Human Services Blueprint Final

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© Australian Capital Territory, Canberra, May 2014
Human Services Blueprint
ISBN: 978-0-9752447-1-5

Minister's Message
Executive Summary
Making Services Sustainable
What the Blueprint means for people
What will change under the Human Services Blueprint?
What are Human Services?
What is the Human Services Blueprint?
How will the Blueprint make a difference?
Why is a Human Services Blueprint Needed?
Why the Blueprint is required
The Impact of the Blueprint
Developing the Human Services Blueprint
What you told us
Designing the Blueprint-People at the Centre
Human Services Blueprint - Systems Overview
How will the Human Services Blueprint be Delivered?
Working Together
Measuring Success
2014-15 Implementation Priorities
Other 2014-15 Priorities
Continued Engagement
Next Steps
Further Information
Appendix A
Appendix B

The Human Services Blueprint is an across Government and community sector project, endorsed by the ACT Government and informed by broader community engagement. It is a great example of how the Government and the community sector can work together to find solutions to shared challenges. We wish to thank all contributors who assisted with the development of the Human Services Blueprint.

This document is designed to be read in conjunction with the Human Services Blueprint Technical Specifications and the Human Services Blueprint Consultation Report. Both are available at

The names and images featured in this document have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the people involved.


Minister’s Message

Welcome to the Human Services Blueprint, a multi-year plan to improve the way human services are delivered across Canberra.Photo of Andrew Barr MLA

We all use ACT Government human services at different stages of our lives - schools, hospitals, community events and the justice system are some examples of this.

Sometimes we only need to access basic information, such as attending a drop-in clinic, while at other times we might need more intensive support from multiple services.

The Blueprint aims to make sure Canberrans are able to easily access the appropriate support when they need it: the right human service, at the right time, for the right duration.

It is the result of many people from ACT Government, the community sector and Commonwealth agencies working together. Their work was guided by a comprehensive consultation and engagement strategy that told us what people really think of their human services system: what currently works and what could be improved.

The resulting Blueprint provides a framework for the community, health, education and justice systems to work together where a joined-up response is required.

The implementation of the Blueprint will begin immediately. Specific elements will be rolled out in the West Belconnen area before being extended to the rest of Canberra.

I look forward to seeing some immediate improvements for people in West Belconnen based on strong local partnerships and a spirit of innovation. This experience will help shape the development of our service system across the Territory.

I would like to personally thank those who have been involved in the Blueprint’s development: particularly the many people who contributed their thoughts via the consultation process, the members of the Human Services Taskforce and the members of the Core Design Team.

This continued commitment, collaboration and co-design throughout implementation are
vital to ensure system reform is progressively realised.

I am confident this work will fulfil the vision that all Canberrans are able to fully participate in strong, healthy and inclusive communities enabled by a cohesive human services system, where this is required.

Andrew Barr MLA Signature

Andrew Barr MLA
Deputy Chief Minister
Minister for Community Services

May 2014


Executive summaryPhoto of children playing and building blocks

Human services are essential to our everyday lives.

We all care about the lives of Canberrans and want to ensure that the services people use, make a positive difference - to individuals, their families and their communities.

The ACT Government is committed to making this difference and asked people using our system and delivering services, what is working well and what needs to change. This was taken to a high level taskforce of government and community sector leaders with the clear message that we need to rethink how people access the support they need.

Improving economic and social participation, especially amongst disadvantaged Canberrans

The Human Services Blueprint (Blueprint) is the result of this work. It is a whole of system reform agenda to better utilise government investment in social outcomes. It will enable community, health, education and justice systems to work in alliance to join up support to people and families.

Photo of family


Making services sustainable

Creating a better service experience

The Blueprint articulates the following shared vision for the ACT human services system:

All Canberrans have the capability to fully participate in strong, healthy and inclusive communities and are enabled by a cohesive human services system that is:

The Human Service Blueprint is about:

Creating a better service experience

Improving economic and social participation, especially amongst disadvantaged Canberrans

Making services sustainable

Photo of a person painting

What the Blueprint means for people

The Blueprint is about services working better for you. This will mean that services you work with will take responsibility for making the bits fit together, not you.

You will tell your story once, and this will be used to make sure you are getting what you need, for as long as you need it. But services will not take over your life - you will be in the driver’s seat.

You will be treated as a whole person, not as someone with a problem that needs to be fixed. This includes supporting your important relationships with family and friends - the people that will be there for you when you most need it.

Services will understand what’s important to you, and work with you to meet your goals. This could be getting a job, returning to study, being the best parent you can be or giving back to make the community a better place.

Services will also deliver on what they promise, in a clear, honest and respectful way. They will treat your personal information sensitively.


What will change under the Human Services Blueprint?

The Blueprint will improve the effectiveness of governance, structural and supporting processes so the service system operates in a more person-centred and integrated way.

