Reporting organisational activities
Review organisational data collection
Options for discussion
Review the appropriateness and suitability of data collected on organisational activities.
Consider whether data can be publicly reported in aggregated form
Many of the items on the QDC form relate to organisational activities. These data were not provided to DARU for reporting in Disability Advocacy by the Numbers.
DARU observe some aspects of these data could be re-considered.
DARU observes that many fields in the QDC survey ask organisations about their usual activities, practices or clients groups, rather than what they actually were doing during the reporting period. Collecting information on what organisations actually did, rather than usually do, may more accurately detect changes in organisational practice or client groups, if that is the intended purpose.
Some of the questions go to items detailed in organisations’ funding agreements, and it is unclear why organisations are required to report on them. Many of the answers are unlikely to change from quarter to quarter, and it is also unclear whether it is useful for them to be reported every 3 months.
For example, DARU is funded to provide a resource unit. Every 3 months, we report that we describe our organisation as a Resource Unit. It is unclear of what benefit collecting this information is.
Disability advocacy organisations are also asked to provide the number of both complaints and referrals to a number of different government complaints bodies. DARU was not provided with this data for Disability Advocacy by the Numbers. It is unclear what the intended purpose of recording this information is.
Consideration should be given to the purpose of collecting data on organisational activities is, whether the appropriate data is being collected for that purpose, and whether the information can be published.
Measuring demand and outcomes
Options for discussion
Consider whether useful measures of service demand can be reported, such as data on waiting lists or requests for service.
Discuss options for measuring outcomes, recognising potential difficulties.
The Victorian Government, in its response to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Abuse in Disability Services, has announced its intention to improve measurement of demand and outcomes for disability advocacy.
This is no easy task.
It is very difficult to generate population-wide estimates of the demand for disability advocacy services. In part, this is because there remains low levels of awareness of disability advocacy services, or strong understanding of the nature of disability advocacy. As a result, many people may be unaware of the existence of disability advocacy services, or may not understand that disability advocacy might enable them to resolve an advocacy issue.
However, organisations may be able to provide data on expressed demand for disability advocacy. In other words, organisations may be able to provide data on the number of times people request a disability advocacy service. Alternatively, organisations may be able to report the number of people on their waiting list, where they maintain them.
These will underestimate the total level of demand for disability advocacy, but may provide an improved understanding of the level of demand.
Similarly, measuring the outcomes of disability advocacy is not simple. People present to disability advocacy organisations with many different individual advocacy issues, which cannot be translated into simple outcome measures. Complicating analysis is that people’s expectations of outcomes may be different, and those expectations may differ from what is achievable from a disability advocacy service. Greater discussion is required about what useful outcome measures for disability advocacy can be generated.