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The Family Partnership Model in practice in New South Wales: Working with families with complex needs to make a difference

Learning points

The success of embedding FPM at Karitane raises a number of points of wider relevance:

  1. Changes oriented towards co-production benefit from being linked to specific, conceptually rigorous, and where available, research-based statements of values and the appropriate skills and practices that will allow these values to be put into effect. The FPM exemplifies this and is relevant across a range of health and welfare services for families and young people.
  2. Investments in workforce development should be aligned with specific models of practice; education can be framed so as to tap into existing values and professional commitments, e.g. around a shared desire to deliver positive outcomes.
  3. Cultural change in organisational practices needs to span across all horizontal sections of the organisation, as well as vertically down through it, and is supported when all staff, including all types of professionals, can embark on a journey of change together.
  4. Organisations may need to provide ongoing support (in this case it was through clinical supervision) after training is completed.
  5. Change must permeate practices and not be confined to novel additions to everyday work; this was seen in the relationship-focused nature of handover and case conferences at Karitane.
  6. There is a risk that the pendulum can swing from dominance of the professional, to weak professionalism. FPM, and co-production more widely cannot be reduced to simply ‘being nice’ to service users; outcomes achieved at Karitane rely on professionals using their expertise to support, guide and challenge parents.
  7. Changes dominated by a focus on cost saving and efficiency may lose sight of the longer-term benefits that flow from high quality services. Triggering sustained change may require initial and on-going investment. However, working differently may result from qualitative changes without needing increases or reductions in staffing levels, intensity of workload etc.
  8. The impacts of partnership may be hard to capture in solely economic and other quantitative measures. Identifying the benefits of engaging with citizens differently is likely to require a mix of qualitative and quantitative, short and medium-term measures.
About this case study
Main Contact

Karen Willcocks 
Clinical Nurse Consultant at Karitane

Email:
Karen.Willcocks
@sswahs.nsw.gov.au

 

Nick Hopwood 
University of Technology, Sydney

Email:
nick.hopwood@uts.edu.au

Nick Hopwood, Roger Dunston and Teena Clerke wrote this case study for Governance International on 26 April 2013.

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