
HACC provider into the project group. Three DHHS services participated in projects and
training and one city council represented a fourth government service.
Table 1. Overview – All Projects
Project
1. Its About You
2. Development of the
COS North Consumer
Project Group Project
Plan
3. Happier Client and
Volunteer Gatherings
4. Then and Now
5. Delivered Meals
Review
Provider
Launceston VFC
Services Inc.
Community
Options Service,
North
City
Launceston
Region
North
Category
CSO
Launceston
North
DHHS
Still Gardening
(HCC)
Good Neighbour
Council
Red Cross
Hobart
South
Council
Launceston
North
CSO
Launceston
North
CSO
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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Project
6. Developing a
Consumer
Engagement
Foundation
7. Establishment of a
Consumer
Engagement
Committee
8. Carers Forum
9. The Gingham Lounge
(part II)
10. Getting to know Our
Consumers
11. Chats Publications
Review
12. Recreational Fishing
Group
13. Client Forward
Planning Days
14. Falls Prevention
15. Croatian Day Centre
Provider
Italian Day Centre
City
North Hobart
Region
South
Category
CSO
Family Based Care
North (FBCN)
Launceston
North
CSO
Alzheimer
Tasmania, North
Burnie / Wynyard
Community Health
Centres
Community Health
Smithton
Chats North West
Launceston
North
CSO
Burnie
North West
DHHS
Smithton
North West
DHHS
Devonport
North West
CSO
Chats North
Launceston
North
CSO
Glenview - Banksia
Unit
South Eastern
Community Care
Migrant Resource
Centre, South
Hobart
South
CSO
Sorrell
South
CSO
South
CSO
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
What consumers, staff and managers tell us
2.4. Evaluation methodology
For the production of this report and to evaluate the overall project the following project,
evaluation and consultation methodology was utilised:2

Clearly defining intended project outputs and outcomes and document them in the
DSS Activity Work Plan;

Evaluation of the ‘Provider Talks’;

Evaluation of both structured training activities, the ‘Executive / Senior Management
Program and the ‘Vocational Graduate Certificate in Consumer Engagement’;

Evaluation of the additional ‘Training Follow-up Session’;

The facilitation and recording of consumer, staff and managers’ experiences being
part of coordinating a consumer engagement project on videotape using an
adaptation of narrative inquiry techniques;

A end of project e-mail qualitative and quantitative survey of all participating
providers;

A end of project online e-survey of all participating providers; and

Semi-structured interviews with a small number of project participants to clarify or elicit
additional project information.
2.5. Key project resources
The TasCOSS HACC consumer engagement project has generated a number of project
supporting documents over past year, all available from the consumer engagement pages
on the TasCOSS website (tascoss.org.au):

The Consumer Engagement Matrix – a TasCOSS developed simplified matrix showing
the levels and types of engagement and – in best practice environments – covering
planning, delivery and review work:
www.tascoss.org.au/Portals/0/2013%20ConsumerMatrix.pdf;

The Consumer Engagement Model – Similar to organisational standards, the model
points toward opportunities to involved consumers / consumer representatives in most
or all organisational areas and activities:
www.tascoss.org.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=sXZHVgoctoc%3d&tabid=79 ;

The Tool Kit Part I - Seven consumer engagement tools that can support consumer
engagement improvements:
www.tascoss.org.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=dTzy3NIEUfI%3d&tabid=79

The Tool Kit Part II - Organisational Assessment Tool. This more complex tool can give
services a detailed analysis of their consumer engagement status and work progress.
Simpler tools are in the Handbook.
www.tascoss.org.au/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=hPGk4Nzl_wQ%3d&tabid=79; and
The end of project evaluation facilitated via an online survey is in appendix 8.10.
evaluations of other project components are available upon request from TasCOSS.
2
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Copies of the
Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
What consumers, staff and managers tell us

The Consumer Engagement Literature Review Good Practice approaches and Pilot
Projects in HAAC in Tasmania TasCOSS.
www.tascoss.org.au/Portals/0/Publications/HACC%20Consumer%20Engagement%20Li
t%20Review%202012.pdf
In the 2012 - 2013 project two key resources utilised were:

A new organisational assessment tool, inclusive of a section on organisation / staff –
consumer relationships. It will be refined during the first of the ‘13/’14 project and then
published; and

TASCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Handbook
www.tascoss.org.au/Portals/0/Publications/HACC%20Handbook%20Sept%202012.pdf .
The Handbook has proven to be an invaluable resource and has found strong interest from
other, non-HACC services in Tasmania and other parts of Australia. While the HIC is a key
project partner, the following testimony from a senior consultant at HIC illustrates the practical
value of the handbook:
‘The Consumer Engagement handbook …. is a great resource for health services
and community organisations aiming at implementing community, consumer and
carer engagement initiatives.’
‘The Handbook is full of good ideas and tools to plan, implement and evaluate
consumer engagement projects and is very user friendly.’
‘I have it as a PDF on my desktop and often search for specific concepts,
activities or tools when I need a quick reference for myself or for others who ask
advice from us here at Health Issues Centre.’
Dr Tere Dawson
In the work with the participating providers, the Handbook was constantly referred to in the
design, implementation and review work and during the training delivery and course work for
the graduate certificate course.
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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3 Approaches to consumer engagement
‘It’s not by any means an easy task
to change old ways,
but an inch each day by each person
can make a difference.’
Service Manager
3.1 Relationship and equality
The prime understanding that underpins consumer engagement work is ‘relationship’ and
‘equality’: how we relate and strive to value, engage, empower regardless of position, role,
age, ability, etc.
Even within a sound organisational culture that values engagement, an additional focus on
consumer engagement is still beneficial as a way of facilitating input from a normally or by
default excluded group, ‘consumers’, into the planning, delivery or co-delivery and review of
organisational programs or services.
In order to offer a brief snapshot into the new integrated organisational consumer
engagement assessment tool, and its focus on the relationship aspects of engagement, the
tool that was used during the provider conversation as a guide for the HIC and TasCOSS work
is given in Table 2:
Table 2. Consumer Engagement Assessment Tool – Relationship Aspects
Questions / Aspects
The team / organisation /
workers have change their
focus and have a culture of
16. Asking questions
17. Listening (to consumers /
consumer needs)
18. Allowing time for
meetings with consumers
or carers
19. Letting consumers do
more in terms of
additional contribution to
their work
20. Engaging in an authentic
dialogue and genuine
care
21. Having individual
consumers actively
contributing to programs
and management
22. Establishing consumer
representative roles,
structures and processes
to ensure all of the
above.
Rating
1.
started
2.
first steps
forward
Page | 19
3.
clearly
working
towards it
4.
in place
5.
soundly
working
Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
What consumers, staff and managers tell us
There are indications, and this project has shown, that attention to how we relate to
consumers also positively impacts on staff engagement: staff members’ passion, their ‘feeling
of belonging’ to their workplace and commitment to their work with consumers and also their
work in general with and for their services. 3
During the year the closeness between all key stakeholders in most instances increased.
There has been a warmth, candidness and openness in all exchanges that was often
described as very enjoyable, refreshing and reconnecting staff back to their services and
work with more passion, enjoyment and greater focus on working with consumers, instead of
solely doing work, providing assistance for them.
In a lesser way there were indications that services are working within hierarchical models of
giving and following directions and that this approach in some way is flowing on to how
relationships with consumers unfold and feel like: ultimately we are in charge.
At several points the challenges with consumer-directed care were raised. It seems that the
reversing of who is in charge is merely creating a range of new issues and in some way
appears to disregard the expertise and genuine care held by staff, individuals and
organisational cultures.
In some way this project, intends to offer a ‘middle ground’ or ‘path’; it has a relationship
focus, it acknowledges that both key players need to work together, at expanding level,
depth and commitment.
3.2 Approaches, key values and philosophy
‘If it is a slow thing and done well
then we can keep it genuine.
If we launched something too big too soon,
we lose that and it can become tokenistic’.
Project Participant
The Tasmanian HACC Consumer Engagement project is working in three streams:

It is actively promoting and implementing an amalgamation of national and
international best practice approaches;

Promoting the sharing of experiences and learning that occurs in projects or between
providers, TasCOSS and Melbourne’s Health Issues Centre; and

