Anna GeorgalisTaskForce is a specialist centre that provides counseling and other means of support for youth, adults and family in need across Melbourne. The people who benefit from their services have experienced significant disadvantage or a crisis in their lives. Complex issues such as chronic addiction, unemployment and homelessness are some of the key barriers preventing TaskForce clients from reaching their potential. Many have fallen through the cracks and all too often have been placed in the “too hard” basket, which is where TaskForce, in operation since 1973, steps in to help.

A 2009 EBLP project team set up an evaluation framework for TaskForce and developed strategic evaluation activities to guide the organisation’s research, funding submissions and the development of promotional material.

Since the implementation of this evaluation framework, TaskForce has put in place a range of valuable data collection tools. An electronic collection facility, where this data will be input, is also nearing completion. TaskForce has also secured funding for a part-time research assistant who will oversee the new framework and help it develop. The new framework has been ingrained in TaskForce’s work practices with all staff trained on how to utilise the new data collection strategies.

TaskForce valued the EBLP project team’s willingness to challenge and take on leadership roles for the duration of the project, which has been an immensely positive experience for the organisation. In fact, in a recent review with the Quality Improvement Counsel – in which TaskForce described their involvement with LV – the organisation was cited as an example of leading best practice and innovation.

With over 25 years in the public service, Anna Georgalis (EBLP ’09), the manager of Initiative Design and Evaluation at the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD), wanted to take part in a community project for some time but was unsure how to go about it. That is, until she came across LV, EBLP and – subsequently – TaskForce.

What emerged, Anna says, was that TaskForce “Needed assistance with obtaining grants from government and philanthropic organisations. We (the EBLP project team) suggested that we could help them better communicate and provide evidence around what they were achieving”. The EBLP project team was well-placed to devise an approach for TaskForce that effectively communicated their value and significance as an organisation.

The experience not only taught Anna how much “talent and commitment” exists within the not-for-profit sector, it also provided valuable insight she was able to apply to her own work. “I learned that not-for-profit groups, like TaskForce, work with very tight budgets and time constraints but still deliver crucial outcomes. I’ve been able to reinforce that learning in my own work by always aiming to maximise efficiency with the resources I have to deliver better outcomes for the community”.

Since her involvement with EBLP, other organisations have approached Anna for help with similar objectives. She says, “It’s a perfect example of how the little things you do can be very rewarding. It teaches you to think about how we can do things differently to help others. EBLP is a crucial way for people to find pathways and develop”.

EBLP 2009 project team members
Peteris Darzins, Doug Kent, Anna Georgalis, Catherine Laffey, Vivien Millane, Ruth Rentschler, Louise Thomson

Case Study 3

Karenza Louis –Smith, CEO Taskforce (3rd from left) with the Hon Bob Cameron, Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrections and other TaskForce team members