A little weird for a consultant to actively steer a potential new client away from what would be an easy sale (a straightforward grant application). However in our world there is a big difference between grant writing and service design. We get approached to write grants and tenders every now and then. To be honest, probably less so than when we first started Beacon Strategies. Read on for our advice to non-profit organisations prior to kicking a ball.
Suffice to say Beacon Strategies has had a finger in just about every pie in the public health space, but mental health emerges time and again throughout our portfolio of projects.
Mental health is a very rewarding area to work in and it is constantly evolving. In our line of work, it’s not only important for us to stay up to date with changes in government policy and planning, but we also know it’s important to share these changes with the organisations we work with and the broader community, as it impacts everyone.
So without further ado, here is the latest and greatest in mental health…
Economics can certainly add the ‘oomph’ factor. Economic tools deal with how well (or poorly) we are using available resources from dollars to human capital, and as the old saying goes ‘there is more than one way to cook an egg’. In the last blog within our Health Economist series we draw on a couple of examples to show how they can be used to help commissioning organisations.
Resource-based allocation exercises, such as the one we discussed in our previous blogs can be powerful catalysts for moving towards outcomes-based commissioning as it puts a transparent funding formula supported by best available evidence on the co-design table.
To cut through some of the complexity in this journey, we propose a basic two-year step-by-step roadmap for advancing towards outcomes-based commissioning and incentivising performance, which can be adapted to any existing co-design process.
Grant and tender writing can be challenging for people in the not-for-profit (NFP) sector who are more accustomed to project management or client facing roles. Over the last couple of years, we’ve supported many NFPs to submit high quality grant and tender applications across topic areas from mental health, alcohol and other drugs, health and wellbeing, disability, employment, and many more!
Based on our experience in seeing the good, bad and ugly of grant and tender writing, we’ve compiled a list of super practical tips for not-for-profit organisations to ponder prior to ripping in to their next grant or tender application.
Let's get into it!
In the real world of service delivery, economic principles are problem-solving tools that use data and modelling to support both strategic and programmatic decisions. They should bring about ‘aha moments’ with insights that managers and program staff can put into practice to achieve their intended vision and goals. We knew our task was not to tell the client the percentages of funding to be allocated to individual services, but rather to build a resource allocation modelling tool that they could easily use during upcoming funding negotiations.
In this final post of our Evaluation Ready series, we explore a few helpful tips to make evaluation a priority within your organisation.
Once you know how to put together a basic framework to guide how to do a program evaluation, the next challenge can often be making evaluation a consistent part of the work you and your colleagues do.
The tendency in many organisations is to focus on service delivery. This can mean that it can be hard to commit adequate time to step back and review how effective a program is, what impact it is making, or how it could be strengthened.
This post will focus on the how using a simple yet structured process. It can be scaled up or down depending on the size of the program you’re evaluating. It works best when you create this framework prior to starting to implement your program. This means you can start collecting the data you need from the beginning. You can still develop an evaluation framework retrospectively (i.e. when your program is ending), but it makes it a little trickier to find data that you might need but haven’t collected.
We should not forget that although we all want to commission outcomes and reward good performers, we want to do so while advancing an equity agenda that prioritises outcomes and funding for disadvantaged populations. Needs-based financing provides a solid grounding to ensure populations experiencing higher level of disadvantage receive relatively higher levels of funding, without which their outcomes are likely to stagnate or deteriorate even further.
Evaluation Ready is a series of blog posts that aims to capture some of the knowledge, processes and lessons that we’ve assembled along our journey of supporting organisations to better evaluate their work, in the hope of prompting more people to see themselves as an evaluator. This first post introduces some fundamental concepts around evaluation when done well, including tips for planning the why, what, who, when and how.
Having spent the past 12 to 18 months working on a number of projects within the aged care sector, the concept of creating ‘age friendly communities’ has been regularly raised by many consumers and stakeholders that we have had the privilege of talking to.
Although the nature of our previous engagements have been primarily health related, we have become ever more curious about the role of local government in achieving communities that are truly ‘age-friendly’. We acknowledge that by working within the health paradigm alone, you can only get so far in delivering broad health and social outcomes for the community.
At Beacon Strategies we believe that there is a huge opportunity to make our communities more conducive to maintaining and improving mental health, and that local governments can play an active role in achieving this. Now, you may be thinking that local government may not have the appetite to be involved in supporting such a cause and that their thinking may be bound to the traditional ‘roads, rates and rubbish’. Where this may be true for some councils, progressive councils see mental health as very much part of their responsibility and remit.
The Fifth National Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Plan recognises suicide as a significant health and social policy issue, and makes commitments to a national, systems-based approach to reducing suicide rates.
The Suicide Prevention Care Pathway provides a huge opportunity to bring the local sector together and guide engagement and development activities into the future that build the capacity and capability of the ‘system’ to better respond to people at risk of suicide.
Today (7 August) marks Aged Care Employee Day 2019, an industry-driven initiative to recognise and celebrate the contribution of aged care employees across Australia. Given our ongoing work in this space, we felt the best way for our team to recognise Aged Care Employee Day was to share some trends and insights we’ve uncovered that might help the sector as a whole better support aged care employees around Australia.
Toward the end of 2018, the My Health Record debacle played itself out in the Australian media, highlighting inherent challenges in digitisation of healthcare. Despite these challenges, namely privacy and security, it is critical that service delivery across the health sector is able to keep up with the pace of digital development and integrate it to support the expressed needs and priorities of consumers.
We recently finished up some work with a client partner to refresh their clinical governance framework. Along the way, we learnt a few things that we think are worth sharing with other health and social service providers about how to make governance better serve the important work they do.
The most recent estimate of the size of corporate philanthropy in Australia totalled over $17.5 billion in 2015-16. We feel the conversation is about how to bring together business leaders and charity and non-profit sector leaders (especially those organisations who do great work but aren’t savvy fundseekers) to find shared goals and work as partners to make change happen.
Given the nature of their role, Primary Health Networks (PHNs) are constantly required to engage effectively with a diverse range of stakeholders. Engagement underpins health needs assessments, regional planning activities, service co-design and program reviews/evaluation to name just a few.
As the 31 PHNs across Australia continue improve their capability and effectiveness in health service commissioning, the current policy setting will require PHNs to apply their commissioning frameworks in a more integrated and collaborative way via co-commissioning.
All of us here at Beacon are equal parts sad and excited to announce some changing faces in the team.