An across sector Better Services Taskforce will oversee Blueprint reforms. A new Human Services Blueprint Accountability Framework will be essential in monitoring what we do differently and better, and how we know this effort has made a difference to Canberrans.

The Blueprint will commence roll-out in 2014-15. Under the banner of Better Services, three Flagship initiatives will support a more integrated, person-centred and cost effective human service system.

The Blueprint will support the delivery of ACT Government reform priorities, including roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, red tape reduction for the community sector, new models of social investment and contracting, and reforms in the Out of Home Care sector. The Blueprint will inform the development across government policy, for example, the whole-of-government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement.

Shared policies and ways of working; pooled funding arrangements to support multi-agency collaboration; and the establishment of joint governance structures will also be rolled out in the first year.

Photo of baby laugh


Providing the right support, at the right time, for the right duration

This document shares the ACT Government and community vision for the future human services system in the ACT. The First Section explains the scope, drivers and process to develop the Human Services Blueprint. It sets the scene for the reform agenda over the next 3-5 years, and outlines implementation priorities for how the Blueprint will be delivered.

The Second Section explains what the Blueprint implementation looks like in year one including 2014-2015 flagship initiatives. Appendices provide additional information on the membership of the Human Services Taskforce and Core Design Team, and a summary of the Blueprint Technical Specifications.

This document is designed to be read in conjunction with the Human Services Blueprint Technical Specifications and the Human Services Blueprint Consultation Report. Both are available at


What are Human Services?

Human services provide support and help us live fulfilling lives.Photo of older women volunteers

The human services system is a network of services which aim to develop the capacity of people and families to enable their full participation in a strong, healthy and inclusive community.

We all use human services at different stages of our lives and the level of support varies depending on our needs at the time.

Some examples of how different people might access services are:

Services can be broadly grouped into three categories of intensity: from a universal access model including accessing information we need; to more targeted prevention and early intervention services when we need additional support; to an intensive service offer where required.


Human services system

Human services are delivered by government agencies, community sector organisations or for-profit partners. Many services are delivered by volunteers who freely give their time to support their community.

In the course of their lives, people will access a number of different services to meet different needs. Some individuals will access multiple services at the same time spanning different service systems. Where this happens, the service systems have a shared role to deliver ‘joined-up’ support. The service user should experience a seamless response.

The role of the Blueprint is to ensure that this happens and that the service system continues to learn and improve.

With people at the centre, the human services system includes the full spectrum of responses delivered by community, health, education and justice “systems” and may, for example, include housing, disability, children, youth and family support as well as community infrastructure, such as community hubs and Child and Family Centres.

This Blueprint recognises that while each service system has a particular role (i.e. providing school education, hospital services), they share a common objective to provide high quality services to meet people’s diverse needs.

Diagram - Human Services System


Demand for services

Despite the significant government investment in human services, demand remains high. For example in:

Funding human services

Government at all levels invest in human services which are made up of health, education, justice and community services to meet the broad range of community needs. Services are also provided by the Australian Government, such as Centrelink.

In 2013-14, the ACT Government allocated $283.5m on disability and community services, $1.3b on health and community care, and $156.7m on housing, including public housing and homelessness services. In the same period, the Australian Government allocated $138b on social security and welfare costs (across Australia).

The majority of the community sector funding is concentrated in only a relatively few organisations. Forty per cent of the funded organisations receive almost 90 per cent of the funding. The other 60 per cent of the 150 funded organisations received just more than 10 per cent of the total value of ACT funds dispersed.

Philanthropic giving also contributes to the sector, with 2007 ACT Government research finding there was great interest in philanthropy within the ACT and that the majority of the Territory’s community organisations either have received or are receiving philanthropic giving.


What is the Human Services Blueprint?

The Blueprint provides the framework to support greater economic and social participation by all Canberrans, especially those experiencing disadvantage by changing the way services work together to meet people’s needs.

To achieve this, the Blueprint will enable a cohesive human services system that is person-centred, strengths-based, and sustainable.

The Blueprint articulates the following shared vision for the ACT human services system:

All Canberrans have the capability to fully participate in strong, healthy and inclusive communities and are enabled by a cohesive human services system that is:

The Blueprint will guide the ACT Government’s decisions about how human services are delivered over the coming years. This will maximise outcomes from government investment and meet the challenge of growth in demand for services.

The Blueprint is a whole-of-system reform agenda. This agenda will need to be implemented progressively over a number of years, building on the successful elements already in place.

The Blueprint principles will underpin this joint work








High quality


How Will the blueprint make a difference?

The Blueprint will create a better service experience for Canberrans

It’s hard asking for help. Especially when I don’t know where to start. Sonia was great - she really listened. She knew lots about what was available in the area, things I never even knew about, even though I’d lived here for so long!

