Connecting Like Patchwork in Australia

Connecting Like Patchwork in Australia

Patchwork, the simple and secure web application that uses social technology to join up professionals across public services, has been piloted in five municipalities in Victoria, Australia.

A team headed up by Patchwork lead Kirsty Elderton has been working with practitioners to get the councils up and running and making the most of the system, improving ways of working and outcomes in the process.

Part of making sure Patchwork is adopted beyond the initial cohort of early adopters and enthusiasts is to explain to the wider staff at the five municipalities what Patchwork is, how the application works, and the benefits its bringing to them and their colleagues.

To help with this, the team at MAV (or Municipal Association of Victoria) have published an article featuring Patchwork in the September edition of Civic Magazine.

Headlined “Connecting Like Patchwork” in a nod to how Patchwork supports connected care and multi-agency working, the article gives a good overview of the background to Patchwork, how the application has met the councils’ needs and how it has been received by our colleagues in Australia.

You can read the full article below or take a look at the full issue of Civic Magazine here.

We’ll have more news on Patchwork’s progress in Australia once the pilot has been completed. In the meantime, sign up to the newsletter to keep up to date.

Connecting Like Patchwork

Developed by UK-based digital public service design company FutureGov and funded by the MAV, Patchwork aims to connect government departments and agencies, along with community organisations and health services that work with common clients.

Patchwork pilot councils Brimbank, Wyndham, Melbourne, Yarra and Kingston have worked collaboratively with the MAV and FutureGov since March this year.

FutureGov Patchwork Program Manager Kirsty Elderton spent three months in Australia to work intensively with the pilot councils and program partners.

“In designing Patchwork for Victoria we worked closely with the five councils that gave in-principle support to the project,” Ms Elderton said.

“First we worked at getting the intent right with the people we’d be working with as part of the design team – maternal and child health nurses, managers and administrators.

“Next we embarked on a great deal of background research into the design along with analysing and synthesising our information that formed the basis of the workshops we held with the councils.

“Finally, our research was matched with the best technology solutions to improve maternal and child health, and youth services.”

Around 140 clients and 30 practitioners from across the five pilot council areas signed up to be part of the Patchwork project.

Wyndham City Council Mayor Heather Marcus said the project was an effective way to use simple technology solutions to connect staff from different agencies working with the same families.

“By connecting the team around a family, it leads to earlier interventions and better outcomes,”  Cr Marcus said.

“The information families provide is securely stored on the Patchwork application and it’s also important to remember that families must agree to take part in the program before they provide any details.”

Melbourne City Council also saw value in Patchwork’s ability to connect vulnerable families through its universal and enhanced maternal and child health services.

“Most councils are aware of the risks to young children,” Melbourne Family Health Coordinator Wendy Jones said.

“In the annual child death review report, it is often identified that professionals that have information about the child and the family had not been connected.

“There are a lot of people working in this field that are passionate about looking at ways to come up with better solutions.

“We saw Patchwork as a product that can meet this need, particularly when families move out of the municipality, to keep them connected.”

Brimbank City Council joined the pilot project to explore ways Patchwork could assist local youth service providers.

“We saw a number of benefits in Patchwork including improving collaboration between providers,” Director Community Wellbeing Neil Whiteside said.

“There are also potential benefits to young people who have workers with multiple service providers, and it will help workers identify who else is working with the young person while enabling access to other providers’ contact details.”

MAV President Bill McArthur said while the MAV’s initial focus had been on maternal and child health, and youth services, Patchwork could be applied to a wide range of human service areas.

“We will explore the opportunity to roll it out to all Victorian councils, and to create links with other public sector and community agencies,” he said.

Patchwork goes global as pilot kicks off in Victoria, Australia

mav2

In our first major step into working with local public services outside of the UK, Patchwork will be launching in Australia over coming months, kicking off a pilot with a consortium of councils thanks to our partners MAV (or Municipal Association of Victoria) and a number of local councils.

Originally designed with frontline practitioners in Lichfield and Staffordshire, Patchwork will soon be used by local government 11 time zones and 24 hours travel away in Victoria, Australia.

Over the next four months we will be focused on training up a cohort of early adopters and enthusiasts to see how Patchwork can help to better coordinate their work in supporting families and young people to provide them with the best possible support. A team headed up by Patchwork lead Kirsty Elderton will work with practitioners to get the councils up and running and making the most of the system, improving ways of working and outcomes in the process.

Working alongside Kirsty are our Aussie design partners, DMA. Mel and Justin will work with Kirsty to both support the roll out, evaluate the impact but also take a specific look at Maternal and Child Health Services, mapping out where technology and service change could help a rethink in how M&CH practitioners are supported to do their job.

We’ll be blogging progress as we go, but for now here’s the press release circulated by MAV today.

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Patchwork to pilot more connected family and youth services

19 March 2013

A new pilot project will work with a consortium of councils to transform the way governments interact with vulnerable families in maternal and child health, and youth services.

Cr Bill McArthur, President of the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) said Patchwork was a simple social technology solution to connect staff from different agencies working with clients in common.

“FutureGov, a leader in technology-led public service change will this week meet with Melbourne councils who have expressed in-principle support to participate in the MAV-funded Patchwork pilot.

“We hope to build on the success of the original UK Patchwork project developed by FutureGov.

“Using a simple web application, UK families have benefited from the administration efficiencies of agencies sharing and updating information when working with the same vulnerable clients.

“Patchwork can improve collaboration, offer joined-up services from multiple agencies, lead to earlier intervention where required, and deliver better outcomes for families.

“It builds a full picture of client needs while also achieving time and cost savings.

“While the MAV’s initial focus will be on maternal and child health, and youth services in pilot municipalities, the project is potentially applicable to a wide range of human service areas in which councils are involved.

“Once the pilot is complete, we will explore the opportunity to roll it out to all Victorian councils, and to create links with other public sector and community agencies.

“We have also briefed several State Government departments interested in being a part of the pilot,” he said.

The UK company FutureGov uses design, technology and change to rethink how local public services are delivered. Dominic Campbell, FutureGov’s founder is in Australia from 18 to 22 March to discuss the Melbourne Patchwork pilot with the MAV, interested councils and State Government departments.

Dominic Campbell said the FutureGov team was passionate about local government and excited at the opportunity to work with forward-thinking colleagues at the MAV and councils in Victoria to implement an innovative solution to joining up local public services.

“There is a real opportunity to rethink how frontline services are supported through well designed, user friendly technology and we hope to help play a part in this in Victoria,” he said.

Kirsty Elderton, Patchwork Program Manager will be in Australia to work intensively with pilot councils and other program partners from April to July.

– Ends –

For more information about Patchwork: http://patchworkhq.com 

Contact the MAV President, Cr Bill McArthur on 0437 984 793 or MAV Communications on (03) 9667 5521.