How to grow and maintain a great service: a case study
How do you maintain community connection and remain competitive in a changing landscape for the delivery of community services?
For Pnyx client Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre (KNC), a commitment to effective systems that underpin good service has been vital.
KNC Support and Development Coordinator Laurie Strathdee said every aspect of the community sector was facing new demands in relation to data capture, quality standards, and reporting.
He said giving his team the tools and skills to capture information efficiently allows them to focus on working directly with clients.
“Efficient computer systems help us get the administration and bureaucracy out of the way as quickly as possible, so people can focus on what they really want to do, which is help people,” Mr Strathdee said.
Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre (KNC) services the Blue Mountains region west of Sydney, providing a wide variety of services including aged care, support for people with a disability, out of school hours care and mental health services.
He said they use Comm.care by Pnyx to support case management for more than 1500 people: recording client information, what services they’re receiving and what needs they have.
Mr Strathdee said using Comm.care offered KNC essential time savings when it came to reporting to the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) data exchange portal (DEX).
“One of the benefits of Comm.care is that because it’s linked to DEX we can enter the data and then it goes straight through to DSS. It minimises the amount of work,” Mr Strathdee said.
In the last six months of 2017, KNC submitted more than 10,000 reports automatically to the data exchange via Comm.care, which also provides significant savings to KNC in terms of staffing costs.
The transformation to a more digitally-mature organisation has not happened overnight.
Mr Strathdee said that before adopting Comm.care KNC had more labour-intensive and multi-layered approaches to managing client information: a variety of spreadsheets, Word documents and filing cabinets. He said improved security of information was a key benefit of a robust client management system.
“Having one system means our clients are only in the system once as well. We know that if they’re getting one service, they’re in the system, and if they get an additional service they are not put into another database. That service is just added to that client within Comm.care, which simplifies it enormously as well.”
Mr Strathdee said entering data once saved time, ensured everyone was on the same page, and meant less duplication or repeat requests to clients for information.
He said Comm.care has helped ensure greater accuracy of client information, and an enhanced capacity for that information to be efficiently accessed by relevant staff. This has enhanced KNC’s ability to be flexible and responsive as a provider of high quality services to clients.
“Our reputation is really important to us. Since we’ve started with the NDIS, only in the last year, we’ve gone from 0 to around 180 clients and we’re getting a really good reputation for good client service, particularly in support coordination and plan management,” Mr Strathdee said.
“As the community sector pivots away from block funding, we have to provide services to individuals who have more control over the services they want—it’s now more important than ever to provide people with high quality, responsive services so we can attract and retain clients that we are able to develop strong, supportive relationships with.
“The people at KNC are really dedicated and do a good job, but we do it because it’s important and we care.”
To learn more about Katoomba Neighbourhood Centre, visit www.kncinc.org.au.