Photo of Geraldine garding
(Geraldine, 72 years)

The Blueprint will improve economic and social participation

I know that there is not always a solution to everything for everyone. The thing that matters is that I’m treated with respect; I don’t feel like a number in a queue. These are the things which mean I walk out of here feeling like I can handle the rest of my day, even though I knew there are challenges ahead.

Photo of Richie and children at Floriade

(Richie, 41 years)

The Blueprint will make services sustainable

I became involved with the Human Services Blueprint due to a desire to contribute towards positive change in the human services system. I envisage that work resulting from the Blueprint will make it simpler for everyone to figure out what help is available and how to access this help. I am optimistic the Blueprint will lead to workers having increased opportunities to build relationships across agencies and to find creative ways of meeting the needs of people in their area.

When the situation is more complex and there are multiple agencies involved, then I anticipate there will be an increased expectation and accountability that we will work across agencies to coordinate the work we are doing. Workers will be supported by systems such as an information sharing protocol to keep talking to one another and to do things differently, if that’s what’s needed.

(Penny Taylor, Social Worker and Human Services Blueprint Core Design Team Member)

Why is a Human Services Blueprint needed?

Towards Progressive Change




Crisis focused responses

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Responding early

Preventing crisis

Fragmented and inefficient service delivery

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One system approach

Shared infrastructure

Focused on outcomes not inputs

Increasing vulnerability and demand for services

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Increasing resiliency

Increasing early intervention and prevention to reduce demand for intensive service offers

Tailored service offers

Multiple reform efforts

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Alignment of reform efforts

Constrained resources

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Restructure service outputs and models to work within available resourcing arrangements


We need to rethink how people access support.

Our communities are changing, we use technology more, our population is ageing, revenue and resources are declining and demand is increasing.

The Blueprint also responds to other drivers for change, including significant national reforms such as the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the ACT Government’s Community Sector Reform program.

While many aspects of human service delivery in the ACT are innovative, cohesive and streamlined, we know that people sometimes experience their service journey as fragmented and frustrating, and their situation is not improving.

Changes to the service system will improve outcomes for individuals and families through responding to needs earlier and preventing crisis and entry into statutory systems.

The Australian Institute of Criminology has reported that early intervention programs can demonstrate long-term financial returns, with United States evaluations finding savings produced included:

The 2013 research, Deep and Persistent Disadvantage in Australia: Productivity Commission Staff Working Paper, talked about the concept of “impoverished lives” incorporating areas such as social exclusion rather than focusing on low income alone. Dimensions of this disadvantage and marginalisation include social stigmatisation, early-life disadvantage and its intergenerational transfer, poor health and social isolation, as well as the traditional measures of financial hardship.

Productivity Commission estimates showed that a number of Australians experienced disadvantage at some point in their lives, with:

The cost of disadvantage is difficult to measure. The Productivity Commission describes it as difficult to define and hard to estimate.

The ACT Government is committed to policies and programs to improve the lives of people experiencing disadvantage and to create paths out of marginalisation - and acknowledges this comes with a cost.

Like many aspects of government service delivery, human services are experiencing increased demand. We need to maximise outcomes from government investment and reduce the cost and growth in demand for services, to ensure that the human services system is sustainable into the future.

I could drop in when I wanted. I could turn up when I was having a tough time. Instead of just trying to hide it and soldier on, which always led to a crisis anyway.

Photo of Aaslf

(Aasif, 19 years)


Veronica’s StoryPhoto of Veronica's story

Why the Blueprint is required

Veronica’s attempts to access assistance to leave an abusive relationship were unsuccessful. She was referred to ACT Mental Health by her GP. As her mental health condition was not severe they couldn’t provide her with support. The transitional housing she was offered would not accept her dog, which she and her children relied on for comfort and security. Veronica gave up trying to find help and felt let down and misunderstood.

The violence escalated and her children were at risk. A report was made to Care and Protection Services. This resulted in a range of services being put in place. However, once the immediate safety concerns were addressed, the Care and Protection case was closed.

Trying to manage the expectations services placed on her, including attending multiple appointments and not being able to put in place the sometimes contradictory advice provided, added to the pressure and her sense of failure. She withdrew from accessing services. Veronica’s mental health deteriorated, the violence escalated and her children were again at immediate risk.


The Impact of the Blueprint

The ACT Mental Health worker called the Human Services Gateway with Veronica which resulted in Veronica being linked, on the spot, to assistance through the Domestic Violence Crisis Service and a family support worker through a local community organisation.

Due to the complexity of Veronica’s situation she entered the Strengthening Families Program. Her Strengthening Families Lead Worker accessed training, tools, and professional support to be able to work in a way which assisted Veronica to make a lasting change to her circumstance. Veronica and her Lead Worker worked together to identify priorities and to put a plan in place, with required supports, to address the overall situation for the family, not just part of it.

