Disability and ageing

Recent years have seen major reforms to the aged care and disability sectors towards more person-centred and individualised supports that enable older people and people with disabilities to live their lives the way they want to.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is putting people with disability, including people with psychosocial disability, at the centre of the service system. Individualised funding and person-centred planning will give people choice, voice and control in their lives and in the services and supports they access. Local Area Coordinators and Information, Linkages and Capacity Building activities help ensure people with disability can access mainstream and community services.

Australia’s aged care system is also undergoing progressive reform to support a growing population of older people with longer life expectancies. Reforms, including My Aged Care, promote greater choice and control for older people to determine and access care and reflect older people’s preference to remain in their home for as long as possible.

There is also an emphasis on social inclusion of older people, people with disability and people with lived experience of mental health issues. These groups have the same rights as others to participate in the community, exercise choice, access opportunities, have their inherent dignity respected, and live free from discrimination, abuse and neglect.  


Project examples

Click on any of the following projects for more information.

Talking Together evaluation

(NSW Fair Trading, 2018)

Talking Together evaluation

(NSW Fair Trading, 2018)

The NSW Department of Fair Trading was funded under the Information Linkages and Capacity building grants to co-deliver peer-facilitated information and education sessions to people with disability, their families and carers about their rights as consumers. This follows an initial Consumer Awareness Protection Initiative. ARTD was first engaged to develop a monitoring and evaluation framework that Fair Trading could continue to apply to consumer engagement and, subsequently, to evaluate both programs. For the Talking Together evaluation, we worked with peer researchers to interview Fair Trading, peer facilitators and partner organisations, as well as observe education sessions and conduct focus groups with participants. Our approach was tailored to the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse communities, Aboriginal communities, people with intellectual disability and people with psychosocial disability. We held a discussion forum with Fair Trading, peer facilitators and partner organisations to ensure the findings reflected diverse stakeholder experiences and perspectives. The final report provides Fair Trading with an assessment of the effectiveness and value of co-design and co-delivery that can inform decision-making about future use of these approaches.

Supported employment pathway mapping

(Department of Social Services, 2018)

Supported employment pathway mapping

(Department of Social Services, 2018)

ARTD, in consultation with Department of Social Services, the National Disability Insurance Agency and employment sector stakeholders, developed journey maps to illustrate the current employment journeys that people with disability, eligible for Disability Employment Services or National Disability Insurance Scheme employment supports, can take. The maps compare the journeys of people entering into school leaver supports, supported employment or open employment, and also focus on those exiting employment temporarily and permanently. The process began with a workshop with key stakeholders who collaboratively created draft pathways, focusing on key ‘touch points’ in the employment journeys and the associated actors, actions, barriers and opportunities along the way. Following the workshop, we drafted the journey maps and conducted follow-up stakeholder interviews to make refinements. We also consulted stakeholders for input regarding successful employment journeys to translate to case studies. Finally, we reviewed over 50 online submissions from key stakeholders to the Department of Social Services consultation on the future of supported employment, to identify further information about barriers and opportunities to employment. While the maps identify current employment pathways for people with disability in the National Disability Insurance Scheme, they also identify insights to inform the development of a future supported employment policy.

Strategic planning session – Ability Links NSW

(Department of Family and Community Services, 2018)

Strategic planning session – Ability Links NSW

(Department of Family and Community Services, 2018)

Funded by the NSW Department of Family and Community Services, Ability Links supports people with disability outside of specialist disability services to create community connections and access mainstream services. The 28 providers of the program are supported by an Advisory Committee consisting of representatives from providers and Ageing Disability and Home Care staff. ARTD developed a strategic plan, in consultation with the Committee, to guide their work in both the short- and long-term. Prior to the workshop we conducted a thorough document review and engaged in consultation with the Department. We then facilitated a strategic planning session in which the Committee members developed a clear vision for the future of the program, as well as six key priority areas to manage any changes and achieve this vision. Following this, we drafted the plan focusing on immediate, short term and longer-term (12 month) actions to achieving the priority areas. Using Adobe Illustrator, we also created an Ability Links ‘Model’ which can be used to articulate its value.

National Disability Insurance Scheme Workers and Service Providers Code of Conduct Guidelines review

(Department of Social Services, 2018)

National Disability Insurance Scheme Workers and Service Providers Code of Conduct Guidelines review

(Department of Social Services, 2018)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme Quality and Safeguarding Framework sets out a nationally consistent approach to empowering consumers to make informed choices and take control of their supports. A key element of the Framework is the National Disability Insurance Scheme Code of Conduct for workers and providers of disability services which is a legislative instrument that sits under the NDIS Act (2013) (Cth). Separate draft guidelines for workers and providers were developed by the Department of Social Services to provide direction on how the Code of Conduct should be followed. In early 2018, ARTD conducted a review and redraft of the two guidelines based on consultation conducted across Australia. We firstly reviewed already existing documented feedback from key stakeholders—non-government organisations, state and territory governments, peak bodies and unions—making revisions based on recommendations from the feedback as well as in consultation with Department of Social Services. We then facilitated a full-day workshop with key stakeholders to further refine the guidelines and develop scenarios for best practice. Following the workshop, we conducted further interviews with service providers. Finally, we ensured consistency between the two sets of guidelines and reviewed the language to ensure its clarity. As the Code of Conduct is binding upon registered disability service providers and their workers, the guidelines will assist in the maintenance of the Code and prevention of misconduct.

Dementia Australia monitoring and evaluation framework

(Dementia Australia, 2018)

Dementia Australia monitoring and evaluation framework

(Dementia Australia, 2018)

Dementia Australia formed as national organisation in 2018 and contracted ARTD to develop a Client Services Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and Strategy to ensure a consistent understanding of client services activities and intended outcomes among Dementia Australia staff. We used a capacity building approach to develop the Framework and Strategy to ensure knowledge could be transferred for use in future monitoring and evaluation activities. We held two workshops in which we worked collaboratively with the Client Services Leadership Team to develop and refine a logic model for client services, an outcomes matrix and the Strategy. We also developed client survey questions and an applicable response scale, that could be used consistently across Australia and all programs. The Framework and Strategy will assist Dementia Australia to provide consistent and effective client services to people with dementia, their families and carers across Australia.

