Trialling teams and new contexts


We know that what most people want is to be supported by reliable, appropriately skilled workers who have the flexibility to respond to service user needs and their day to day choices. Yet often the reality looks very different – a revolving door of workers, rigid rostering systems and detailed procedures that make adjustments difficult or impossible.

A suite of projects is challenging this paradigm by redesigning support roles and introducing teamwork arrangements. Arrangements vary between projects but share features such as greater worker autonomy in decision-making to meet the needs of service users. The projects range across large services (Avivo) down to boutique providers (Community Living Project) and also reflect a variety of geographic locations including regional and rural settings (Amicus and Parkside).

There are another two projects in this group (Achieve and Synapse) where new physical contexts are demanding different models of service provision and ways of working. Achieve's project explores work and job design issues associated with locating clients in a new salt and pepper housing estate. This project looks for answers to questions such as 'how has this changed the support needed by residents?' and 'what does this mean for the role and skills of support workers?' Likewise, Synapse's project designs and tests a novel, positive service model in a residential rehabilitation facility established for Aboriginal people in Cairns. 

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What we found

  • What motivated providers to test a new operating model?
  • To what extent did the approaches have the anticipated effects?
  • What change occurred at all levels of the organisation in job design, skills development and management?
  • Did the changes align with the existing industrial framework?
  • What other conditions are needed for the new models to have the best chance of working well?


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Achieve Australia

Project: Beyond the Group Home - a high rise independent living arrangement on workers, ser...

This project evaluated the impact of a high rise independent living arrangement on workers, service-users and jobs.

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Amicus Group Inc

Project: Trialling self-directed teams in rural and remote service delivery areas

This project trialled self-directed teams in rural and remote service delivery areas in order to meet the aims of the NDIS for the benefit of parti...

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Avivo: Live Life

Project: Working Locally

This project demonstrated how self-managing teams can provide timely, flexible and high quality services to NDIS, and how a traditional service pro...

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Greenacres Disability Services

Project: Where secure employment meets client needs

This project explored employment and industrial options that allow Greenacres to be more responsive to the needs and choices of NDIS participants w...

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Synapse Australia Limited

Project: Build Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander participant, workforce and communit...

This Cairns project developed and evaluated a model for delivering ‘Proper Way’ supports to Aboriginal and Torres Strait...

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