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NSW NGO Researchers Forum 2023

December 30, 2023



The NGO Researchers Forum is a non-formal gathering of not-for-profit organisations in New South Wales. It aims to provide a space for knowledge exchange, debate and dialogue between NGO researchers and relevant work partners (including people with lived experience, the broader community sector, community members and academics).

The forum aims to follow a Community-Led Research approach.

  • For history, objectives and meeting guidelines - please read ABOUT NSW NGO RESEARCHERS FORUM
  • To receive agendas, updates and virtual meeting links - please scroll down below and send an RSVP.

Send an Expression of Interest (EOIs) to present a research-informed initiative at any time.

Keen to speak about learnings or ideas from a completed or ongoing research initiative?  Please send a simple expression of interest through the NGO Researchers Forum EOI form (estimated time to complete: 5 minutes)

Send a feedback if you've attended online, or viewed a recording. 

Click to fill out a two-minute feedback form. Thank you.

Meeting dates in 2023

Thursdays, 1:00-2:30 pm (online) on 30 March, 22 June, 24 August and 26 October.

To register

Please scroll down the page and read "how to register" , then click RSVP. Thank you.

Missed a meeting?

In 'MEETING RESULTS' farther down below, you can click on links to view past recordings, as well as resources shared by attendees.

Thursday 24 August  2023 (COMPLETED)

Measuring what matters: using the perspectives of service users, providers and funders to establish a core set of performance measures

Robert Stirling- CEO, Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NADA)

There is no standardised approach to measuring performance of non-government alcohol and other drugs (AOD) treatment services. NGOs often manage contracts with multiple funding sources, with performance measures varying between funders, creating an unnecessary reporting burden on providers. The purpose of this  research was to establish a core set of performance measures that can be used by funders of NSW NGO AOD treatment, that are meaningful and acceptable to service users, treatment providers and funders.

The research involved: an analysis of existing measures used in contracts against best practice; focus groups with service users, treatment providers and funders to identify the most important measures and explore the challenges associated with the implementation; and used the Delphi method to reach consensus with the same stakeholders to prioritise a core set of performance measures.

Barely Hanging On: The Cost-of-Living Crisis in NSW 

Neha Shah - NCOSS Policy Lead

In this session, NCOSS will present highlights from its 2023 'Cost of Living in NSW' researchUndertaken by the Institute of Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney, the research engaged 1,134 NSW residents through an online survey, 23 focus groups, and interviews. The report explored experiences across a range of issues such as housing, employment, income and financial hardship. It also analyses these experiences by demographic groups including household type, income group and location, with some findings available at Statistical Area 4 level. The presentation includes NCOSS' recommendations to the NSW Government, set out in the supplementary paper.

The UTS Social Impact Grants 

Dr. Kathleen Blair- UTS Research and Evaluation Manager, and Anusha Muller – UTS Social Impact Practitioner

The UTS Social Impact Grants support researchers and practitioners within our community to maximise their contribution to positive social change. Each year, 10 grants of up to $5,000 are offered to UTS staff and students. However, to be eligible, a proposed project must be partnered with a community organisation or external partner. This model of partnership ensures projects are community-engaged and co-designed with partners and the intended beneficiaries of the project. A five-year evaluation of the program reveals that it has been critical in initiating social impact projects or helping them grow, and has provided much needed resourcing for project teams and partners to contribute to long-term sustainable change.

Thursday 22 June 2023 (COMPLETED)

Together Home: practitioners’ perspectives on building resilience and relationships with people who've experienced long-term homelessness

Pacific Link Housing- Nicole Harvey, Manager Community Partnerships and Support
The University of Newcastle- Dr Kate Davies

As part of the Together Home program in the Central Coast, Pacific Link Housing and The University of Newcastle undertook research around factors that facilitate and inhibit impactful practice with people who are housed after long-term homelessness. In interviews and focus groups, the team explored what meaningful change looked like to program participants, and how the wraparound support model facilitated such change.  This session will include a presentation of program outcomes: among others- how meaningful outcomes were individualised, with some participants maintaining stable housing, some rebuilding family relationships, and some able to live and die with dignity.

Lived Experience Research Advisory Committee - Codesign and meaningful process 

Flourish Australia- Sumathi Govindasamy, Outcomes & Improvement Manager
Dr Grenville Rose, Senior Research and Evaluation Coordinator

This session will present Flourish Australia’s process to ensure that the voices of lived experience are meaningfully and effectively captured in the organisation’s research work. This includes co-designing and co-producing the process for reviewing research projects and the robustness of methodology, as well as achieving beneficial outcomes with support recipients.

