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Government response to the Child Information Sharing Scheme Two-Year Review

Find the Child Information Sharing Scheme Two-Year Review final report

Recommendation Government response

Recommendation 1

Enquiry Line data collection

That operation of the Enquiry Line be funded to accommodate the expansion of information sharing entities (ISEs) under the information sharing reforms, and to facilitate the collection of ‘real time’ data to inform effective implementation of the child information sharing reforms.

Support in principle

Government agrees that data collection related to the Enquiry Line run by the Department of Education and Training (DET) is essential in understanding individual workforce queries and experiences throughout implementation and supports both parts of this recommendation in principle, noting that this would require ongoing staffing for the operation (including data collection) of the Information Sharing Reforms Enquiry Line.

Recommendation 2

Sector support

That support be provided to sector peak/lead bodies, similar to the Family Safety Victoria sector grants, to strengthen the response to sector-specific needs of information sharing entities in understanding and applying the CIS Scheme in a range of circumstances and to promote cross sector collaboration and consistency.

Support in principle

Government is considering how to appropriately support peak bodies and core organisations to provide direct implementation support to sectors prescribed under the Child Information Sharing Scheme (CISS) with a focus on wellbeing and safety outcomes for children in a variety of circumstances.

In 2020/21 Government will offer practical support to assist Phase Two Sector Peaks (including advocacy/representative peaks for vulnerable groups) to:

  • analyse sectoral skills and culture gaps, obstacles and opportunities relative to the desired future state under CISS; and
  • informed by this analysis, develop four-year plans to embed change of the CISS within and between sectors, prioritising vulnerable cohorts.
Government is further considering ways to collaborate with peak organisations across the service sectors to support collaborative practice between Phase One and Two workforces to improve information sharing under CISS (and the Family Violence Information Sharing Scheme - FVISS - as it intersects with CISS), build cross-sectoral strategies, and identify and respond to  current or emerging issues, particularly for vulnerable communities and in response to intersectional disadvantage.

Recommendation 3

Assessing threshold for wellbeing

That further guidance be provided for prescribed workforces regarding expectations associated with ‘promoting child wellbeing’ under the CIS Scheme. That this further guidance be informed by an audit of state-wide and sector specific resources with the aim of identifying guidance gaps, particularly in relation to promoting a shared understanding of child wellbeing and risk thresholds, and child and family service system roles and responsibilities in relation to child wellbeing.

Support in principle

Government will continue to support workforces through professional resources and culture change strategies aimed at building the confidence of professionals in assessing the appropriateness of information sharing to promote the wellbeing of children, including:

  • the Child Information Sharing Ministerial Guidelines (existing resource)
  • a suite of online practice guidance materials for CISS (both existing and additional resources)
  • development of guidance on roles and responsibilities within CISS, similar to that provided in regard to family violence under multi-agency risk assessment and management (MARAM), to be developed in 2021. Government is also currently examining the feasibility of promoting/supporting distributed leadership for the reforms across places and sectors
  • supporting and/or strengthening place-based and professional communities of practice).
In addition, Government will consider research to assess the different wellbeing frameworks currently used across sectors and clarify and consider both the need and feasibility for a consistent framework which could be used to promote a shared understanding of child wellbeing and risk thresholds, and service system roles and responsibilities in relation to child wellbeing. This work could include in its scope, research to baseline how different sectors respond to child wellbeing and risk thresholds in their practice as well as how this is communicated to sectors.

Recommendation 4

Strengthening capacity of Phase One workforces

That change strategies and ongoing training of information sharing entities related to the information sharing reforms continue to develop capacity among Phase One prescribed workforces and to facilitate integration of practice between Phase One and Phase Two prescribed workforces. This could be facilitated through workforce forums developed in collaboration with peak/lead bodies, and through support for local and place-based networks across sectors and promotion of local champions.

Support in full

Government provides a training program (in person and online) which responsible Departments have adapted for their workforces with the aim of providing the ability for all prescribed workforces to receive a core foundation of understanding and practice across sectors and ISEs.

