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Creating change

Case studies of our work in driving better social outcomes.

At SOULAB we are experts in designing, implementing and measuring social change. We've worked on a range of projects to foster and realise social change.

Impact Assessment Success Stories

Explore how we've partnered with clients to measure how they do good.

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Review of the headline indicators to monitor mental health reform

NSW Mental Health Commission

Background

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective. 

 

We applied our expertise in indicator and measures development and deep knowledge and experience in working with health and human services data to develop a robust set of indicators and measures underpinned by a framework that captures client outcomes and capabilities as well system outcomes, outputs and quality. Our approach adopted a person-centric approach which means that underpinning all components of the framework and indicators is the notion of maximizing the wellbeing of people facing mental health issues at each life stage and severity level.

What SOULAB did 

  • Developed reform monitoring framework

  • Developed indicators and outcomes model

  • Developed indicators, measures, and potential data sources for indicators framework

  • Conducted two rounds of consultations where the monitoring framework and indicators, measures, and potential data sources were tested to identify headline indicators

  • Finalised the headline indicators, measures, and data sources

Outcome

The indicator framework monitoring allows for the performance of the headline indicators to be measured, and to influence the indicators to produce the best possible outcomes for the sector.

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Background

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW department of Family and Community Services ( NSW FACS) to develop a resource that will assist in matching families with the most appropriate services to ensure the best possible likelihood of achieving positive outcomes such as restoration in line with the Permanency Support Program (PSP) reform. This project was a local response to locally experienced issues that FACS has prioritised to invest in whilst going through the PSP reform.

What SOULAB did 

  • Conducted mapping of the casework process

  • Created a Decision Making Framework with 4 key components: 1) needs overview; 2) needs pathways; 3) reflection points; and 4) service matching checklist

  • Tested the framework

  • Created a database of locally available services

  • Provided recommendations on how to embed the resource, including training and piloting of the resource

Outcome

NSW FACS are able to more effectively match families to the most appropriate services, increasing likelihood of positive outcomes being achieved.

Decision Making Framework

NSW Department of Family and Community Services

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Rapid Evaluation of Dignity Housing Pilot

NSW Department of Communities and Justice

Background

The Dignity Housing Pilot (DHP) is an intergenerational model of housing support which aims to assist the younger and elderly population experiencing homelessness with temporary housing (up to 12 months) and provide safe and supportive community in South Western Sydney. The aim of DHP is to develop resident’s skills to a point where they can transition into independent living and secure and maintain a tenancy.

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) were seeking approval to extend the DHP into 2021-22. They required a rapid impact assessment to: 1) quantify and articulate the impacts of the Dignity Housing Pilot and, 2) assess the economic cost/benefit of the program. The evaluation methodology needed to align with NSW Government Program Evaluation Guidelines, use a comparison group, and ensure ethical conduct in research when engaging with vulnerable communities.

What SOULAB did 

  • Developed Theory of Change

  • Developed benefit-cost model and undertook benefit-cost calculations of the program

  • Conducted Program Design Review to provide recommendations for future rollout

  • Developed a Community Impact Framework, analysing outcomes achieved through DHP vs comparison group

Outcome

DCJ were able to leverage the evaluation to obtain funding to extend DHP into 2021-22.

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Background

Trailblazers is a social change initiative, under the broader 'Heywire' program, providing unique development opportunities for young changemakers in regional Australia. Piloted in 2017, the program has run annually in 2018, 2019, and currently has funding to deliver the program for an additional 3 years (2020-2022). SOUAB together with the Australian National University undertook an impact assessment evaluation of this program. One challenge for the evaluation was to develop a clear Theory of Change given that the program had already been in place for some years. To overcome this challenge and develop a Theory of Change, a workshop with the ABC project team and past Trailblazers was conducted to understand the mechanics of change in terms of outcomes for the participants.

What SOULAB did 

  • Analysed multiple data sources (pre and post program survey, training satisfaction survey, focus groups, summit observations, broadcast data, perceptions of Trailblazer interviews, etc)

  • Developed a Theory of Change for a program currently underway

  • Identified program improvement areas

Outcome

The evaluation found that the program was effective and provided recommendations on improvements to the program which have been adopted by the ABC.