The services involved, operated under a shared practice framework. Systems, such as a protocol on information sharing and common assessment tools, were in place which assisted services to work cooperatively towards the same goals. Workers were able to work flexibly to help Veronica deal with problems as they arose. For example, they helped her find a way to pick up her kids and get to appointments when her car broke down. This meant that small problems didn’t become big problems and she stayed on track to achieve her longer term goals.

Veronica and her kids gained access to transitional accommodation and ultimately their own home. Veronica developed additional skills in helping her kids through trauma and in managing her own mental health. She was able to achieve longer term goals of rebuilding relationships with friends and family. She commenced part time work. Her reliance on services reduced and her wellbeing and that of her children improved for good.


Developing the Human Services Blueprint

Development of the Blueprint has been championed by high-level ministerial endorsement and joint community-government leadership.A woman with a girl with disability smiling

The Blueprint was co-designed by government and the community sector, taking into account feedback and ideas from wide ranging conversation with service users and providers, front line staff, and policy and decision makers. Clear messages from our users of human services and our providers of services told us what worked, what didn’t and their aspirations for a future human services system.

We took this information to a high-level taskforce of government and community leaders that was established to oversee the Blueprint’s development (see membership of the Human Services Taskforce at Appendix A).

A Core Design Team, comprising government and community sector representatives with a wide range of skills ranging from frontline workers to managers - was established to work intensively to provide advice to the Human Services Taskforce.

Systems design consultants guided the work of the Core Design Team to develop technical specifications for the future ACT human services system. These specifications include the purpose of the system; the structural elements for the system to work in an integrated way; and processes needed to ensure re-alignment and reform of the service system so it is person-centred, integrated and sustainable.

An Intensive Design Conference hosted in December 2013 tested and refined the system’s design. Community and government leaders, service providers, front line workers and policy makers all participated in this process.


What you told us

A consultation and engagement strategy informed the design of the Blueprint, while simultaneously testing ideas as they werePhoto of children leaning over CBR banner developed.

During the Blueprint consultation phase, we asked Canberrans what they wanted from their human services system. The consultation included a discussion paper inviting public submissions, an online survey, focus groups, a two-day workshop and targeted engagements.

Most people had accessed multiple human services and shared many positive experiences. “She came to every appointment and helped all along the way,” one service user said of their case worker. “I just turned up, I wasn’t on the list but they let me stay anyway,” said another of a service they accessed.

However, a strong theme that emerged was the need for a joined-up, whole-of-government response to ensure that services are person-centred. This desire for a genuinely person-centred approach resonated strongly throughout all aspects of the consultation.

“I had to tell my story over and over again - I had to call every day,” one service user said of the many different people and services they spoke to at a time they needed support.

Woden Community Service Inc noted that: “The Blueprint is heavily dependent on having support and buy in from whole of ACT Government - as often gaps and barriers appear across traditional directorate boundaries”.

The full consultation report available at details the key themes and issues shared through the consultation process. Importantly, it shows how these issues have been incorporated in the Human Services Blueprint design.


Designing The Blueprint - people at the centre

Each person has their own story and aspirations, and they require different types of support at different times. It is therefore important that the service system can cater for a diversity of needs through tailored, flexible and appropriate service offers.

To ensure responsiveness, the Blueprint has been developed with reference to a number of service journeys which reflect people with similar service needs, who together constitute a large percentage of total service demand. They are:

The diagram below shows a continuum of service offers under the Blueprint. The Blueprint has been designed to ensure that people can get the support they need, depending on their diverse and changing needs, through:

Diagram - Access Model

Human Services Blueprint - Systems Overview

Diagram - context system design outcomes

The Context describes the environmental and community circumstances and stakeholder needs and expectations within which the system sits.

The System Design is made up of vision and purpose, functions, structure and processes. Together these provide a description of the Human Services Blueprint - all the elements that need to be in place if the needs and expectations of key stakeholders are to be met.

The Outcomes are the results that emerge from the system. If effective, the outcomes will positively change both the context within which the system sits and the needs and expectations of those who have a stake in and/or interact with the system.

A summary of the Human Services Blueprint Technical Specifications is at Appendix B.

The Human Services Blueprint architecture has three parts: Context; System Design and Outcomes.


How will the Human Services Blueprint be delivered?

The Blueprint represents significant reform to the way human services are delivered in the ACT. This will be initiated through a phased implementation over the next three years, commencing in 2014-15.

Annual implementation priorities will be established to progressively align the delivery of human services with the Blueprint.

These priorities will focus on supporting integrated service delivery and building system capacity, and will build on successful features of our current service system.

Diagram - Human Services Implemenation Phases

Children at the playground and a man in wheelchair

Delivery of the Blueprint is a joint commitment of the ACT Government and community sectors including:

This joint commitment enables community, health, education, and justice systems to work in alliance to deliver person-centred responses in circumstances when people or families require a joined-up response.

The effectiveness of the service system will be demonstrated when people receive the rights supports, in the right place, at the right time.

