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State and Federal governments are exploring the use and implementation of outcomes measures in the human services sector in Australia, and pilot studies are being conducted at a number of sites using the Outcomes Star, one such system for measuring outcomes.

Outcomes Star is both a case-management and an outcomes-measurement tool developed in the UK which acknowledges the significance of personal motivation and agency for a service user in achieving sustainable change in their journey towards independence and choice in critical areas of their lives.

Dr Lisa Harris and Dr Sharon Andrews are lecturers in social policy at RMIT University. Lisa worked as a caseworker and in management for many years in the social and community sector before moving into higher education. Sharon has worked in government at both a state and federal level, and also served on the board for a number of community sector organisations. Lisa and Sharon’s joint research interests are exploring community sector driven research, social policy development and implementation, practice innovation, and the implementation and use of outcomes-measurement tools in the human services sector.
Lisa and Sharon have been commissioned by the Salvation Army Melbourne Central Division Research and Advocacy portfolio to undertake two action-research projects. The aim of this first project was to provide a robust implementation strategy for the Outcomes StarTM that would be of use to social service networks within the Salvation Army and other community service organisations. The second project will explore, over time, the use of data from the Outcomes StarTM in professional practice, individual and team supervision, program design, organisational accountability and structural advocacy.

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