Developing a service system level approach with a remote community


  • Today
  • Key Assets
  • The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development


Child protection and family support services are notoriously difficult in remote communities. This was particularly true for this community; where complex governance, its extreme remoteness, and cultural complexities had meant that service delivery was hard to get a complete view of.

Service provision is complex enough for family wellbeing and child protection, but here we had overlapping services across local, state, and federal jurisdictions, not-for-profit and private sector. We needed to map the service ecosystem and identify overlaps and gaps to better inform policy, management, and funding models.

Key Features


Using a service design and ‘systems thinking’ approach, Today developed an outcome that supports the delivery of effective services—anchored in community needs and best practice, family-centred care.

With the community front-of-mind, we built a service model through participatory design that now enables more effective service implementation across providers that meets user needs, and can be delivered efficiently from far away.

A human-centred, whole system view means that policy and funding can more effectively meet the needs of children, young people and families. An evidence base is now in place that calls out coverage and gaps, with an indicator of urgency.


Our solution anchors decision-making in community needs. It’s a service map that provides a view of all remote services in play (70+ services and 40+ service providers) to community needs, in real-time. It allows policymakers and funders to understand user scenarios such as domestic violence, supporting more efficient service utilisation, provider alignment, and visibility across joined-up services. It helps to identify gaps, strengths, and opportunities for service delivery; informing better decision making that will ultimately keep children and families safe.

The tool is now used across all levels of government as a critical decision making resource.


By developing a service system approach we create visibility of service provision, gaps and overlaps in services. This builds an ability for service providers and intergovernmental collaboration to drive better use of resources in delivering services, ensure that service needs are met systematically and therefore effectively protect children and preserve families.

The service mapping is designed to include updates and drive evaluation of key needs of the community, meeting service gaps, developing clear priorities to inform decision-making, support impact measurement and respond to change.

Methodology is designed to be scalable across services and locations—proven by a second regional project underway.


We made sense of deep complexity that meant families and children were falling through the cracks and solved for this effectively. It’s a classic case of public services being delivered in a way that’s well intentioned, but undesigned—services have been implemented over time, over the top of each other resulting in poor overall outcomes.

We integrated IAP2 community engagement with journey-led organisational transformation; applying this hybrid methodology to develop community journey-led transformation to a remote context and service system.

We anchored services to community needs and made this system visible, to identify gaps in this social fabric to empower better decisions.


“What’s come out of this project is the fact that as an organisation, we’re able to take this work and use it as a basis for work in another remote community with a completely different context.

I think there\’s so much value for senior decision-makers to better understand the context—acknowledge that we\’re working with complexity—but also explore how we value add. I think it has helped us to answer our most important question, “How do we bring the voice of the child and the community to the table?”

Jamie Hodgson, National ED for Innovation and Strategy at Key Assets

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