Case Study – Community Based Housing Organisation: A Place called Home –

Case Study – Community Based Housing Organisation: A Place called Home
Order Description
The Report
• It must be a report with headings and subheadings.
• It must be suitable for presentation in a professional setting.
• It must be 2000 words.
• It must be written in the third person.
• You must use credible scholarly sources to support your analysis and recommendations.
• You are to write your report from the perspective of a social worker employed in the community-housing organisation.
The Task
• You are required to analyse the case study for the purpose of assessing the function of the organisation and making recommendations to address organisational issues.
• The recommendations must be constructive and aim to move the organisation forward, for service users, the community, staff, management and the funding bodies.
Marking Criteria
You must convince the reader of the following.
Understanding of human service organisations.
(10 marks)
Understanding of impacts of organisational contexts.
(10 marks)
Level of analysis demonstrated.
(10 marks)
Persuasive and pragmatic recommendations.
(10 marks)
Effective use of report format demonstrating English Language Proficiency
(10 marks)
Literature supports analysis and recommendations.
(5 marks)
Minimum of 12 scholarly sources.
Accurate in-text and end-text referencing as outlined in the ECU Referencing Guide.
(5 marks)
Learning Outcomes
This assessment assists in achieving the following learning outcome/s:
? Analyse the functions and characteristics of human service organisations from different
ideological perspectives.
? Explain the impact of different organisational structures, management styles and locations
(with a focus on regional, rural and remote communities) on social work practice.
? Identify the ways in which human services are delivered through policies, programs and
? Understand and explain the development of the welfare state.
? Understand how to practice effectively within organisational settings.
Think about this report as a role-play…
You are a social worker employed in a community housing organisation. The Management Committee
have asked you to report on the current situation including the organisational context and make recommendations with clear strategies that support the Management Committee and staff to work constructively for service users and local communities.
The case study description is written from the perspective of the Management Committee Chairperson. It describes a period of change for the community housing organisation up to the point where one program within the organisation has moved to separate premises due to protracted and ongoing tensions within the team. Everyone supports the move.
The Management Committee have asked you to report on the current situation and make recommendations for moving forward. The Management Committee have requested the report present a convincing analysis of the current situation and establish persuasive and pragmatic recommendations for moving the organisation forward constructively for service users, the community, staff, management and the funding bodies.
As a student you are required…
Remember as a student you are required to meet the marking criteria for the report. Your report must
be based on the information in the case study shown in this unit plan – you are not allowed to embellish
the narrative of the case study. You are required to use credible scholarly sources to support your
analysis and recommendations. Please use professional standard report format as outlined in the ECU
Academic Tip Sheet for Report Writing. You need to develop suitable content areas for this report.
The report should be typed using 1.5 or 2.0 spacing in a simple font (eg. Times New Roman, Cambria
or Calibri), with page numbers. Be consistent with headings and sub headings. Use a capital letter for
the first word and each noun in a heading and for the first word in each sub heading.
Report writing resources
Bogg, D. (2012). Report writing. Maidenhead, England: Open University Press. eBook
Cleak, H. (2009). Assessment and report writing in the human services (Ch 1., pp. 1-13). South
Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning Pty Limited. High use collection
Please refer to Chapter 1 from Cleak 2009 regarding report format.
Wiseman, J. (2000). All for one and one for all? The past and future of the Australian welfare state. In A.
McMahon, J. Thomson, & C, Williams, (Eds.). Understanding the Australian welfare state: Key documents
and themes (2nd ed. 229-247). Croydon, Australia: Tertiary Press
Alston, M. (2010). Australia’s rural welfare policy: Overlooked and demoralised. In P. Milbourne, (Ed.).
Welfare reform in rural places: Comparative perspectives (pp. 199-217). Bradford, UK: Emerald Group
Publishing. eBook
Alvesson, M., & Deetz, S. (1996). Critical theory and postmodern approaches to organizational studies. In S.
Clegg, C. Hardy & W. Nord (Eds.), Handbook of organization studies (pp. 191-217). London, UK: Sage
Publications. High Use Collection
Australian Association of Social Workers [AASW]. (2010). Code of ethics. Canberra, Australia: Australian
Association of Social Workers. Pdf on blackboard
AASW. (2013). Practice standards. Canberra, Australia: Australian Association of Social Workers. Pdf on
AASW. (2014). Supervision standards 2014. Canberra, Australia: Australian Association of Social Workers.
Pdf on blackboard
Australian Community Workers Association [ACWA]. (2012). Code of ethics. Melbourne, Australia:
Australian Community Workers Association. Pdf on blackboard
Please note these books have useful ideas for writing this report but bear in mind the content of the
report required for SWK3110 is focused on organisation and its context rather than service users.