Access Committee Workshop – Disability Inclusion Action Plan outcome measures

(Mosman Council , 2018)

Access Committee Workshop – Disability Inclusion Action Plan outcome measures

(Mosman Council , 2018)

Under the Disability Inclusion Act, all NSW councils are required to work with their communities to develop a Disability Inclusion Action Plan. In 2016 we worked with Mosman Council and their local community to develop their Plan. To work further on the outcome measures for their Disability Inclusion Action Plan, Mosman Council engaged ARTD to facilitate a half-day workshop with the Mosman Access Committee, and Mosman Mayor and Councillor. The workshop shed light on the ultimate desired outcomes in the Mosman Council area stemming from the implementation of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan, identified some ideas for data collection, and identified next steps for engaging people with disability and other community members, which Mosman Council can consider.

Amaze – Transition Support Funding Peer Support groups

(Amaze, 2017 – current)

Amaze – Transition Support Funding Peer Support groups

(Amaze, 2017 – current)

Amaze, the peak body for people on the Autism spectrum in Victoria, received Transition Support Funding in 2017 from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services to identify and work with a minimum of 16 new peer support groups in the remaining National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout areas. ARTD has created an outcome measurement framework aligned to the peer support group program logic model and has developed surveys for data collection. The framework captures various data including the number of groups and participants at each session, the uptake of resources, and participants’ understanding and confidence in NDIS planning, wellbeing, and community and mainstream connections both pre- and post-participation in the peer support group. ARTD will provide an analysis of the surveys at three time points in the project aligned with the three transition time points into the NDIS. Progressive analysis and reporting will ensure Amaze can learn from each transition to support future peer support group cohorts as the NDIS is further rolled out.

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Auditor Training

(Department of Social Services, 2018)

NDIS Quality and Safeguards Auditor Training

(Department of Social Services, 2018)

A new national approach to quality and safeguards is being progressively rolled out for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). ARTD partnered with experts in quality auditing, Engels and Floyd Associates, to refine and implement the first tranche of Approved Quality Auditor Training for auditors from accredited certification bodies through JAS-ANZ. Engels and Floyd Associates developed a training strategy, reviewed and revised the existing draft auditor training materials, and facilitated nine three-day training sessions across Sydney and Adelaide. ARTD provided project oversight and management, including arranging logistics and communications for the training and managing the online examination process. The training was essential to ensuring the National Disability Insurance Agency had a fully trained contingent of Auditors available from rollout of the new system in NSW and South Australia.

Ability Links NSW community development toolkit

(St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, 2018)

Ability Links NSW community development toolkit

(St Vincent de Paul Society NSW, 2018)

Ability Links NSW (ALNSW) is designed to support people with disability outside of specialist disability services. ARTD developed a community development toolkit for ALNSW providers and community organisations and champions, to celebrate ALNSW’s successes, guide future community development initiatives, and help sustain the impact on inclusion. We collated case studies of successful inclusion projects across NSW, and strategies, guidelines and tools that Linkers are using to support their work. We also ran three workshops across NSW to gather Linker’s learnings and top tips for working with different types of organisations—from schools and community centres to local businesses and councils—and different community groups, recognising the intersectional barriers to inclusion that exist. In addition, we included guidance on monitoring and evaluating community development initiatives of all scales. ARTD worked collaboratively with providers to ensure the toolkit was accessible, practical and reflected their experiences. We then conducted video interviews with Linkers, partnering with Crux Media, to promote and circulate the toolkit. You can access the toolkit and video here: https://www.abilitylinksnsw.org.au/resources.html.

Fairfield City Council’s Strategy on Ageing

(Fairfield City Council, 2018)

Fairfield City Council’s Strategy on Ageing

(Fairfield City Council, 2018)

ARTD were engaged by Fairfield City Council to develop and deliver an updated Strategy on Ageing. This updated strategy was informed by a series of consultative activities including focus groups, surveys and interviews with key internal and external stakeholders including community members and service providers, literature reviews of policies and trends relating to ageing populations, and analysis of census and other demographic data for the Fairfield local government area to understand current and expected future populations with relation to ageing people. The final report presented a summary of issues identified through the consultation process, and then outlined actions that Fairfield City Council will take to address issues in alignment with the priorities of its city plan. This report underwent a graphic design process ahead of public release.

Evaluation of the Ticket to Work program

(National Disability Services, 2018)

Evaluation of the Ticket to Work program

(National Disability Services, 2018)

The Ticket to Work program aims to improve employment outcomes for young people with disability (particularly intellectual disability) through engaging them in work preparation activities while they are still attending school. These activities include work experience, vocational training leading to qualifications, and employment preparation activities such as resume development. Following on from the evaluation of the Ticket to Work program pilot, ARTD were engaged to design and analyse surveys of current and former program participants, along with consultation activities with Ticket to Work partners. ARTD managed the development of updated survey instruments, and analysed data from the survey, making comparisons with existing studies of employment and lifestyle outcomes for similar cohorts using data from the Household, Income and Labour Dynamics survey, and the Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers. The three reports delivered by ARTD examined outcomes for three subgroups of respondents: participants from National Disability Insurance Scheme pilot sites, participants who have now left school, and participants who completed a process of customised employment.

Design, evaluation and monitoring of the Autism Support Line

(Amaze, 2017–19)

Design, evaluation and monitoring of the Autism Support Line

(Amaze, 2017–19)

ARTD initially worked with Amaze to redesign their Autism Advisor Service and Autism Information Line for the National Disability Insurance Scheme ecosystem. We then collaboratively developed a logic model, and monitoring and evaluation framework for the new Integrated Autism Information and Support Service. This included piloting targeted surveys for different user types sent at end of contact and at one month after contact to assess sustainability of outcomes. An initial evaluation identified improvements for the Service and refinement to the data collection processes. With ARTD’s support, Amaze was successful with an Information, Linkages and Capacity Building National Readiness Grant to pilot a Victorian Integrated Autism Information and Support Service with a plan for national expansion. The service provides free, independent, evidence-based and accessible autism-specific information and support for people with autism, their families and carers. Amaze is upgrading its IT and data systems to provide a multi-channel service. ARTD is working collaboratively with Amaze, the Autism Advisor team and the evaluation Steering Committee to help establish effective monitoring systems that enable automated reporting, including informing procurement of a new tech supplier with the requisite system capability to enable automated tailored surveys to different target groups, connected by individual ID to customer relationship management information, while ensuring respondent confidentiality. The evaluation will collect longitudinal data from service users to understand how the service changes individual trajectories.