How to use NCOSS online interactive tool to identify and map areas of significant economic disadvantage in NSW 

NCOSS - Ben McAlpine, Director of Policy & Advocacy

The April 2023 NCOSS report “Mapping Significant Economic Disadvantage in NSW”, undertaken by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling (NATSEM) at the University of Canberra, drew on 2021 census data to reveal the state of poverty across NSW. The research breaks down poverty rates and gives us a sophisticated picture of where people living with disadvantage are located and who they are, and also shows how the picture of significant economic disadvantage has changed since 2016. This session will talk through the online mapping tool and Excel-based dashboard, to demonstrate how the data has been made available to users to inform policy, research and service decision-making.

Discussion and info share -open to all attendees

30 March 2023 (COMPLETED)

Organised Collaboration: how various NGOs supported the needs and aspirations of international students at the height of COVID-19.

Mark Riboldi - The University of Sydney

Research Lead, Sydney Policy Lab’s ‘Strengthening Australian Civil Society’ Research Team, 2020-2022.

A crucial feature of Australia’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the response of civil society. To support the sector and communities, the Sydney Policy Lab at the University of Sydney and the Paul Ramsay Foundation sought to understand “how do for-purpose organisations respond to the needs of people and communities?” and “how can they be supported to strengthen their practice, rising to social and environmental challenges as they unfold”? Mark will highlight the creation of the Oz International Student Hub at the height of the pandemic, which occurred within the context of Sydney Policy Lab’s research that engaged over a hundred civil society leaders across the country. This case is just one of many stories captured in the 2022 report, "Nurturing Links Across Civil Society – lessons from Australia’s for-purpose sector’s response to COVID-19". 

Recovery Camp: Evidence on the efficacy of a collaborative psychosocial intervention program for people with mental illness.

Professor Lorna Moxham ACMHN- Co-founder, Recovery Camp and Professor of Mental Health Nursing, University of Wollongong

Dr Christopher Patterson- Co-Founder & Director, Recovery Camp and Senior Lecturer, University of Wollongong

Since 2013, Recovery Camp has had a profound impact on the well-being and recovery experience of people with a mental illness. They now have a family of over 600 people who have attended camp for their own mental health recovery. At the same time, the program has provided over 1100 health students (nursing, psychology, exercise science, nutrition, and dietetic students) with over 88,000 hours of mental health professional experience placement. In this presentation, the evidence for the effectiveness of their program approach and program features will be discussed.

Carer Knowledge Exchange: Connecting carer-related research to practice.

Joanne Kershaw – Sector Engagement Officer, Carers NSW

Sarah Judd-Lam - Executive Manager, Policy Development and Research, Carers NSW

The Carer Knowledge Exchange is a partnership project between Carers NSW and the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney. It brings together carers, researchers, students, decision makers, professionals and service providers to share their knowledge about carers and learn from each other, with the aim of improving outcomes for carers across Australia. This session will share the purpose, achievements and findings of the project. It will also share how the community sector can share their own research, participate in events and communities of practice, and use the many carer resources that are available for researchers, policy makers, practitioners and carers.  

Agenda, 25 August 2022 (COMPLETED)

Thank you Ellis, Carrie and Laura for the richly informative presentations. I was NUDGED to think about INVOLVEMENT, and ETHICAL and SAFE research. Great discussion and emerging areas for future sessions.  - attendee feedback from 25 August

Please click on Agenda NGO Researchers Forum 25 August 2022 to view expounded session descriptions  and speakers. If you missed attending, simply scroll to 'MEETING RESULTS' down below, and click on the link to view a recording of the meeting, as well as resources shared by attendees.

Using ‘Nudge Theory’ to deliver evidence-based program improvements - Bridge Housing

Bridge Housing has been using nudge theory as a framework to deliver evidence-based program improvements, which in turn deliver better outcomes for tenants and a better experience for staff. This presentation will cover how Bridge Housing has used Nudge to drive improvement in approaches towards inspections, rent review and rental debt.

Building capacity of health consumers and researchers to support consumer involvement in health research: Are we there yet? - Health Consumers NSW

Since 2019, Health Consumers NSW has been working in partnership with Sydney Health Partners to create an ecosystem to support researchers and consumers to be involved in health and medical research. This presentation will give simple practical examples of how to create and build these partnerships, as well as share resources to support collaborations between researchers and health consumers. It will reflect on lessons learnt, and pose questions on how to foster involvement and collaboration between health consumers, researchers and non-government organisations.