This requires the service system to operate in a more integrated and successful manner. Four structural elements have been identified as key to achieving this.

Diagram - Person Centred

Leadership and Governance

Create a clear sense of authorisation and direction and effective policy in place to support that direction.

Learning and Development

Construct an adaptable and innovative system that has an ongoing understanding of changing needs and circumstances and capacity to respond to change.

Control and Coordination

Managing and coordinating the core services delivered to individuals, along with monitoring and evaluating their performance (including top-down and bottom-up controls).


System activities that enable the system purpose to be achieved.

These elements have been designed to be applicable at a service, local area and whole of system level.


Working Together

The implementation of the Blueprint will require a high level commitment across Government and community sectors.

New approaches to the funding and delivery of services incorporate the central belief that communities know best what works for people and families in their local communities.

At the core of the Blueprint is a strong and trusting relationship between the Government, non-government and community partners.

Each partner has the responsibility to advance the vision and purpose of the Blueprint and work together as part of the joined-up human services system.

This will be supported through a range of service partnerships involving ACT Government agencies and community services along with Commonwealth agencies such as the Department of Human Services (Centrelink, Medicare and the Child Support Agency) and groups such as general practitioners and primary health services.

Connections at the local level will be formed with voluntary associations, including sporting, faith-based and service organisations to strengthen local communities.

Local businesses will also be invited to be involved in a shared effort to build opportunities for social and economic participation.


Governance arrangements

The governance of the Blueprint will be overseen by a Better Services Taskforce. The Taskforce will be chaired by the Director-General of the Community Services Directorate and include high-level
joint government and community sector representatives.

The Taskforce will oversee reform efforts and champion innovation and report to the ACT Public Service Strategic Board and the Minister responsible for Community Services.

Local governance arrangements will also be established as part of the Blueprint Local Service Network Launch. This will enable new ways of working, leveraging resources and infrastructure to address local priorities, and build individual and community capacity.

I have contributed to developing the Human Services Blueprint because I believe it has the potential to deliver real improvements in the design, delivery and resourcing of services so they make a positive difference to people in Canberra, especially those living with poverty and disadvantage, or who are facing a vulnerable time in their life. My belief is founded on the commitment demonstrated by government and non-government leaders to three significant principles. The first principle is that people who access services (and the people they care for and about) should be at the centre of decisions about when, how and where they access support, and what form that support will take. The second principle is that positive change will only be delivered if we make changes in public administration, service models and in the way staff work with each other, and with service users.

The third principle is that building communities in which people can contribute, belong and be resilient is just as important as providing high quality services that respond to specific needs.

Photo of Susan Helyar

Susan Helyar Director, ACT Council of Social Service Inc (ACTCOSS)


Accountability framework

An outcomes framework will be developed as a key accountability measure to support improved outcomes and ongoing improvement.Photo of children with face painting

In the ACT, as in other jurisdictions, there is a confluence of sector reforms, such as the coming of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and service philosophies, such as Recovery, person-centred support and co-design, in relation to the development of services and the models of delivery.

The ACT Government’s Human Services Blueprint provides an umbrella under which these reforms and service philosophies can inform each other and provide the “glue” for an integrated services system.

In the community managed mental health sector, the Commonwealth funded program, Partners In Recovery, is a prototype of a single human services system, with its focus on coordination of support for people who have a severe and enduring psychosocial disability. Such a system works with the person to provide not just psychosocial support, but also support for housing, employment and community connectedness. In short, an integrated service system puts the person at the centre of planning for that person’s needs to ensure that she/he can have a “contributing life”.

To obtain the best outcomes for persons with a lived experience of mental illness, both community managed mental health services and public health services will need to form close, collaborative working relationships to provide the sort of comprehensive responses that such people have always needed but now have a real chance to get.

It is for this reason that I welcome the Human Services Blueprint. While it will take strong leadership and proper resourcing to implement, its intent to give full, timely support to people when required, will provide significant dividends in terms of wellness for the person, the family, the neighbourhood and the Canberra community.

Photo of Ian Rentsch

Ian Rentsch, Executive Officer Mental Health - Community Coalition ACT Inc


Measuring Success

Under the Blueprint the overall goals for the human services system are based on the concepts of the ‘Triple Aim’1 framework, as a way to achieve simultaneous improvements across three core performance domains.

Success will be measured on the difference service responses actually make to the lives of individuals, their families and their communities. There will be a focus on what needs to be achieved for people and what can be done differently and better.

1. Individual - create a better service experience for Canberrans

  • Services are person-centred - simple, respectful and easy to navigate
  • Services are better matched to people’s actual needs - right support, right time and right duration

2. Population - improve economic and social participation, especially amongst disadvantaged Canberrans

  • Building people’s and families skills and capacity
  • Connecting government and community services where people require a joined-up response

2. System - make services sustainable

  • Providing quality and value for money services by reducing red tape and duplication
  • Responding early to reduce future demand for higher cost services.