Impact Assessment of ABC Trailblazer Program

ABC Heywire

Action Lab Success Stories

Explore how we've partnered with clients to design the change they want to see in the world. 

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Ashmont community lounge and grocery

working with a social housing community 

Background

There is an increasing trend around the world in the use of social businesses to create economic opportunities for people who would otherwise struggle to find and/or maintain employment. In order to test whether establishing social business is a feasible approach to generating employment for disadvantaged communities in NSW, SOULAB worked with a social housing community over the course of a year to design, develop and deliver a social enterprise that generated employment, reduced food waste and increased food security.

 

The community selected had high levels of unemployment, welfare dependency, trauma and substance abuse. The project identified that establishing community based social enterprises generated a number of benefits in addition to economic outcomes including empowerment outcomes such as hope, motivation and confidence to be engaged in employment. Based on consultations and analysis a community store was the chosen social enterprise to meet the community's needs. Five years on, the Ashmont community own and operate the store.

What SOULAB did 

  • Identified target group and indicators for issues driving unemployment

  • Identified options for social business model through ongoing consultation

  • Identified appropriate partners

  • Identified potential partnerships to increase success and sustainability of the social business

  • Implemented social business and measured impact

Outcome

The store generated employment and training opportunities in Ashmont, reduced food waste and reduced financial stress through discount groceries.

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Background

In NSW, domestic violence related assaults have been increasing over time (while other types of assaults have been decreasing). This shows that domestic violence is of increasing concern in the State. Culturally there is hesitation for individuals in Muslim communities to go to authorities for assistance. Traditionally there is reliance on communities to assist with sorting out issues and communities are an acceptable forum for sorting out issues. However, in many instances currently, communities are broken. The aim of this Action Lab was to take a solution-focused approach to DFV issues specific to Muslim communities.

What SOULAB did 

  • In 2017, ran an Action Lab to discuss the issues facing the Muslim community in NSW with regard to DFV and what could be done to address these issues. Issues included the cultural needs of Muslim women when accessing mainstream services.

  • The Lab brought together representatives from across the community including representatives from NGOs, government and academic organisations, as well as community leaders, psychologists, and DFV survivors for a full-day solution-focused workshop.

Outcome

A set of strategies and actions to address DFV issues in Muslim communities in NSW resulted from the Action Lab.

Development of a strategy to address domestic and family violence in Muslim communities in NSW

with Australian Muslim Women's Association and ANU Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics 

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Economic empowerment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) women in the ACT

IWin

Background

The Social Outcomes Lab (SOULAB) was commissioned by IWiN to run a collective impact action lab. The objective of the lab was to identify innovative and structured approaches to increase economic opportunities and supports for CALD women. The outcomes entailed the development of a collective impact action plan and the development of a new social enterprise (Her Kitchen Table) to provide economic opportunity to migrant and refugee women and promote social cohesion in the Canberra community through experiencing stories and culture through authentic and diverse food. HKT will go live in 2021.

What SOULAB did 

  • The action lab started by undertaking a three part workshop series which involved bringing together people from the CALD community, government, not-for-profit and private organisations. Each of the workshops had their own purpose and each part built on the findings from the previous.

    • The first workshop was focused on identifying how better outcomes should be measured and identifying the key issues.

    • The second workshop than reflected on the issues that were identified and focused on what solutions could be adopted as well as how those solutions could be adopted.

    • The final workshop then focused on how each of the individuals and organisations would commit to the collectively achieving the actions identified.

  • Once the broad solutions were identified, further design labs were undertaken to develop the operating model of the social enterprise (HKT). Seed funding was obtained (Dept of Home Affairs fostering integration grant). A number of implementation partners are collectively working on making the social enterprise operational including local community services NGOs, the Australian National University and NTT.

Outcome

Her Kitchen Table was the outcome of this action lab, HKT connects food lovers to authentic and culturally diverse foods from all over the world, made by Canberra’s best home cooks (also known as meal artists!), empowering CALD women through employment opportunities

Want to know more about the work we do?