Facilitating the generation of good practice to be within local, HACC-initiated
projects and for these to add value and meaning to the work of other providers, via
workshops, resources and video clips; providers who are still less prepared to
experiment with or commit to a structured or planned consumer engagement work
program.
Approaches, Key Values and Philosophy are discussed and listed in some detail in the
TASCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Handbook.4
While the approaches have found expression in the Handbook they are constantly worked
with, reaffirmed and amended. For the purpose of this report is it important to briefly list some
of the key project approaches and related resources:
The video clip featuring Pauline from the Red Cross clearly refers to this phenomena, impact or
outcome.
3
4
TasCOSS 2012 (2): pages 7 to 10.
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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1. The matrix – an understanding that consumer engagement can be always extended
in new dimensions and depths;
2. Engagement levels – expands the often in-practice individual engagement to a
structured planned organisational participation;
3. Engagement types – is the expression of the progression of all consumer engagement
work to the degree where consumers or consumer representative groups are an
equal partner in all organisational activities;
4. Start with one small activity – in many ways consumer engagement is new to services
and can be a daunting task to embark on. The TasCOSS project encourages small
activities to generate practical and felt experiences that can function as seeds of
organisational, practice or cultural change;
5. Bottom up – the project engages with staff consumers in ways that facilitates for
change to be triggered or driven from the bottom upwards;
6. Top down - the project engages with managers, executives and boards to raise
awareness, understanding and to share benefits and strategic advantages of sound
and planned consumer engagement work across a service to facilitate the trickling
down or support for consumer engagement work from the top down;
7. Training – this year the project’s vision and strategic focus were on sustainability:
injecting project components that allow providers, staff and consumers gradually to
drive consumer engagement and for it to increasingly work without a TasCOSS
initiated program. The inclusion of structured formal and informal training was seen as
vital to this focus;
8. Peer involvement – the engagement of project partners to function as peers surfaced
as an option for the first time this year and was being implemented;
9. Relationship focus – in addition to the discussion from above, and in line with Activity
One in the Handbook ‘Do Less’, it is natural that:
a. Only when we do less, others, the consumers can do more and become more
involved;
b. Only when we ask or ask more, we shift the ownership to the other, empower
and start to facilitate participation and input; and
10. Change management - over the past months and even prior to this year, we realised
that what we are working with and was in some way a ‘change of culture’ or
‘change management’ project. What is needed is however, more than lip service.
Involvement with consumer engagement is or should be based on an understanding
that gradually we let go of our power, our control and our disposition to do, to be in
‘charge’.
An interstate consumer engagement expert visited Tasmania and her comments support the
necessity to include change management and cultural change components in the project: 5
Michele Kosky AM formerly CEO of Health Consumers Council WA (www.hconc.org.au ) for 18 years
was commissioned to undertake a project to stock take consumer participation/ engagement in
Tasmanian Health System by Commission on Health Services Tasmania in 2013.
5
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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One of the most useful resources that was generously made available … was the
Consumer Engagement Literature Review Good Practice approaches and Pilot
Projects in HAAC in Tasmania TASCOSS July 2012. This is without doubt a major
contribution to the Consumer engagement literature in Australia and was sorely
needed when the cry for evidence is made by health service providers before
they will contemplate health consumer engagement/ participation.
This is a piece of outstanding work that provides both a synthesis of key concepts
but provides a how to guide as well. In addition Klaus understands deeply the
importance of long-term arduous culture change for consumer engagement to
be meaningful and effective in improving health service delivery and health
outcomes.
TasCOSS funded the Consumer Engagement Project Officer to undertake training in change
and cultural change management with the aim of cascading the learnings into the project in
the future.
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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4 Project environment
Consumer engagement does not exist or occur in isolation to other intra or extra
organisational events.
In 2012 - 2013 the project operated within a multitude of challenges and changes. At some
level it was more difficult for the project to find initial interest, at another level the move to
consumer directed care, more accountability and perhaps an overall raising of work
standards, have supported the project and for the first time some of the larger and more
active, influential HACC providers either joined the project or expressed interest in joining.
In order to critically look at this year’s TasCOSS consumer engagement project it is important
to understand the environment in which it has operated.
4.1 Changes to HACC in Tasmania
In this project year the most significant changes to the HACC program since its beginning
approximately 25 years ago started to be implemented across Tasmania.
Since 1 July 2012 the Commonwealth Government assumed full funding, policy and
operational responsibility for HACC services for older people in all states and territories except
Western Australia and Victoria. The new program for older people is the Commonwealth
HACC Program. The state and territory governments will continue to fund and administer
HACC services for people under the age of 65 and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
people under 50.
An overarching aim is to enable the development of a consistent aged care system covering
basic care at home through to high level care in aged care homes and to facilitate a
program which, over time, is easier for older people to navigate.
As part of this reform package and as a result of transition of the HACC program to the
Commonwealth, the Australian Government is bringing together a number of different
programs into a single national program. Additional changes will continue to affect
providers. The Living Longer. Living Better aged care reform package will be drawing
together existing programs, including the Commonwealth HACC Program, the National
Respite for Carers Program, the Day Therapy Centre Program and the Assistance with Care
and Housing for the Aged Program into an integrated Home Support program. The
Commonwealth Home Support program will come into effect from 1 July 2015.
The significant amount of work had been prepared by DSS’s and DHHS’s offices in the month
beginning the 2012 – 2013 financial year.
The Tasmanian DSS and DHHS offices worked continuously and in cooperation with service
providers through the changes in an effort to minimise the impact on providers and in
particular to minimise the impact on service delivery and any negative impacts on
consumers.
In the course of promoting the consumer engagement project we spoke with several
providers who had in the past clearly stated that they were very interested in the work and
would like to be a part of the program, however, work commitments resulting from the
change program did not allow them to focus on any additional changes, improvement or
activities.
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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One of the providers stated, during the project promotional phase:
‘The changes have resulted in a huge workload for us. The main impact for us is
to have to re-jig all our financial procedures and to re-work all our procedures.
An additional challenge is that we have no additional funds to make these
changes.’6
The provider had been very supportive of the TasCOSS project and had been participating
on and off over the past four years in project work or workshops. Involvement in the 2012 2013 round of projects was declined in the following way:
‘We have no time to work with any other projects. There is an unfunded increase
in some of our wages and the administrative and management tasks have
literally doubled.’
‘This is further impacted by daily growing client numbers for our service.’ For our
service this is a troubled time and the changes are hurting.’
During the course of the year it became obvious to us that the changes were indeed very
significant. Providers require additional time, effort and resources to align their services and
service supporting systems with the change program, which has minimised potential
engagement with ‘additional’ projects, such as ours’.
4.2 Voluntary participation in the project
‘Organisations best treat volunteers like staff
and staff like volunteers.’
Community sector colleague
One of the challenges in this year and a remaining one for the coming year is the voluntary
nature of the project: providers may or may not participate depending on how they feel
participation adds value to their programs or services or is it beneficial to them, their
organisation or consumers.
In essence this is a good thing, as the very nature of the consumer engagement activities
and training that both providers and TasCOSS hope to achieve is based on voluntary
participation. This will become even more pivotal as the project will expand into the
involvement of growing numbers of consumers in purposeful ways with the project and their
providers.
However the voluntary nature of the project also is one of its greatest challenges. Providers
who are busy, challenged by internal and external pressures, demands and changes, are less
inclined to participate.
4.3
Working ‘with’ consumers
In talking to a wide range of people in developing this year’s projects, even in the
promotional phase, we realised that consumer engagement understanding is still about the
low levels of engagement, focussed at an individual level and not supported by a genuine
This conversation occurred in August 2012. It is understood that later, in early to mid 2013, funding was
being made available to assist with organisational change programs.
6
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
What consumers, staff and managers tell us
understanding about what consumers can really offer, if ‘brought in’ as an equal, to develop
significant enhancements to service delivery inputs and outcomes.
Consumer groups too postulate this as the main slogan of the Victorian Consumer
Engagement Strategy in simple and clear words:
‘Doing it with us, not for us’ - Victorian Consumer Engagement Strategy
The Victorian Consumer Engagement strategy embodies the need for this change in a
simple, clear and yet profound way, as the above quote states. The Tasmanian Health
Department’s key statement similarly says:
‘Your care, your say’ - Tasmanian DHHS Consumer Engagement Strategy
Not limited to consumer engagement work it is commonly known that the right amount of
assistance or ‘doing’ with support, too much, too imposed has the tendency to disempower.
Providers shared, personally or in workshop or forum meetings that good ideas, good
decisions, often with best intentions do not equally produce good outcomes. At times letting
go, allowing consumers to share decision-making will help us avoiding known traps, such as:

Doing something with best intention for the consumer may not work for the next
consumer or may even have negative effects;

Doing something because it is part of a service agreement;

Doing something because it is in internal policies, procedures or protocols, or

Doing something because ‘I know’ or because ‘we have always done it this way’.
Consumer engagement is nothing different to an authentic and genuine team approach,
where independent to someone’s position, role or authority people work together for the best
outcomes. In a consumer engagement framework this simply means that the consumers are
an integral and equal partner.
During many discussions, presentations and facilitated workshops the feedback was
overwhelming that firstly if a new consumer group is entering services it wants to be involved
and asked, and that it can actively resist or fight back if it feels overpowered.
Secondly colleagues shared freely that the nature of their personal or consumer interaction
experience is that the more we ‘push’ or event gently force our idea, agenda and even
goodwill, there is still resistance, lack of engagement and a degree of disempowerment as a
result.
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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5 The 2012-2013 projects – learning and findings
‘Sounds like you are doing great consumer engagement work at your end.’
Ghislaine Alventoza – Consumer Health Forum (CHF) of Australia7
The following section will provide details of the project findings, the outputs, outcomes and
any additional developments. 8
This year’s projects and its contributions have brought even more to the surface that it is
about culture, relationship as much as having a policy or strategy in place and implementing
projects or activities.
One of the perhaps noteworthy changes moving from the previous year to this project year
was the strong expression of interest and subsequent participation of some of the main and
often larger providers of the Tasmanian HACC program.
‘Main providers’ are, as the project participant list shows, providers who are actively involved,
facilitate and host forum meetings and are in some way contributors or role models through
their additional engagement.
The first sections (5.2 to 5.4) discuss:

The ‘provider talks’ and the initial assessment;

The training

The project plans;

The project delivery and project follow-up, coaching and support provided by both
HIC and TasCOSS; and

The end of year / end of project evaluation processes.
The subsequent sections (5.5 to 5.7) outline the participating providers’ projects, their
approach, intentions and learning and outcomes.
Every provider was required to submit a project plan. The plan was further required to have
an outline of an evaluation or review of the project’s impact and outcomes.
5.1 Project planning, learning and outcomes
The nature and focus of the overall project is still on staff, volunteers and leadership teams
and to a lesser degree on consumers. This is in relation to the TasCOSS coordinating work. In
turn providers focus on consumers.
A significant amount of work went into the planning for the provider talks to assist with an
initial assessment of ‘what is’ and ‘what is possible’ or the logical next consumer engagement
step.
7
Ghislaine contacted us in early 2013 and the 2012 - 2013 project was discussed.
As a resource and for interested readers we included the end-of-project evaluation in the appendix.
Other evaluation reports of segments of the project are available from TasCOSS upon request.
8
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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It was often observed that every conversation, every meeting within organisations and
discussions around consumer engagement, created small shifts and increased understanding
and practical knowledge.
The planning phase highlighted that the TasCOSS/ HIC team was also a dynamic part of the
work plan and all planned projects for the year. What had worked in previous projects or
years needed refinement, adaptation and discussion; we were learning too.
The planning work, the changing of existing perspectives, strategies, practices and culture,
gradually learning and learning together, appeared to be a meaningful and gentle
approach toward greater provider self-sufficiency in developing effective and sustainable
consumer engagement practices.
5.2 Assessments
It was important for the TasCOSS/ HIC project team to gain a realistic and in-depth
understanding of the current state of participating providers’ policies, strategies, projects and
any activities surrounding their consumer engagement work.
An “assessment” tool and approach was being designed to provide that information to the
team and equally offer guiding questions for the initial, formal contact with participating
providers. The provider talks commenced with a view to ultimately be able to best support
providers; in no way it was a tool to judge. The evaluation of this project component supports
this notion.9
5.3 Provider talks
Dr Tere Dawson from HIC and the TasCOSS project coordinator visited every participating
provider team. The project team was conscious of maintaining a balance between asking
questions, being guided by the ‘draft assessment tool’, while also being guided by the
providers’ staff needs, issues, questions and project ideas.
The provider talks were free flowing conversations with the designated managers and staff of
the 15 participating HACC services. These conversations were the project’s first steps towards
planning individual consumer engagement activities in each service.
The talks ended up being a combination of consultation, motivation, education, sharing of
experiences and resources, awareness raising, planning and assessment.
The provider talks were evaluated and participating providers stated:10
(A) In terms of resource sharing:
‘The discussions also reinforced the benefits of consumer engagement; others
referred to the benefit of receiving resources and support to plan a consumer
engagement project.’
9
The internal evaluation report can be made available upon request.
10
Please go to appendix 8.10 for the full evaluation report.
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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(B) In terms of education and awareness-raising:
‘It was nice to be able to bring in additional staff and give information to our
participants to reiterate why it’s important.’
(C) In terms of motivation:
‘I find the whole concept of client engagement exciting … ‘
(D) In terms of consultation:
‘It helps us to think about and talk about our approaches with "outsiders".’
‘We are aware that we have a long way to go through the discussion which took
place at the meeting but are willing to be guided/trained/informed as much as
possible to advance it!’
(E) In terms of assessment and planning:
‘This meeting helped us to pin down two activities with a realistic scope.’
The informal conversations also allowed for the dissemination of project supporting
materials:11

A guide to write the project plan;

A checklist for planning consumer engagement initiatives;

A guide to conduct and evaluate the project, and

TasCOSS and Health Issues Centre support options and contact details.
The evaluation of the provider talks clearly showed that the attendees rated almost every
aspect of the meeting as ‘very useful’ (71% on average), including ‘its usefulness in clarifying
the importance and value of consumer engagement’, ‘awareness and understanding of
local and national good consumer engagement practice and standard requirements’,
‘clarifying the different levels and types of consumer engagement’, ‘clarifying the value,
importance and benefits of a relationship, partnership and dialogue’, and ‘its usefulness in
identifying possible consumer engagement project/activity options’ as ‘very useful’ in most
instances.
Findings from the talks and further discussions between HIC and TasCOSS confirmed what
interstate and overseas projects had indicated: good consumer engagement work requires
support, training and a suite of resources to be effective.
One immensely valuable outcome from the talks was that they allowed the TasCOSS/ HIC
project team to plan differing and appropriate support for every individual provider team.
Talks spanned from simply talking through concepts and ideas to utilising the help of
preliminary assessment tool to gauge every provider’s consumer engagement existing
understanding and / or practices in place.
An additional unexpected and significant outcome of the provider talks was the
development and refinement of a significantly revised and enhanced organisational
consumer engagement assessment tool.
11
All key project initiating and project supporting templates and documents are in the appendices.
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Consumer engagement training and practical projects –
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5.4 Training
The training proved to be a much-appreciated and a very effective addition to the project,
both in terms of increasing competency and practical project support. At several points, as
the evaluation components illustrate, participants of the graduate certificate training shared
how important the training was to practically support the projects. Additionally the training
appeared to motivate project teams.
The training for executives, senior managers and board members was a ‘higher’ level,
strategically and an invitation to start integrating consumer engagement into strategic
planning as an item that will be reviewed or audited against.
These sessions were intended to enable participants to more deeply understand the specific
and wider benefits of consumer engagement, its potential impact on service and program
improvement, as well as strategic financial benefits.
5.4.1
Executives, senior managers and board members
The full day, six-hour intensive consumer engagement training session had as a key focus to
raise awareness and understanding of:

The key strategic issues relating to consumer engagement;

Relevance of consumer engagement to health services now and pending legislative
and standards changes; and

Outlining and discussing strategic and operational benefits; illustrated with state and
national practice good examples.
The attendance at the executives, senior managers and board members training was
satisfactory, out of the 15 projects/ providers half of the organisations sent one or two
participants.
The training was well received and scored overall against a range of items: 4.5 (on a scale of
1 to 5). Questions asked and rated by the participants included whether they learnt
something that could help them and whether the workshop was relevant and met their
needs.
Some of the project participants, staff, team leaders and managers felt that support from
executive or senior management could have been clearer and stronger. The need for this
kind of training was illustrated by a range of comments from the project evaluations:
‘Convincing management that consumer engagement goes all the way to the
top, and that it’s not just pretty words, but actions.’
‘Insist that senior management attend consumer engagement training and
undertake a project of their own.’
Participants at the training enjoyed content and interactions with each other and with the
facilitators. The project team later realised that the post-program evaluation form needs to
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be reviewed to capture more in-depth content as to how the program has assisted learning
and translation of learning into organisational practice.12
What the participants of this day program liked and were planning to follow up was:
‘Examples of practice strategies.’
‘As a board member it is great to connect with other service providers and
discuss relevant issues. i.e. our consumer engagement.’
‘Good, clear explanation of issues.’
‘Importance of consumers.’
The facilitation was also appreciated illustrated in these comments:
‘(Dr) Tere (Dawson) is a good and knowledgeable resource person.’
‘Thank you – very invigorating. Lots of knowledge to share.’
‘Excellent speaker/presentation.’
5.4.2
Team leaders – managers – project staff (Graduate Certificate)
With the aim to deepen conceptual and practical consumer engagement understanding,
the first two modules (out of a total of four) of the Vocational Graduate Certificate in
Consumer Engagement (22092VIC) were delivered as part of the overall project.
The attendance at the training was excellent, out of the 15 projects / providers every provider
sent one or two participants. 25 individuals attended. In the end of training evaluation the
two day training program scored 4.53 (on a scale of 1 to 5).13
The training offered the opportunity to do the required course work and to obtain credits and
to achieve certification for the two modules.
The project team was challenged in that two months after the training only 8% (2) of the
participants had completed their course work.14
The impact of the start-up support that the training offered is illustrated in the following
comments:
‘The training gave a deeper insight into the possibilities of vast improvements to
the quality of people’s lives if our industry truly embraced consumer
engagement.’
‘The training provided the basis for understanding consumer engagement, its
benefits and scope. It helped to identify engagement opportunities where we
did not see them before.’
‘(It) provided structure and motivation to challenge and improve work practices.’
This was then captured in more detail during following evaluation processes, like the e-survey and email survey.
12
The post-program evaluation tool used was identical to the executive training. Please refer to the
question list in the above section 5.4.1
13
14
Please note the final completion rate at the end was 68%, as discussed in 5.4.3.
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‘It was also a reminder to be vigilant in creating opportunities for increased
consumer and carer engagement … .’
‘It made me aware of the role consumer engagement could play and the need
for greater client involvement in what we do … .’
The need for support and funding surfaced in some of the qualitative comments. None of
the organisations participating in the project had a strategic consumer engagement plan or
direction.
As a result there seems to be little to no funding put aside in organisations to attend to
consumer engagement in a planned way. This is very likely the case in most HACC services,
government or community sector provided.
The project was welcomed as one avenue to receive support, including financial resourcing
in the form or training, advice and project support. In relation to training one service
manager commented:
‘The training enabled them (two attending staff) to look at consumer
engagement in a different context and with a different focus and helped them to
validate the positive consumer engagement practices that our service is already
doing but also how we as a service can improve our consumer engagement
processes.’
‘They learnt a lot more about how to look for funding to support future consumer
engagement projects … .’
The training assisted providers further in practical ways:
‘By providing a framework from which to work.’
‘The training prompted us to be more proactive in setting aside designated time
for evaluation forums, rather than gaining this information in an informal way.’
‘We had little knowledge or experience with consumer engagement prior to the
training, the training greatly assisted our project’s overall work. We would not
have been able to consider (let alone complete) our project if it had not been for
the training.
‘The training was an essential, indispensable resource and key element to our
project and its successful completion.’
Not only did the training provide support through the facilitators, the informal networking
opportunity also generated peer learning, peer support and the sharing of project ideas and
approaches:
‘(We) had the opportunity to meet with other service providers in the north to find
out and learn from them about their consumer engagement practices and
experiences.’
‘Having never undertaken consumer engagement training, my work colleagues
and I had little information or resources concerning consumer engagement.’
The TasCOSS Project Officer undertaking the course himself proved of broader benefit to the
overall success of the training program.
The active involvement in the course, having to understand every assignment projects’
requirements allowed the Project Officer to develop individual and group-focussed support
strategies, that were personal, relevant and ultimately able to play a key role in supporting
the group of 25 participants towards module completion.
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5.4.3
Follow-up session – peer training
The TasCOSS/ HIC project team’s regular contact with the project teams revealed that the
completion of formal training was not an easy task. Service providing staff are very busy and
find it hard to set aside time to do self-directed assignment / project work to achieve formal
training accreditation. As stated above, two months following the training only two of the 25
participants had completed the required course work.
The TasCOSS Project Officer was also encouraged to complete the training and equally did
not find it easy to complete the tasks. However, conversations and coaching from HIC
helped and led to the development of a support structure for everyone who participated in
the training:

Personal follow-up calls;

Development and facilitation of a Training Support / Follow-up Session; and

One-on-one support for participants who could not attend the day.
The two participants who had already completed the training were asked if they were able
to also attend to provide their insights, experiences and to function as ‘peer supporters’ on
the day to maximise the session’s outcomes.
The session proved to be very popular, enjoyable and successful. The following comments
support this:
‘Sharing one another’s perspectives.’
‘It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was to get the assignments done.’
‘Learning about consumer engagement has its challenges but has also inspired
me!’
‘The day helped me very much so, thank you.’
The session continued to deepen consumer engagement understanding and practical
application in addition to supporting the graduate certificate work:
‘Learnt valuable ideas of how to ensure a quality program.’
‘I feel that all of the projects from these modules were practically beneficial –
especially writing.’
‘The project plan and researching funding sources (were particularly beneficial).’
‘To train other people on consumer engagement.’
‘Looking into funding options.’
‘Much easier to do than I originally thought.’
Additional comments made were:
‘Genuineness (sic) of Tere and Klaus in their presentations. Their obvious passion
for consumer engagement and ability to pass it on.’
‘Thank you for the opportunity to attend.’
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‘I found the day the best part of the certificate (course). I could have used the
information earlier as struggled with first (assignment) projects; found them
overwhelming but after today it made sense.’
‘Very good … bring on the second half.’
‘Thank you so much for taking the time to organise this session. I got a lot out of
it.’
‘Thank you both very much. Very informative, very useful.’
The overall score for the session was 4.34 (on a scale of 1 to 5). The questions asked were
aimed at eliciting a personal engagement focussed response, including whether the session
raised your awareness of the importance of consumer engagement, enhanced participants’
understanding of practical skills and how well their work issues were addressed.
With the concerted effort made through the group ‘follow-up session’ and individual followup meetings, the overall completion rate was eventually lifted to 68% (17) for the first two
modules (50% of the course). 12 % (3) of attendees at the course left their service or the
HACC program.
5.4.4 Consumer training and support
In preparation for and during the course of a consumer engagement activity consumers
require support and ideally also receive training.
The overall approach for genuine consumer engagement across a whole HACC program
does not seem to be sufficiently developed to actively promote consumer engagement
training for consumers. For consumer training to be effective and sustainable a fertile ground
will need to be established first through:

An organisation-internal establishment of a strategic, planned and committed focus
on an integrated consumer engagement approach; and / or

Program-wide enhanced standards and / or mechanisms that postulate consumer
engagement in conjunction with active, structured and supported consumer
participation.
The TasCOSS project is facilitating a deepening and broadening of consumer engagement
understanding and practice across HACC. Over time it is hoped that with greater
commitment and competency, planning for and delivery of consumer engagement training
for consumers can commence.
Structured training for consumers is in place in other jurisdictions, for example:
www.healthissuescentre.org.au/documents/items/2013/01/676325-upload-00001.pdf
5.5 Project plans
Every participating provider was required to develop a project plan. An initial template was
provided to everyone (see appendices 8.4 and 8.5).
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At a later point, and once the first project plans were submitted, sample good practice plans
were circulated to providers to assist with their thinking, process and energy to develop a
plan.
Provider teams were encouraged to consider planning together with individual consumers or
small consumer groups. This was welcomed and taken up by most providers even though the
idea and practice of planning something outside consumers’ case plans was new to many.
Two providers did not progress past the development of a project plan. For the ones who
involved consumers, they completed a consumer engagement activity, even without going
past the planning stage. In most of these situations, as the following sections illustrate, new
consumer engagement projects, often more consumer driven, emerged and were
implemented.
An equally small number of providers engaged consumers in the evaluation of their project /
activity implementing a second or third consumer engagement project as part of their main
project.
One of the projects that invited consumers, volunteers, staff and management for the project
evaluation is the Meals on Wheels program run by the Red Cross in Launceston.
The manager of the HACC program developed a brief questionnaire as part of the
evaluation program and after being asked to participate, an attending volunteer and client
were further interviewed on videotape as part of the narrative inquiry, qualitative evaluation
approach of the overall project:
Jennifer a consumer and Jacqueline a volunteer share their experiences
Please note only online versions of this report will have active links to be able to open the video clips.
Available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au
Where there is no hyperlink, staff or consumers have not given their consent for wider screening.
5.6 Project implementation I - mentoring, support and peer
mentoring
An integral part of the project was the commitment by TasCOSS and HIC to adequately and
appropriately support the participating providers and their staff.
Additionally a subsidiary principle was agreed by the TasCOSS/ HIC team meaning, in that
providers would only be supported when and where needed. This is in line with the ‘Do Less’
principle and required a constant ‘being in touch’ with providers to see how they were
progressing.
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The TasCOSS/ HIC team divided the group of 14 providers between themselves for support
reasons.
A file note template was developed and utilised and brief notes were being kept on every
interaction, communication and key project events.
The majority of the respondents (64%) said that the support received from TasCOSS and HIC
was excellent and the remainder (33%) said that is was good. One provider shared:
‘Our understanding of consumer engagement was limited, and subsequently our
motivation to work on it was also limited. After completing the training,
understanding of and motivation for consumer engagement was significantly
enhanced, and the continued support after the training also increased our
motivation to engage our consumers.’
Being asked in the evaluation how the support could have been more effective, and being
offered a list of choices, 63% of the respondents said that TasCOSS and HIC could have had
more face-to-face meetings with providers. 37% suggested establishing a blog or website to
communicate with the providers; 37% said have a one-day forum or workshop with all the
participating providers and consumers; and provide more training opportunities for staff (37%)
and consumers (25%).15
Qualitative comments offered a range of perspectives:
‘More face-to-face contact.’
‘More training sessions like we did at Campbell Town.’
‘The training/project day at Campbelltown was very helpful.’
‘We have been supported well.’
While being asked ‘what could TasCOSS do to support your consumer engagement work in
the future’, the comments offered were:
‘Ability to contact TasCOSS to ask questions or seek resources in relevance to
consumer engagement if required and future assistance with client narrative
evaluations if additional assistance is required.’
TasCOSS and HIC staff were available within office hours via phone calls and e-mails, which
were made within reasonable timeframes at all times.
For future projects the TasCOSS/ HIC team could be even more pro-active in contacting
providers, provider teams on the projects to support providers and their efforts.
The participating providers were further asked, ‘if you were to advise a colleague or a person
working in a HACC service in Tasmania about engaging consumers and carers in their
service, what would you recommend they do?’
Responses were received that underline a change in awareness and understanding about
consumer engagement, relating to the aspects, values and ‘philosophy’ of the overall
project:
‘Take time to ask/ talk with clients/ carers in conversation about how they feel,
how the service is working for them.’
‘Talk to the consumers to see what they want.’
15
Please view the full report in appendix 8.10.
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‘Gain an understanding of consumer engagement first.’
‘Training, training; contact TasCOSS.’
‘We would say do it – it’s enlightening.’
‘To really listen to what the consumer is saying, and ask questions to clarify what
they really want, and not to 'assume' anything.’
‘Start small and build. It’s not that hard.’
The comments from participants offer some insight into how effective the TasCOSS/ HIC team
support, coaching and mentoring has been.
The responsiveness by the TasCOSS/ HIC team found particular recognition and praise in the
staging and implementation of the ‘Training Follow-up Session’ in Campbell Town in mid
July.16 The session was a combination of training support and exchanges on project
experiences.
In summary, participating providers shared in relation to project support:
‘The genuine and fully integrated concept of consumer engagement came as a
breath of fresh air and hope for a more effective service with better outcomes
where 'clients' lead, instead of being pushed.’
‘The consumer engagement training was VERY beneficial.’
‘All very good.’
‘It has been an absolute pleasure working with TasCOSS through this process THANK YOU.’
One of the ways forward seems to be to plan for more frequent use of peers or peer mentors.
The project’s design in many ways was also new to staff from TasCOSS and the HIC. A more
hands-on project, more face-to-face project and training time offered a new field of
experience.
During the video clip Dr Tere Dawson from HIC details her experience being on the project
throughout this year’s project:
‘Talking to HACC providers was a real eye-opener … together with the training
people started to open up towards consumer engagement.’
‘The really good thing of this project is that it brings people from a very unclear
sense of what consumer engagement is to a clear sense of what it is by doing it.’
16
Please also refer to section 5.4.3.
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HIC’s Dr Tere Dawson shares her experiences working on the project.
Please note only online versions of this report have active links to open the video clips. Clips are also
available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au
5.7 Project implementation II - the 15 projects
The following section is an outline of each project, associated issues and if there was a
completion associated with it, as well as some of the outcomes.
‘Outcomes’ have been titled as ‘outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning’ as they
reflect more accurately what occurred in the field. There are indicators that all of these
elements are very valuable in creating more profound inter-personal and intra-personal shifts
towards more comprehensive, active and in particular genuine engagement efforts.
5.7.1
Project 1.: ‘It’s About You’ - Launceston VFC Services Inc.
Project plan and aims
The core element of this project was to involve a small group of clients as volunteers in some
of the office tasks.
One of the tasks was to make informal follow-up calls to consumers of the service, asking for
feedback, ways to improve the service and if there are additional issues or needs that could
be serviced or attended to.
The project’s aims were:

To ‘reach out more to the clients’;

To increase the ways in which the service works ‘with’ rather than ‘for’ clients;

To trial alternative ways of seeking client feedback and input; and

To engage with all clients more.
The coordinator further specified that the receiving of feedback was of less importance than
to interact more with clients and to reconnect with them again; away from interaction driven
by case notes, paper work and formality.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
The project came about because the service was approached by a client who required
services, but was still capable and willing to contribute and who sought to be more actively
involved in the service’s work.
The project coordinator describes the situation before the project:
‘Before we were doing a lot of activities, a lot of things for clients rather than with
them.’
As a result of the project the following changes were observed:
‘We have worked with our clients a lot better than previously.’
A female and a male client became volunteers and made calls to all clients of the service.
In terms of a client, as a volunteer, calling other clients, the project coordinator shared:
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‘We found it was working a lot better than when we were doing it. Eric had a
really good rapport, as a client, reaching out to another client.’
‘We got a lot more emotion out of the clients. Rather than ‘yes, the service is
working well’, ‘or my lawns need mowing’, they (the clients) were connecting on
a different level (with Eric) … they talked about different things they needed,
which we could provide as a service.’
One of the clients, Eric, was interviewed at the end of the project. Eric shared on film, looking
back at his work and the impact of his contribution, on himself and others:
‘I quite like what I do, it is really really satisfactory ... the reaction that I get from
talking to them on the phone. The clients respond to me beautifully, they talk to
me deep down, about their lives ... . I get great pleasure listening to them.’
The key project coordinator further described outcomes, realisations and learning in the
following way:
‘We have learnt to see another point of view. The clients or consumers can have
an equal value and can have as much if not a better level of knowledge and
skills.’
‘We feel we know our clients better now but we have only scratched the
surface.’
The service, in a rather modest way, rated the overall project outcomes a “4” on a scale from
1-10.17 In relation to the whole project, the coordinator explained:
‘We could have done more internal planning and set a better time structure.
Some of the challenges were around time restrictions … for us, as a small
organisation the project was a big task.’
‘We learnt that even if consumers are motivated to be involved, they may not
have the skills to do it … when we realised this we sat down and planned how to
better assist our consumers.’
One of the positive changes observed were:
‘Clients came into our service and started seeing themselves as staff at some
point at an equal playing field and it had changed from we are just here to
volunteer as client consumer to we are here to do a job.’
One of the flow-on effects of heightened consumer engagement understanding and
practice was that subsequently a consumer was on the interview panel when the service
recruited a new manager:
‘We have come a very long way and a level of acceptance of something new
we now have consumers on interview panels for staff and we have consumers as
peers supporters for our other consumers.’
In summary the project coordinator said:
‘I think sometimes it is easy to try and take over and do things for a client …. or
invest the time that they (the clients) want to invest in it. For us that was a pro and
a con, we had to allow the clients to do what they wanted to do well but in the
long run we saved ourselves a lot of time and effort.’
. To balance this in some way the HIC – TasCOSS team would rate the provider’s consumer
engagement policy and practice in the top three in the group of 14, if not across the whole of HACC.
17
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‘It is nice to see a change over the last 12-18 months since we embraced
consumer engagement.’
During the end of project discussions, the service manager and project coordinator shared
that the phone calls led to a more than 50% of increase in membership. Most of whom were
clients who had been spoken too. The service was enthusiastic to see a greater proportion of
client members now having opportunity to offer input and to direct the service as members
of the service in the future.
One staff member from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
The service produced two videos.
Eric, a consumer, and Kylie, a staff member, share their experiences
Please note only online versions of this report have active links to open the video clips. Clips are also
available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au.
5.7.2 Project 2.: ‘Development of the COS North Consumer Project Group Project
Plan’ - Community Options Service, North
Project plan and aims
Establishment of small consumer group or consumer representative group that is actively
involved in reviewing and providing feedback; and actively involved in project planning and
delivery
The project planning included the development of a comprehensive list of support
mechanisms for the consumers:

Support via ongoing contact with their case manager;

Direct contact with COS Manager;

Regular Consumer Project Group meetings (every 1-2 months – consumer group to
decide what is best for them);

Following the meetings and any support needs identified, to broker any support
worker assistance that a client may require; and

Transport assist to and from meeting venue if required.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
To date the project identified a larger group of consumers and sent out expression-of-interest
as a flyer. This process achieved an insufficient result and one-on-one conversations were
scheduled to talk personally to consumers to discuss the group and to gauge their interest.
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The service now has a consumer group and a first meeting with an attached meeting
agenda which has been scheduled for the end of September. The inaugural meeting will
focus on how the group wants it to work.
Even though very well planned and anticipated, their service realised that consumers need
more work, more time and effort to be ‘brought in’, to be comfortable to be engaged more.
Overall the service manager summed up the experience to date in these words:
‘This project enabled us as a team to validate processes and procedures that we
already have in place … it has got the team actively thinking more about how
we can continue to focus on and improve our consumers’ experience with our
service not just currently but into the future.’
The yet to be formed group or committee is already booked in for some advisory work:
‘This year we will have the client committee that is going to do all of the planning
the next (all) client forum.’
Two staff members from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
The two staff from COS North stood out in completing all assignment tasks immediately after
the training as a team effort and later assisted others as peers in the ‘Training Follow-up
Session’ for the whole state.
The service produced one staff video clip:
Steven, a staff member, shares his experiences
Please note only online versions of this report have active links to open the video clips. Clips are also
available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au.
5.7.3
Project 3.: ‘Happier Client and Volunteer Gatherings’ - Still
Gardening
Project plan and aims
Key aspect of the ‘Still Gardening’ office team’s work was to support the volunteers who assist
the consumer / clients with their gardens. Essential part of the project was the regularly held
client and volunteer gatherings. The service observed that attendance had dropped at
gatherings and some volunteers were never in contact, despite their crucial role and without
sufficient knowledge or a process surrounding their non-contact.
The stated aim of the project was to generate and facilitate happier consumer and volunteer
gatherings. A project fall-back option was to work with an existing client waiting list.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
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The project generated one of two outstanding consumer engagement project plans,
inclusive of implementation details, a budget and an outcome measurement plan.
In trying to do something, do more, at one of its first main gatherings, staff tried to generate
more input, commitment, participation and ownership by clients and volunteers.
According to one of the program officers the initial client response was quite discouraging:
‘We invited the likely candidates to help us plan and organise, but we didn’t get
any takers. They told us “you are young, you have the energy for this, it’s your job,
you’re doing it well, you don’t need us to help, etc.”
However, as time progressed, and in talking to the service it clearly appears that involvement
in both project and training changed some of the existing work practices, they naturally
grew, with less initiatives now being driven by staff:
‘In practice now we have taken ourselves a bit out of the meetings … now more
offering the space. Consumers were asked and took it up and now it has
become their meeting.’
Almost giving up after the first attempts and meetings, a new approach surfaced: doing less
and ‘allowing more’ to happen. The service stepped back from the control it had over the
meeting and offered their immediate consumers, the volunteers who provide the gardening
support to the clients, a greater choice about the regular meetings, their format, purpose,
etc. Describing how it came about another team member shared:
‘We wanted to look at client and volunteer get together and at the last meeting
we spoke openly, said what we (staff) felt ... this opened up.’
The outcome from this now is that the meeting is only facilitated, catering is organised and
staff attend more informally: ‘for a chat’, to talk about new topics they find out about and
they are open for issues to be raised with them informally, on the floor or the service calls a
formal meeting and sets an agenda.
‘What would be different for me now is that I am going along to this meeting, not
with my or an organisational agenda … I will be going along, be more casual,
interact with everyone more as an individual.’
Having consumer engagement on their mind more frequently, staff members further shared:
‘It also led us into tackling issues, that in the past, we considered too hard …
again benefitting client services … we work with more attention to the servicegiving volunteers and support them more, and this is obviously flowing on to the
clients.’
The team member described one example:
‘Our waiting list clients who are currently not receiving a service … we looked at
what we could offer, what was needed by clients. As a new initiative offered to
nine people to have a one-off garden session, a big spring clean, under their
direction.’
The service now has scheduled sessions for these clients - volunteers were involved and
responded positively to the initiative. As an outcome the service created services for five of
the new clients who responded from the list.
One of the team members further shared:
‘What is hoped that relationships form during these initiatives and permanent
arrangements can be made for some of the clients.’
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Inspired by a more consumer engagement focussed service approach the service shared
another example how both volunteers and clients benefitted:
‘Our team researched disease risks for volunteers and clients in a garden
environment.
We developed new guidelines, added additional safety
equipment and put additional health measures in place; including personal
protective equipment and immunisations.‘
‘For us consumer engagement and ‘quality’ go hand in hand … it raises the
question for us, are we offering the best to our clients through our volunteers that
we can?’
One staff member from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
5.7.4
Project 4.: ‘Then and Now' - Good Neighbour Council
Project plan and aims
This project was undertaken to bring committee members, staff, volunteers and consumers
together to exchange information and experiences and to express views about the further
development of the service.
The service further intended to find out what it does well and what can be done better in
terms of its support work for its consumers. In collaboration with the TasCOSS/ HIC team a
comprehensive set of questions was prepared.
The aim of this project was to increase consumer / volunteer participation in the planning and
development of services provided by the Good Neighbour Council according to their needs.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
During the course of project planning, formal training and self reflection the service realised
that the way by which consumer feedback and input was being sought could significantly
improved. One of the board members shared:
‘I also thought we were doing it (consumer engagement) then we realised we
were not doing it at all.’
The service was also concerned if, through these new engagement means, consumers would
come on board, participate and feel invited to speak freely.
‘I wonder if we get participation from the clients that don’t like answering
questions etc. if they see paper they get scared that's what I thought ... clients
would open up, start talking, shared their experience and we could not stopped
them. I was very surprised and very moved by what our clients shared.’
One of the supporting techniques used the taking of consumers and volunteers who were
interviewed out of the normal environment and into the home of one of the board members.
This assisted significantly in making everyone more relaxed and more open.
‘I was quite excited about it as I could see our clients and the volunteers
expressing themselves quite freely and we heard some things from our clients that
we had not heard before and it was very moving.’
With assistance from the TasCOSS/ HIC team, and as specifically requested by the service, a
detailed final project report was prepared. Summarising the experience one of the board
members shared:
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‘We now feel more connected as team members, we listen more effectively;
overall the environment is happier.’
‘A significant shift has been our change of mind from client to participant. It is a
pleasure to experience the empowerment clients gained by opening up, giving
us feedback in new ways and telling us their stories.’
Two staff members from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
The outcomes are described in a quite touching and pointed way by one of the volunteers /
board members sharing her experience with the project:
Margaret, a volunteer and board member, shares her experiences
Please note only online versions of this report have active links to open the video clips. Clips are also
available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au.
5.7.5
Project 5.: ‘Delivered Meals Review’ – Red Cross, Launceston
Project plan and aims
The Red Cross developed a ‘consumer forum’ project to evaluate overall service delivery
and the meals provided. Additional focus was on listening to and taking note of the
requirements of the consumer group.
A unique feature of the project was for all of this to occur while sharing an in-house ‘delivered
meal’ at their Mowbray / Launceston office.
The stated initial aim of the project was to increase the number of service users and to adapt
service delivery to accommodate the changing needs of the community.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
The service manager described the overall project as a success.
‘As a team we feel we achieved a lot. It has enabled us to think about the clients
more and more often … realising our clients need, and should, have more of a
voice and input into the service.’
Challenges experienced at the engagement event were quickly positively overshadowed by
resulting related service improvement efforts implemented by one of the key stakeholders,
the producer/cooking service of the meals.
Staff attending were impacted positively by the event and shared:
‘Some good ideas were shared, useful feedback received and recipients
appeared to view it as a privilege to be invited along to have their say. Everyone
seemed to enjoy themselves.’
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They were equally touched by how valued and appreciated the consumers felt by being
asked, to be invited and to have a voice in reviewing their meal service.
The depth and scope of this consumer engagement project was new to the service. Despite
challenges and uncertainties of its value once a year, it led to the following resolve:
‘My experience has been excellent … I would encourage everyone to do this …
we will now do this twice yearly.’
‘This is the way the Red Cross is heading into the future.’
Very effective on the day was that every staff member during planning and implementation
was given tasks and roles and subsequently displayed a sense of ownership and
commitment.
‘It seemed to have enthused our stakeholders to no end, which has been
fantastic, and it has given staff more of a feeling of belonging to their service,
which is wonderful.’
The service put in an extra effort in evaluating the project, and a detailed written evaluation
report was prepared;

