By Andrew Hocking
The Australian veteran support system is not broken, but like most growing systems, it is at a natural growth point where an opportunity exists to further mature the overall system and optimise support to current and future generations of veterans and their families.
It is at a point where investing more in individual organisations and programs without commensurate investment in the functioning of the overall system would be counter-productive. Any future refinements must add additional value for all stakeholders; take a whole of system approach and appreciate the fact that the veteran support system is made up of many public, private, for-profit and not-for profit stakeholders; and maintain the benefits of community based initiatives by better enabling them within an optimised system.
Whilst there is a pressure to act quickly, it is in the interest of current and future veterans and their families to take a longer term strategic approach, ensuring decisions on systemic changes are well considered and drawing on a growing body of evidence based best practice applied globally in other successful and sustainable social impact systems. To this end, this paper proposes a theory of change model and presents conceptual options for improvement that specifically address the challenges which are facing veteran support services.