Government is also considering the feasibility of a number of strategies to build cross-sectoral linkages. These strategies include:

  • Sharing Places Workshops to bring together Phase One and Phase Two ISEs to explore the opportunities and challenges presented by the Information Sharing Reforms; and to plan how local/regional ISEs can work together to maximise the benefits of the reforms for children and families in their communities, including through local and regional leadership
  • ‘Bright spot’ articles to share success stories across sectors
  • cross-sectoral communities of practice.

Recommendation 5

Compliance with record keeping requirements

That CIS Scheme partner government departments work with information sharing entities in their respective sectors to promote compliance with the legislated record keeping obligations under the CIS Scheme, as explained in the Ministerial Guidelines.

Support in full

Government remains committed to providing advice to ISEs across a range of media and through formal training, about sources of guidance on how to share information and their legal obligations under the CISS.

Recommendation 6

Service user awareness

That training modules and templates identify information sharing entity responsibility for, and provide resources to support, a consistent approach to service user awareness of the information sharing reforms and ensuring they understand their implications, the obligations of information sharing entities and the service user’s rights.

Support in full

Government is committed to supporting the ongoing process of service user engagement with CISS, FVISS and MARAM across sectors through the delivery of training targeted to professionals, as well as in communications and resources developed under the Families and Communities Strategy and the Koori Engagement Strategy.

A video resource will target service users. It will be made available for use by prescribed professionals with their clients, Parent Committees, Boards of Management and others.

Recommendation 7

Disseminating approaches to practice change

That good-practice case studies across a range of contexts be identified and shared through a variety of media, including through innovation workshops and published material.

Support in full

Government is committed to supporting implementation by sharing best practice examples between and across workforce sectors and is considering:

  • place-based communities of practice to provide an opportunity for the identification and capture of case studies and learnings and ensure the benefit of these learnings may inform improvements to the service system more broadly
  • ‘Bright spot’ articles to develop channels for receiving and disseminating examples of good practice and good outcomes.
Other strategies including cross-sectoral meetings/conferences, in partnership with key Departments and workforce peaks, to promote cross-sectoral discussion and networking, identify emerging challenges, facilitate cross-sectoral problem solving and innovation and highlight good practice.

Recommendation 8

Role clarity in collaborative practice

That the implementation of Phase Two of the CIS Scheme include strategies to strengthen collaboration between universal, secondary and tertiary services (that is, Phase One and Phase Two information sharing entities) around a child, to optimise benefits for the child, and to reinforce the contribution of Phase One prescribed workforces.

Support in full

Government is committed to supporting implementation through strategies to strengthen collaboration between universal, secondary and tertiary services and is considering:

  • place-based workshops to support ISEs prescribed in Phases One and Two to come together across sectors to plan how they will maximise the benefit of the information sharing schemes for their communities
  • identification of place-based leaders from across sectors and supported by DET to champion the reforms. This may include regional and area office government staff, as well as leaders from local councils and community-based ISEs
  • consideration of the feasibility of a collaborative communities’ program, which would identify communities for targeted, cross-sectoral support over time.

Recommendation 9

Clarifying relationship to other legislation and standards

That consideration be given to providing material to reinforce how the CIS Scheme interacts with other existing legislation and standards, such as the Child Safe Standards, Mandatory Reporting Requirements and Reportable Conduct Scheme and how these relate to information sharing entities in different sectors, to ensure adherence to the intent of mechanisms available to facilitate child information sharing. Such an approach can highlight where the CIS Scheme provides additional information sharing powers over existing legislation and standards, providing clarity on when and how to use the CIS Scheme.

Support in full

Government has prepared guidance which explains the relationship between schemes.  DET will develop an integrated WoVG resource that clarifies the interface between CISS and FVISS and other legislation and standards.

Recommendation 10

Measuring contribution of the CIS Scheme in responding to the needs of diverse and disadvantaged communities

That CIS Scheme partner government departments consider the adequacy of the current minimum record keeping requirements of the CIS Scheme, including as they inform the role of the CIS Scheme in responding to the needs of diverse population groups.