A post-engagement event meeting was conducted as a second consumer
engagement event; and

A consumer and volunteer agreed to share their experience utilising narrative inquiry
as an evaluation tool.
The report produced a solid list of what worked and what did not work for future events. A
couple of the items on these lists were:
Things that did work:
‘Social interaction between the participants was excellent.’
‘The event was organic (i.e. let’s just do it and see where it takes us) and staff
responded to this in a professional manner.’
Things that did not work:
‘Consumer engagement format was not understood well by stakeholders.’
‘It would have been great to finish the event by telling participants “what
happens from here” that is to say where to next.’
This is excellent reflection and very common to many early consumer engagement efforts. In
most cases service realise that staff, stakeholders and consumers could have been better
prepared, briefed and assisted prior to an activity or event.
Two staff from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
The service produced the following three video clips spanning across all organisational levels
from the service manager, via a long-standing volunteer to a consumer:
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Jennifer, a consumer, Jacqueline, a volunteer, and Pauline, the manager, share their experiences
Please note only online versions of this report have active links to open the video clips. Clips are also
available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au.
5.7.6
Project 6. : ‘Developing a Consumer Engagement Foundation’ –
Italian Day Centre
Project plan and aims
The Centre set out to engage with consumers in new ways and to form a community /
consumer advisory committee (CAC).
The aim of the project was to work more closely and in new ways with consumers to expand
quality of service, to improve access to the Day Centre’s services and to engage in more
structured ways with their consumers and wider community.
The specific project aims were to:

Directly engage consumers and give them a voice within the organisation by creating
the Italian Day Centre’s CAC;

Apply consumer engagement and involve consumers with policy and procedure
creation, development, and implementation, and;

Allow consumer contribution towards grant applications.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
Very similar to every service involved, the Italian Day Centre realised that they were working
and engaging with consumers and yet, as stated by a staff member, the service learned
that:
‘We know very little about consumer engagement.’
The service faced a very common challenge when the consumer group was first attending
the CAC meetings together with staff, management and the board. ‘For the first sessions it
was very hard to get them to, or to hear them, talk’, said the manager.
The service persevered and now, in reflecting the manager further shared:
‘People are talking to each other, we found we achieved what we wanted to
achieve. We now have a group available to us we can assimilate with, get
projects through and it (the CAC) has become a dynamic part of our working
team here at the Centre and we find that we couldn’t do without it.’
The Centre has a small team of staff who were also actively involved in the program. As part
of the evaluation program they shared freely how the awareness and understanding of
consumer engagement increased significantly and assisted through training and practical,
tangible experiences:
‘With the project we did we saw the benefits so much more. Some of them are a
much greater cohesion between us and the consumers; including a better
understanding what their needs are and we can best provide services for them.’
One staff member, a trained psychologist further noted that …
‘The project positively impacted on the relationship dynamics in the whole
Centre.’
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The Centre moved through all phases of a consumer engagement project: planning,
implementation and review. A comprehensive evaluation report was prepared.
In summary the outcomes are perhaps best shared by the service, as one staff member said:
‘For me the experience was quite enlightening and I found it worthwhile ... it was
the first time it happened here, it went really well and we have plans to continue
the (CAC) meetings on monthly.’
The service feel very satisfied with the project and states that all three aims have been
achieved.
Two staff from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
The manager of the service and a client support worker participated in two evaluation video
clips sharing the experience of planning and advancing consumer engagement within their
organisation:
Elyse, a staff member, and Diana, the manager, share their experiences
Please note only online versions of this report have active links to open the video clips. Clips are also
available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au.
5.7.7
Project 7.: ‘Establishment of a Consumer Engagement Committee’ –
Family Based Care North (FBCN)
Project plan and aims
The service set out to establish a steering committee18 for the organisation with client input.
The vision for the committee was to function as a group consisting of staff, managers, board
members and consumers with a view to offer wide-ranging input, advice and direction.
Stated aims are to involve consumers at all levels, including providing input to FBCN
marketing materials, policy and specific projects as decided by the group.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
The project progressed according to plan. The coordinator stated:
‘We met with the participants this week and have set a date for our next meeting
in two months’ time. Our first meeting was more about setting up terms of
The service initially called it a steering committee. However, after first consultations the name of the
group was changed to ‘Consumer Engagement Committee.’
18
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reference and finding out the expectations, expertise and aspirations of the
group (Steering Committee).’
Further meetings have taken place since. The service experienced one challenge that is
common to HACC services:
‘The main challenge is with the target group, this is a group that are either aged
or have a disability, which means that they are not always well enough to be
able to participate at planned meetings.‘
At the same time the service creatively discovered options to overcome these issues:
‘We are looking at increasing the group; this will give more flexibility and
continuation when one or two participants are unwell or not able to attend
scheduled meetings.’
The project coordinator summarised the greater value of a consumer engagement project in
a way that also surfaced in other projects where it was not expressed in such a clear and
succinct manner:
‘I think the benefit is in the promotion of consumer involvement, the actual
project is probably not that relevant.’
‘… a shift in the way we think i.e. consumer engagement is not just a project, but
an ongoing way of working and there are already a lot of good practices and
experiences in place that we can learn from and build on.’
One staff member from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
5.7.8 Project 8.: ‘Carers Forum’ – Alzheimer Tasmania, North
Project plan and aims
The service developed and implemented a ‘carers’ forum’. The aim of the engagement
activity was to give carers the opportunity to have increased input into planning of
information, activities, education and support.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
The evaluation revealed that the service conducted an overall successful project, which
gave carers an added opportunity to give face-to-face feedback, conduct brain-storming
and discuss carers’ needs for future education and support programs.
The coordinator commented on the learning and outcomes achieved:
‘It was useful to hear their (carers) comments but we could not change it.’
‘We gained greater insight into how carers were feeling about our services.’
Additional outcomes were:
‘Participants thought it would be useful to have six monthly evaluation forums on
an ongoing basis.’
‘Staff gained more knowledge of how participants viewed our range of services
and this will enable us to take this into consideration in future activities.’
As a result the service’s section is now planning to have regular similar events.
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One issue or challenge experienced by the service was a comparatively low number of
carers attending the event.
The project team realises however that for larger groups or events that resource requirements
are greater and that additional funding will need to be sought, either externally or internally.
This at times, in any service, is a limiting factor, while some consumer engagement work is cost
neutral and can easily be absorbed by a team, other activities require budget planning.
In some instances this can be related to understanding and priority setting of management in
relation to consumer engagement and other service or consumer supporting initiatives or
priorities.
In terms of additional realisations, changes to understanding etc. the project affirmed a
number of benefits that were highlighted for the team involved:
‘It was also a reminder to be vigilant in creating opportunities for increased
consumer and carer engagement.’
‘One continues to build relationships with service users through every interaction
and this was another opportunity to do that.’
‘Whilst carers were happy with our service we always need to look for more
opportunities to widen their supports and be innovative in supporting their caring
roles.’
Two staff members attended the graduate certificate course.
5.7.9 Project 9.: ‘The Gingham Lounge (part II)’ - Burnie / Wynyard Community
Health Centres
Project plan and aims
This DHHS-run service continued the project from the previous year. The main purpose was to
bring staff and consumers informally together in a café-style setting, for both parties to ask
questions, to share their stories and for staff and consumers simply to get to know each other
better.
The meetings vary from monthly to bi-monthly for the remaining months.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
Each of the meetings has several new people in attendance. The experience and expertise
of the service in running the activity now is as such levels that newcomers:
‘… who were curious enough to come along and have enjoyed it have
continued to attend.’
Most of the meetings have particular themes like:

‘Bring along a recipe’ to the upcoming meetings (with the ultimate aim to make a
recipe book for us all to enjoy an early Christmas present); or

