a waterfall with water flowing down multiple rock tiers into a shallow pool below


Tier 1 of the CASCADeS framework.

Taking the first step.

What do we know about our community, the needs of the families, the strengths, the vulnerabilities, the barriers to access, the enablers? This can also include gathering information and coming to a common understanding of any existing service gaps, the resources available, and opportunities for collaboration. It is useful at this point to consider: what data might we need to access to test or check our beliefs or assumptions?

The best people to answer these questions are those who live and work in your community. So... the first step is to establish your Collaborative Community Working Group.

As you work towards your goal of establishing a new service model in your community, you will want to harness the knowledge and insights of community members including those who will use the service, previous users of the service, service providers, other agencies/organisations who form part of the local service system network.

The first question to consider is “do we have everyone we need as part of this group or are there others we should invite to participate to represent the views and voices of others in our community?”

  • Are parents / consumers of the service participants in the group? This could include past clients of the service as well as attempting to engage those who may be future service users, including those who for various reasons have not yet engaged with similar services.
  • What service providers from our community are represented? Are there others missing? The service providers may be combination of health service managers and planners, health practitioners and local clinicians, GPs and Primary Health Network and Non-Government Organisations workers and managers.
  • Are the cultural groups within our community represented? Are the voices of First Nations peoples represented, and/or those from migrant or refugee backgrounds?
  • Are there other stakeholder groups in our community who would also have an interest in the services that are the focus of this project?
  • Take the opportunity to think outside the square. This could include charitable organisations, community groups, the local council, local businesses, other government agencies including education and community services. You may choose to meet in person, or via video-conference depending on distance, to enable broad participation.

Planning and Preparation.

It would be best if people are invited into the project at Tiers 1 and 2 before heading into the review of the service model in Tier 3, however it is never too late to invite other people to participate in your project as long as you take the time necessary to brief them on the steps taken so far, the information you have gathered and the thinking of the group moving forward.

Before you commence you might also like to consider your timeframe for this project. This will assist those participating in making a commitment to be involved throughout the four tiers of the process. You may set time aside to discuss this prior to or at your first meeting. It is important to allow sufficient time as you move through the CASCADeS Framework, taking a systematic approach which will inform the identification of a suitable model for implementation, the adaptations required, implementation and evaluation plan.

Once the members of your Collaborative Community Working Group have been agreed, it’s time for your first meeting to explore the first tier of the CASCADeS Framework. Focus questions are provided in the CASCADeS Resource Toolkit aligned with the Tier 1 ‘Context’ elements. The questions are provided to help focus your discussion as your group seeks to share information, knowledge and local wisdom to come to a collective understanding of your community context.

Ready for more?

The focus questions for completing this tier can be found in the Resource Toolkit. When you’re ready, you can move forward with Tier 2 of the CASCADeS framework — Outcomes expected.