WE CARE is a person-centred service delivery model that is used by members, volunteers and staff of the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW to assist people in need. WE CARE enables the Society to give those the Society assists a consistent experience of support regardless of who assists them or where in NSW that assistance is provided through the Society.
The implementation of WE CARE service delivery model is a strategic priority of the Society for 2020 to 2023.
The WE CARE service delivery model is a result of a process of reflection by the Society on how to improve the way it has traditionally assisted the disadvantaged and those in need. In 2015, changes in the charitable sector prompted State Council to consider how the Society could improve the ways it supports people to take control of their own destinies, build on existing strengths in the Society’s membership and demonstrate measurable outcomes that show how the Society’s support has improved the lives of those it has assisted.
As a result, the Society formed a Working Group of interested members, volunteers and staff to set about developing a formal service delivery model. The Working Group did this by implementing the Conference Financial Wellbeing Service Pilot, which was trialed in Coffs Harbour, Bathurst and Blacktown. The principal goal of the pilot was to trial a service delivery model that would strengthen the ways the Society specifically supports people to grow out of circumstances of financial hardship towards lives characterised by financial wellbeing.
At the conclusion of the pilot, the Working Group evaluated the strengths and weaknesses of the service model. It then decided what needed to be adjusted and assessed ways people who had been assisted during the pilot had achieved better outcomes. A product of the pilot review was a report which outlines the new service delivery model that the Society has called WE CARE. WE CARE is a service delivery model that puts the person being assisted at the centre of our work.
The WE CARE client service delivery model is underpinned by seven key principles. These principles align with the Society’s Rule, which is a guide for how to live the mission, vision and values of the Society. In this way, the WE CARE client service delivery model preserves and reflects the unique Catholic heritage of the Society and its traditional ways of working with the poor and needy. The seven key principles define the parameters within which each Central Council can apply the WE CARE model. The seven principles are:
- Person-centred – Each member, volunteer and support employee places a person seeking assistance at the centre and works collaboratively with that person to support them to meet their needs and achieve the best possible outcome for them;
- Consistency – A framework that is underpinned by agreed principles, task descriptions, minimum competencies and minimum quality standards that ensure a consistent experience for each person who receives assistance from St Vincent de Paul Society NSW;
- Choice – Members and volunteers are able to choose the tasks in the WE CARE service delivery model they wish to participate in;
- Community – The WE CARE model should be followed in a spirit of community and collaboration in which members, volunteers and support staff work together to support those they assist;
- Integration – The WE CARE model complements other Society services and, wherever possible, integrates with them and with external organisations;
- Support: The Society will provide training to enable members, volunteers and support staff to acquire the knowledge and skill necessary to complete WE CARE service model tasks; and
- Transparency – The WE CARE client service delivery model will contribute to ensuring the Society is better able to measure and explain the positive impact of its work in accordance with approved outcomes measurement framework.
The WE CARE service delivery model involves completing six core tasks:
Welcome – each person warmly welcomed during a visit regardless whether the visit occurs at one of the Centres of the Society or at a person’s home.
Engage – we engage with the person by listening well to understand the reason for their visit
Collect information – it is important to obtain all the necessary information to enable the Society to provide the most appropriate support
Assess – we ask questions in order to assist the person in identifying their needs
Respond – based on the conversation and information available to the Society, we make recommendations, provide assistance and/or make referrals to services within or outside the Society
Evaluate – we make follow up calls after a visit and we conduct formal surveys to measure and understand the impact of our assistance to the life of the person assisted
Each of these tasks is completed for every client and client group that is assisted by suitably skilled members, volunteers or staff within the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW Conference.
To support members, volunteers and staff in adopting WE CARE, the Society developed an implementation strategy, part of which was to:
- Adopt minimum quality service standards for WE CARE across NSW sites;
- Improve knowledge and skills training for adoptees of WE CARE;
- Implement two streams of service delivery within WE CARE to distinguish persons who need immediate assistance from persons who need longer-term intensive support;
- Develop referral networks and partnerships with other agencies; and
- Construct a meaningful person-focused outcomes measurement framework.
The WE CARE model recognises that it is important for Central Councils to retain the flexibility and independence to determine the pace at which they implement and apply WE CARE in order to take into account local conditions and needs.
The Society adopts and applies the GROW method to complete the Respond task in the WE CARE service delivery model. GROW is a simple-to-apply method to empower the people we assist to set goals and solve problems that has been used successfully since the 1980’s. The word GROW is an acronym that summarises four steps in the GROW method:
What will I do first?
A barrier to clients setting their own goals and solving their own problems is a sense of discouragement. The GROW method is designed to encourage in the person seeking assistance feelings of hope and empowerment. The GROW method does this by the support worker listening to the person and reflecting back to them what they have said. In this way, the method enables the person seeking assistance to identify their goals and to find their own solutions to their situation.
The WE CARE Framework Implementation Methodology provides a structure to the way WE CARE is implemented.
The Methodology was developed based on the “know-how” gained by the St Vincent de Paul Society in implementing the Framework as a pilot in 2017 and the evaluation of the pilot. Particular attention was given to incorporate the management of change, risks and communication in the processes to ensure a consistent approach and smooth roll out of the Framework.
Leadership and ownership of each of the stages of implementation are key factors to the success of the WE CARE Framework’s roll out.
It is envisaged that the Society will continue to learn from ongoing experiences of Conferences and Hubs implementing WE CARE.