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Evaluation of the integrated service centre pilot project

In 2005, an Across-Government Working Party on Settlement Issues for African Humanitarian Entrants(the Working Party) was established by the then Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Interests, the Honourable Bob Kucera MLA (OMI, n.d.).

Chaired by the Honourable Margaret Quirk MLA, the aims of the Working Party were to identify emerging settlement issues of significance for African entrants in Western Australia; propose strategies to address these needs; and enhance communication and co-ordination of service delivery.

The Working Party identified a range of gaps in service delivery. Improvements were recommended in the areas of initial settlement, mental and physical health, education and training, family support and community development.

In May 2006, State Cabinet noted the report of the Working Party. The final report recommended that the project offer “an holistic health and education program, including orientation and cultural transition support, provided by trained professionals”. It also stated that the proposed project should “relieve some of the pressures on mainstream services, increase accessibility and use of services, and ensure language needs are understood and accommodated…[as well as] promote partnerships and links between relevant agencies and service providers”.

On the basis of this report a decision was made to trial, as a Pilot Project, the establishment of integrated service centres (ISC) based in schools. The objectives of the ISC pilot project were to:

  • address the need for access to the types of services provided by the IHSS beyond the current period of eligibility for that program, in particular, those services that are most critical in meeting the most immediate and urgent settlement needs of clients;
  • provide an integrated and co-ordinated model of service delivery to clients;
  • increase the accessibility and utilisation of existing services by humanitarian entrants;
  • promote partnerships and links with other agencies and service providers involved in the settlement of humanitarian entrants; and
  • provide a welcoming environment for ISC clients of all ages.

The purposes of the evaluation were to:

  • ascertain the extent to which the pilot project had been able to achieve its outcomes;
  • identify barriers to achievement of outcomes; and
  • recommend changes to the program which will enhance its success.

Summary of findings

The evaluation found that the pilot project had achieved its intended major objectives. In some areas, the pilot project was a ‘victim of its own success’. The process of evaluation found that the project addressed unmet needs not previously acknowledged, and in the process caused staff workloads to increase.

The evaluation identified areas of difficulty in the project and made recommendations as to how these difficulties might be addressed.


Researchers

Dr Susanne Bahn
Associate Professor Trudi Cooper
Dr Peter Hancock

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