Support in part

Government does not support changes to the record keeping requirements as specified in the Ministerial Guidelines, but is however committed to simplifying the process of information sharing and record keeping, and to streamlining existing data collection for monitoring and reporting purposes where possible.

DET is currently leading work to deliver a Victorian Child Information Sharing Outcomes Measurement Framework and a Monitoring and Reporting framework. As part of this work, DET will consult with departments and agencies to identify data sources that exist and could be used to contribute to measuring activities without creating unnecessary impost on departments and workforces, and which complement qualitative data collection, with the aim of measuring the performance of the scheme against short, medium and longer term outcomes over time.

Government is currently considering the feasibility of development of place-based approaches with the aim of providing ongoing targeted support to priority locations focusing on vulnerable communities and/or communities with specific needs in 2021 and 2022. This will include support to the Aboriginal service sector and Aboriginal community-controlled health organisations (ACCHOs) and other diverse/disadvantaged cohorts. The place-based approaches will be assessed through a monitoring and evaluation plan, which is expected to produce examples of good practice to be shared with ISEs. This assessment will also contribute to the monitoring of reform outcomes through the legislated five-year review.

Recommendation 11

Engaging diverse and disadvantaged communities

That CIS Scheme partner government departments engage diverse and disadvantaged groups through sector and advocacy peak bodies and information sharing entities, to understand any specific barriers to the implementation of the CIS Scheme and use these findings to assist information sharing entities to overcome these barriers.

Support in full

Government is committed to engaging with diverse and disadvantaged groups to identify any specific implications for them, or barriers to, the implementation of the Scheme, as well as FVIS and MARAM to the extent these relate to child wellbeing and safety.

Government is also committed to engaging with diverse and disadvantaged groups through sector and advocacy peaks and ISEs as part of the work of the Families and Communities Strategy and the Koori Engagement Strategy.

Government is currently considering place-based change management activities in 2021 and 2022 to provide ongoing targeted support to priority locations focusing on vulnerable communities and/or communities with specific needs including diverse/disadvantaged cohorts. The place-based change management activities will be assessed through a monitoring and evaluation plan, and learnings and examples of good practice in relation to reducing barriers for diverse and disadvantaged groups, and specific enablers will be shared with prescribed ISEs.

Recommendation 12

Cultural safety

That CIS Scheme partner government departments continue to work with and support the Aboriginal service sector to provide community engagement to ensure Aboriginal communities have a good understanding of the CIS Scheme, and to ensure that cultural safety is taken into account at all stages of using the CIS Scheme.

Support in full

Government will continue to work closely with the Aboriginal service sector to promote understanding and community acceptance of the Scheme. To this end DET has developed a Koori Engagement Strategy for the VCIS Reforms prioritising cultural safety.

Government is currently considering the feasibility in developing place-based approaches in 2021 and 2022 with the aim of providing ongoing targeted support to priority locations focusing on vulnerable communities and/or communities with specific needs. This will include support to the Aboriginal service sector and ACCHOs and other diverse/disadvantaged cohorts. The place-based approaches will be assessed through a monitoring and evaluation plan, which will include measures of understanding of the CISS and cultural safety.

Recommendation 13

Culturally appropriate resources to support implementation of the CIS Scheme in Aboriginal communities

That CIS Scheme partner government departments work with Aboriginal lead bodies to develop culturally appropriate training and support materials for the effective implementation of the CIS Scheme in Aboriginal communities, both by Aboriginal-specific and mainstream information sharing entities.

Support in full

Government will continue to seek input from Aboriginal lead bodies on training development and delivery across the service system, to ensure its cultural appropriateness and alignment with the Victorian Government’s self-determination framework.

Government is currently considering place-based projects in 2021 and 2022 which would support the Koori Engagement Strategy and provide targeted support for these communities. The place-based approaches will be assessed through a monitoring and evaluation plan, which will include measures of cultural appropriateness.

Reviewed 30 March 2021

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