16 July 2018

Place-based collective impact: An Australian response to childhood vulnerability

This Policy Brief outlines the use of a different approach for addressing the complex nature of childhood vulnerability in communities experiencing high levels of disadvantage – a place-based collective impact approach. The early years are important as they provide a critical foundation for lifelong health, development and wellbeing. Worryingly, currently more than one in five Australian children begin school developmentally vulnerable and in some communities this extends to one in two children, placing them at greater risk of poorer social, emotional and economic wellbeing throughout their lives. A place-based collective impact approach focuses on citizen engagement, and devolved, cooperative decision-making represents a fundamental shift in the distribution of power and authority away from government and service providers. This paper explores the Australian practice and research on place-based collective impact initiatives including the seven principles which determine their effectiveness; The implications of the research including the need for testing and adaptation as our understanding of the place-based collective impact approach evolves; and considerations for policy and practice including the potential benefits for government, communities and service providers.