Autism education strategy

(Amaze and Victorian Department of Education, 2017–18)

Autism education strategy

(Amaze and Victorian Department of Education, 2017–18)

Amaze, in consultation with the Victorian Department of Education and Training, is working with stakeholders on a strategy to support students with autism as part of the Government’s response to the review of the Program for Students with Disability. We began with a literature and policy scan, and scoping interviews, to develop a root cause analysis of the factors contributing to poorer educational and wellbeing outcomes for students with autism in Victorian schools. This established the way systems, the built and social environment, and the attitudes and behaviours of school staff, peers, parents and the broader community interact with the characteristics of autism to create barriers. Following this, we built consensus on the root cause analysis and the priorities to be addressed through a key stakeholder workshop. We then worked with stakeholders to develop a logic model and theory of change for the overall strategy and the strategies to address each identified priority area, and a framework for measuring outcomes. We are currently working with the Department to engage staff and stakeholders in finalising the strategy and establishing the monitoring and evaluation framework.

Autism Support Line (NDIS)

(Amaze, 2017)

Autism Support Line (NDIS)

(Amaze, 2017)

Since 2008, Amaze has provided the Autism Advisor Service as the gateway into the Helping Children with Autism Package for families of children with an autism diagnosis in Victoria. Amaze also provides an information support line, which has been combined with the Autism Advisor role. With the transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the operating environment for these services is changing. ARTD is working with Amaze to refine the service for the NDIS context and strengthen the evidence about outcomes. 

Kurrajong Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant application

(Kurrajong, 2017 – current)

Kurrajong Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant application

(Kurrajong, 2017 – current)

Kurrajong offers supports and services for people with disability in the Riverina and Murray regions of NSW. ARTD was engaged to support Kurrajong apply for National Disability Insurance Scheme Information, Linkages and Capacity Building funding for their Connect Program—a school-based peer support program connecting Year 12 students with disability to their peers without disability. ARTD is supporting Kurrajong to develop an evaluation framework and conduct an evaluation of the Program. This will include developing a program logic and outcomes framework, designing surveys for Kurrajong to distribute to students and teachers, developing interview guides for Charles Sturt University (CSU) students to use with students, training CSU students in interview skills, analysing the survey, interview and administration data collected, and report on findings. The final evaluation will inform improvements to the program implementation.

Kurrajong submission for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant

(Kurrajong , 2017)

Kurrajong submission for Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant

(Kurrajong , 2017)

Kurrajong offers supports and services for people with disability in the Riverina and Murray regions of NSW. ARTD was engaged to support Kurrajong to apply for a National Disability Insurance Scheme Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant for their Schools Connect Program—a school-based peer support program connecting students with disability to their peers without disability. The application was successful, and ARTD is now supporting Kurrajong to develop an evaluation framework and conduct an evaluation of the Program.

Review submission for Start Strong Pathways application

(Kurrajong, 2017)

Review submission for Start Strong Pathways application

(Kurrajong, 2017)

Kurrajong offers supports and services for people with disability in the Riverina and Murray regions of NSW. ARTD was engaged to support Kurrajong to apply for a National Disability Insurance Scheme Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant for their Start Strong Pathways application. ARTD worked collaboratively with staff to review and suggest ways of strengthening their Information, Linkages and Capacity Building applications and refine budgets in line with National Disability Insurance Agency expectations.

Younger Onset Dementia Project – Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant application

(Alzheimer’s Australia , 2017)

Younger Onset Dementia Project – Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant application

(Alzheimer’s Australia , 2017)

Alzheimer’s Australia (now Dementia Australia) offers supports and services for people with dementia across Australia. They applied for a National Disability Insurance Scheme Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant in 2017 to develop a Younger Onset Dementia Community Hub. Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grants are provided so that organisations create activities to provide information, linkages and referrals to the most up to date information and services, build the capacity of people with disability, increase community awareness of the needs of people with disability, and increase the competency of mainstream services to provide services for people with disability. ARTD worked collaboratively with Alzheimer’s Australia to review and suggest ways of strengthening their Information, Linkages and Capacity Building applications and refine budgets in line with National Disability Insurance Agency expectations. The application was successful, and the project is currently being rolled out, aiming to create an online hub of specific information, service maps and forums for the creation of local peer-support activities for people with younger onset dementia.

Fairfield Disability Inclusion Action Plan

(Fairfield City Council, 2017)

Fairfield Disability Inclusion Action Plan

(Fairfield City Council, 2017)

Under the Disability Inclusion Act, all NSW councils are required to work with their communities to develop a Disability Inclusion Action Plan.  We worked with Fairfield City Council and their local community to develop their Plan over four months in 2017. In Stage one, we consulted relevant council staff to review Council processes, services, facilities and information and identify key barriers and opportunities for improvement. In stage two, we consulted people with disability and their families and carers, and local service providers. For this, we developed an accessible registration process and consultation sessions (including working with bilingual workers for sessions in community languages), gave people unable to attend in person the option to provide written feedback and worked with our partner, the Information Access Group, to develop an Easy Read Consultation Guide. We then synthesised the findings into concrete actions to improve inclusion and access for people with disability in Fairfield City, working with Council managers to confirm these and indicators to track Council’s progress. In the final stage, we desktop published the plan and worked with the Information Access Group on an Easy Read version. The plan was launched by the Mayor and the NSW Government Disability Minister on 7 August 2017 and is available on the Council website, http://www.fairfieldcity.nsw.gov.au/corporateplans.