Understanding the support system for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse: A small-scale qualitative study of community and legal practitioners in Greater Western Sydney (GWS)  WESTIR Ltd

In 2021, WESTIR did a qualitative study among 21 practitioners in GWS, to understand the system of support for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. The research highlighted the challenges, gaps, and potentials within the support system. WESTIR's research report and accompanying background report were published in December 2021. In this session, WESTIR will highlight the research process and key findings. 

Agenda, April and June 2022 (COMPLETED)

Please click on Agenda NGO Researchers Forum April and June 2022 to view expounded session descriptions for both dates, as well as specific speakers. If you missed attending, simply scroll to 'MEETING RESULTS' down below, and click on the links to view a recording of the meeting, as well as other resources.

Three equally informative and interesting presentations. Thank you for the generous sharing of your co-design journeys. Helpful resources too. A wonderfully facilitated session. - feedback from 28 April

Thank you to all presenters today for sharing your enactment of design and leadership with those with lived experience. Such valuable learning and inspiration. Congratulations to you all for your work. - feedback from 23 June

Thursday 28 April, 10:00-11:30 am (part 1)

Aboriginal-led Co-design of the Aboriginal Guardianship Support Model for Better Outcomes - AbSec 

The Aboriginal Guardianship Support Model was the lead project under AbSec’s Aboriginal Commissioning Framework, a strategic approach to achieve better Aboriginal child and family outcomes.  Co-designers included end-service users and their family at the core of the service design, Aboriginal community members, service practitioners, government and funding body representatives.

Redkite’s Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG) 

In 2020, Redkite created its first Lived Experience Advisory Group (LEAG). It was made up of eight Redkite clients (including mothers whose child has or had cancer and young people living with cancer), from four different states across Australia.

The most important thing I will say about co-design is that it’s a term used with increasing frequency and yet it’s often mistaken for consultation, which it isn’t. It’s shared power, not (merely) checking in or consulting with consumers.- Redkite speaker

A Collaborative  Emergency Toolkit- Meals On Wheels (MOW) NSW - Eurobodalla Meals On Wheels & NSW Meals On Wheels

A Collaborative Toolkit (ACT!) was a partnership in 2018-2020 between Meals On Wheels NSW, NSW Rural Fire Service, Fire and Rescue NSW, SES and Red Cross. A co-designed toolkit was developed, aimed to increase the preparedness of vulnerable clients who live in high-risk areas in the face of increasing and more severe natural disasters. Gail will give an overview of the project, while Allan will provide a regional perspective on the level and components of co-design (including trialling in 6 MOW sites) that went into the toolkit.

Thursday 23 June, 10:00-11:30 am (part 2)

True co-design is courageous, visionary, honest and reformative - Flourish Australia,  Inclusion team

Through a deep co-design process, Flourish Australia developed co-design principles, accountabilities, guidelines and supporting policies to promote individual recovery pathways and opportunities that foster Social Citizenship. The Co-design Working Group conceived of 13 accountabilities. This presentation will discuss the need and reasons for including and promoting accountability, and challenge & encourage services to engage in this level of co-design and co-production of services.

Behind the scenes project: Co-designing a strategy for supporting people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol use needs. - Flourish Australia, Professional Practice team

‘Behind the Scenes’ was a co-designed research project aimed at supporting people with co-occurring mental health and alcohol use needs. The lived expertise from committee members guided the approaches to the research, particularly with regard to ethics, recruitment, data collection and analysis.  A key learning from the project was that the co-design approach led to opportunities for introducing and upskilling members of Flourish’s Community Research Advisory.

‘Head to Health’ and the voice of lived experience - Neami National

Neami is actively embedding the voice and leadership of Lived Experience in its staffing mix, governance structure and Philosophy of Care for each Head to Health service. This presentation will speak about phase one of Penrith ‘Head to Health’ co-design which included three online co-design workshops, a consultation session with the Nepean Blue Mountains Primary Health Network’s Lived Experience Advisory Group, two individual phone conversations, and five written feedback. Read the Penrith Head to Health Co-Design Report here.

