The Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs (FaHCSIA) would like to thank all applicants for being part of the selection process for the delivery of the Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs) Demonstration Sites. It is apparent from the information provided in applications that community organisations provide a broad range of valuable, flexible and effective services to people with a mental illness.
FaHCSIA had a strong response to its call for applications, and applications were received covering all the 35 of Council of Australian Governments (COAG) State and Territory Mental Health Implementation Groups nominated demonstration sites. A number of organisations submitted applications for more than one Site. 28 of the nominated sites have been funded from this selection process
This debrief summary is to provide general feedback to applicants regarding the characteristics of strong and weak applications.
The application period was from 3 February 2007 to 2 March 2007. Assessments were conducted over a two week period from 5 March 2007 to 16 March 2007. The Assessment Centre consisted of 50 staff whose tasks included; Eligibility and Compliance checks, Assessment teams made up of two people who assessed selection criteria 1-6, Quality Assurance checks on each application, Data Entry and Financial Viability. The process was overseen by an independent probity adviser.
A total of 219 applications were received covering all 35 COAG nominated demonstration sites. Of these 25 per cent were found to be ineligible due to the applicants having no existing infrastructure within the boundaries of the nominated site for which they were applying for funding.
Applicants were assessed against the selection criteria identified in the Application Form.
Structure of this debrief summary
Feedback in this debrief summary is structured around the Personal Helpers and Mentors selection criteria which were identified at Part 2-Addressing selection criteria 1-6 and Part 3-Addressing Selection Criterion 7 of the Application Form. Under each criterion a series of prompts was provided to guide applicants in addressing the selection criteria.
This debrief summary is provided as generalised feedback against the selection criteria and is not a definitive statement about individual applications or the whole assessment process.
While the majority of applications were on the most part good, there was a range in quality from those that were of excellent quality and very good quality, to those that provided a lower level of detail and demonstrated experience.
The applications that rated very well were those that supported their claims with strong evidence and detail that demonstrated the capacity of the organisation to deliver PHaMs. These organisations demonstrated an existing infrastructure in the specified demonstration site and capacity to 'hit the ground running' and deliver the required services from May 2007. These organisations also demonstrated the capacity to deliver PhaMs efficiently and effectively with minimal risk.
1. Demonstrated commitment to the values of the Personal Helpers and Mentors (PHaMs)
The top rating applicants strongly identified with the PHaMs values and understood the service delivery approach of PHaMs. For example, applicants fully documented the uniformity between their Missions Visions and Values and the PHaMs. Applicants provided examples of their existing programs that demonstrated a strengths-based, consumer-driven and recovery focus, as well as the significance of engaging participants and families and carers in bringing about improved well-being and positive outcomes.
Lower rating applicants demonstrated limited understanding of the PHaMs values and how they integrate into their service delivery. For example, some service delivery Mission Statements did not show a focus on mental health issues nor did they correlate with PHaMs. Applicants would state their understanding and commitment to PHaMs however did not provide supporting evidence to substantiate their claims.
2. Proven performance in providing culturally competent community-based services to people with a mental illness at various stages in their recovery
The top rating applicants clearly described their experience in providing outreach service delivery, with culturally competent approaches, including in rural and remote areas (where applicants applied for funding for non-metropolitan sites). Applicants provided practical examples of their approach to the PHaMs participant's recovery process, covering physical, psychological, emotional and spiritual spheres. This included the use of holistic models in supporting people with a mental illness i.e. family and carer involvement, reintegration into the community and comprehensive referral procedures.
High rating applicants also demonstrated good experience in implementing culturally specific policies, procedures and partnerships to improve outcomes for people with a mental illness.
High rating applicants also identified that their service worked within the framework of the National Standards for Mental Health Services and other service standards, as well as relevant state and territory legislation.
Lower rating applications only provided a general response that did not demonstrate their experience in providing culturally competent community-based services to people with a mental illness at various stages in their recovery. Most lower rating applicants did not submit evidence of the claims made against the criteria and did not describe how they would support participants though the various stages in their recovery.