Family and Carer Mental Health Program Monitoring

(INforMH, 2017)

Family and Carer Mental Health Program Monitoring

(INforMH, 2017)

The Family and Carer Mental Health Program (FCMHP) aims to improve carers’ knowledge and skills so that they are better able to cope with caring for people with mental health issues. ARTD designed and piloted a monitoring and reporting system for the program. We were then engaged to maintain and develop the monitoring system, ensuring consistent measures for the client. The program monitoring assists with the management of compliance and contractual obligations and provides valuable data for program improvement and evaluation.

Recovery and Resource Services Program Monitoring

(InforMH, 2017)

Recovery and Resource Services Program Monitoring

(InforMH, 2017)

The Recovery and Resource Services Program (RRSP) supports people with a mental illness by improving access to community social, leisure and recreational opportunities, and vocational services. ARTD designed, piloted and implemented a data collection framework and monitoring system for the program. We have since provided six-monthly reporting at the individual service and state levels. The program monitoring assists with management of compliance and contractual obligations and provides valuable data for program improvement and evaluation.

State-wide autism strategy for schools

(Amaze, 2017)

State-wide autism strategy for schools

(Amaze, 2017)

Amaze, in consultation with the Victorian Department of Education and Training, is working to develop a strategy to support autistic students in response to the Government review of the Program for Students with Disability. ARTD was engaged to develop a theory of change and program logic model for improving educational and wellbeing outcomes for autistic students and an evaluation framework for measuring outcomes. The program logic model was based on a root cause analysis of the factors causing poorer educational and wellbeing outcomes for autistic students in Victorian schools. ARTD conducted a scan of literature and facilitated two workshops with key stakeholders to identify the causes and formulate potential strategies to address these. The final report will form the basis for developing an Autism Strategy for Victorian Schools, within the Government’s schools reform agenda.

Resources to grow specialist disability accommodation

(Frankston Peninsula Carers Inc., 2017)

Resources to grow specialist disability accommodation

(Frankston Peninsula Carers Inc., 2017)

Frankston Peninsular Carers (FPC) was established in 2007 to help address the significant needs for specialist disability accommodation in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula. After receiving funding through the Sector Development Fund, FPC engaged ARTD to develop a series of resources to increase the capacity of families of people with disability and interested community members to establish specialist disability accommodation (SDA) options and to attract the interest of potential funders and developers in SDA projects. ARTD consulted with the stakeholders involved in FPC’s housing projects and reviewed emerging NDIS policy to develop top tips, checklists, project profile and planning templates, guidance on Memoranda of Understanding, and case studies. These will be published on the FPC website later in 2017.

Formative Evaluation of the National Disability Service Innovation for High Performance Trial

(National Disability Services, 2016–2017)

Formative Evaluation of the National Disability Service Innovation for High Performance Trial

(National Disability Services, 2016–2017)

Innovation for high performance refers to practices to improve service delivery by encouraging the engagement and creativity of the workforce. They typically involve greater autonomy for frontline staff and in their most developed form ‘self-organising’ teams. In February 2016, National Disability Services offered members the chance to participate in a 10-month Community of Practice to trial and share learning around innovative practices for high performance, and thirteen disability service providers from across Australia took up the offer.

NDS engaged ARTD Consultants as monitoring, evaluation and learning facilitators for the project. This involved networking and information sharing activities (e.g. workshops, webinars and phone advice), developing resources/ templates to empower providers to plan and conduct their own evaluations, and developing a staff survey to benchmark drivers of innovative practices for high performance across organisations. ARTD was also tasked with synthesising learnings for implementing innovation for high performance practices that may be useful for other disability services providers. These lessons were communicated to providers and the sector through webinars and a report. A brief 10-item version of the staff survey is now available to the sector via NDS for providers to use for ongoing monitoring and evaluation.

Facilitation for Disability Employment Committee

(NSW Public Service Commission, 2016)

Facilitation for Disability Employment Committee

(NSW Public Service Commission, 2016)

The Disability Employment Advisory Committee (DEAC) advises the NSW Public Service Commission and the Secretary of the Department of Family and Community Services on next steps to improve outcomes for people with disability who are employed, or seeking employment, in the NSW government sector. A DEAC advisory sub-committee was established to provide expertise advice, as public service employees with disability, to the DEAC on strategies, with a focus on operational solutions and practical implementation. ARTD was engaged to facilitate a workshop with the recently formed DEAC sub-committee to assist the group in identifying how they will operate, and a plan of work going forward. We consulted with the Public Service Commission and the Chair of the sub-committee to understand their needs and priorities, including how to ensure the workshop would be accessible to committee members with physical, communication and sensory disabilities. The outcome of the facilitation was a work plan with agreed priority projects for the sub-committee to progress over the next 12 months. The work plan was supported by the DEAC and it being implemented. 

Dementia Friendly Communities Program

(Alzheimer’s Australia, 2016–2019)

Dementia Friendly Communities Program

(Alzheimer’s Australia, 2016–2019)

Alzheimer’s Australia has $3.9 million of funding to design and deliver the Dementia Friendly Communities (DFC) Program over the three years from 2016 to 2019. The DFC Program is currently in the design stage and is aiming to build better awareness, acceptance and understanding of dementia in the community. Alzheimer’s Australia has identified the overarching model, which includes a Hub, education sessions (Dementia Friends Program) and funding for selected communities (through the Community Engagement Program). The program design is continuing to be refined through a co-design process. ARTD has been engaged to provide evaluation advice, develop a DFC Program monitoring and evaluation framework, and conduct a 2018 interim evaluation and a final evaluation in 2019. A mix of quantitative and qualitative methods will be used in the evaluation including a literature scan, an analysis of program data, online participant surveys, and interviews with staff, people living with dementia and community leaders. The evaluation is informing the ongoing development of the program by assessing the effectiveness of program design, its implementation and its outcomes, particularly relating to the extent to which it improves target audiences’ understanding, capability, and confidence to advocate for, and apply dementia friendly practices.