Co-design and Peer Support - The power of lived experience researchers - Community Disability Alliance Hunter (CDAH) and Diversity and Disability Alliance (DDAlliance) 

CDAH) and Diversity and DDAlliance are peer-led organisations, run by people with disability for people with disability, with over 400 peer members. In 2020, CDAH and DDAlliance commenced a research project exploring the challenges and benefits of peer support with a team of eight lived experience researchers with ethics approval through the University of Newcastle. The research is being undertaken across Sydney and NSW, and commenced in April 2021 and will be completed in March 2023.

2023 MEETING RESULTS (recordings and resources/info shared)

24 August 2023










22 June 2023











30 March 2023

Measuring what matters: using the perspectives of service users, providers and funders to establish a core set of performance measures (NADA, pdf)

Barely Hanging On: The Cost-of-Living Crisis in NSW (NCOSS, pdf)

UTS Social Impact Grants

NADA position paper: Measuring performance of NSW non-government alcohol and other drugs treatment services

NADA Position Paper-Performance Measurement, 2022 (pdf)
NADA Enhanced Performance Management Guide
NCOSS ‘Barely Hanging On: The Cost of Living Crisis in NSW’, 2023
Feedback Informed Treatment, SMI Adviser


VIDEO RECORDING: NGO Researchers Forum, 22/06/23 

Together Home: practitioners’ perspectives on building resilience and relationships with people who've experienced long-term homelessness (PDF slides)

How to use NCOSS online interactive tool to identify and map areas of significant economic disadvantage in NSW (PDF slides)

Co-production Kickstarter- Community Mental Health, Drug & Alcohol Research Network (CMHDARN)A short guide to get more familiar with co-production research, for greater participation of lived experience in community-based, health and academic research practice. 

Recovery Oriented Language Resources- Mental Health Coordinating Council A comprehensive guide to the use of right language in mental health support and recovery. Because words matter. 


VIDEO RECORDING: NGO Researchers Forum, 30/3/23 (presentations)

Organised Collaboration: how various NGOs supported the needs and aspirations of international students at the height of COVID-19, M Riboldi (PDF slide deck)

Carer Knowledge Exchange: Connecting carer-related research to practice, Carers NSW (PDF slide deck)

Recovery Camp: Evidence on the efficacy of a collaborative psychosocial intervention program for people with mental illness (PDF slide deck)

Nurturing Links Across Civil Societies-Mark Riboldi et al June 2022

Resources shared by meeting participants -

International Students in Greater Western Sydney, N Baroy/WESTIR July 2022

Sign up for updates on the Carer Knowledge Exchange Project.

How to use and add your research to Carer Knowledge Exchange research library.

Check out Digital Storytellers to create digital canvases via Live Scribing.

2022 MEETING RESULTS (recordings and resources/info shared)

9 March 2022



Meeting Notes (CLICK)

28 April 2022


Video recording: Co-Design (28 April meeting)

Aboriginal-led Community Co-Design: Commissioning for better Aboriginal child and family outcomes (Carla Ware/AbSec, pdf)

Resources shared by meeting participants-

Innovation in Action: Aboriginal-led Commissioning (John Leha, AbSec 

Engaging with Children and Adolescents: A Systematic Review of Participatory Methods and Approaches in Research Informing the Development of Health Resources and Interventions

Remuneration and reimbursement of health consumers: Health Consumers NSW position statement

Monash Partners Remuneration and Reimbursement Guidelines Consumer and Community Involvement Activity

NSW Meals on Wheels: Strengthening the emergency preparedness of vulnerable older people

Agenda/program, NGO RF 28 April

Call out for presentations (22 March)

23 June 2022 NGO EXPERIENCES WITH CO-DESIGN IN RESEARCH & PRACTICE, part 2 Agenda/program, NGO RF 23 June

Part 1 video recording, Co-Design (23 June meeting)

Part 2 video recording, Co-Design (23 June meeting)

CHAT BOX-NGO Researchers Forum 23 June 2022 (de-identified)

25 August 2022

various themes

Agenda/program, NGO RF 25 August

Video recording, NGO Researchers Forum 25/08/22

'Piano stairs' video demonstrating Nudge (Fun) Theory

How to register

This forum is designed for NGO community organisations and relevant research partners/work colleagues in New South Wales. It is free to attend, but registration is required.

  • By registering, you agree to be on the NGO Researchers Forum updated mail list.
  • You may opt out of the mail list at any time by emailing (ATTN: NGO Researchers Forum).
  • Please scroll down the page and click on the RSVP button.
  • Registration is one-off. Previous registrants (2022 dates) need not register again.

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December 30, 2023
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