There were times when they just needed to give me a pamphlet about a service and I could take myself to check it out. But there were some times when I didn’t have any credit on my phone, there was heaps on, too many people calling me, (maybe) I didn’t even know who they were, I’d have to tell them the story all over again. They took a lead then, and that was what I needed at the time.

Photo of Alma

(Alma, 28 years)

1 Developed by the Institute of Healthcare Improvement

The Triple Aim approach provides a framework to articulate the key performance behaviours that the human services system will be required to deliver. The following behaviours form the basis for monitoring performance over time:


  • Person-centred and strengths-based; builds resilience and capacity for choice, participation and independence
  • Community focused; facilitates connections and social bonds
  • Approachable, respectful and inclusive
  • Simple, seamless and accessible across multi entry points
  • Transparent, honest and trustworthy
  • Accountable


  • Promotes effective parenting skills, encourages social participation and minimises the impacts of disadvantage during early years of life
  • Promotes safe and healthy living environments for families and children, responding quickly and appropriately when safety is at risk
  • Promotes positive life choices and skill development for young people with dual focus on immediate safety concerns and working towards future aspirations
  • Promotes positive life choices and meaningful participation of offenders in the community while improving public safety
  • Supports choice and control in the determination of options for people as they age, with consideration to the needs of the individual, their family and carers
  • Provides timely and appropriate support to get people back on their feet in times of crisis while building capacity and community connections to prevent crisis from occurring in the future
  • Supports choice and control in the determination of options for people with a disability, with consideration of the needs of individuals, their family and carers


  • Streamlines and reduces inefficiencies in order to reduce the cost per service episode
  • Shifts ‘upstream’ demand to less intensive service responses in order to reduce dependency on crisis responses
  • Builds independent resilience to minimise duration and intensity of support
  • Creates effective tiers of response to match intensity of need (concept of Progressive Universalism)
  • Builds partnerships with capacity to drive collective impact from combined resources.


Reporting against the Blueprint forms a central focus on measuring the efficacy of reform effort. Building evaluation capacity will inform the future scaling of reform approaches and focus on how the ACT measures integrated service responses that improve outcomes for individuals, their families and communities.

Evaluation and reporting approaches will comprise:

The independent evaluation will consider the co-design approach to establish and measure the impact of the Local Area Network Launch. This will be underpinned by robust data collection throughout the launch, along with an iterative action learning approach.

2014-15 implementation priorities

Three Flagship initiatives will support a more integrated, person-centred and cost effective human service system.

Better Services - Flagship Initiatives

Local Service Network Launch

Human Services Gateway

Strengthening Families

The Local Service Network Launch will roll out key elements of the Blueprint through a place-based approach, initially in West Belconnen.

This approach will be expanded to other parts of the ACT over time.

The Gateway will bring together a range of government and community services into an accessible service hub.

It will include a common assessment and referral system.

The successful Strengthening Families approach will be expanded for up to 50 families with complex needs.

Each family will be supported by a trained Lead Worker who will work with the family to implement an agreed family plan, supported by a tailored support package.


Flagship 1 - Local Service Network Launch

The Local Service Network Launch will better integrate local service delivery to improve outcomes for individuals and vulnerable groups in the community.

This will be achieved through a ‘place-based’ approach with new arrangements for:

This will also support the delivery of related reform priorities including red tape reduction for the community sector and new models of social investment and contracting. As an ACT One Government initiative, strong Government and community partnerships will be instumental to new ways of working and innovation in service system responses.

Starting the Blueprint in a specific locality with a co-design (‘learn by doing’) approach will provide greater opportunity to test new approaches and to assess the scalability of local area network approaches, before they are rolled out more broadly across the ACT.


The Local Service Network Launch comprises three phases:

Phase 1 Develop
(July - December 2014): Community needs analysis (environment, needs, opportunities and constraints), launch design and supporting policy development.

Phase 2 Operationalise
(January 2015 - June 2016): Implementing the system design elements (vision, purpose, functions, structure and processes) that need to be in place to meet desired outcomes.

Phase 3 Evaluate
(January 2015 - June 2016): Measuring and evaluating performance and outcomes.

Map - local service network

West Belconnen (highlighted)

West Belconnen has been chosen as the Local Service Network Launch site to prototype a community-based response. Based on a range of data sources, the area provides an identified small-scale geographic clustering of relative disadvantage. The diversity of need will allow for robust testing of Blueprint components.

West Belconnen incorporates a range of active locally based and run organisations provided by government and community agencies. There is also an active local community supported by strong local champions, with active community involvement. For example, a recent UnitingCare Kippax Anti-Poverty Week 2013 forum attracted about 120 participants and identified a range of ideas to minimise the effects of poverty in West Belconnen.


