Forum Case Studies and Podcasts

Public purpose work – the future in action

The case studies show that public service can work differently, has worked differently. We can do more of it, we will do more of it. But more power to Toowoomba and Cairns for getting on and doing – Robert Setter (then IPAA Queensland President, and Public Service Commission Chief Executive).  

The two inspiring case studies featured at the Annual Forum, Delivering public purpose work in the next economy, were the:

Toowoomba Housing Hub – presented by Rodney Watton (Lifeline, Darling Downs), Helen McGrath (Toowoomba Housing Hub) and Simon King (Housing and Public Works)

Cairns Safer Streets – presented by Nick O’Brien (Police Service) and Riley Myles (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships).

These case studies were an encouraging testament that the future of public purpose service delivery is already here!

What the two case studies reminded people was that this is a conversation – about public values, partnerships, community outcomes – that’s not just a conversation. This is beginning to infect the way that public service works in this state in a very good way and is changing the nature of the way we use the resources and the assets and the expertise in the public sector to connect with other resources and assets in the community for big, big important public outcomes. The case studies provided some very clear messages about how to do that and how to do it wellMartin Stewart-Weeks (Forum MC, and Principal, Public Purpose)

A very inspiring and reassuring set of case studies … and the focus on what is really a movement that seems to be challenging the orthodoxies of the way we work and the way we resource as public sector leaders. The focus for me was on that intersection of civic leadership within the public sector with the role of community-led innovation and action from the both bottom up … but also top down … helping grow what will ultimately be solutions that can scale Michael Eales (Forum panellist and MD, Business Models Inc Australia)

About the Toowoomba Housing Hub (THH)

Opening its doors in August 2018, the THH is two things:

  1. a place – a one stop shop with no wrong door (clients tell their story only once) in a convenient location where people can access support, and
  2. a space – where community organisations and government agencies work together (in one location) to end homelessness.

The aim of the THH is to achieve better outcomes for people with complex lives by building a better system to support them, one which puts people at the centre. The hub assists anyone in need, although primarily people in housing stress, recognising that housing issues are often borne of other issues and circumstances so clients may need support in other areas besides housing. Clients typically have complex needs and so require tailored solutions.

Guiding principles include person-centred delivery and practice, partnering with customers and service providers, co-designed solutions, and continuous improvement through a Build / Test / Learn approach. Multiple service providers use the hub, including core partners – Housing and Public Works and eight community organisations, such as Lifeline, YellowBridge, and the Red Cross.

Hub partners are fundamentally changing the way they lead staff, engage with customers, manage resources and deliver services – for the benefit of improved housing and support outcomes for people.

To view the podcast with Rodney Watton, click here.


About Cairns Safer Streets (CSS)

The CSS initiative began in 2013 as a collaborative, cross-agency approach to address a range of community safety and crime issues in Cairns. After some early success, a year later CSS shifted its focus to youth offending and community safety in West Cairns.

The vision – to improve community safety and wellbeing in West Cairns through community and whole-of-government partnerships. The objectives – to:

  1. reduce rates of youth re-offending
  2. prevent offending by young people
  3. connect communities and enhance liveability

The CSS connects young people who are at risk of re-offending to supports that reinforce positive and healthy behaviours; works with families of youth who are at heightened risk of involvement with the criminal justice system to divert them away from offending, and works with community and partners to develop a place-based, collaborative approach to improve connectedness, liveability and equality.

The CSS project team brings together staff from across multiple agencies, including Police; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships; Child Safety, Youth and Women; Housing and Public Works; Youth Justice; Education; and Sport and Recreation.

Significantly, the project team is a co-located, full-time work group which enables them to harness the diversity of capabilities and perspectives to develop and implement innovative strategies to reduce re-offending. In support of a shared purpose, the team and their partners are working differently and delivering services differently to achieve better outcomes for young people, their families and communities.

To view the podcast with Riley Myles, click here.