‘School Days'
To illustrate the activity further, the latter event resulted in participants bringing along and
sharing photos, school magazines, and to singing old school songs, as well as admissions of
'wagging', smoking and more!
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The Gingham Lounge may appear as a simple activity. It is not. The informal nature of a
café has found regular use around the globe in consumer engagement activities one of
them being a dementia café in the UK.
A café–like activity can, if conducted well, lead to all participants being more natural, more
like in daily life, stepping out of roles or positions, and subsequently relating in new ways,
initially at the café, then in work and / or consumer to staff / management interactions in
more natural, respectful and equality promoting ways.
Variation options to the Gingham Lounge’ meetings were discussed with the service and are
now set to be trialled in the second half of 2013. The change or enhancements all centre on
involving a smaller group of able, willing and supported consumers with the co-facilitation of
the meetings.
‘Our intention in the future is to encourage our group to lead the afternoon, give
feedback, keep an eye on the time and allow all participants to have input in
both conversation and topic selection (if desired).’
This was discussed at a TasCOSS provider meeting. Alternative approaches were sought and
appeared a necessity, as similar to other engagement experiences, the service team faced
issues of individual consumers dominating the café meetings and discussions. The provider
shared:
‘To try and circumvent our more dominant 'loungers' from monopolising we will
ask that they keep an eye on our time for all of us and see if this makes a positive
difference..’
Two staff from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
5.7.10
Project 10.: ‘Getting to know Our Consumers’ - Community Health
Smithton
Project plan and aims
The project’s more grass-roots, bottom-up and relationship-building project idea was for
management, staff, consumers and community members to get together over a cuppa and
to talk, to get to know each other and to informally talk, also creating a forum for emerging
issues to surface.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
After the planning for the project was completed and after a manager and a staff member
from the service attended the formal consumer engagement training, a staff change
occurred in the service’s management team: the CEO / Director of Nursing left.
The new and acting Director of Nursing is continuing with a consumer / community
engagement focus and project.
The project is in part driven by changes to the Health Department’s strategic direction and
restructuring and quality / standards requirements.
The service has formed the ‘Circular Head Health Advisory Council’ (CHHAC), which is made
up of consumers, their carers and support workers from not-for-profit services associated with
the service.
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This is reflecting recent changes and is ensuring community / consumer input at the service
management or governance level.
The CHHAC’s first meeting occurred, the terms of references of the council were discussed
and set and further meetings will occur every two months.
Two staff from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
5.7.11
Project 11.: ‘Chats Publications Review’ – Chats North West
Project plan and aims
The Lifeline Chats service planned to bring consumers together in an effort to evaluate all the
NW Chats service’s publications. It was looking to identify consumers with particular
backgrounds or skills for the project’s tasks.
The practical aim of the project was to make publications more user-friendly, relevant and
acceptable to consumers. Issues to be critically examined were listed as: language, layout,
content, relevance, font colour and size and ease of use.
The additional aim of the project was to increase consumer satisfaction and encourage
participants to have more ownership and input into their program; for example: documents
designed by consumers for consumers.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
The project commenced with an initial planning meeting which involved consumers and per
se was the service’s first consumer engagement activity.
Some services follow the
recommendation to involve consumers in planning meetings, some did not, often depending
on practicalities, resources and choice.
The meeting functioned as an important pre-project work planning event. Necessary
operational and practical decisions were being made by everyone present, for example,
which consumers to invite for the specific tasks of the project.
At the event some of the work commenced. Attendees compared the service’s brochures
with those of other services in the presence of consumers and listening to their comments.
One of the coordinating staff members shared:
‘We compared current Chats publications with the preferences and wishes of our
consumers. It opened our eyes and we saw our service from another perspective
while we stood in our consumers’ shoes.’
The service, which is well down the track in terms of engaging with consumers in varying ways
and at a range of levels, realised:
‘Initially we considered that we engaged as a normal part of our program, but
we realised we were often simply providing what we thought our consumers
wanted.’
The review of the service’s publications has not commenced as yet. The current NW office
coordinator shared that ‘we would really like to do it’.
One staff member from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
The service also produced one video clip sharing the experience of making changes to and
advancing the ways in which consumers are engaged:
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Alisa, a staff member, shares her experiences
Please note only online versions of this report have active links to open the video clips. Clips are also
available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au.
5.7.12
Project 12.: ‘Recreational Fishing Group’ – Chats North
Project plan and aims
The Recreational Fishing Group was much smiled upon at HACC Forum meetings and other
events. The project was designed to provide opportunities for service clients with an interest
in fishing to meet others, to plan and coordinate their fishing activities, thus expanding their
social networks, around a common interest.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
While the project fell into the social support / social connectedness HACC outcome direction,
it clearly had consumer engagement elements built in:

It was originally identified and suggested by a socially isolated consumer; and

The consumer, participant, or ‘participeers’ - as the service calls consumers who also
are volunteers, played a role in program promotion and facilitation.
Intended benefits of the project for the service and consumers were to achieve an expansion
of an individual’s social networks, while offering a relaxed environment with like-minded
people within an activity created by them.
Further positive impacts were later observed as some of the projects outcomes: confidence
had increased through being involved and meeting other people.
Staff members were learning as well as consumers. The consumer engagement aspects of
the project were new to the project team and it required openness and adaptation:
‘The fishing project was a challenge … it blurred the lines between participants
and volunteers and that was something new to me.’
One of the staff members described that this blurring, while posing an initial challenge to her,
eventually allowed her to look at consumers in a totally new light and to also work in new
ways with them.
‘Consumers are everything, you don’t have to just be a volunteer, you don’t have
to just be a participant, you can be whatever you need to be: you can help
coordinate, take part, organise, can be (as a consumer) whatever you need to
be.’
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‘It was a growth thing to me. The people I was helping I was also working with …
we were all one team.’
Experiencing the project this way the staff member further shared:
‘I am now seeing a lot of the events I am organising in that way.’
Talking about the impact that the program had on the ‘participeer’ one of involved
consumers shared:
‘I was very pleased … they do not know how pleased I was … being asked to
become a volunteer (as a consumer) and to organise a program.’
Actively involved consumers also led to peer and service recognition of the participeer; in
particular the use of their existing skills and knowledge in activity planning, coordination, and
implementation.
The project had a pilot character and the participeer is now planning to engage more of the
service’s consumers.
Two staff from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
The service produced two video clips sharing the experience of making changes to,
advancing in the ways consumers are engaged with:
Betty, a client, and Kellie, a staff member, share their experiences
Please note only online versions of this report have active links to open the video clips. Clips are also
available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au.
5.7.13
Project 13.: ‘Client Forward Planning Days’ - Glenview - Banksia
Unit
Project plan and aims
The service created a project involving clients with the intention that clients would have a
greater say and involvement in planning their day group’s activities calendar.
The aim of the project was to plan out the day centre’s activity calendar for the next three
months with each group.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
In describing what staff from the service achieved, had done or understood, both staff
members involved shared that now there is a:
‘.. more enthusiastic response from clients.’
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‘.. greater client involvement in their program.’
In terms of the overall project staff commented on the overall project outcomes:
‘Surprised on how keen the clients were to participate.’
‘It is excellent very satisfied.’
Commenting on some of the challenges staff shared:
‘For me initially it was getting my head around what it was about & realising that
it would not create more work. There were no real challenges with the team but
with the service the challenge was initially in explaining to our clients what it was
all about.’
This is a frequent misconception surrounding consumer engagement. For this service, not only
did the project not end up being more work, consumers involved in the group now come into
the service, work on additional projects and continue to support their program, the centre
and the wider team. One example is the centre’s newsletter is now done by consumers,
compared to staff before the project. In terms of the before and after learning or realisations,
staff involved clearly described the project’s impact on them:
‘We now know that both staff and clients benefit from consumer engagement
after understanding how it works.’
‘We now know how consumer engagement is of benefit to both us & the clients.’
Being a small overall program, the project team, in line with the overall project approach
and philosophy acknowledge an additional outcome as:
‘(We have) learnt to start small & let the clients determine what works best for
them.’
Three staff from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
The service produced two video clips sharing the experience of advancing the ways in which
consumers are engaged:
Victoria, a staff member, and Andrea, the manager, share their experiences
Please note only online versions of this report have active links to open the video clips. Clips are also
available from the HACC consumer engagement pages of the TasCOSS website: www.tascoss.org.au.
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5.7.14
Project 14.: ‘Falls Prevention’ - South Eastern Community Care
Project plan and aims
The service planned and implemented a ‘falls prevention’ information session as their event.
The particular engagement feature was the involvement of consumers for two purposes: to
receive the information and to evaluate the falls prevention measures presented.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
It is noteworthy that the service went through a staff change in relation to the project. The
initially responsible staff member, who also attended the graduate certificate course, was
succeeded by another staff member.
The engagement event was well advertised and nine consumers attended. The service
realised that additional promotional activities are required for any future events to achieve
higher attendance rates.
The event was a success according to the coordinator, feedback received from the
consumers was helpful and meaningful in improving preventative measures and services. In
addition the coordinator shared that:
‘It was surprising that a totally different need surfaced that we did not know
about and which the consumers expressed clearly: the need for computer and IT
training sessions.’
In many consumer engagement projects or activities this is a common ‘side-effect’: issues,
needs and improvement opportunities surface.
The service discussed the project on a number of occasions at the regularly held coordinator
meetings.
According to the coordinator the whole service is now more aware of the importance, need
and positive impact of consumer engagement.
This resulted in two unexpected flow-on effects of the TasCOSS project:
‘We are currently planning to review information booklets and brochures with the
assistance of consumers as a new engagement project.’
Perhaps the more significant change or improvement to the service’s consumer engagement
work will be ….
‘We are forming a consumer engagement committee for the entire organisation.’
The project coordinator shared that both staff members associated with the project, the firstallocated one and the replacement, are inaugural and pivotal members of the new
committee.
One staff member from the service attended the graduate certificate course. Both the
training and project were handed over to the new staff member.
She subsequently completed modules one and two and now has the opportunity to
complete the full graduate certificate, potentially assisting the service further.
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5.7.15
Project 15.: ‘Croatian Day Centre’ – Migrant Resource Centre,
South
Project plan and aims
The Migrant Resource Centre (MRC) embarked on a consumer engagement project with
one of its cultural groups.
The MRC’s project centred on increasing consumer engagement, in particular dialogue and
communication, around arising service issues or improvements and program planning.
An additional element was one-on-one interviews with HACC consumers to work with
narrative inquiry and for staff and consumers to learn to work with this new tool in a planned
and structured manner.
Project outcomes, realisations, challenges and learning
The providers’ staff selected one of its cultural groups and from within the group a smaller
number of individual consumers.
MRC staff, together with some of the community members, worked together and discussed a
range of program options, including daily activities and forward-looking programs and
services. This was new to staff and consumers in the way in which consultations were planned
and facilitated during the project. The service already engages in planned ways with
consumers.
The project coordinator shared:
‘The actual consultations revealed the consumers showed more initiative, brought
in the larger group and worked with more enthusiasm.’
The one-on-one interviews with consumers commenced and the project coordinator, in
creating the space to sit down, to listen and to probe, heard more issues and environmental
factors that were previously not known to MRC staff.
The project coordinator stated:
‘I found and was quite amazed, that by giving the individuals the platform to
speak, ideas just started to flow out from the consumer, how the individual is
connected within its community, how the community works and what some of
their challenges are … .’
To facilitate some of the identified and desired changes, through the increased consumer
involvement, consumers were further consulted in relation as to how program, service and
logistical issues could best be implemented.
Following an increased focus on engagement with consumers in the HACC program, and
working more closely with consumers in specified groups, consumers and staff found that the
project increased communication, group adhesion and commitment to the service by both
groups, staff and consumers.
One consumer’s positive comments in relation to the overall project and wider service
experience were:
‘Coming into our MRC once a week you catch up … your mind is clearer and you
feel better not just emotionally but physically … you feel relieved and better.
Involvement in the project was positive and helped me to feel even better about
the service.’
One staff member from the service attended the graduate certificate course.
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5.8 Innovation
The TasCOSS consumer engagement project sits within the TasCOSS Sector Development
Unit. It enjoys a combination of solid support, enthusiasm and critical input. It also enjoys a
good degree of autonomy and support with one outcome being the space and energy to
innovate.
The project has been able to create recognised good practice models and approaches
since its change to a more continuous, dynamic consumer engagement direction, away
from the more one-off consumer consultation model.
In the year 2012 - 2013 the project’s flexibility, based on the trust displayed internally by
TasCOSS and the funding bodies, DHHS and DSS, enabled the project to plan for, market and
deliver additional structured, formal and informal training activities outside the work plan.
The partnership with HIC, harnessing the Centre’s extensive background and expertise in this
field, continues to assist in the generation of new practices and approaches. This is an
accurate reflection of this partnership, its outputs and outcomes. In return the Tasmanian
HACC consumer engagement project equally feeds positive innovative elements back to this
established and recognised consumer engagement expert organisation.
Examples of this year’s work fed back to HIC are:

The new organisational assessment tool;

