Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Shepparton Community Share

Project‘Making Quality Happen’: The Bridge Youth Service is the lead organisation for this collaborative initiative

Amount$200,000 over two years



Rural and regional Victoria Supporting leadership, innovation and build capacity to better meet the complex needs of marginalised and disadvantaged communities in Shepparton and district
Reducing inequality Positioning Shepparton as a leading community in the development of service excellence, rather than being defined by disadvantage
Enabling financial sustainability Developing a replicable and sustainable system that can be maintained locally and adopted more widely within the community sector
Building organisational capacity Enabling small organisations to confidently and competently engage with governments to design meaningful sector reporting mechanisms, further leveraging investment in the community sector to generate greater benefits for Victoria.
Collaboration and partnership The Bridge Youth Service, ConnectGV, Primary Care Connect, FamilyCare

An environment of continuous quality improvement will lead to better outcomes for clients and their families

Community services users have a right to expect and receive high quality services that meet their needs. However, meeting accreditation and compliance requirements for small service organisations can be costly and inefficient and detract from service improvements. Four Shepparton agencies have come together in a unique collaboration to develop an approach to accreditation that is driven by client experience and person-centered, producing more focused and responsive systems, and ultimately leading to better outcomes for clients and their families.

Image The Shepparton Community Share platform, a place for community engagement and feedback, shared professional development and reporting back to community.


  • In May 2015, HMSTrust trialled a capacity-building grants round in Shepparton. Four agencies formed a cohort which went on to become a successful network called Shepparton Community Share, each taking responsibility for a component of an innovative collective impact project to increase efficiencies and improvements in essential support and back-office functions. Shepparton Community Share is  now self-sustaining.
  • Building on the cross-agency trust, will and shared values established between the four participating organisations in the original pilot, “Making Quality Happen” aims to create a culture and environment of continuous quality improvement (CQI), and to develop as leaders and innovators, both within and outside Shepparton.
  • A key objective is to deliver a collaborative CQI Community of Practice with oversight of a cross agency audit program which will drive quality initiatives and service enhancements, improving professional development for staff and outcomes for clients.
  • A dedicated platform has been developed to enable sharing of lessons learned with other agencies and facilitate joint activities between member agencies such as training opportunities.
  • With an intention to contribute for the common good of their clients and community, the four partners have formally collaborated to advance the individual and mutual strengths of their organisations and develop a strategic plan for the Shepparton Community Share.
  • Their cooperative model brings a wealth of local experience, networks, expertise and proven project management competence to this initiative, as well as the intent that the project and its outcomes will be shared with and replicated by others.
  • The project recognises that a framework such as this needs to be interchangeable in order to be able to extend its reach within the community service sector and be applied outside of the network. It is being implemented utilising a community development approach, with potentially up to 1500 small Victorian community sector agencies benefiting from the results of shared tools, knowledge and resources.
  • The project has a dedicated Project Manager responsible for implementation, which includes the recruitment and training of internal auditors, establishment of a CQI Community of Practice, and a toolkit for sustainability and replication of the project.







“The Shepparton Community Share partnership is a unique opportunity for four locally governed community agencies to focus on our joint strengths, rather than our service differences. Together we have a greater capacity to identify shared knowledge, continually improve service provision by listening to our community, and enhance individual outcomes.” Melinda Lawley, CEO, The Bridge Youth Services.