Mosman Disability Inclusion Action Plan

(Mosman Council, 2016)

Mosman Disability Inclusion Action Plan

(Mosman Council, 2016)

Under the Disability Inclusion Act, all NSW councils are required to work with their communities to develop a Disability Inclusion Action Plan. We worked with Mosman Council and their local community to develop their Plan over five months in 2016. Stage 1 began with an initial disability awareness training session for Council managers, followed by mapping of Council processes, and a workshop to identify possible barriers and actions Council could take to address these. In Stage 2, we consulted with people with disability and their families and carers, members of the community, and local service providers that Council has capacity to collaborate with. For this, we developed an accessible registration process and consultation sessions, gave people unable to attend in person the option to provide written feedback and worked with our partner, the Information Access Group, to develop an Easy Read Consultation Guide. In the final stage, we synthesised the suggestions into concrete actions to improve inclusion and access for people with disability. We then confirmed the plan with Council managers and developed indicators to track progress.
Mosman’s plan and the Easy Read version are available here: http://www.mosman.nsw.gov.au/council/plans/disability-inclusion-action-plan/

Evaluation of the National Dementia Helpline

(National Dementia Helpline, 2016)

Evaluation of the National Dementia Helpline

(National Dementia Helpline, 2016)

The National Dementia Helpline and Referral Service (Helpline), which is funded by the Department of Social Services, is a free and confidential service, open to people with dementia and their families and carers, and health, allied health and aged care professionals. The Helpline delivery model changed in July 2015, when Alzheimer’s Australia NSW took on responsibility for managing the national service, replacing the previous model operated from each state and territory office. Alzheimer's Australia NSW commissioned ARTD to evaluate the first year of operation of the new model to inform any necessary improvements throughout the year and assess its effectiveness and efficiency.

ARTD began the evaluation with a review of the literature on helpline models to inform methods and assessment of the service and a scan of the service landscape to identify the Helpline’s distinct role in the context of aged care and disability service system reform. We then used administrative data to assess Helpline access and responsiveness; paper, phone and email surveys of Helpline users to assess satisfaction; and follow-up interviews conducted by Helpline counsellors to both support and assess outcomes. We also surveyed and conducted interviews with Helpline staff and key contacts in Alzheimer’s Australia state and territory offices to assess internal management and operations. Interim reporting informed ongoing refinements to service delivery. The final report informed decision-making about the future of the model.

Sector Development Fund Analysis and Reporting

(Department of Social Services, 2016)

Sector Development Fund Analysis and Reporting

(Department of Social Services, 2016)

The Sector Development Fund (SDF) was established to support the transition to the NDIS. It funds activities to support people with disability and their families and carers, and service providers, to understand and effectively transition to the NDIS. It also funds activities to support the significant growth required in the workforce to meet demand through the NDIS and the development of person-centred, inclusive and innovative support models and a flourishing market of disability supports. ARTD was engaged to analyse the projects funded to date to identify progress in achieving SDF outcomes and learnings to inform future SDF investment across SDF priority areas.

ARTD produced public profiles of over 50 SDF projects to increase the reach of SDF resources and ensure learnings inform future NDIS transition supports, available on the NDIS website: https://www.ndis.gov.au/sdf.html.

Alzheimer’s Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program NDIS Transition

(Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, 2016)

Alzheimer’s Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program NDIS Transition

(Alzheimer’s Australia NSW, 2016)

Alzheimer’s Australia’s Younger Onset Dementia Key Worker Program was established in 2013 to support people with younger onset dementia, a population that has often fallen between the cracks of the aged care and disability service systems. The Program was initially block-funded through the Department of Social Services, but is transitioning into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). We worked with Alzheimer’s Australia to identify the key elements of the Program and how these align with NDIS Package items, and Information, Linkages and Capacity Building activities as well as identifying strategic directions for the service of the competitive market. We also worked with the organisation to strengthen data collection so that they can communicate the value of the service and manage the transition from block funding to payment for service on invoice. 

Monitoring system for Families Mental Health Support Services

(Department of Social Services, 2014)

Monitoring system for Families Mental Health Support Services

(Department of Social Services, 2014)

Families Mental Health Support Services aims to improve mental health outcomes for children and young people, and their families. ARTD was engaged to develop a performance framework and monitoring system for the family mental health early intervention program. We designed and implemented an online data transfer and reporting system for all funded services. Initially, the Department used the system to monitor progress with implementation; later to establish outputs and client outcomes. As it was designed to be flexible, the system allowed DSS to effectively monitor the new program with emergent models of service delivery.

Evaluation of the Client Monitoring and Review System

(Department of Family and Community Services, 2015-16)

Evaluation of the Client Monitoring and Review System

(Department of Family and Community Services, 2015-16)

The Client Monitoring and Review System was established in July 2011 to facilitate the identification, escalation and independent review of clients with disability who presented challenges for Districts and Programs to manage. Prior to this, there was no single system to identify complex cases or provide guidance on appropriate responses and how these should be monitored and measured. ARTD has been engaged to evaluate the System to assess the extent to which it is an effective approach to complex client management and the extent to which it can be transferred to an NDIS context. We are using a mixed-methods approach, drawing on existing data recorded as part of the Independent Advisory Panel review and client monitoring processes and collecting new data from staff, Panel members and clients and their families through surveys and interviews. In the final stage, we will consult with staff, other government agencies and non-government organisations in the Hunter to identify key considerations in transferring the model, or aspects of it, to the NDIS environment.

Evaluation of the National Dementia and Referral Service Helpline

(Alzheimer's Australia)

Evaluation of the National Dementia and Referral Service Helpline

(Alzheimer's Australia)

The National Dementia Helpline and Referral Service (Helpline), which is funded by the Department of Social Services, is a free and confidential service, open to people with dementia, their families and carers and health, allied health and aged care professionals. The Helpline delivery model changed in July 2015, when Alzheimer’s Australia NSW took on responsibility for managing the national service, replacing the previous model operated from each state and territory office. Alzheimer's Australia NSW commissioned ARTD to evaluate the first year of operation of the new model to inform any necessary adjustments or improvements throughout the year and assess its effectiveness and efficiency.