Report Writing Academic Tip Sheet
Case Study – Community Based Housing Organisation A Place called Home
The story begins three years ago. I am the chairperson, on a small community-housing organisation. It has five staff, a voluntary management committee of nine and a capacity to house around eighty households. There have been three approaches from different groups in the past two days about the same issue. The first approach is from an Aboriginal housing program that has run into great difficulties managing its housing program. It is no longer interested in managing the program and asks will we take it on. The second from an Indigenous Elder of a different local group, asking that the organisation agree to take the program on, because housing needs of Indigenous people in this locality are so great. The third is from the Queensland Department of Housing to ask if the organisation would take the program on, at least in the short term, until it can be put to tender. Workers and committee of the community-housing organisation were keen to respond affirmatively. Correspondence occurred with local Indigenous people, the relinquishing organisation and the Department of Housing, to explore the possibilities and options and the decision was made, with everyone’s agreement, to take the program on in the short term. The workers then set out to get the program functioning well. There was never any explicit criticism, but in an environment where Indigenous people are assumed to be incompetent in managing organisations, the power of this action of taking on, and “fixing up” the program sat heavily and was part of the ‘undiscussable’. The program was put to tender (a government obligation under competition policy). We took guidance from the local Elder, and consulted with local and regional Indigenous Organisations about whether we could support them to tender for it or whether we should tender for it. The various Aboriginal groups listened to our proposal, and said politely they would discuss it among themselves and get back to us. Finally, the response came: “We think you should tender, but employ a Murri worker and set up a subcommittee so local people can work towards running it themselves”. The tender was successful, the Indigenous sub-committee was established, the position advertised. The sub-committee undertook the selection process and recommended to the management committee the employment of a local Aboriginal person as the housing worker. Within 3 months the new worker was in the job. Keen to make the new venture work, the Management Committee and workers within the organisation undertook cross cultural training with two different trainers – 3 afternoons with each trainer over a 12 week period. Support for this new development was unanimous within staff and management committee. We met, we talked, we made agreements, but … much was unsaid. We were agreed that, in line with social justice, we wanted greater access for homeless people to affordable housing which was appropriate to their needs. There were four parties to the early discussions, the Indigenous group who were relinquishing the program, the Indigenous group in the local area who wanted to be sure the program stayed in the area, the Housing Department and the local housing organisation. Disrupting Housing Practices Only three weeks into the job, tensions were mounting between non-Indigenous and Indigenous workers. All new workers are subject to scrutiny, but whether non-Indigenous people scrutinise Indigenous people more, or whether Indigenous people are extra sensitive to all white surveillance, we faced a predictable difficulty which we should have foreseen and had not adequately allowed for. 11 | P a g e SWK3110 Organisational Contexts Unit Plan off-campus 2016 The first crisis was over a neighbourhood dispute. Organisational practice (unbeknown to committee members) had been to move Aboriginal families onto another house when neighbours complained. The Aboriginal housing program worker baulked at this. “No”, he said, Aboriginal people had always been moved on, until there was nowhere but the edges of towns for them to be. The co-ordinator called me. The Indigenous worker called me. We met, they talked the issues through. We tried to raise the issue of different assumptions and expectations, and of how to make them more explicit. They determined they would communicate more and develop a better understanding of each other’s approach. This was the agreement. We agreed to include the Management Committee and other workers in discussion. The Management Committee listened and confirmed the Indigenous worker was to have the opportunity to explore how best to manage neighbourhood disputes in relation to Indigenous tenants. Some Management Committee members offered instrumental as well as moral support. The committee invited all workers to suggest some ways to relieve any tensions this might cause. The Indigenous worker built community supports around the Indigenous family who were subject to the complaint. He worked with the distressed tenant to establish whatever support the tenant found acceptable -the Indigenous health worker, the Indigenous medical centre, school liaison officers, police liaison officers. The neighbours took a petition via the local Member of Parliament, to the Minister. They wanted the family evicted. The local member and the Minister were keen to have local conflict resolved quickly. A housing department representative and a Management Committee member visited the neighbours to see if they could be appealed to, to hold off. They said they had not spent $250,000 on a house just to have to face such unacceptable behaviour from neighbours. One of them was a member of the local Labor Party with good connections. This put pressure on some local leaders who initially wanted to be seen as supporting all parties. The local Labor party member spoke out in support of the homeowners and spoke patronisingly to the organisation. Nevertheless, as the organisation liaised with neighbours, they began to feel heard and slowed down their complaints. Subsequent events led the local Member of Parliament to withdraw his support from the organisation altogether. In the office things did not slow down, tension