Review of the Multicultural Mental Health Australia (MMHA) project

Recommendations

Page last updated: November 2009

This chapter sets out the recommendations based on the findings of this review. They are grounded in a comprehensive and objective review and synthesis of all available documentation together with a thorough assessment of the findings of all stakeholder consultations conducted in the course of this review.

In light of the review findings, careful consideration has been given to ensuring that the recommendations are realistic, achievable, time specific and capable of achieving the required changes to the project. A number of high level options are offered for the Department's consideration, one set relating to the reconstitution of the MMHA project via an alternate existing infrastructure, the other relates to major management changes within the existing project model underpinning the MMHA. In order to address the concerns of the sector these changes need to be effected in a short time period, namely within the next 3 months. Any extension to this will result in a loss of momentum and the continuation of a project that is not necessarily meeting the needs of the stakeholders and the transcultural community.

Irrespective of the option ultimately employed by the Department, it is strongly recommended that DoHA revisit the project overall within two years. This will enable the Department to determine the extent to which the recommendations have been implemented and whether they have contributed to improved effectiveness, efficiency and sustainability of the project.

Recommendations pertaining to re-constituting the MMHA project via an alternate existing infrastructure
Recommendations pertaining to planning processes, need identification, work prioritisation
Recommendations pertaining to governance and accountability
Recommendations pertaining to financial and service management
Recommendation pertaining to reporting and performance measurement

Recommendations pertaining to re-constituting the MMHA project via an alternate existing infrastructure

The preferred option put forward by the review team is to re-constitute the MMHA project via an alternate existing infrastructure. Recommendations relevant to this option include:

Recommendation 1

That the DoHA reaffirm and determine the alignment of the MMHA project with its longer term strategic directions for transcultural mental health and suicide prevention. This includes consideration of the MMHA's ability to measure longer term change in the target groups mental health needs, behaviours and health/support services, and its contribution to building the evidence base on efficacious and effective transcultural mental health and suicide prevention programs and initiatives. It is this determination that should drive the future of the MMHA project.Top of page

Recommendation 2

That the DoHA give urgent attention to ensuring that the critical service support arm of the MMHA project continues to meet the needs of current users, new/potential users and the transcultural community in general. It will be critical that responsibility for this support mechanism is clearly assigned to an appropriate party, its role and functions are clearly defined, and adequate resourcing is provided to ensure its effective operation and ongoing maintenance. The MMHA project should not proceed until an appropriate support service is in place. This support service may be achieved through the re-specification of desired objectives of the project and the tendering of the project.

Recommendation 3

If a re-specified MMHA project is tendered the process should be restricted to those organisations with existing infrastructure that would be able to adequately support the project.

Recommendation 4

Any re-defining of the MMHA project and objectives and ensuing tendering process should be undertaken within a 6 month period in order to ensure the project is able to respond to the needs of the transcultural community in a timely manner.

Recommendations pertaining to planning processes, need identification, work prioritisation

The alternate option put forward by the review team relates to instituting a range of changes within the current infrastructure defining the MMHA. These changes need to be made within the next six months in order for the project to maintain credibility with the transcultural community and those providing input into this review. Accordingly recommendations relevant to this option include the following which are presented against the major domains covered in the review.

Recommendation 5

MMHA be required to develop a strategic plan in collaboration with all key stakeholders including establishment of processes to facilitate its regular review.

Recommendation 6

MMHA give priority to ensuring that appropriate processes are in place to ensure ongoing, adequate and comprehensive consultation with all key stakeholders in needs identification/analysis and prioritisation of work.

Recommendation 7

MMHA establish and document clear delineation of target audience and stakeholders.

Recommendation 8

DoHA in collaboration with MMHA ensure that the project's planning processes are flexible to allow continual monitoring of need, identification of changes in transcultural mental health and suicide prevention need and the ability to respond appropriately and in a timely manner.

Recommendation 9

DoHA in collaboration with MMHA re-examine work priorities (i.e. perception that current work program is too broad, difficult to achieve given resourcing problems) including adequate representation and emphasis on suicide prevention.

Recommendations pertaining to governance and accountability

Recommendation 10

DoHA in conjunction with MMHA consider the implementation of a revised structure which facilitates the effective and efficient management and operation of the project. Possible structures include the introduction of a Board of Management, Executive Committee with representation from the previous Consortium and existing JOG, reinstatement of the Consortium but with revised membership/Provision for a Consortium like structure that allows for effective engagement of relevant state and territory jurisdictions which reports back through JOG, etc.Top of page

Recommendation 11

The MMHA governance documentation be revised to reflect this changed structure and clear delineation of roles and responsibilities be identified in the document. Reporting lines and responsibilities of all entities, committees, sub-committees and groups involved in the MMHA need to be identified and clearly defined including the relationship with funder, fund holder and secretariat. The governance document should also clearly define the membership of each entity, identify clear terms of reference for respective entities together with a clearly defined mandate (e.g. Working Group to drive improved data collection/building the evidence base).

Recommendations pertaining to financial and service management

Recommendation 12

DoHA needs to improve its contract monitoring and management processes of MMHA activities and operation in order to minimise/ prevent under/over spends.

Recommendation 13

DoHA reinstate requirement for auditing by external auditor to enhance accountability and transparency.

Recommendation pertaining to reporting and performance measurement

Recommendation 14

MMHA in collaboration with DoHA develop a broader suite of performance indicators covering the effectiveness and efficiency of MMHA's operations.