“For the first time in Junction’s 40 years of operations, we have all Community Services client information in a single system. The improvement across the organisation has been transformational.”
About Junction Australia
Junction is a leading provider of a wide range of community support services and quality housing in South Australia. Since 1979, the organisation has worked collaboratively to support and provide a better future for children, young people, at risk families, the homeless, and women experiencing domestic violence.
Reasons Penelope was chosen
- Configurable, user-friendly system that can accommodate the diverse needs and requirements of multiple programs
- Single source of truth for collection, aggregation, and reporting of data to help analyse and improve service delivery
- Cost-effective system that can reduce manual processes and time spent compiling reports, while helping to eliminate duplication of work
Benefits from Penelope
- Improved transparency across all programs leading to meaningful insights and better decision-making, as well as improved outcomes
- Having all client information in one system has led to transformational improvement in quality and compliance across the organisation
- More effective and efficient service delivery, higher client satisfaction, and better trained staff
For 40 years, Junction has been providing a diverse array of community support and housing services to vulnerable individuals and families in South Australia. Junction’s vision is a better future for all, achieved by working collaboratively to influence the lives of children, young people, and families to reach their full potential within a thriving community.
Each year, Junction helps over 8,500 people across 33 local government areas in South Australia, including providing homes for 4,000 tenants and providing 30 different services to assist 4,500 people.
Junction started using Penelope in July 2018, and the system has quickly become the organisation’s single source of truth for Community Services client data, leading to improvements in service delivery, quality and outcomes, while also improving the client experience. We recently contacted Ian Simpson, Chief Information Officer at Junction, to learn more.
What system(s) was Junction using to track client information prior to Penelope?
Prior to Penelope, Junction was using a number of program-specific applications, along with a combination of hard copy files, spreadsheets, Word documents, and internally developed databases.
Reporting was reactive and primarily focussed on meeting funding requirements. All of the systems were siloed so there was no single ‘source of truth,’ which resulted in clients telling their story multiple times, a lack of transparency, and challenges in making informed decisions.
What was the main problem your organisation was trying to solve with a new case management system?
There were a number of key challenges to overcome, including:
- The existing systems were no longer fit for purpose
- The cost and time involved in maintaining and training people in multiple legacy systems was prohibitive
- There was no single view of our client base, resulting in variable customer experiences
- The focus was on recording outputs rather than outcomes
- It was not possible to meaningfully evaluate program or staff performance
What factors did you consider before making your decision?
Our requirements focussed on:
- A single, cloud-based case management system to meet the needs of all current and future programs
- The ability to configure and evolve the system using internal resources
- An integrated system to address both case management and outcomes measurement objectives
- The ability to be a ‘single source of truth’ for the aggregation, analysis, and reporting of volumes of data into actionable insights to inform service delivery improvement
- The integration with business intelligence reporting systems to incorporate information from our Housing, Community Services, and Corporate information systems
- The reinforcement and demonstration of value to funders, stakeholders, and the broader community, through validated and credible evidence-based methodologies
- The reduction of time spent on manual processes – duplication and rework, reporting to funders, grant acquittals, and other internal requirements
- Cost effectiveness in relation to licensing, training, and system changes over time
Why did you choose Penelope?
- Penelope met or exceeded all our criteria and needs
- There is a growing user base in South Australia
- Local pre-sales support was excellent, which greatly assisted in de-risking the initiative
- The adaptability of the system to meet the needs of differing program requirements and measurements
- The interface is user-friendly and was well-received by staff
What was your implementation experience like?
Overall it was a very positive experience. We selected the Knowledge Transfer (KT3) approach where we received great support from the Athena Project Manager who trained us how to build, configure, and administer Penelope from the outset.
One of Athena’s consultants was on-site for several days and was always available for questions. The KT3 implementation package meant that key Junction staff quickly became proficient in the use and understanding of Penelope. This has benefited our organisation as these ‘super users’ have been able to continue to design and develop Penelope to meet our business needs.
What issues has Penelope helped your organisation solve?
For the first time in Junction’s 40 years of operations, we have all Community Services client information in a single system. We have only been using Penelope since July 2018, but the improvement across the organisation has been transformational.
Improved transparency has assisted in greater quality and compliance in relation to contractual, regulatory, and internal policies. Case reviews by senior staff have resulted in the identification and rectification of training needs as well as improved supervision and support for staff. This ultimately results in better programs, higher client satisfaction, better trained staff, and more effective and efficient services.
“Improved transparency has assisted in greater quality and compliance in relation to contractual, regulatory, and internal policies. This ultimately results in better programs, higher client satisfaction, better trained staff, and more effective and efficient services.”
How would you explain Penelope to someone who has never used it?
Penelope is a flexible, adaptable, cost-effective, and scalable cloud-based, Case and Outcomes Management system which has been specifically designed by people who understand the differing needs of the sector, specific programs and clients.
Data is collected in configurable forms and fields and the reporting engine assists in turning that same data into meaningful and actionable information and insights.
This in turn assists in better decision making as well as program and outcomes improvement which ultimately helps to demonstrate compliance with funding requirements and value, through tangible, evidence-based methodologies.
What measurable benefits have you seen since implementing Penelope?
Although there are without doubt efficiency benefits, that was not our primary driver
for the implementation of Penelope. In fact, focussing on financial efficiencies alone
greatly undervalues the benefits of the system.
For example, what is the quantifiable ‘value’ of:
- Greater transparency resulting in more informed decision making
- A lower-risk environment for our clients and staff as a result of more effective supervision and training
- Greater consistency across staff and programs, resulting in a more consistent and repeatable service
- The reputational benefits of timely, accurate, and relevant information and insights
Would you recommend Penelope to other organisations? If so, why?
Penelope has been an excellent solution for Junction’s differing programs and needs. The user base is rapidly growing, resulting in significant investment in ongoing development which is driving further features and enhancements. In effect, an excellent system is continually getting better!
With the help of Penelope, Junction is continuing to enhance our internal capabilities and the more we learn, the more we realise how much ‘better’ we can and will become!
Penelope is a journey, it is not an ‘event’ and the path to improvement is both long and at times challenging yet at the same time, exciting and rewarding. We have no hesitation in recommending Penelope for those willing to take that journey.