ARTD began the evaluation with a review of the literature on helpline models to inform methods and assessment of the service, and a scan of the service landscape in which the Helpline is operating to identify its distinct role in the aged care and disability service systems, which are undergoing significant reform. The review is drawing on administrative data to assess the reach of the Helpline and timeliness of responses to calls and emails and collecting new data through interviews with staff from the Helpline staff and Alzheimer’s Australia state and territory offices (which receive referrals from the Helpline) and phone and email surveys of those who receive support from the Helpline, including people with dementia and memory issues. Interim reporting is informing ongoing refinements to service delivery and the final report, due in August 2016, will inform Government decision-making about ongoing funding.

Evaluation of the Recovery and Resources program for people with a mental health problem

(Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office, 2014)

Evaluation of the Recovery and Resources program for people with a mental health problem

(Mental Health and Drug & Alcohol Office, 2014)

The Recovery and Resources Program aimed to increase the capacity of non-government organisations to support people with a mental illness to access mainstream opportunities and vocational and educational services. ARTD conducted a process and outcomes evaluation of the program. We used a mixed-method design, including an analysis of monitoring data, semi-structured interviews with 9 senior program stakeholders, an online survey of 46 program staff and 66 referral agency staff, and case studies of 9 sites (which included semi-structured interviews with 33 consumers, 28 program staff, 18 referral agency staff). The evaluation provided evidence for decisions about the future funding of the program.

Consultation on NDIS quality and safeguards

(Department of Social Services, 2015)

Consultation on NDIS quality and safeguards

(Department of Social Services, 2015)

The NDIS represents a major change to how services are funded and delivered. It requires a new national approach to quality and safeguarding to ensure consistency across states and territories and replace quality and safeguarding measures currently managed through state-based legislation and funding agreements between providers and government agencies. Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments are developing a national approach to quality and safeguarding for the NDIS. Because this represents a significant regulatory policy, with the potential to impact on businesses, community organisations and individuals, they need to prepare a Regulation Impact Statement, which involves consultations and a cost-benefit analysis of a range of potential options. ARTD managed the public and provider consultation—organising and facilitating a series of meetings in capital cities and regional locations in all states and territories. We worked with venues, Auslan interpreters, hearing loop suppliers and others to ensure the public meetings were accessible to people with disability, as well as their families and carers, service providers, peak bodies and other representatives. At the end of the consultation period, we synthesised the findings from all consultation mechanisms (an online forum, provider workshops, targeted workshops and formal submissions) to inform decision-making. Following this, we facilitated a workshop between representatives from Commonwealth and State and Territory Government agencies on directions for the Framework.

Review of the Principles for managing the intersects between the NDIS and mainstream sectors

(Department of Social Services, 2014-15)

Review of the Principles for managing the intersects between the NDIS and mainstream sectors

(Department of Social Services, 2014-15)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Act 2013 and the NDIS Rules provide the legislative framework for decision-making about the reasonable and necessary supports to be funded for NDIS participants. The Principles to Determine the Responsibilities of the NDIS and Other Service Systems and Applied Principles and Tables of Supports for the eleven mainstream interfaces were established to clarify when supports should be funded by the NDIS and when they should be funded by mainstream services. ARTD was engaged to support a review of the Applied Principles and Tables of Supports based on initial experiences in trial sites. We analysed documented feedback, facilitated a series of national workshops (by telepresence) with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and relevant government agency representatives from all jurisdictions on each mainstream interface, and interviewed other stakeholders. Following the workshops, we developed summary reports on the mainstream interfaces and circulated these for further input. A final workshop confirmed directions and informed our final report, which outlined key findings and evidence-based recommendations for the next steps, as well as detailed suggestions for individual items in each of the mainstream interfaces. The report was used to inform the refinement of policy for the mainstream interfaces.

Evaluation of the Focus on Early Childhood Inclusion project

(Early Childhood Intervention Australia (NSW Chapter) Inc., 2014-15)

Evaluation of the Focus on Early Childhood Inclusion project

(Early Childhood Intervention Australia (NSW Chapter) Inc., 2014-15)

The Focus on Early Childhood Inclusion project is a capacity-building project for the early childhood sector, which aims to improve the inclusion of children with disability in their home, early childhood services and the community. ARTD was engaged to develop an evaluation framework and plan for the project, working closely with ECIA NSW, the project steering committee, and representatives from the NSW Department of Family and Community Services (the funding agency). We first agreed on a program logic, identifying the project’s short- and long-term outcomes, then developed an evaluation framework and plan based on this.

ARTD was subsequently commissioned to undertake a formative and impact evaluation of the two-year project. The evaluation includes interviews and discussions with key stakeholders, including early childhood intervention services, early childhood education centres, pre-schools, program staff, regional representatives from ADHC, and families of young children with disability. We also undertook two state-wide surveys of early childhood intervention services. Reporting will support ECIA NSW to review and improve its delivery of the program as required and support ECIA and ADHC to assess the extent to which the project met its objectives.

Options for Home Care intake and assessment during transition to major system reforms

(Home Care Service of NSW, 2014)

Options for Home Care intake and assessment during transition to major system reforms

(Home Care Service of NSW, 2014)

The Home Care Service is the largest provider of home-based community care services to older people and people with disability and their carers in NSW. The Referral and Assessment Centre manages the majority of intake and assessment for the service; the Aboriginal Access and Assessment Team manages intake and assessment for Aboriginal Home Care. In March 2014, ARTD was engaged to review the options for Home Care intake and assessment during the transition to the national Aged Care Gateway and the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We reviewed policy documentation and consulted with stakeholder groups to develop options and criteria for assessing their appropriateness and viability. We then prepared a discussion paper and workshopped the options with key stakeholders. Our final report provided recommendations to inform the management of intake and assessment for Home Care over the transition period.

Review of the performance framework for the Disability Employment Assistance Program

(Department of Social Services, 2014)

Review of the performance framework for the Disability Employment Assistance Program

(Department of Social Services, 2014)

In 2012, the Disability Employment Assistance section in the Department of Social Services identified the need for a new set of performance indicators for Australian Disability Enterprises to prepare them for the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, which will change the way services receive funding. In March 2014, when the new performance indicators had been in place for about 18 months, ARTD was engaged to conduct a post-implementation review. We assessed the performance indicators and their implementation to date through a review of key documents, analysis of current performance data, interviews with staff in the Disability Employment Assistance section and contract managers, and a survey of Australian Disability Enterprises. The final report included a refined performance framework for possible inclusion in future funding agreements and advice on the use of targets, benchmarking, and communication of the refined framework and monitoring results.