The relationship focus; and

The project’s unique utilisation of narrative inquiry.
Another innovation for the project was the implementation of peer facilitation and peer
support during the ‘Training Follow-up Session’. It was not only much appreciated and easily
accepted by participating providers, it was very effective in maximising positive training
participation outcomes and module completions.
The innovative use of an adaptation of narrative inquiry worked into video clip is an exciting
project feature and its application and impact on facilitating an increased involvement by
the sector in consumer engagement work will be seen over the coming years.
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6 Project coordination – sector implications
The components of the overall project coordination consisted of:

TasCOSS/ HIC project planning;19

Facilitation of organisational or departmental consumer engagement assessments via
the ‘provider talks’ or via informal telephone or in-person discussions leading to the
formulation of project ideas;

Provision of advice, mentoring and project support;

Planning of whole of project and individual project evaluation processes; and

Writing or co-writing of individual project reports and this final project report.
In previous years HIC had been invited and contracted to provide expert and comparatively
short consultancy advice, in particular around specialist workshops.
New this year was a more comprehensive contractual arrangement with HIC to provide indepth support through a spectrum of services to the participating providers.
The following is a brief discussion and assessment of this arrangement.
6.1 Health Issues Centre – TasCOSS partnership
HIC is based in Victoria. The key contact person and consultant assigned to the TasCOSS
HACC consumer engagement project is Dr Tere Dawson.
HIC was invited to respond to the overall project or Activity Work Plan and to offer their
expertise in the form of a tender response.
A TasCOSS/ HIC work plan was developed collaboratively following the signing of a
subcontractor agreement.
6.1.1
Outputs – outcomes – ahead
The outputs of this partnership were in summary:
19

Co-facilitation of the ‘provider talks’ and provision of an evaluation report;

Facilitation of the executive training and provision of an evaluation report;

Facilitation of the staff/manager/team leader training and provision of an evaluation
report;

Facilitation and provision of a more quantitative-focussed end-of-project e-survey
evaluation and report;

Regular project support contact with 50% of the participating and allocated providers
each; and
A significant proportion of the post Activity Work Plan planning work occurred in partnership.
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
Provision of input and advice in the planning, design, implementation and other
evaluation activities in individual projects and the overall whole year project.
As the evaluations indicate, the outcomes were the provision of outstanding and relevant
front end input, continuous project coaching and the provision of concise reports.
Providers appreciated an overall higher standard and a raising of the bar to a more
professional overall project program.
A degree of blurring of contractual boundaries allowed the two project partners, TasCOSS
and HIC, to innovate, to develop and to prepare additional project support plans and
resources for the 2012 - 2013 project.
6.1.2
Face-to-face time
A challenge to the project, and to facilitate the best possible HIC input, was the distance
between Hobart and Melbourne.
Participation in a range of HACC and non-HACC workshops by the TasCOSS Project Officer in
Melbourne were utilised to make additional, in-person project meetings and to clearly benefit
from face-to-face meetings.
While time for meetings was scheduled into the planned project visits from HIC to Tasmania,
additional, quality and innovation-supporting time was a significant benefit to the project.
6.1.3
Cloud technology
A distance-challenge was further overcome through the use of Cloud-based information
sharing, project development and communication.
Over the course of the project cloud-based and ‘live’ documents were useful to support the
individual projects and in sharing project information via informal, yet meticulously kept
project ‘file notes’. This allowed for each project to be able to be supported by each of the
project coordination partners, despite a clear allocation of each of the 14 providers to one of
the partners.
6.2 Project-related sector implications
This year’s overall project has seen the delivery and facilitation of a more comprehensive
program. This is in part based on the experiences on the past years, continued best practice
research and strengthened partnerships both in terms of:

TasCOSS and participating providers; and

TasCOSS – HIC.
The importance and wider implications of sound consumer engagement strategies and
activities is regularly discussed within the TasCOSS Sector Development Unit, of which the
HACC consumer engagement project is a part.
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The following new and additional directions are in discussion and are presently being worked
on for the HACC Consumer Engagement project:

The development of a set of ‘consumer engagement fact sheets’; and

Research of the relevance of a consumer engagement policy, interest or practice
group.
Consumer engagement is also emerging as critical to organisations right across the
community sector are coming to grips with the wider sector trends of consumer-driven care,
personalised budgeting and increased marketisation of services.
In TasCOSS’ Sector Development Unit’s wider plans to build capacity in the sector, consumer
engagement will feature as a central skills cluster, along with adaptive management and
social outcomes measurement for boards and management.
With consumer engagement still being in development across HACC and the wider
community and health sectors it may require more HACC internal work and / or more sectorwide policy direction support in order to see stronger consumer engagement activities across
organisations and across all levels within organisations.
This year produced 15 narrative inquiry-guided video clips. These clips will be utilised for
continued consumer engagement awareness raising and cultural change.
TasCOSS has recently reviewed its web-site. One of the key additions is the inclusion of more
interactive features, including video clips of TasCOSS’s consumer, community sector
organisation staff and individuals.
A selection of the HACC consumer engagement video clips will be placed on the website as
part of TasCOSS’s communications strategy, through this web-site and as an integral and
renewed effort to promote consumer engagement additionally though the HACC
community and the wider community and health sectors.20
In the year 2012 2013 the TasCOSS HACC consumer engagement project has created a wellplanned, well implemented, engaging set of projects with clear examples of the importance
and purpose of consumer engagement in a range of services and programs.
The details and unfolding of flow-on effects is to be seen and assessed in months to come.
It appears that HACC is a model for good practice in Tasmania and with a wealth of
consumer engagement materials produced, based on this more tangible and relationshipfocussed approach.
A consultant hired to assess the state of consumer engagement across health services in
Tasmania recently found:
‘One of the most useful resources that was generously made available to Michele
was the TasCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Literature Review Good Practice
Approaches and Pilot Projects.’
‘This is without doubt a major contribution to the consumer engagement literature
in Australia.’
‘This is a piece of outstanding work that provides both a synthesis of key concepts
but provides a how-to guide as well.’
Michele Kosky – Consultant
Detailed participant consent forms were developed to ensure that placement on a public web-site is
on accordance with consumer or staff / organisational consent given.
20
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7 References
Health Issues Centre 2013 (1), The TasCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Project ’12-’13.
Project Evaluation – ‘Provider Talks’, Unpublished Report, Health Issues Centre,
Melbourne, Australia.
Health Issues Centre 2013 (2), The TasCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Project ’12-’13.
Project Evaluation – Executive Training, Unpublished Report, Health Issues Centre,
Melbourne, Australia.
Health Issues Centre 2013 (3), The TasCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Project ’12-’13.
Project Evaluation – Graduate Certificate Training, Unpublished Report, Health Issues
Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
Health Issues Centre 2013 (4), The TasCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Project ’12-’13.
Project Evaluation – Training Follow-up Session, Unpublished Report, Health Issues
Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
Health Issues Centre 2013 (5), The TasCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Project ’12-’13.
Project Evaluation – Training Follow-up Session, Unpublished Report, Health Issues
Centre, Melbourne, Australia.
TasCOSS 2012 (1), Consumer Engagement - Literature Review, Good Practice Approaches
and Pilot Projects in HACC in Tasmania, Tasmanian Council of Social Service Inc.
(TasCOSS), Hobart, Australia.
TasCOSS 2012 (2), The TasCOSS HACC Consumer Engagement Handbook, Tasmanian Council
of Social Service Inc. (TasCOSS), Hobart, Australia.
Roddick, Anita 2000, Business as Unusual, An Autobiography, London, England.
Wensing, M., Jung, H.P., Mainz, J., Olesen, F., & Grol, R.,1998, ‘A systematic review of the
literature on patient priorities for general practice care’, Social Science & Medicine, vol.
47, no. 10, November 1998, pp1573-1588, Maastricht, Netherlands.
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8 Appendices
8.1 Definitions
The following is an abbreviated and refined set of definitions based on this year’s work.
Consumer(s):
Members of the general public and their communities who use,
directly or indirectly, or are possible future users of health
services. It includes their family members and carers.
Carer(s):
Those who care for other people who need ongoing support
because of a long-term medical condition, a mental illness, a
disability, frailty or the need for palliative care. A carer may or
may not be a family member and may or may not live with the
person.
Engagement:
as per section 1.1.
Consumer Engagement:
as per section 1.1.
Community:
Refers to groups of people or organisations with a common
interest. While some communities may connect through a local
or regional interest in health, others may share a cultural
background, religion or language. Some communities may be
geographically dispersed but linked through an interest in a
specific health issue by the internet, or some other means.
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8.2 Project plan template
Writing a Project/Activity Plan
[From Handbook page 43]
Timeframes: Please complete your activity/project plan with your team as soon as practical
and return to Klaus within 2 – 4 weeks.
Your Activity Plan will outline or sketch what you plan to do, with whom, when, what activity
you have chosen and how the activity is utilised.
Name of the project/activity: _____________________________________________________
1. The choice of your consumer engagement project/activity
2. Rationale – why did the team chose this project/activity?
3. Anticipated Benefit - what is the project/activity intending to achieve or change?
4. Team membership I - who is involved at the staff levels?
5. Team membership II - who is involved at the stakeholder, champion levels?
6. Team membership III - who is involved at the team level? (this includes consumer(s))
7. How are consumers involved? How are they selected and supported?
8. How are staff involved? How are they selected and supported?
9. Timeframes - when does the project commence and finish?
10. Timing - when do components of the project/activity happen?
11. Coordination - how do aspects of the project/activity and contributions by the key
project stakeholders connect or interrelate.
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8.3 How to identify a simple, small appropriate project/activity
How to identify a simple, small appropriate project/activity
Name of the project/activity: _________________________________________________________
Timelines: [To be agreed by each provider] ______________________________________________
A. Think if you want to ‘provide information, ‘consult’ or ‘engage’ consumers (consumer
engagement type)
'Provide information’
 Think if you want to disseminate current information or to develop new information
 Think if you would work with consumers to disseminate current information or
develop new information
‘Consultation’
 Think who you will consult with (consumers, carers)
 Decide what do you want to find out from these consumers/carers
 Make a list of priorities and select one issue to start with
 Choose how you will go about consulting these consumers/carers
 Decide who will undertake the consultation process
‘Engagement’
 Decide why do you want to engage consumers/carers in your service
 Decide where in the organisation you would like to engage consumers AND/OR in
what activity you would like to engage consumers/carers
 Make a list of priorities and select one initiative to start with
 Decide how will you go about engaging these consumers/carers
 Decide who will undertake the engagement process
B. Consider if you/your team wants to extend from individual consumer engagement
(one-on-one focus) to involve consumers or a consumer in a team/department or
organisation-wide activity (level).
For example:
 Consumers and carer involved in individual care planning
 Consumers and carers involved in co-designing activities or programs
 Consumers and carers involved in organisational strategic planning
 Consumers and carers involved in governance
C. Consider a project or activity that aims to improve the nature and/or quality of your
relationships with consumers (one or a group of consumers)
For example:
 Open days for families and friends
 Groups of consumers and carers involved in planning activities and programs
 Groups of consumers and carers evaluating current activities and programs
 Consumers and carer reviewing current written client information material
D. Consider to involve a consumer/consumer in addressing any of the 4 I’s
(issues/innovation/improvement/idea you may face) and use your project / activity to
address it / implement it.
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8.4 12 Steps to plan a consumer engagement project
The 12 steps to plan a consumer engagement project
[From TasCOSS Consumer Engagement Handbook, page 27]
For an effective and comprehensive planning of your engagement project you will need to
consider the following 12 steps:
1.
Understand your position, environment, organisation and organisational culture:


Give sufficient consideration to your/your team or section’s position in terms of
work, time availability and other competing needs.
Give consideration to your environment and the culture your work in.
2.
Assess your team or section’s skills and readiness.
3.
Assess your team, section and organisation’s current consumer engagement
understanding and practice.
4.
Seek involvement of key others within the organisation, a staff champion and
management.
5.
Establish the values and principles that will guide your project and team.
6.
Establish your project’s vision.
7.
Establish the objective(s) of your project; and within your objective(s), the priority or
focus areas.
8.
Determine which consumer engagement tools, methods, activities or approach to
use
9.
Determine your budget needs, timeframes, and whether training will be needed for
your team and/or consumers.
10.
Communicate your project plan and write a simple communications strategy to let
others know of your project. This can be initially to a smaller group, e.g. your
manager, the CEO, etc.
11.
Identify potential risks and write a risk assessment. A risk management assessment
template is in Appendix 10.4 of the Handbook.
12.
Review your planning (*you can use the list in next page as a checklist)and write your
plan(*you can use the Writing and activity plan tool for this).
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8.5 Writing a project/ activity plan
Writing a Project/Activity Plan
[From Handbook page 43]
Timeframes: Please complete your activity/project plan with your team as soon as practical
and return to Klaus within 2 – 4 weeks.
Your Activity Plan will outline or sketch what you plan to do, with whom, when, what activity
you have chosen and how the activity is utilised.
Name of the project/activity: ____________________________________________________
1. The choice of your consumer engagement project/activity
2. Rationale – why did the team chose this project/activity?
3. Anticipated Benefit - what is the project/activity intending to achieve or change?
4. Team membership I - who is involved at the staff levels?
5. Team membership II - who is involved at the stakeholder, champion levels?
6. Team membership III - who is involved at the team level? (this includes consumer(s))
7. How are consumers involved? How are they selected and supported?
8. How are staff involved? How are they selected and supported?
9. Timeframes - when does the project commence and finish?
10. Timing - when do components of the project/activity happen?
11. Coordination - how do aspects of the project/activity and contributions by the key
project stakeholders connect or interrelate.
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8.6 Planning checklist
Planning checklist
To help you plan your consumer engagement activity, you may use the following checklist:
Name of current / planned activity: _______________________________________________
1. What is the purpose/aims of the activity?
2. What are the objectives of the activity?
3. Is the activity gathering the required information?
4. Do you have a budget for the implementation of this activity?
5. Have you established the timelines?
6. Are the staff skills sufficient for this activity?
7. Are you involving consumers in the activity? At what stage? What would their role in
the project be?
8. If you are NOT involving consumers in the project at this stage, be clear why.
9. If you are involving consumers to work in the project, are the consumer experience,
skills and knowledge sufficient for this activity? Yes 
No  (please select )
If not, how do you plan to address this?
10. Are you planning to evaluate the project? If yes, will it be formal or informal?
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8.7 Project - activity evaluation / review planning
Project - Activity Evaluation / Review Planning
[From the Handbook page 72: Section 5 and Option 2]
How and when did consumers become involved in the project?
a. What do consumers say about their experience of being involved?
b. What have you learnt so far and what needs to be changed to improve your
engagement processes?
c. What proposed changes, as a result of consumer engagement, have been
proposed?
Have any department-wide or organisation-wide changes been implemented
as a result of consumer participation or your engagement project?
d. Have any changes been implemented as a result of the consumer-staff
collaboration?
e. Have your/your organisations actions or decisions been communicated back
to the consumer representatives what was their response?
Option 2:
Build your review or evaluation around a core question. The core question is:
How can we tell if the strategies, tools and the overall processes used are working?
If you are clear about the purpose for seeking consumer input and who you are trying to
involve, then evaluation questions become much clearer.
You may like to ask staff and consumers to work together on developing goals and
evaluation questions. You can start to ask questions like:

How have consumers become involved?

What do consumers say about their experience of being involved?

What have you learnt so far and what needs to be changed to improve your project?

How effective have the engagement processes been?

What changes have been implemented as a result of consumer engagement and
consumer-staff collaboration?

Have the changes consumers would like to see been implemented?
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8.8 Sample project plan I – Still Gardening
Still Gardening Program – happier client and volunteer gatherings
1.
Contact:
Jonah Gouldthorpe - Phone 6236 9349 (work) [email protected]
2.
Client Engagement Model Element
2.1
Recognise clients as key team members and partners…
2.2
Encourage client engagement and establish mechanisms…
2.3
Research, adapt, adjust, create or design…
3.
The aim
Happier client and volunteer gatherings.
4.
The outcomes for everyone



Greater pleasure in going to client and volunteer gatherings
Improved attendance at gatherings
Improved capacity for Still Gardening staff to engage with consumers in the future.
And as indirect result of improved attendance at gatherings…



Greater client, volunteer and staff satisfaction with the program
More volunteers retained for longer
More new volunteers coming on through word-of-mouth.
Our ultimate, edge-of-reality outcomes may include:


5.
More low-maintenance gardening practices taken up by clients and volunteers
Clients able to live independently for longer
The project will cover these people and areas
 Still Gardening Program staff
 Still Gardening Program clients in Hobart and Glenorchy
 Still Gardening program volunteers in the greater Hobart area.
6.




7.
People we will consult and engage with
Clients
Volunteers
Staff – Coordinator and Project Officers
TasCOSS – for technical support
How we will implement this
We will use these tools:

Narrative enquiry
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


A Steering/Working Group
Group discussion
Letters…
…to involve clients and volunteers much more strongly in planning and producing quarterly
Still Gardening Program stakeholder gatherings.
The technologies of phone and post, which are familiar and comfortable to our clients, will
help us to make this happen.
We will introduce the idea of a project, or conversation, to make for happier client and
volunteer gatherings, at our next client and volunteer gathering (our “Winter Gathering”).
At this meeting we will attempt to share stories about our (staff) experience of previous
gatherings. We will invite a “bold” client or volunteer to share their experience of a gathering
with us also.
We will then invite written or verbal narratives from clients and volunteers about their
experiences of gatherings, perhaps with limited prompts e.g.
In a few sentences, what can you remember about the gathering we had on x date?
Is there an enjoyable memory that you recall when you think of that occasion?
Is there a painful or difficult memory that you recall when you think of the occasion?
Stories from this process of narrative enquiry may point to the strengths and weaknesses of our
current gatherings.
We will then invite enthusiastic respondents to come on board a staff/client/volunteer
Working Group to plan our next gathering, collect stakeholder feedback and review its
success. If there is sufficient interest, then perhaps we can co-opt this group into producing
the gathering also.
We hope that this will become a responsive, reiterative process, whereby we can improve
the planning, production client/volunteer experience and ownership of gatherings.
Necessarily, the work plan will evolve in time. Here is a simplistic vision of…
8.
Who will do what when
Who
What
When
Staff
“Flesh out” project plan,
Late May 2013
Staff



Introduce project at Winter gathering
Offer frank/challenging narrative experience of
Christmas gathering
Invite narrative experience of Christmas gathering
from clients/volunteers verbally/on-the-spot and
written/later
Late June 2013
Staff
Collate experiences
Early Jul 2013
Staff
Invite enthusiastic clients/volunteers to join gathering
improvement working group
Late Jul 2013
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Working
group
Review experiences, look at format for Spring gathering 2013
Aug 2013
Working
Group
Detailed plan/running sheet for Spring gathering. Book venue
and catering
Early Sep 2013
Staff
Produce Spring gathering
Late Sep 2013
Client or
volunteer
from
working
group
Verbally feedback project information to clients and
volunteers at Spring gathering, including changes we have
made to planning/running the event
Late Sep 2013
Working
group
Solicit narrative experiences from participants – at the time or
subsequently by mail.
Late Sep through
mid Oct 2013
Staff and
working
group
Responsive/adaptive reiteration of planning, production and
feedback for the Christmas gathering, including learnings
from client/volunteer feedback
Mid Dec 2013
Staff
Produce Christmas gathering
Mid Dec 2013
Staff
Compare attendance and feedback from 2012 to 2013,
assess improvements/declines in client/volunteer experiences
of gatherings.
Jan 2014
9.
How do we plan to measure the results?


Compare attendance numbers at these gatherings between Spring 2012 and
Summer 2012 and Spring 2013 and Summer 2013. An increase in numbers will be
indicative of some improvement/success.
Solicit client and volunteer narrative feedback after an “improved” gathering, and
make qualitative comparisons this to narrative feedback from the initial gathering.
Other things we need to think about…

That there will be no out-of-pocket expenses for client and volunteer participation –
Still Gardening Program will need to pay for to pay for meals, reply paid envelopes
and reimburse for travel and parking. Estimated costs are…
Item
Unit price ($)
Total
Taxi transport for working group meetings x 4
30
120
Parking and fuel reimbursement for working group
meetings x 4
10
40
Catering for 4 stakeholders for working group
30
120
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Item
Unit price ($)
Total
84
84
Grand total
364
meetings x 4
Postage to 70 clients and volunteers x 2






The” silent generation” – our clients are generally grateful for the service they receive,
reluctant to make a fuss/complain and reluctant to be seen by others as making a
fuss/complaining. Soliciting negative feedback from them, particularly in a social
forum could be difficult.
Diverse clients – If Still Gardening staff find that the following clients have not been
represented in feedback or narrative experiences, then Staff will personally engage
with a representative sample of those people at the time of gatherings, or afterwards,
and respectfully solicit their experiences;
Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD)clients
Aboriginal clients
Clients with disabilities; and
CALD volunteers.
This may improve the chance of their voices being heard in the process.
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8.9 Sample project plan II – Chats Lifeline
Project Plan
Project Name:
Chats Publications Review
Outline:
Engage Chats Participants to evaluate all Chats publications (that they come into contact with)
with the aim of making the publications more acceptable to our consumers in as far as:
* Language
* Layout
* Information content
* Relevance
* Font colour & size
* Ease of use
Rationale:
This project was selected due to verbal feedback from program participants indicating their
dissatisfaction with some elements of Chats program documents; Eg: The language used and
general user ‘unfriendliness’.
There appears to be a corresponding disparity between program Information Packs being sent to
potential participants and applications returned.
Benefit:
The aim of the project is to increase consumer satisfaction and encourage participants to have more
ownership and input into their program; Ie: Documents designed by participants for participants.
An added benefit would be improved rates of application returns from potential participants.
Team Membership:
Staff
- Leigh Delaney - Lifeline Manager of Older Persons Support
- Beth Johnson - Chats North Coordinator
- Alisa Driver - Chats North West Coordinator
- Kellie Constable – Chats North Assistant
- Katie Ryan – Chats North West Assistant
Volunteers x 2 – Drivers and Hosts to facilitate the engagement
Chats Participants x 6
Consumers:
Chats Participants (that would be involved) are all HACC service users with an identified interest or
experience in writing, publishing or arts that can give constructive guidance on the subject from a
consumer’s perspective. Some of these consumers have indicated possible improvements in Chats
documentation/publications previously.
Staff:
Beth, Alisa Kellie and Katie engage with potential participants from the initial contact point, through
to sign-up, and maintain contact via regular phone calls and face-to-face interaction at social
activities.
These interactions (particularly the sign-up) help to build a relationship where the participants feel
relaxed in exchanging their ideas freely with staff who promote a culture of open communication.
Timeframes:
* Communicate the project to all stakeholders – Mid April
* Arrange project engagement activity time/location – Late April
* Conduct project engagement activity – Mid/Late May
* Collate feedback and report findings to management – June
* Implement possible changes – July/August
* Review the process and outcomes – September/October
Coordination:
The Chats Coordinators and Assistants will communicate the project to Chats consumers and
contact the self-identified participants who wish to be involved, inviting them to a gathering at a
location of their choice to review and discuss the Chats literature. The feedback will be
documented, collated and reported to the Lifeline Manager of Older Persons Support, who if
necessary will consult with his colleagues, and arrange the implementation of any changes where
they are both necessary (according to the consumers) and possible (according to the organisation).
Review:
After the implementation of any changes to the Chats publications, the consumer group will again be
invited to a gathering to discuss the changes in each document, compare and review them
according to the specific elements as stated in the project plan ‘Outline’ above. Chats staff will
document this process.
At the conclusion of this appraisal the participants will be asked to provide feedback on their overall
satisfaction with the changes resulting from the project, and the entire project process itself. Chats
staff will assist participants to document their feedback.
The outcome of any changes/improvements in Chats publications will be promoted in our monthly
newsletter to all program participants.
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