Local Heros, by Spenser Street Primary School children
Integrating service for multi-disciplinary effect
Alongside our Magistrates' Court, the NJC's 'one-stop-shop' model includes around 16 or so community services who work as a united team we call Client Services.
The team provides our clients with help ranging from housing, addiction recovery , mediation, mental health care, financial counselling, family safety , men's behaviour change , help for refugees and people newly arrived to our shores and more.
Bringing these services together under one roof benefits clients and staff alike. Here's why.
Client Services comprises staff employed by the NJC, and case workers from other community service providers who have desk space here.
Our Embedded Specialist Services Model as we call it is efficient and effective.
- Clients have a single point of entry: a referral to one is a referral to any and all. This saves clients repeating the story of their circumstances over and over.
- Reduces the number of meetings that clients and case workers need to attend.
- Saves clients the impost of travelling from one part of town to the other. For people whose lives are chaotic the simpler the treatment pathway, the better the outcome
- Clients are engaged and have plans in train before they leave the building. For people going through the court, this rapid triage approach can be a significant turning point
- Case workers can segue clients from the Centre to appropriate services in their community with ease and without disrupting treatment progress. This helps clients navigate the social services sector with greater ease.
- Working in multidisciplinary teams produces treatment plans that everyone agrees and understands
- 'Bridge the gap' care: if there's a delay getting a client into community-based support we support the client until the gap is filled.
For staff, the model means they can:
- Share information, skills and resources and case loads: co-authoring court reports and collaborating on paperwork makes for faster, efficient, and lighter workloads.
- Share the responsibilities of managing complex clients: this can significantly reduce stress and fatigue that all too often burns out case workers.
For the NJC as an organisation, the model makes us a hub for the services based across our community and taps us into the changing social services landscape.
An investigation of our embedded services model by the Australian Institute of Criminology found:
- some 80% of referred clients engage with Client Services
- re-offending rates of Client Service clients is significantly lower than matched cohorts and lower than those reported by in mainstream court treatment programs
- Breach rates of NJC clients are significantly lower than the state-wide average with the greatest differences being evident in the moderate and high risk offending cohorts
These findings are important because our clients are predominately medium to high risk offenders.
Ross, S., Australian Institute of Criminology, Evaluating neighbourhood justice: Measuring and attributing outcomes for a community justice program (External link), 2015, p.5
Morgan, A., Brown, R., Australian Institute of Criminology, Estimating The Costs Associated With Community Justice, 2015 (External link)
"Before joining the NJC, I’d been frustrated by how long it took me to refer clients to other services. Delays often led to my clients’ problems escalating and they missed opportunities to progress.
So the speed and ease of the assessment and referral process the NJC is geared for is hugely benefitial.
For example, I routinely work with clients who need mental health support. Being able to simply walk a few metres to colleagues working in mental health to get things moving is a huge benefit not only to the client, but to me, as every additional service that we wrap around a client supports what I do too.
It's extremely gratifying to see clients’ moods shift when they their issues are being taken seriously and responded to promptly".
Linda, NJC-based caseworker