was high. The first agreement around communicating more openly was already broken. The way things are done in the organisation, and indeed its operating paradigm was being challenged. The non-Indigenous workers applied a line of tension to pull the Management Committee back into line. Variation from policy, they said, left them uncertain how they should deal with neighbourhood complaints. They insisted on one policy for all. They complained such approaches took the Indigenous worker out of the office too much, so they had to do his work. Unprecedented numbers of neighbourhood complaints came to the office and the Indigenous worker began to suspect that he was the victim of a plot in which his colleagues clandestinely stirred up landlords and neighbours to put the pressure on. Management Committee tried to mediate and put policies and procedures in place, but became divided and anxious. The Indigenous worker was caught. He had to work to his community in ways, which maintained their support. They had certain expectations. He knew his task from their point of view was as much community development as service delivery. For the local community this service was an anchoring point in a longer-term process of securing a better life for Indigenous people in the local community. He was testing the boundaries of his position. Whilst some of the detail had been planned for, or worked out theoretically, he wanted to know, in practice, what the boundaries of his authority were, what scope he had to work with his sub-committee to shape a service to suit the community, and how readily he could access the resources he needed. This very same moment was the time, from a service delivery perspective, when the new worker was to be trained in the existing operating procedures (explicit) and inducted into the cultural norms 12 | P a g e SWK3110 Organisational Contexts Unit Plan off-campus 2016 (implicit) of the organisation. Two discourses, service delivery and community development, each with their own trajectory collided. Both were legitimate, and even necessary, but their collision contributed to what was becoming a significant struggle. The worker knew he needed orientation, and even training, for he had little housing experience. Nevertheless within a few days the worker appointed as the trainer exclaimed in frustration “he’s untrainable!” Access became a further point of tension. The office, located in an ordinary house, had no sign outside and the front screen door was kept locked. People had to knock and were then greeted in reception. These arrangements may have been determined by staff and may perhaps have been negotiated with a previous Management Committee. The present Management Committee had inherited, rather than been part of, such arrangements, and yet had not previously questioned them. The Indigenous worker requested a sign be displayed for his program and that the door be unlocked to make the place more welcoming. This was vigorously resisted by the non-Indigenous workers, and when management committee, unable to persuade or convince, made a decision to have the door unlocked one day a week, the workers approached the union about unsafe working conditions, and gained their support. For some of the committee members unfamiliar with the Management Committee role, the involvement of the Union was intimidating and further raised anxiety levels. Struggling with my own role in providing leadership, which would hold open a space and enable the various parties to this conflict to make the transitions they needed to make, I asked the workers what would help. They said they thought the Management Committee members had become biased and that facilitated conflict resolution processes would help. Rather than lift the tension, this made the environment more hostile between all workers. Some complained the performance of the Indigenous worker was the issue. He felt he was not being given a chance. Within these facilitated sessions, all workers spoke, and were heard. Management Committee still took the position that the Indigenous worker was within the funding guidelines and the constitution and policies of the organisation. They acknowledged that the two different approaches created tensions for the workers and asked the workers to recommend a way forward. The first action, negotiated between the committee and workers was to make the Indigenous worker accountable directly to the Management Committee. The senior worker contributed to this decision, but maybe later felt it reduced her power. The Indigenous worker said he felt he was being punished by the other workers for every bit of support the Management Committee gave him. The other workers said they felt the Management Committee supported him more than them. Review of policies and procedures was undertaken to address structurally any further points of conflict and uncertainty. Discussions about structure however did not run smoothly. Trying to build shared understandings and minimise defensiveness was interspersed with angry outbursts, disruption of meetings, resistance, and agitation. The tension in workers, as procedures (with their advice and involvement) were examined and affirmed or replaced, became too great, provoked too much anxiety and the process became fraught with angry resistance. The workplace was clearly uncomfortable for everyone. The non-Indigenous workers were drawing their own ethical boundaries. They wanted a reaffirmation of a status quo, which would affirm that operating model with which they had confidence. If this meant excluding the Indigenous worker, so be it. Several Management Committee members were of like mind. Other Management Committee members tenaciously held open the possibility of working things through. Yet this was read as polarising against the movement for closure. The Indigenous sub-committee asked that the Indigenous program run from different premises. It was clear to them that the tensions within the existing office were inhibiting the work and de-authorising the worker. The non-Indigenous workers also saw this as a solution. The Indigenous worker was keen to move, and so, the committee agreed to this, at least for the interim.

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