3. Established strong links and demonstrated experience in working cooperatively and collaboratively with other clinical and community services to achieve better outcomes for people (and their families and carers) who have a severe functional limitation resulting from a mental illness
The top rating applicants demonstrated strong links and connections within the demonstration site, including clinical health services and other community-based services that will support PHaMs. Applicants provided examples of participant focused partnerships and listed the services with which they have a cross referral relationship as well as illustrating how they actively engage in these partnerships.
High rating applicants also demonstrated well-developed referral procedures, with a strong focus on consumer participation and timeframes. Applicants provided details on how these processes and strategies would be used in PHaMs.
Most lower rating applicants did not demonstrate strong links or connections to clinical health services and other community-based services. Some applicants did not address or identify how they would work cooperatively and collaboratively with relevant stakeholders. Limited information was provided on the applicant's referral processes and in some cases referral procedures had not yet been developed.
Although some applications listed services in the site, they did not explain how they would work with these other services.
4 . Demonstrated organisational capacity to deliver Personal Helpers and Mentors
The top rating applicants demonstrated their organisational capacity to deliver PHaMs by providing comprehensive information on their governance arrangements, financial and human resources frameworks, quality and risk management frameworks, supervisory procedures, training and development approaches, support for volunteers and peer support workers and their reporting processes.
Applicants that rated very high also demonstrated best practice approaches such as having accredited quality assurance process, formal and on-going participative review procedures involving all stakeholders and external review and evaluation of service delivery processes and outcomes.
Lower rating applicants, in the main, did not fully address the criteria. Applicants did not provide comprehensive information on their governance arrangement or issues management processes. General and less detailed information was provided on human resources arrangements and in some cases information was listed in the appendices however was not discussed in the application. Some applications did not demonstrate the capacity to delivery the PHaMs as fundamental service delivery management systems were yet to be developed.
5. Existing infrastructure in the demonstration site to ensure capacity to deliver Personal Helpers and Mentors from May 2007
The top rating applicants provided detailed information on the organisation's existing infrastructure in the demonstration site and provided details on how and where PHaMs would be delivered. Applicants provided evidence that the PHaMs workers would be suitably equipped to deliver outreach services. Applications also provided detailed information on recruiting strategies for the PHaMs workers.
High rating applications provided strong evidence of their policies and procedures and identified their proposed team structure for delivery of the program including how volunteers and peer support workers would be engaged and supported. Specific attention was given to the support needs of workers in outreach teams.
Lower rating applicants demonstrated less capacity to deliver PHaMs from May 2007. Applicants provided a general response that demonstrated limited capacity to recruit and retain staff with relevant skills and experience for the May 2007 start date. Applicants described their recruitment, retention and supervision processes however did not provide supporting evidence to substantiate their claims.
25 per cent of applications were found to be ineligible due to applicants having no existing infrastructure within the boundaries of the demonstration site. Where this information was not clear, FaHCSIA followed-up with the applicants. This was critical for Round 1 Demonstration Sites.
6. Describe the organisation's proposed strategy for delivering Personal Helpers and Mentors in the demonstration site
The top rating applicants provided detailed strategies for delivering PHaMs, including identifying strategies to source potential participants, strategies to service any special needs groups in the community (where these groups exist) and identifying their proposed team structure for delivery of PHaMs including how volunteers and peer support workers would be engaged and supported.
Lower rating applicants did not provide robust strategies for delivering PHaMs. Many applicants did not submit supportive evidence that their organisation could adequately address and implement the PHaMs nor did they demonstrate experience in supporting people who have a severe functional limitation resulting from a mental illness. Applications often described current services and programs however did not explain how the PHaMs would be delivered.
In some lower rating applications it was difficult to identify how the service was going to be delivered, the proposed team structure and how the team would be supported within the organisation.
7. Financial viability
This criterion sought to determine whether an individual applicants and consortium applicants had the necessary financial capacity to deliver the PHaMs Demonstration Site Team.
Financial viability assessments were conducted by an independent auditor. Applications were to be assessed as posing a low risk to the Australian Government before they advance in the selection process. Risk levels ranged from low, medium to high.
Organisations that rated a low financial risk provided information that demonstrated they had a sound net asset position, adequate liquidity, limited debt and strong financial management.
Organisations that rated a medium to high financial risk where those with significant debt, increasing levels of debt or for whom PHaMs funding would constitute the majority of their funding.