Enabling public service innovation through design
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is a primary professional body representing a total of 79 local councils, which provides essential community services to a population over five and a half million people in Victoria. As a major representative of government sector service providers, MAV is confronting a range of urgent social policy and service delivery issues. For instance, community safety is a priority area that includes critical services for vulnerable and marginalised groups, such as preventing violence against women and protecting vulnerable youth. The social and economic implications that arise from these priority areas continue to challenge councils, with local governments burdened with significant costs and reducing their ability to affect meaningful change (MAV 2013). This project aims to explore one facet of the complex challenges faced by MAV and its capacity to deliver effective healthcare services to communities in Victoria. It intends to understand these complex environments that are in flux and examines how to design a human-centred service delivery process that is agile and effective for the communities they serve. It is important to understand the current and future make-up of communities who receive services. Such an understanding can help to shape how services are delivered, how to address the needs of the community and plan for change in the long term. The project aims to directly contribute to this understanding by designing a process that will enable a more efficient and effective delivery service to engender a culture of responsive governance.
Design for social innovation is carving out new frontiers of knowledge in service delivery. It is an approach that invites people to be active participants in the design process. As such, MAV staff and selected community members will be involved in service design workshops. As a major industry partner on this project, Design Managers Australia (DMA) will play a key role in assisting this design process, bringing their professional design expertise in public sector policy. DMA and MAV have a strong association and history, having worked closely together to deliver effective outcomes in the area of maternity and child healthcare policy. This unique blend of expertise provides an opportunity to build on this relationship and broadens its scope in the ongoing work to strengthen the provision of essential services to Victoria’s most vulnerable communities.