Supporting Bayside early years collaboration

Supporting Bayside early years collaboration


Family Life is an independent, community service organisation in Melbourne; enabling children, young people and families to thrive in caring communities.

An innovative collaboration to provide placed-based early years support required a sound program theory

Several organisations in the Bayside area of Melbourne and surrounds, including Family Life, have partnered to identify ways to provide better early years services to support children and families in a place-based model. Programs have so far been delivered on an ad hoc basis and focused on what is achievable and beneficial within current constraints rather than on what is optimal.

Family Life sought Nous’ support as part of our Community Partnership Scheme 2016 Round to work with the collaborating organisations to develop a program theory to understand how they expect change to happen in their context and how their programs contribute to the change they seek.

Engaging workshops develop a compelling program theory

Nous facilitated two workshops with the collaborating organisations to focus on how they expect change to happen and on how their programs could contribute. We:

  • used an engaging and highly visual approach, expert facilitation techniques and a comprehensive understanding of program theory to draw out the expertise and creativity of the organisations as they collaborated
  • condensed the workshop approach and resulting program theory into a workbook-style report for workshop participants that they will be able to use to refine existing programs and develop new programs
  • developed a condensed report for other stakeholders to understand the program theory.

We built momentum by demonstrating the value of existing programs and illuminating opportunities for further collaboration

  • The development of program logic for some of the programs delivered in collaboration highlighted their value by enabling partners to identify exactly how they contributed to their desired change.
  • Outlining how organisations in the collaboration expect change to happen highlighted opportunities for further collaboration and created optimism and excitement.
  • The program theory will support organisations in the collaboration to refine existing and develop new programs, and build support for the place-based model.