Early years services (EYS) grant funding (excludes Queensland Kindergarten Funding Scheme and Disability Support Funding) comprises recurrent Queensland Government funding and non-recurrent Australian Government funding.
Funded EYS comprise historical programs established in the Department of Communities before 2009 and programs developed in response to the implementation of national partnerships for universal access to kindergarten and the establishment of the Children and Family Centres.
As a result, more than 40 EYS programs with 300 types of performance measures were established.
During 2015 - 2016 the department categorised EYS grants into five funding categories:
From 1 July 2016, new performance measures and reporting, using a Results-Based Accountability (RBA) methodology has been introduced for each of the EYS grant funding categories.
The performance measures focus on the quality of programs being delivered and the difference these programs make to the lives of children and their families.
This approach aligns with the strategic intent of the department and contributes to measuring improved outcomes for children.
RBA is an internationally recognised approach that emphasises the achievement of outcomes of services from the perspective of the child and their family.
RBA supports organisations to work collectively to improve performance and provides evidence of outcomes (i.e. proves results) by collecting data to answer the following questions:
A small suite of meaningful performance measures (including both outputs and outcomes) have been developed to:
Changes to the structure of EYS grants required consultation with funded EYS providers.
Results Leadership Group Australia (RLG) supported the department to develop draft performance measures. These performance measures formed the basis of consultations with funded EYS.
Workshops were conducted in Brisbane and Cairns and provided an opportunity for basic training in the use of RBA and to consult about new performance measures.
As an inclusive consultation process, metropolitan, regional and remote funded EYS were represented across all five funding categories.
In October 2015, Mark Friedman, the USA-based developer of RBA, facilitated a workshop with attendees from other Queensland Government agencies and external service providers. Feedback from workshop participants was positive.
Between March and May 2016, 20 EYS service providers participated in a pilot of the reporting requirements to test the collection of new performance data using a suite of tools including a glossary, guidelines and reporting templates.
Categorisation of existing programs and the development of new outcome-focused performance measures, enables the department to:
The aim of performance measurement, for both service providers and the department is to determine whether services are effective and deliver expected outcomes for children and families.
The new performance measures also encourage organisations to continuously improve their service delivery by supporting them to assess their own performance data.
Regular scorecards will be developed and published by the department to report the outcomes achieved against the investment in EYS.