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Leadership and culture support the development of common aspirations, build understanding and support opportunities and conditions that enable integrated working.
Leadership provided through boards, management committees and observed in service managers, coordinators and community members is a crucial enabler of integration. Integration is a challenge that takes patience and commitment and requires leadership that is influential, creative, and able to identify and stick to a long term strategy.
Organisational cultures that promote openness, trust and respect, as well as supporting staff to work towards a shared vision, common goals, understanding, and nurturing potential leaders are vital.
In your environment, does leadership and culture enable integrated early childhood development?
Are there integration champions (people who advocate for and support integrated approaches)? Who in the organisation would make a good integration champion? What characteristics do they have?
Does leadership promote the shared vision, benefits and challenges of integration? Can you think of examples where this happens?
Are leaders open to new ideas and creative solutions?
How are leadership positions allocated and filled? Are candidates drawn from different disciplines?
Is the leadership structure enabling or hindering integrated working? What structural changes could improve integrated working?
Are there opportunities for others to lead? What opportunities exist or can be created for leaders to work together on projects and with partner agencies? Read example showhide
At the North Gold Coast Early Years Centre, staff interests and skills are highly valued, but so are their passions. Staff are often given opportunities to lead the projects that really matter to them.
Who is represented on the governing body, and why?
In what ways do organisational values, norms, history, traditions, and ethics support a movement towards greater integration? Do they hinder? Read example showhide
A primary health care model used by Kambu Medical Services at Ipswich children and family centre (CFC) for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families enhances the holistic support available to families attending the CFC's playgroups. Health professionals are on site interacting with families and playgroup staff. They are able to help identify when children's development or behaviour may be affected by underlying health issues, and link families to health services on the spot.
How are successes recognised, acknowledged, shared and celebrated? Read example showhide
Integrated team meetings at the North Gold Coast Early Years Centre include an agenda item dedicated to sharing 'good news' stories and successes.
The questions below will explore how leadership and culture enable the service delivery elements of the model.
How is leadership organised within universal or targeted services?
What role does your organisation see new partnerships taking? To enhance universal or targeted services? Fill service gaps?
How does the leadership and culture enable individuals and teams to work in a multidisciplinary approach?
Is there dedicated time and resources to support multidisciplinary approaches?
Is time allocated for reflective practice?
Are there joint team meetings across disciplines or partners?
Are staff supported with professional development to help them understand and enhance integration and multidisciplinary working?
How can differences/commonalities in understanding across disciplines be used to improve service delivery?
Is evidence-based practice prioritised?
Does leadership promote knowledge of integration and early childhood development theory, evidence and practice? In what ways are leaders connected with research? What websites and resources are shared with staff? Read example showhide
The CEO of Ganyjuu Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Family Support Services is an enthusiastic advocate for integrated service delivery approaches. She stays up to date on emerging research, and whenever she finds particularly useful pieces of information, she shares them with staff.
Does the culture reflect the importance of collecting and using evidence? How could data and research be used more effectively?
Is there a culture of effective partnership arrangements?
Is the culture one of trusting, respectful relationships across disciplines and partners? What do you do to improve relationships?
Is there a focus on teamwork and joint decision-making, where appropriate? What tools exist to support this (agreements, policies or strategies)? Read example showhide
The Redland-Bayside Child and Family Support hub coordinator meets regularly with a colleague from a partner organisation to discuss shared cases. To facilitate this multidisciplinary practice, the hub coordinator developed set questions to guide their discussions and help keep them on track. It is a simple tool that makes collaboration easier.
Does leadership participate and encourage staff to effectively participate in local forums and networks?
How does leadership ensure the organisation supports integration in daily practice? For example, is there integrated case management, or communication to bring staff together and stay informed across disciplines? Read example showhide
Cairns Early Years Centre uses a 'Theme of the Week', which is carried by staff across all meetings, activities, planning, delivery and engagement with families. They create tip sheets to explore different aspects of each week's theme, offering a platform for staff to share knowledge and apply multidisciplinary expertise for a joint purpose.
Does leadership find ways for the community to reach services through multiple access points?
How are staff supported in the delivery of services in the community away from the main centre or office?
How are staff working across locations included in shared communication, planning and activities?
Does leadership ensure all staff work in an inclusive and culturally competent manner?
Are there professional development opportunities to support this?
Who are the community leaders, and how do they provide formal and informal advice or direction to the organisation?
Are there opportunities to model leadership or mentor local community leaders?
Next: Planning and evaluation
This page was last reviewed on 16 Aug 2013