As the Executive Director of Ageing Services at the Benevolent Society, Andrew Collins has had a front row seat watching the development of the Index of Wellbeing for Older Australians. It's given him a good perspective on how the Index can be applied to The Benevolent Society's service planning.
"We want to make sure that The Benevolent Society is providing it's services to the whole community, and that includes people with low incomes or other disadvantages who might find it difficult to navigate the Home Care system. We've used the high level results of the IWOA to make sure we are providing information about our services in communities that will get the most benefit out of our services. Because of the nature of the Home Care system, that means making sure our marketing is reaching those communities and other ways of getting information to them."
The latest iteration of the IWOA data was launched in early 2019, and with it a greater effort to show policy makers and service providers how they can make effective use of the data.
"We're looking at how we can make better use of the data layers to improve the lives of our clients. For example, when we're working with people in an area like Blacktown, we provide the best care we can to people and make sure people know what we can help them with. But the IWOA might tell us that there's a broader issue on a community level, such as housing or transport. Or maybe the IWOA could tell us that high levels of volunteering help individuals, but there aren't many opportunities? We can then advocate with and for the community in a way that benefits the lives of the clients we are working with.
"We can work in depth with the IWOA data or dig in for more analysis, but what's important is that the data is available and we're using it to make our decisions off a good evidence base."