Introduction

Some Inter-agencies have valued added to the general benefits of networking by becoming Communities of Practice. Communities of Practice are groups of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly.  

They become in effect Learning Networks focussed on improving outcomes for service users by:

  • sharing what they are learning in their day to day experiences
  • developing new approaches to more holistic support for service users
  • sharing resources and information
  • providing support and encouragement for network members.

The basic principles that underpin Communities of Practice are:

  • learning is social and comes from the things we do everyday
  • knowledge and activity are strongly connected
  • growth is nurtured and promoted.

Advantages

  • Connect people through their passion.
  • Connect people outside their ‘silos’.
  • Enable issues to be dealt with holistically.
  • Ensure input of everyone involved is valued.
  • Provide opportunity for flexibility and creativity (that is service pathways).
  • Support adaptability to change.  
  • Build trust and reciprocity.
  • Enables the ongoing reflection, negotiation and learning to balance the tensions essential in seeking solutions to complex social problems.

Disadvantages

  • Require commitment and a real interest in learning from each other for them to work effectively.
  • Require people willing to acknowledge that service delivery can be improved using existing resources.

Case study

Rockhampton Mental Health Interagency Community of Practice

The Rockhampton Interagency Community of Practice Group provides an environment where people learn by applying the approaches discussed during scenario sessions and build on the relationships and connections made during the meetings. The approach has received very positive feedback from workers who are time poor and need to see outcomes achieved for time spent at meetings. Meetings are held monthly and the original one and a half hours has been extended to two hours to allow more time for scenario discussion.

The idea for a local whole of mental health sector network was originally proposed and endorsed at the Rockhampton Mental Health Action Day held on August the 25 August 2009. The idea was translated into action through a working mentoring partnership between the Queensland Alliance Sector Development Worker and the Business Development Officer (Disability and Mental Health) from Centacare, Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton under the oversight of the Rockhampton Mental Health Action Coordination Group.

Several meetings were held between the Queensland Alliance and Centacare Workers to develop a meeting framework that would effectively support learning, collaboration and improved outcomes for clients. It was agreed that the “Community of Practice” (CoP) approach provided a sound structure that would support adaption to meet local needs.

Etienne Wegner, one of the founders of “Communities of Practice” notes:

“Communities of Practice are groups of people who share a concern or passion for something they do and learn how to do it better as they interact regularly”

The Rockhampton group incorporates the principals that:

  • Learning is social and comes from the things we do every day.
  • Knowledge and activity are strongly connected.
  • Growth of the individual and the sector needs to be nurtured and promoted.

An open meeting held on 21 November and attended by 18 participants agreed to support a Terms of Reference (TOR) that endorsed Centacare to host and facilitate for a period of 12 months the Rockhampton Mental Health Interagency Community of Practice. 

This collaboration has now been running for more that 12 months. In 2010 it took out a Workforce Council Award for “Encouraging a learning culture within the workforce” and feedback notes demonstrated outcomes for clients.

decorative
Place-based approaches are important. They provide communities with the flexibility to make decisions that are in the very best interests of the people living there. For several years QCOSS have been working on some place-based approaches and have been able to use that experience to pull together...
decorative
Brisbane City Council supports community, social enterprise and not-for-profit organisations by providing access to free professional advice to assist with their growth and sustainability. It established the Inclusive Brisbane Professional Advice Alliance in 2013 to provide pro bono high-level...
decorative
MDA (Multicultural Development Australia) and DiverseWerks are delivering an NDIS Sector Development - Provider Readiness (CALD) project funded by the Department of Social Services and supported by the Queensland Government. The project aims to increase sectoral understanding of people with...
decorative
Community Legal Centres Queensland, in partnership with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, are surveying lawyers, frontline and intake workers, and social workers in Queensland about the impact phone or internet issues are having on their clients. The results will help shape the...
decorative
Today (6 February) is Safer Internet Day (SID) - raising awareness of staying safe online. Celebrated in 130 countries, SID is a great opportunity to engage the community in understanding how to make the online world safe for all users. In 2018, the SID theme ‘Create, connect and share respect: A...
decorative
The National Disability Services (NDS) released their flagship report the State of Disability Sector Report 2017 in early December. Alongside the report they have developed a helpful factsheet with key statistics from the report. The report is based on responses from more than 500 disability...
decorative
The Queensland Government and the community services industry have co-developed the Partnering for the future: advancing Queensland's services industry 2017-25 strategy as a roadmap for proactively addressing changes and driving collaboration towards the industry's 2025 vision. To help your...
decorative
Elections are exciting and offer opportunities for real positive change, but how do you position your organisation to take advantage of these opportunities and avoid the risks? This webinar will discuss campaign and communications case studies from Australia and the UK and help you identify the...
decorative
Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular method of online fundraising for individuals, businesses, not-for-profits and charities. Generally it involves an individual or an organisation setting a fundraising target online and then asking the crowd of the internet for donations to reach that target...
Media Statement Minister for Communities, Women and Youth, Minister for Child Safety and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence The Honourable Shannon Fentiman Financial assistance is now available for south-east Queensland’s not-for-profit organisations that have been affected...

