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The Beacon Strategy

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Background

Over the years The Bouverie Centre has worked with a variety of human service organisations to improve the quality of care they deliver to their clients and their families and social networks. In the 1990’s we developed a particular interest in addressing the challenge of achieving real and sustained practice change at a sector or system level via state-wide training programs or service development initiatives such as the 'Get Together FaST' program. 'Get Together FaST' emphasised the engagement of stakeholders and participants working together to develop projects that would improve the operation of their organisations.

In the past ten years we have embarked on a series of multi-site implementation projects. These large scale improvement strategies have primarily aimed to assist sectors to adopt practices which improve service responsiveness to families. We have also worked collaboratively with service systems to foster the uptake of other practice innovations such as Single Session Work, cross sector collaboration and a program to reduce discrimination and bullying.

The Beacon Strategy explained

The Beacon Strategy is an evolving methodological approach to achieving sector wide practice change. It is grounded in our workforce development experience and in the emerging field of implementation science that looks beyond training to consider the range of complex factors that must be considered when attempting to introduce a new practice into a setting (Greenhalgh, et al., 2004; Damschroder et al., 2009). Inherent in the title is the notion that sites actively seeking to embed a new practice are a beacon for the sector, shedding light on how services can effectively implement new ways of working with their clients and their families. As a continuously evolving methodology, The Bouverie Centre and our partner services approach each new project as an opportunity to learn more about implementation, with the aim over time of becoming more effective and efficient in achieving large scale practice change. 

While components of the approach are customised to fit each particular service system, The Beacon Strategy involves the following key elements:

  • Achieving and demonstrating real and sustainable practice change. This means going well beyond having every staff member complete a training package, or changing agency policy, to producing credible evidence that practice has changed.
  • Working in partnership. We see the challenge of implementing practice change as a shared endeavour and responsibility between The Bouverie Centre and our partner organisations.
  • Sharing experiences and learning. This involves creating opportunities for sharing experience and learning within sites and across sites, sectors and projects, to support implementation efforts and to grow knowledge.
  • Sustained involvement. Meaningful change in human services is usually hard won and requires time. Beacon projects extend from 1-2 years; sometimes longer.
  • A multi-modal and multi-level approach. Intentional practice change requires the use of a mixture of implementation strategies (training, booster sessions, supervision, co-working, procedural and policy) directed at different levels (service users, practitioners, clinical leaders, middle managers, senior managers and policy developers). 
  • Action research orientation. Implementation requires ‘learning by doing’ and being able to respond flexibly to changed circumstances making action research particularly well suited to the study of this area.

Find out more

Please direct your enquiries to our Business Administration Manager, Penny Wong – phone (03) 9385 5100 or email penny.wong@latrobe.edu.au. Penny will gather some preliminary information in order to connect you with a suitably experienced Bouverie Centre consultant.

Alternatively, you may be interested in reading more about how The Beacon Strategy has been specifically applied in the Alcohol and Other Drugs, Mental Health and Gambler’s Help sectors.

References

Damschroder, L.J., Aron, D. C., Keith R.E., Kirsh, S. R., Alexander, J.A., & Lowery, J.C. (2009) Fostering implementation of health services research findings into practice: a consolidated framework for advancing implementation science. Open Access: http://www.implementationscience.com/content/4/1/50

Greenhalgh, T., Robert, G., Macfarlane, F., Bate, P., & Kyriakidou, O. (2004). Diffusion of Innovations in Service Organizations: Systematic Review and Recommendations. The Milbank Quarterly, 82(4), 581-629.

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