Evaluation of Cultural Diversity Strategic Framework

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

Evaluation of Cultural Diversity Strategic Framework

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

Under the NSW Multicultural Policies and Services Program, government agencies and statutory bodies are required to submit multicultural plans to the Community Relations Commission and deliver annual reports on implementation. ARTD evaluated Ageing, Disability and Home Care’s plan for 2010–13. We analysed administrative data and consulted with the agency’s internal and external advisory committees, staff in different regions and representatives of funded services. Our report identified implications for how future plans should be structured, actions to be used to support cultural diversity, implementation supports to be provided, and data required for future evaluation.

Evaluation of place-based planning for disability services

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

Evaluation of place-based planning for disability services

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

The Sector Planning Framework was introduced in 2012 to shift ADHC from centrally-driven, program-based planning towards place-based planning that directly responds to the needs of people with a disability, their families and carers. ARTD was engaged to design and conduct a statewide evaluation over three years in partnership with ADHC staff in all regions to build their capacity for monitoring and evaluation and inform ongoing development and implementation of the Framework. To design the evaluation, ARTD worked with staff using teleconferences and videoconferences. We then continued to work with local staff to collect data through teleconferences and face-to-face meetings. Stage 1 of the evaluation focused on initial implementation, and used a literature scan, survey of regional staff, interviews, and case studies in four communities. The interim report identified key learnings about the introduction of the community-based approach to planning. In 2014 ADHC ended implementation of the Framework because reforms warranted a new FACS-wide approach, and the evaluation ended.

Review of Ability Links NSW Hunter Procurement Projects

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

Review of Ability Links NSW Hunter Procurement Projects

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

Ability Links provides people with disability, their families and carers a locally-based first point of contact to help them connect with supports and services in their communities; and supports communities to become more inclusive. It is a new service model being rolled out in the context of transition to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. ARTD was engaged to review ADHC’s procurement processes for the Generalist and Aboriginal services in the Hunter, focusing on the innovative components of the process, including the Ability Links NSW Taskforce recommendations. We used a desktop analysis of key documents and interviews with the Ability Links team in FACS. The review found the innovative processes were effective and will inform future procurement at FACS and in the broader human services sector.

Evaluation of Unit Costing and Cash Flow projects

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

Evaluation of Unit Costing and Cash Flow projects

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2014)

Deloitte was funded to develop a range of financial management tools and resources to assist not-for-profit disability service providers to transition from block funding to individualised funding. ARTD was engaged to conduct two evaluations: one of the unit costing tools and resources and one of the cash flow analysis products. We attended steering committee meetings, analysed data collected by Deloitte and interviewed key stakeholders, including service providers involved in piloting the products. The findings supported decision-making about the usefulness of the products for different providers, as well as how best to disseminate them. 

Retirement pilot program for Australian Disability Enterprises evaluation

(Department of Social Services, 2012)

Retirement pilot program for Australian Disability Enterprises evaluation

(Department of Social Services, 2012)

ARTD evaluated a small-scale pilot of transition to retirement programs for older employees with disabilities in two Australian Disability Enterprises operating in regional Australia. The pilot provided an opportunity for FaHCSIA to understand and more comprehensively document the retirement and ageing issues of Australian Disability Enterprise employees, and to determine the capacity of Australian Disability Enterprises to assist in retirement planning and the capacity of communities to include older people with disability in mainstream activities.

Evaluation of Community Asset Building Project

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2013-14)

Evaluation of Community Asset Building Project

(NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2013-14)

The Community Asset Building project was offered by a not-for-profit community development financial institution (Foresters Community Finance) to support the non-government sector in NSW prepare for person-centred approaches and changing funding mechanisms. ARTD conducted an evaluation to explore the effectiveness of the project in increasing awareness of alternative forms of finance and the benefits of community asset building. We used two online surveys and follow-up telephone interviews to explore the experiences of participating organisations. Based on the findings, ARTD advised ADHC on the soundness of this approach for non-government organisations interested in asset development.

Development of best practice model for diagnosis support

(Ageing, Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2012-13)

Development of best practice model for diagnosis support

(Ageing, Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2012-13)

The time of a child‘s identification as at risk of diagnosis with disability can be an emotional one  for families as they struggle to come to terms with what it means for them, identify and access the services they need, and develop natural supports. Ageing, Disability and Home Care’s EarlyStart–Diagnosis Support Program was established to meet the needs of families around this time. In 2012, after the program had been operating for three years, ARTD reviewed the program model in light of emerging research evidence, the experience of initial implementation, and the evolving policy context, in particular the transition toward the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The first step was a scan of the available literature on diagnosis support and a report on service models, outlining implications for the program. Next, we consulted with service providers, families and other stakeholders and provided a second report, which identified how existing program delivery compared with the research evidence and how it fit in the emerging policy context, and made recommendations for refining the program model. In the final stage, we worked with staff in the Directorate and service providers to develop a logic and outcomes framework for the program and a Practice and Induction Package to support consistent and effective delivery of the program across NSW and continuous improvement.

Evaluation of Ageing Disability and Home Care's Sector Planning Framework

(Ageing Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2013-16)

Evaluation of Ageing Disability and Home Care's Sector Planning Framework

(Ageing Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2013-16)

The Sector Planning Framework was introduced in 2012 to shift ADHC from centrally-driven, program-based planning towards place-based planning that directly responds to the needs of people with a disability, their families and carers. In February 2013 ADHC  commissioned ARTD to design and conduct  a state-wide evaluation over three years. The project was in partnership with ADHC staff to build their capacity for monitoring and evaluation and inform ongoing development. Stage 1 focused on initial implementation, and used a literature scan, survey of regional staff, interviews, and case studies of implementation in four communities. The interim report identified key learnings about the introduction of the community-based approach to planning. In 2014 ADHC discontinued implementation of the Framework because the many reforms warranted a new FACS-wide approach, and the evaluation finished.

