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  Management
  Alternatives Pty Ltd
  ABN 23 050 334 435



Contents | 1. Essence | 2. Types | 3. Models | 4. Jargon | 5. Checklists | 6. Resources


4. Jargon

Vision Statement

A vision statement is a statement of the future ideal you are working towards. For example "our community will be one where children's rights are respected, children are protected and parents have adequate knowledge, skills and links with family, friends and community to parent well".

Mission statement

A mission statement is a statement of purpose. It will usually answer in a creative paragraph or two the following questions:

What is the organisation?
What are core beliefs and commitments?
Who is the service user?
What is their need?
What will be the benefit to them from this service?
What will the service do to provide this benefit?

A mission statement is like a flag the organisation can hold up that gives the essence of what it is about.

Values

Values are desirable qualities. When talking about values in human services they are often linked with our beliefs and commitments and what we see to be the rights of service users.

For example, values include: people having equal access to services irrespective of their country of origin, respecting the worth and dignity of each person, service users being involved in choices about available services.

The values of individuals and organisations will affect their approaches to service delivery and answers to such questions as:
What are quality services?
How do you get quality services?
How do you know you are providing quality services?

For example if a service's values were built around a core value of women should be subservient to men then a quality service might include encouraging women to do as they are told by their partners, service strategies might be highly structured and controlling, and the degree to which women do as they are told by men could be a measure of success.

Alternatively if a service's values were based around the core value of the empowerment of the individual then a quality service might include supporting parents in developing their self esteem, service strategies could include negotiation skills and a measure of success might be the degree to which parents are able to be self-directed.

In this example the first service would consider the second to be a failure and visa versa. Making an organisation's values explicit does not of course mean that these explicit values will be acted on all the time. Statements of values that are too general (too umbrella like) will not be as useful as more specific statements that identify your organisation's values as different from other organisations' values.

Client Needs

There are many different uses of the word need. In human services we are usually focussing on client needs (sometimes we refer to community needs).

A common difficulty in human services is to confuse client needs with strategies (what we do to meet the need).

Client's needs include, for example, the need for food, shelter, friends or self-esteem. In the context of human services a need is likely to be something you have experienced or can imagine experiencing.

Training and counseling are strategies. They are what we do to meet needs. For example we may have a need to gain new skills and undertake some training as a way of meeting the need or we may have a need to get on better with those around us and go to a counselor to help us meet our need.

Some examples of client needs are:
Need for friends and social contacts;
Need for a safe environment;
Need to have an advocate;
Need to know and understand what services are available to me;
Need to be able to relate well with those around me;
Need for parents to have a break from their children.

The following are not really examples of client needs; they are strategies:
Counseling
Education
Groups
Information and referral

Aims/goals

Aims and goals are often use interchangeably. In human services aims are general statements of what we intend to achieve in relation to clients needs.

An example of a service aim is: For parents in families under stress to strengthen and enhance their parenting skills. This aim is a broad statement of what we are trying to achieve. Because of this aim/goals are not usually written in a way that we would know whether we have achieved them. (Objectives - see below - are more specific.)

A useful model for writing aims is: For ..........(such and such a group of people) to ...........(gain such and such a benefit). Some examples are:

  • For Spanish speaking people to have sufficient English skills to be able to apply for a job
  • For older isolated people to be more connected with people living in their local community.
  • For new arrivals to be able to understand our systems of government and services.

To run parenting groups is not an aim. It is a strategy that could be used to achieve the aim above about enhancing parenting skills.

Objectives

Objectives are specific statements of what you intend to achieve. Ideally objectives should be (SMART):

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Results oriented (i.e. written as something to be achieved)
  • Time bound.

Measurable does not mean that it would be easy to measure but rather that it is possible to tell whether or to what extent the objective has been achieved.

Some examples of objectives are:

  • For 35 parents each week with to have a 2 hour break from their children for the next 12 months.
  • For 10 newly arrived migrants each week to be able to find out the services available for them in their area
  • For 35 children under the age of 5 to experience a creative learning environment for four hours per week for the next 12 months.
  • For 30 older women living in a particular area to get to know each other over the next 12 months.

An alternative approach to setting objectives is to write objectives such as:

  • For the client to identify what the need is
  • For the client to articulate the need
  • For the client to identify what needs to be done to meet the need
  • For the client to increase their self esteem / confidence so it is possible for them to act to meet their needs
  • For the client to do what needs to be done to meet their needs.

Strategies
Strategies are the processes and activities that will be undertaken to achieve the objectives.
Examples of strategies are:

  • Run a discussion group
  • Provide information and referral
  • Volunteer visiting
  • Provide family counseling;
  • Run a play group;
  • Advertise in the local media.

Action Plan

Who will do what, when, to implement the strategies?

At its most general the action plan could include a list of what staff and resources will be needed to implement the plan and how they will be organised. For example the action plan could include that the service requires a Coordinator, Administrative Assistant and three support workers, what days the staff will work, how many clients they will see and so on.
At its most specific it could include a plan for who is to see what clients when, who is to answer the phones and so on.

Inputs

The resources used to produce outputs. Inputs include: staff time, cars, capital equipment, buildings, etc

Processes

The transformation of inputs to outputs(which ultimately lead to outcomes). In human services we are often referring to the service delivery process. For example counseling is a process where inputs such as staff time and client time are used in such a way as to counsel clients and ultimately achieve some outcomes for clients.

Outputs

The products or services which are produced or delivered by a program in order to achieve the program's outcomes.

They are what keeps workers busy - activity counts. Examples of outputs are: Number of groups run, number of counseling sessions, number of referrals taken.

Outcomes

Outcomes are what we have achieved. Once we have achieved our aims and objectives they will be outcomes. In human services there should be very close links between client needs, aims and objectives and outcomes. Outcomes should be meeting client needs.

Outcomes are all the impacts or consequences of the services or program (beyond its outputs). Outcomes are often delayed or long term and they may be intended or unintended.

Although programs work towards brining about various outcomes, the outcomes are often beyond the direct control of the program. This makes it difficult to show cause and effect links between the services provided and the outcomes achieved.

Performance information

Performance information is evidence about performance. Sometimes we use the term performance indicators. This term is used in many different ways. In developing performance indicators two useful questions are:

  • How do we know that the objectives have been achieved? I.e. what evidence would we see if the outcomes are achieved? (E.g. that newly arrived migrants understand what services are available to them)
  • How do we know the strategies have been carried out? I.e. what evidence do we have for our activities? (E.g. how many telephone calls we made in order to provide information to clients about what services are available to them).