Impact Assessment Success Stories

Explore how we've partnered with clients to measure how they do good.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

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Outcome

The indicator framework monitoring allows for the performance of the headline indicators to be measured, and to influence the indicators to produce the best possible outcomes for the sector.

Review of the headline indicators to monitor mental health reform for the NSW Mental Health Commission 

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW department of Family and Community Services ( NSW FACS) to develop a resource that will assist in matching families with the most appropriate services to ensure the best possible likelihood of achieving positive outcomes such as restoration in line with the Permanency Support Program (PSP) reform. This project was a local response to locally experienced issues that FACS has prioritised to invest in whilst going through the PSP reform.

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Outcome

NSW FACS are able to more effectively match families to the most appropriate services, increasing likelihood of positive outcomes being achieved.

Decision Making Framework for NSW FACS

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

The Dignity Housing Pilot (DHP) is an intergenerational model of housing support which aims to assist the younger and elderly population experiencing homelessness with temporary housing (up to 12 months) and provide safe and supportive community in South Western Sydney.

Dignity housing.png
opt1.png

Outcome

DCJ were able to leverage the evaluation to obtain funding to extend DHP into 2021-22.

Rapid Evaluation of Dignity Housing Pilot

The NSW Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) were seeking approval to extend the DHP into 2021-22. They required a rapid impact assessment to: 1) quantify and articulate the impacts of the Dignity Housing Pilot and, 2) assess the economic cost/benefit of the program.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

Trailblazers is a social change initiative, under the broader 'Heywire' program, providing unique development opportunities for young changemakers in regional Australia.

HeyWirePicture.jpg
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Outcome

The evaluation found that the program was effective and provided recommendations on improvements to the program which have been adopted by the ABC.

Impact Assessment of ABC Trailblazer Program

One challenge for the evaluation was to develop a clear Theory of Change given that the program had already been in place for some years. To overcome this challenge and develop a Theory of Change, a workshop with the ABC project team and past Trailblazers was conducted to understand the mechanics of change in terms of outcomes for the participants.

Action Lab Success Stories

Explore how we've partnered with clients to design the change they want to see in the world. 

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

In order to test whether establishing social business is a feasible approach to generating employment for disadvantaged communities in NSW, SOULAB worked with a social housing community over the course of a year to design, develop and deliver a social enterprise that generated employment, reduced food waste and increased food security.

Unknown-4.jpeg
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Outcome

The store generated employment and training opportunities in Ashmont, reduced food waste and reduced financial stress through discount groceries.

Ashmont community lounge and grocery

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

In NSW, domestic violence related assaults have been increasing over time (while other types of assaults have been decreasing). Culturally there is hesitation for individuals in Muslim communities to go to authorities for assistance. Traditionally there is reliance on communities to assist with sorting out issues and communities are an acceptable forum for sorting out issues. However, in many instances currently, communities are broken. 

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Outcome

A set of strategies and actions to address DFV issues in Muslim communities in NSW resulted from the Action Lab.

Development of a strategy to address domestic and family violence in Muslim communities in NSW

The aim of this Action Lab was to take a solution-focused approach to DFV issues specific to Muslim communities.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

SOULAB was engaged by the NSW Mental Health Commission to review and develop the current set of 10 headline indicators to ensure sufficient, appropriate and effective systems level monitoring of progress in reform, specifically Living Well, from a whole-of-government and whole-of-life perspective.

A collective impact action lab with IWin. The objective of the lab was to identify innovative and structured approaches to increase economic opportunities and supports for CALD women.

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Outcome

Her Kitchen Table was the outcome of this action lab, HKT connects food lovers to authentic and culturally diverse foods from all over the world, made by Canberra’s best home cooks (also known as meal artists!), empowering CALD women through employment opportunities.

Economic empowerment of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Women in the ACT

The lab consisted of:

  • 3-part solution identification workshop series which brought together people from the CALD community, government, not-for-profit, and private organisations

  • Solution design workshops for operating model of HKT

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