[MEL20]

Working With Children Check for Indigenous applicants [DRAFT]

Website

Gold 

Overview

Today worked with the Office of the Children’s Guardian to provide Indigenous Australians with accessible service of the Working with Children Check (WWCC).

WWCC’s are a gateway to work, foster/kinship care and government support. A WWCC gives the ability to be part of a community, and to care for family. For Indigenous Australians, the check is particularly difficult to navigate to the point that it was subverting their needs, rights and culture.

The outcome of our work was a process that supports Indigenous people and their experience with clear and appropriate mechanisms to increase WWCC’s and deliver better outcomes for Indigenous Australians across New South Wales, Australia; increasing people’s access to work, services and Indigenous children being cared for within their communities.

To approach this challenge there were multiple facets that we needed to consider to co-design appropriately. It was essential to properly understand the experience of Indigenous Australians; what it’s like to apply, how it relates to intergenerational trauma and discrimination, and what specific community needs are.

We developed a solution that was embedded within the organisation; ensuring stakeholders felt ownership of the next steps by the time the project was complete.

Project Commissioner

Office of the Childrens Guardian

Project Creator

Today

Team

Philippa Abbott - Head of Design
Alex Moshovelis - Senior Service Designer
Evie Davies - Service Designer
Sally Woellner - Design Lead
Lara Ihnatowicz - Senior Producer

Project Brief

Today were engaged to study the experience of Indigenous Australians in applying for the check, and the impacts that limited access might bring.

We needed to design a solution that maintained the WWCC regulatory framework—essential for ensuring the safety of Australian children—whilst creating a service that vulnerable people could access and engage with in a supportive and inclusive way.

We worked to understand the current organisational structure and how the process of a WWCC works for Indigenous people. After extensive research we held key stakeholder workshops to identify strategic goals of the project and worked together to map the WWCC experience, identify barriers, pain-points, strengths and opportunities for how the service could be improved for Indigenous applicants.

Project Innovation/Need

Australian Aboriginal people are massively over-represented within basic social, economic and health indicators; more children in the child protection system, significant lack of employment, more welfare dependent, higher mental and physical risk factors and the list goes on. Many of these challenges can be solved through the ability to work and to look after family. But to do this, you need a Working with Children Check (WWCC).

The Office of the Children's Guardian identified that a tiny proportion of Australian Aboriginal people were accessing the WWCC, a simple mechanism that’s required for any adult to engage with children in a professional capacity.

These checks are a cornerstone of a well functioning child protection system—designed to stop perpetrators of harm having access to children—and are a necessary and valuable part of our society. However for Aboriginal Australians, the check is particularly difficult to navigate, to the point that it was subverting their needs, rights and culture.

This contributes to a situation that nobody wants—the ongoing cultural and geographic displacement of Australian Aboriginal children.

Design Challenge

The solution that this project offers is scalable across other communities, vulnerable cohorts and complex service systems.

We are in the early stages of delivery so the economic benefit cannot be determined just yet. however, successful Indigenous WWCC applicants now have better access to government support, employment opportunities and the ability to support family members. Over time this will increase livelihoods and community outcomes for each person and their family.

“For black people and government it's a struggle, it's been a struggle since day one and for us to go through all this bullshit to prove that I'm a changed man, it's annoying.” [Participant]

Pilot applicants had been approved by the time we finished our part of the project and one has already become a champion in his community to support other Indigenous people to get through the process; highlighting a successfully handed off and locally owned service design solution.

Today and Office of Children’s Guardian respects and upholds the privacy of all stakeholders and all research participants. Throughout the research we conducted strict ethical practices, ensuring participation was consensual, anonymised and aggregated. For more information please see privacy terms — https://today.design/privacy-policy/

User Experience

The service design set out to deliver a non-digital experience that was designed so it didn’t depend on tech literacy or ownership. or an ability to navigate ‘white man’ processes. This included the use of ‘lo-fi’ features, changing the method of proof of identity, and creating triaged decision-making processes.

By enabling better tools for employees, they could spend more time building relationships and providing face-to-face and telephone support. Together with OCG we developed location-based engagement methods according to Indigenous communities’ cultural events, working to demystify the WWCC, and misconception and fear that the evaluation process might mean ending up in jail.

We designed a more accessible, inclusive and culturally appropriate service that means more Indigenous Australians can look after other Indigenous Australians, get the work they want, and be supported by a social safety net.

The outcome of our work was a process that supports Indigenous people and their experience with clear and appropriate mechanisms to increase WWCC’s and deliver better outcomes for Indigenous Australians across New South Wales, Australia. This is making a significant contribution to narrowing the gap in Indigenous inequality that perpetuates an ongoing cultural and geographic displacement of Australian Aboriginal children.




This award celebrates creative and innovative solution design for the successful delivery and provision of services. Consideration given to system integration, user experience, product design
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