Pages

Are you looking for support in Queensland, or trying to find a service that meets your needs? Now you can search oneplace , the service directory hosted by the Queensland Family and Child Commission. oneplace is an easily accessible directory of community services to help Queensland families to get...
The collaboration decision support tool is designed as a resource to aid organisations considering entering into or forming collaborations to: (a) help to determine if collaboration is the most appropriate model (b) assess current capacity and capability to undertake collaborative action, and (c)...
Information technology and online solutions can help your community organisation work better. ACOSS, Infoxchange and the Department of Communications have teamed up to bring you Digital Business Kits which give you the tools and information to do more online. Digital Business Kits are hosted on...
In March 2014, QCOSS produced the Rethinking Resources: Case Studies of Financial Resilience from Community Services report, in which community organisations from Queensland share how they are working to increase their financial sustainability. The strategies they employ include social enterprise,...
This is a very simple and easy to use toolkit that is filled with templates and guides to support your organisation to develop innovative and collaborative ways of working together. From developing a value statement, stakeholder engagement, business planning, SWOT analysis and many more. The...
This conversation explores Western Australia's experience in developing its "Delivering Community Services in Partnership Policy". Rebecca Brown, Deputy Director-General, Department of Premier and Cabinet, Western Australia, Chris Hall, Chief Executive, MercyCare WA and Irina...
This guide looks at client-focused service integration . Options and resources are provided that can assist organisations even without structural change to or between the service providers (government and non-government) involved. Other resources such as the Planned Support Guide provide a case...
This document outlines the the issues and factors you need to think about when working in partnership or merging with other organisations. Download the Collaborative working and mergers document here .
This Research to Practice Note aims to improve understanding of effective interagency collaboration in a shared approach to child protection context and provides a brief overview of the relevant literature in this area. You can access the document here .

The Womens Centre Cairns is a proudly feminist not-for-profit organisation that provides services to women and children at risk of domestic violence and homelessness. Drawing funding from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services and Department of Housing and Public...

Author: 
Shelley Dunlop, Queensland Council of Social Service

You may have seen the Network Spaces tab at the top of the Community Door site. You may even think Network Spaces is actually Community Door, a common assumption since the whole of Community Door used to be that green colour.

So what is Network Spaces and why would you want to use it?...

Author: 
The Social Benefit Bond Program, Queensland Treasury

The competitive tender process for the Queensland government's new Social Benefit Bonds program has recently been launched, and the Invitation for Expressions of Interest (EOI) documents are available via...

Author: 
Jim Haywood, Centacare Brisbane

At a time of significant disruption in the community services sector, many organisations are rightly focused on defining their inventory and consolidating their market position. The idea of collaboration or partnership in an increasingly competitive market seems nonsensical to many agencies....

Ring of paper children including some in wheelchairs
Author: 
Kristian Schader, Calxa

With the impending roll-out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) looming large in Queensland, some Not-For-Profit service providers in the Townsville region are expressing a feeling of isolation and of being somewhat disconnected.

Responding to this need, Calxa...

""
Author: 
Darren Smith, Breaking New Ground

A new chapter in the story of the not-for-profit sector is being drafted. How do small to medium organisations ensure they're written into the script?

The not-for-profit sector has already experienced significant change and uncertainty over the last few years:

  • funding
  • ...
Author: 
Kylie Hogan, National Disability Services

The Community Services Industry is facing a myriad of reforms and challenges now and into the future. 

Challenges such as an ageing population, workforce shortages, sector-wide reforms, technological advances and economic uncertainty are making it more important than ever for...

Outcomes Working Group February 2015
Author: 
Richard Fahy, Lutheran Community Care

Lutheran Community Care’s vision is aligned to making quality of life better for the clients we serve. In the light of this it is important to us that we can also quantify what has changed for the client since they have been using our services. Through adopting an outcome-based framework we seek...

Peter Kenyon
Author: 
Shelley Dunlop, QCOSS

Last week on 17 October 2014 the QCOSS State Conference - Building strength was held at the Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane.

The program aimed to build on the strengths already existing within Queensland’s strong and resilient community service sector, as well...

Boy with an image of a house
Author: 
Helen Styles, Queensland Council of Social Service

Homelessness is a problem too complex to be tackled by only the community services sector and government departments. It needs the combined efforts of the private, public and community sectors because a diverse range of people and organisations are better able to address the diverse and...

Pages

See videos from StudioQ related to this topic

Share or Print