What we know

Effective coordination of service delivery can enhance the quality of services and benefit service providers. Benefits include more efficient use of resources and improved working relationships. What works Evidence from process evaluations and documented practice experience reveal that service delivery coordination initiatives designed with, and for, Indigenous populations must:

  • focus on outcomes
  • be culturally appropriate  
  • invest time and resources into community consultations
  • apply a strengths-based approach
  • support Indigenous and non-Indigenous staff.

Initiatives work best when they are targeting a specific issue or problem that demands coordination across organisations: that is, they must be ‘fit-for-purpose’. 2 Effective practices for service delivery coordination in Indigenous communities 

What doesn’t work

Coordination initiatives will not usually work without considerable time and resources (human, capital and financial). Other barriers include:

  • lack of skilled program leaders, practitioners and staff
  • risk-averse organisational cultures
  • inflexible organisational structures or service delivery models, including ‘silo’-based frameworks
  • ‘one-size-fits-all’ approaches that ignore local diversity • program partners that lack clearly defined roles or responsibilities.

What we don’t know

There is only limited evidence to help understand whether service delivery coordination leads directly to better outcomes for service users in Australia and internationally:

  • it can be difficult to attribute changes (like improved employment outcomes) to a particular coordination initiative – where outcomes are measured, evaluations have been conducted before long-term effects are able to be fully realised.
  • There is little evidence to show how models developed for non-Indigenous Australians or internationally might apply to Indigenous Australians