Commissioning Strategy – Homelessness Services

Shelter WA in partnership with the WA Alliance to End Homelessness was pleased to provide a submission to the State Commissioning Strategy Discussion Paper recommending the paper highlights and strengthens new collaborative models for commissioning including place based alliance models.

Mike Rowe, the Director General of the Department of Communities held a webinar to provide an overview of Communities’ forward planning for the commissioning across four priority work streams in the Department: Out-Of-Home Care, Family and Domestic Violence, Homelessness and Child Sexual Abuse Therapeutic Services.

The presentation was an opportunity for Communities to provide information on each priority project area and overview ways they will work with you throughout this process. Also, it provided a briefing on the work to improve commissioning processes in the future, in line with the State Commissioning Strategy and Communities’ Agency Commissioning Plan.


The Department of Communities Commissioning Plan will be released publicly shortly. The underpinning principles of the Commissioning Plan are:

  • Building collaborative partnerships to deliver innovative services.
  • Embedding a consistent commissioning approach, grounded in outcomes.
  • Planning and designing place-based services that respond to user needs.
  • Prioritising the leadership of Aboriginal people and organisations in the Planning, design and delivery of services.
  • Shifting focus towards early intervention and prevention.
  • Strengthening monitoring, evaluation and review of services.

Chad Stewart, A/Executive Director, Strategy, is now the Project Lead for Homelessness Services Commissioning within the Department. During the webinar Chad outlined the process the Department of Communities intends to undertake to inform the transition of the homelessness services system into a person-centred, place-based and outcomes focused system as recommended by the Homeless Service System Alignment Analysis and Road Map, developed in consultation with homelessness service providers.

South West Trial

The Bunbury and South West area have been selected as a site in which to trial a new approach. The trial will seek to engage current service providers and other stakeholders in developing a coordinated homelessness response, within existing funding, that can better respond to the local needs and issues of the Bunbury and South West region. Two targeted design labs facilitated by Dr Gaye MacKenzie and the Department of Communities will be held on 20 October and 1 November 2021 to inform and guide the development of this work. In the remainder of the State, service providers will receive an extension of their current contracts until 30 June 2024 with potential scope for minor changes to those contracts as part of the extension.

A design lab will be held for all homelessness service providers in the State on 4 November 2021 (venue/format TBC) to provide an update on the work of the South West trial design labs and identify how we can work together over the next two years to transition the service system more broadly.


The Department of Communities has established a new webpage to provide progress updates and details for upcoming events, including the design labs, here. A recording of the webinar will also be available at the website. A dedicated mailbox for questions or queries about the commissioning process is available at

Shelter WA will work closely with the sector and government to co-design a clear, visible transition process over the next two years which will inform and guide the commissioning of homelessness services. This co-designed transition plan needs to consider issues such as organisational readiness and building workforce capacity and capability to align services with the outcomes sought from the new strategy and commissioning process, along with a framework to understand, manage and to mitigate risk.

WA Alliance to End Homelessness

Work being done across the sector in partnership with the WA Alliance to End Homelessness in leading the development of an Ending Rough Sleeping First Action Plan Governance Prototype framing the brilliant work being done to end rough sleeping through a visible collective leadership and decision making process. This thoughtful and collective response shows that positive change is possible with leadership, collaboration and a thoughtful process and a plan to guide positive change.