Flagship 2 - Establishing a single Human Services Gateway

The Human Services Gateway will be established by transforming three gateway services (the Disability Information Service Hub, the Children Youth and Family Services Gateway, and Housing Central Access Point) into a single more efficient gateway.

The transformation of three existing gateways to create a single Human Services Gateway will lead to better integrated support for information and services, both between the workers (one client and one worker) and to individual clients.

The single access gateway will address a range of issues that a client presents with, in one visit. Once established, the Gateway willPhoto of young person riding a bike provide accessible information and self-support options and link individuals and families into more flexible and tailored supports based on their needs. In addition, individuals and families will be linked with the right services if they require more intensive support.

It will bring together a range of government and community services into an accessible service hub and will include a common assessment and referral system.

The Human Services Gateway will provide a central service access platform through:

Flagship 3 - Expansion of Strengthening Families

The successful Strengthening Families approach will be expanded for up to 50 vulnerable families. Each family will be supported by a:

Lead Workers for the expansion of Strengthening Families will be drawn from within existing support networks and are authorised by thePhoto of family at floriade system to work with and on behalf of the family to streamline services.

Lead Workers are not centralised in to a single programmatic structure; instead, they are selected, trained and supported to perform this role in their current organisational context. Strengthening Families Practice Leaders will build front line worker capacity to implement the Strengthening Families approach across the Government and community sectors.

The role of the Practice Leaders is to:

We live in community. We live in neighbourhoods. We live in relationships. And more importantly, we live as whole human beings.

For too long different services have been separated because one is “about health”, another “about education” and another “about providing support”. But when one part of life hurts, everything is affected and when one part of life is supported properly, everything benefits.

The single human service blueprint, for all the language and planning, is about trying to make life easier for people.

I am delighted that the single blueprint is becoming a reality, and it is being trialled locally where I can be part of it.

If we do this properly, we will be concentrating on helping people so that they do not reach a crisis point, rather than trying to address a crisis after it has happened. If we do this properly, you won’t have to worry about whether you have gone to the “right place” for the “right sort of support”, because we will work together and we will know how to make sure you receive the most helpful support possible. If we do this properly, you will never feel as if you are a “problem to be solved”, but instead a person who has the right to belong, be valued and be able to participate in this community.

Photo of Gordon Ramsay

Gordon Ramsay, Executive Minister UnitingCare Kippax


Other 2014-15 Priorities

The Blueprint will support the delivery of ACT Government reform priorities including roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), red tape reduction for the community sector, new models of social investment and contracting, and reforms in the Out of Home Care sector.

Enhancing Canberra’s liveability and opportunity, the Blueprint provides the systems approach to deliver ACT One Government commitments, including the Healthy Weight Initiative, Digital Canberra and Service ACT. The Blueprint will inform the development across government policy, for example, the whole-of-government Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Agreement.

Initiatives where joined-up responses lead to the best outcomes for individuals and families will use the Blueprint as the systems architecture in the design, implementation and evaluation of services and programs. The ACT Youth Commitment, the Youth Justice Blueprint, Throughcare for Offenders model, and sentencing reform and justice re-investment options explored through the Justice Reform Strategy, are examples of the Government’s commitment to integrated responses to improve outcomes for Canberrans.

The following activities will support the more effective use of current government investment and community sector resources to improve overall outcomes and support greater economic and social participation.

ACT Medicare Local is Canberra’s primary health care organisation. We represent over 1,300 GPs, nurses, other clinicians and community organisations who all have a role to play in a more ‘joined-up system’. ACTML has welcomed the opportunity to participate in the Taskforce and Design Team developing Canberra’s Blueprint for a single human services system, because integrated care matters. People have the right to a system that offers integrated, coordinated health and social care in the right place, at the right time.

The prospect of a single human services system is our opportunity to rethink the integration agenda and to introduce a new culture of care. A new culture of integrated care means overcoming barriers to access to care by better connecting health and social care. This new culture of care will strive for whole-system working and will uphold the principles of the social model of health.

ACTML commended the ACT Government’s commitment to co-designing the blueprint. Too often, new programs or system reforms are designed in isolation of community views. This includes not only the views of citizens but also the many and varied service providers who work with them such as GPs, who also see the disconnect and poor linkages in services on a daily basis and who are well placed to help design a better way.

ACTML is committed to continuing to actively support the Blueprint in its next phase.

Photo of Leanne Wells

Leanne Wells
Chief Executive Officer, ACT Medicare Local

Common practice platforms

A shared practice framework will facilitate common ways of working to identify issues early and deliver integrated supports for vulnerable people.

Supporting integrated delivery

Processes to support integrated delivery will include:

Building workforce capacity

An across-system workforce development strategy will be commenced, to build capacity for person-centred and integrated service delivery.