Research into the employment experience of people with disability in the NSW public sector

(Ageing, Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2012-2013)

Research into the employment experience of people with disability in the NSW public sector

(Ageing, Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2012-2013)

EmployABILITY: A strategy to increase the employment opportunities for people with a disability in the NSW public sector 2010-2013 sets out the NSW Government’s strategic intent to increase employment opportunities for people with a disability in the NSW public sector. ARTD conducted research with employees with disability, their managers and HR staff to provide a better understanding of the experience of people with disability employed in the NSW public sector. We used a case study approach, recruiting participants from six units within six NSW Government agencies. To protect their privacy, employees with a disability were able to register their interest in being interviewed for the research through an online system and decide whether or not we could interview their manager. This research was part of a broader project the Public Service Commission and Ageing, Disability and Home Care used to inform policies and practices for people with a disability in the NSW public sector.

Evaluation framework for new approach for disability service providers

(National Disability Services, 2013)

Evaluation framework for new approach for disability service providers

(National Disability Services, 2013)

The Person-Centred Approaches Program aims to move all NSW disability services toward a person-centred approach in line with the goals of Stronger Together 2 and the principles for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. ARTD was engaged to develop an evaluation framework for the program. Using a review of documents and a workshop with stakeholders, we developed a program logic, then used this as the basis for a monitoring and evaluation for the next three years.

Evaluation of four intervention models for children with autism and their families

(Aging Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2012)

Evaluation of four intervention models for children with autism and their families

(Aging Disability and Home Care, NSW Department of Family and Community Services, 2012)

The Directorate funds four early childhood intervention programs for children with autism (aged up to six years) and their families. These differ in philosophical orientation, delivery and intervention focus, but are based on best practice principles and have the same key components. Over two years, ARTD conducted a process and outcomes evaluation focused on comparing the outcomes for children across the four programs, as well as their cost effectiveness. ARTD interviewed parents, held focus groups with program staff and analysed service data. We built logistic regression models to explain the variance in children’s outcomes on the basis of program and child characteristics. ARTD’s work provided the Directorate with information to inform decisions about the future direction of programs for children with autism and their families.

Three-year evaluation of national package for children with autism

(Department of Social Services, 2009-12)

Three-year evaluation of national package for children with autism

(Department of Social Services, 2009-12)

The Helping Children with Autism Package is a $190 million Commonwealth Government funded initiative designed to improve support, education and access to best practice early intervention services for children with autism and their families. In 2008, we worked with Department stakeholders to design a logic model for the package components they manage. This provided the basis for the evaluation framework.

In 2009, we were commissioned to deliver the evaluation in three phases—initial process evaluation, mid-term review, and outcomes evaluation—over three years. This approach enabled the evaluation to inform the development of the package during key stages of growth. All three phases of the evaluation included surveys and interviews with key stakeholder groups (families with children registered for the package, approved early intervention providers, autism advisors and diagnosticians) and an analysis of monitoring data.

The first phase focused on assessing design and initial implementation. It included consultation with representatives of professional associations and a scan of the literature on early intervention for children with autism to assess the quality and scope of available research, identify major gaps in the evidence for interventions, and identify areas for future research (e.g. on treatment mediators and moderators and participant variables) and methodological considerations.

The final evaluation focused on outcomes. It included research with families identified as facing additional barriers to access in previous phases—those from Aboriginal and culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and those in regional and remote areas. The final report drew together data from all stakeholder groups across the three years to assess the package’s impact on access to best practice early intervention and contribution to improved outcomes for children and families. It also provided recommendations for improving delivery. ARTD work-shopped recommendations related to their role with autism advisors to define next steps. The Department has responded to other recommendations. ARTD and the Department presented on the findings and management response to recommendations at the 2012 PsychDD conference in Sydney and these are published on the Department’s website.

Evaluation of framework for data collection from mental health consumers

(NSW Consumer Advisory Group - Mental Health Inc., 2012-13)

Evaluation of framework for data collection from mental health consumers

(NSW Consumer Advisory Group - Mental Health Inc., 2012-13)

The MH-CoPES Framework was developed to support NSW inpatient and community mental health services collect feedback from consumers for service improvement. ARTD evaluated the initial two-year implementation period to assess its effectiveness from service and consumer perspectives and inform future directions. We used a staged, mixed-methods approach to data collection. The first step was an online survey of all participating mental health services in NSW. Based on the findings, we purposively selected eight services as case study sites. At these services, we interviewed service managers, staff, consumer workers and consumers to understand enablers and barriers to implementation and outcomes. We also consulted with the Statewide Implementation Group and other key stakeholders. The final report made recommendations for improving the framework and its implementation.  We presented the findings to the NSW Mental Health Program Council and the final report was published on the NSW Consumer Advisory Group website.

Evaluation of perinatal depression screening in NSW

(Mental Health Kids, NSW Department of Health 2011-13)

Evaluation of perinatal depression screening in NSW

(Mental Health Kids, NSW Department of Health 2011-13)

The National Perinatal Depression Initiative 2008–13 aimed to improve the prevention and early detection of perinatal depression through screening, and to improve support for new and expectant mothers who are experiencing perinatal depression. ARTD conducted a two-year evaluation of perinatal depression screening in NSW to identify the factors that contribute to successful implementation of screening for depression and psychosocial risk among pregnant women and new mothers. The evaluation assessed the extent to which perinatal depression screening has been implemented in NSW Maternity Units and Child and Family Health Services. The focus of the assessment was: use of the Edinburgh Depression Scale (EDS) and SAFE START psychosocial assessment questions; taking a multidisciplinary approach to supporting women identified as at risk; implementation of Multidisciplinary Case Discussion meetings; and coordinated care planning and follow-up to support vulnerable women.  We conducted an online survey of antenatal and child and family health teams implementing the screening across NSW, site visits to 16 antenatal and child and family health services, and interviews with key stakeholders and service providers. The findings were disseminated to stakeholders and used to review guidelines for screening for depression and psychosocial risk in NSW.