Revised Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance Model 2010-2013

Message from the Executive:  

The Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance BSW (formerly the Deakin + DHS partnership) Executive and team reviewewd its priorities and direction in 2010, resulting in the development of a revised and enhanced model of collaborative engagement. 

The review was undertaken in response to:

  • members feedback via the 2009 Mid – Term evaluation;
  • workshops conducted with Professor Judith Ramaley during 2009;
  • past activity undertaken by the Alliance Team and the Advisory Groups
  • the recent formation of the Department of Health.   

Key decisions in relation to the new model were:

  • re-branding partnership name to the Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance (Barwon South West Region)
  • discontinuing the Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group while ensuring that health and wellbeing is embedded into each of the three remaining advisory groups activity 
  • reforming membership and terms of reference of the three key Advisory Groups  which were: Community Capacity Building (which expands the focus from Public Health Forums to a broader model of engagement); Research, Evidence and Evaluation; and Workforce Development. 
  • Engaging Professor Sue Kilpatrick (Pro Vice Chancellor Rural and Regional, Deakin University) and Ms Chris Faulkner (Director Health and Aged Care, Department of Health) to join the Executive Team. These appointments aim to respond and support engagement across the Department of Health and the South West of the Region.
  • Alliance governance will be further strengthened with Advisory Groups being chaired by members of the Executive.

The Alliance relationship between Deakin University (Faculty of Health, Medicine, Nursing and Behavioural Sciences), the Department of Health and the Department of Human Services is now well established and recognized in the region with exciting potential to further develop into higher levels of collaboration.

The Executive Team would like to thank all Advisory Group members for their solid and committed work progressing Alliance objectives to date.  The success of the Alliance will continue to be dependent on the commitment, participation and action of our membership. 
The executive would especially like to thank the Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group members for their significant foundation work in developing an effective alliance model. Regional, sub regional and local health and wellbeing principles will continue to underpin future Advisory Group activity.

Revised Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance Model:


The Alliance between Deakin University and the Departments of Health and Human Services works to enhance and protect the health and social wellbeing of all people living in the Barwon-South Western Region. The Alliance members work to support each other in conducting each organisation's core business. 

Proposed Future Alliance Role and Model

The Alliance provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and knowledge and an opportunity for creativity to be nurtured, supported and developed.

It offers significant opportunities to advance a number of key strategic regional priorities via its structure and linkages. It will also play an advocacy role in relation to the needs of key population groups across the health and human services sectors. 

Its underlying focus will continue to be a health equity approach focusing on disadvantaged populations in line with the Victorian Government's key social priority of reducing inequality and disadvantage.

With its role embedded in key national, state and regional policy and planning frameworks (see figure 1) the Alliance needs to strengthen its membership and refresh its advisory groups to more effectively reflect the principles of regional representation and inclusivity. 

In taking a strengthened role as a regional think tank to support integrated regional planning and improve health and wellbeing outcomes across the Barwon-South Western Region, there are three proposed logical themes that link to the core business of the Alliance:

  • research and evidence informed practice;
  • providing appropriate information to build community capacity;
  • developing the BSW health and community service sector workforce capacity.     

Strategic Priority Area



Community Capacity Building

Community Capacity Building has become a central objective in a wide range of public policies and programs in Australia.

Community capacity building encompasses "the degree to which a community can develop, implement and sustain actions which allow it to exert greater control over its physical, social, economic and cultural environments". (Littlejohns and Thompson 2001)

To ensure that a diverse range of mechanisms are explored and supported to increase individuals", organizations" and communities' ability to work sustainably together to address key local issues in the Barwon-South Western Region.

Research Evidence and Evaluation

To improve health and well being outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged people and places, by brokering research and evaluation activity which is closely aligned with strategic health and wellbeing priorities at national, state, regional and local levels and to contribute to the evidence base of health and human service practice.  Activity should be underpinned by the determinants of health. 

Working to identify and foster innovative and collaborative research activity at Deakin University, (aligned to the strategic objectives of Deakin University, DH and DHS and the G21 and Great South Coast communities), the Alliance aims to identify evidence to inform policy and practice, build community capacity and reduce disadvantage and inequality.  The Alliance is also working to position the region to build strategic research alliances and identify opportunities for research aligned to the COAG National alliances agendas.

Workforce Development

To develop a co-ordinated and collaborative approach to workforce planning and development across the Barwon-South Western Region .

To build strategic alliances and to coordinate and support key workforce planning and development initiatives across the BSWR to ensure that the region has a sustainable health and community services sector workforce for the long term.. 

Figure 1 Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance Model for 2010.

Deakin/DH/DHS Alliance model

Re-branding to "Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance" (BSW)

The Executive recommends a name change for the alliance to recognize the level of increased engagement between partners and to acknowledge the recent changes that have taken place at Departmental level resulting in the recent formation of the Department of Health. 

The Executive recommends that the alliance now be rebranded as the "Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance" (BSW).

Revised Advisory Groups

There has been some ambiguity regarding the brief of the Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group and its integration with existing regional, sub-regional and local health and wellbeing structures and processes.  Under the new Alliance model, the Health and Wellbeing Advisory Group will be discontinued. However, in recognising the importance of the health and wellbeing agenda across the Barwon-South Western Region, the Alliance will work with the three revitalised Advisory Groups to ensure that national, state, regional, sub-regional and local health and wellbeing issues across the Region, underpin the activity of each Advisory Group. 

The three Advisory Groups will include representation from G21 and the GSC health and wellbeing and planning teams to ensure that the key health and wellbeing issues are incorporated in the activity of each Advisory Group.  The Department of Health is currently undertaking work that synthesises these health and wellbeing priorities.  In South Western Victoria, the Alliance will work with stakeholders to facilitate two "think tanks" to bring the key players together to set objectives, key activities and actions.   

Members from each of the key regional organisations will be invited on to the relevant Advisory Groups to ensure appropriate regional representation. 

The new model has revitalized the focus and governance of the remaining three Advisory Groups as follows:

  1. Community Capacity Building Advisory Group to replace the Public Health ForumAdvisory Group in recognition of the aim to develop a broader role and function for this Advisory Group. In reviewing Advisory Group activity for 2009 it was agreed that the Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance funding to PCPs should be widened from a health literacy forum focus to incorporate wider forums and projects covered under the general principles of community capacity building.  In 2010, there is scope for PCPs to use the funding to improve community capacity building activity in their area in line with relevant PCP strategic priorities.  The Deakin/DH/DHS Strategic Alliance will continue to fund PCPs at the same level but the funding criteria is now wider to cover forumdelivery and other projects or alliances which develop community capacity building projects in their area. 

Research/Evidence and Evaluation Advisory Group has been renamed to more accurately reflect its mission to:

  • broker collaborative innovative research
  • support evidence based practice and policy
  • encourage intersectoral action on social determinants of health
  • develop research and evaluation capabilities

Workforce Development Advisory Group is renamed to focus on ensuring the development of a skilled and responsive local workforce through:

  • leading the development of a Barwon-South Western Region health and community services workforce development strategy; and
  • providing a coordinated student placement process via the implementation of the Student Placement Model. 

Revised Alliance Meeting Schedules

It is recommended that in order to work more efficiently and to use the time allocated with the Executive more effectively that the Executive meetings be reduced to three meetings per year (in March, July, November).  Under the new Alliance structure, all chairs of the Advisory Groups will be members of the Executive.  Deputy Chairs of each Advisory Group will also be appointed.

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