Information sharing protocols

Advice on system wide information sharing protocols will support holistic and multi disciplinary responses. Through sharing information and data systems, services will be able to collect information on the levels of intervention provided and the impact that this has had on individuals and families accessing support. This information can then be used to further improve the service system and create a better service experience. Protecting the privacy of individuals will remain a central consideration.


Building on success

A key early approach will be to strengthen the alignment between existing service delivery reforms with the directions outlined in the Blueprint. This will ensure that reform efforts are congruent and that we build on successful features of our current service system.

In Veronica’s WordsPhoto of Veronica's story

Sarah took the time to understand all that was happening in our lives and how hard it was for me to make the changes that people expected me to make.

Sarah helped me pull it all together and make a plan to deal with everything bit by bit. This involved getting help from lots of different people in different organisations. The services all kept in touch and kept me in the loop too. It felt like all the services and I were a team. When I had lots of appointments everyone involved made it easier for me to manage this, including by helping to organise practical things, like emergency childcare.

I still did most of the leg work, but could do this without feeling overwhelmed because I had an overall plan so I knew what steps I needed to take. I also knew that if I got stuck then I could get help when I needed it.

Bit by bit things feel like they are getting a little easier. Moving into my own home was a turning point. I’ve started working part-time. This has helped not just financially, it’s also meant that I have made new friends and to feel like my life is back on track.

Continued EngagementPhoto of a young Aboriginal woman

Achieving a cohesive human services system that is person-centred and sustainable will take time. Continued collaboration and co-design throughout each phase is vital to realising the vision of the human services system as the Blueprint project rolls out and the system is progressively realised.

The values of the human services system that underpin any future work include being respectful and responsive. These mean that our approach to future engagement will: 1) value the unique contributions that diverse perspective bring to a vibrant community, and 2) listen, learn and adapt to the needs of people and communities.


Next steps

The second phase of the Human Service Blueprint project will involve policy work to sequence key activities required to deliver this system, and will continue throughout 2014. The third phase will align and test key elements and activities required to deliver the system, and will occur in 2014 and 2015. The fourth and final phase will involve evaluation and embedding of the Human Services Blueprint across the ACT.

Future phases will continue to be developed in collaboration with the wider community, community sector and government agencies.

Further information

For more detailed information please refer to the Human Services Blueprint Technical Specifications and the Human Services Blueprint Consultation Report. Both reports are available at

If you would like any further information on the Human Services Blueprint project or to be involved in future phases, please contact the Community Services Directorate at:

GPO Box 158 Canberra ACT 2601


Appendix A

Human Services Taskforce membershipPhoto of Three Members of Human Services Taskforce

Core Design Team membership

Improving economic and social participation, especially amongst disadvantaged Canberrans

Making services sustainable

Creating a better service experience


Appendix B

Summary - Human Services Blueprint Technical Specifications

The Human Services Blueprint Technical Specifications are an outcome of Phase 1 of the Blueprint project. The Technical Specifications were developed using a collaborative, community engagement, design process. The full design specifications are available at:

The purpose of Phase 1 was to describe a cohesive, person-centred and sustainable Human Services System for the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and a map of how to get there.

Scope (page 20)

Diagram - Human Services System

The Blueprint provides a framework for all systems (health, education, justice and community) to work in alliance as the human services system to deliver person-centred, high-quality, outcomes-focused responses.

Scope (page 39-40)

Diagram - Individual Population System

The change towards a cohesive human services system that is person-centred and sustainable will be measured against a Triple Aim which measures:

Functions (pages 27-30)

Diagram - building system capacity

The Human Services System has two main functions: Develop Capacity

Integrated delivery of responses

The Blueprint aims to develop the capacity of people and communities to enable their full participation in a strong and healthy community, and to support people in appropriate ways. Responses are intended to build resilience and capacity for self management through more targeted early intervention and prevention services, or providing an intensive service offer when required.

Diagram - Person Centred

The effectiveness of the service system will be demonstrated by people receiving the right supports, at the right time and for the right duration.

Effective service responses contribute to improved experiences and outcomes for people, and need the following service infrastructure to operate in a more integrated, sustainable and successful manner:


The process elements will ensure that services are delivered in a manner that:

Supports self-determination and the capacity to self-manage (e.g. online self-help tools)

Responds appropriately, effectively and holistically in a timely manner (e.g. streamlined communications, universal access points and coordinated responses)

Reduces complexity and the number of steps required to achieve positive progress
(e.g. streamlined processes, shared practice frameworks)

Maximises opportunities for people to build capacity-in independence and resilience
(e.g. educational campaigns, strengths-based design of responses).

The Blueprint provides a methodology to identify, understand, align, redesign and develop what needs to be in place to work towards full implementation and alignment of activities under the banner of the human services system.

Diagram - Realisation Pathways

The pathway to align practices and cultures with the Blueprint is iterative, and involves localised prototyping and continued collaboration and complementary engagement activities to inform context-appropriate, scalable and sustainable system reform.