Embedding evidence in a service delivery organisation
To improve outcomes for families using Wanslea Family Services by embedding evidence-informed skills and practices into the organisation’s fabric.
Who we worked with
Our funder and key partner in this work was Wanslea Family services, not-for-profit organisation working with families and children in Western Australia in areas such as family support, out-of-home care and child care.
What we did
We developed a long-term collaboration with Wanslea. Together with its organisational leaders we assessed what was working and what needed to change. We then built a framework for practice that created strong foundations for the organisation to:
- support staff in using evidence-informed practices and increasing skills
- ensure that any new ways of working were sustainable
- show whether the changes were making a real difference to families.
While the framework was informed by evidence, it also took into account the Wanslea context and the ‘practice wisdom’ of those working in the organisation. And building it together in an interactive way paved the way to successfully implement organisational change.
The practice framework has influenced all aspects of the organisation. The impact has been felt from recruitment and induction to ongoing staff training and performance development, protocols for reviewing cases, data collection, decision-support systems and leadership practices.
It has helped staff at Wanslea to better assess family needs. As a result, they are using this information to help parents set goals and choose evidence-informed ways of meeting them.
We gave – and continue to give – considerable attention to two key things. One is ‘seeing through’ the framework’s implementation and the other is overcoming the inevitable barriers that arise when adopting a new way of working.
“Implementing evidence-based practice into the daily life of an organisation never stops,” says Pauline Dixon, Wanslea’s Executive Manager of Family Services.
“We’ve become much more aware of the impact of all stakeholders on the journey with us. Those external to the organisation and all those who continue to work with us. This long-term collaboration with the Parenting Research Centre has fundamentally changed the way we do our business. We can’t imagine functioning in the future the way we functioned before embarking on this journey of change.”