Social Policy & Management Consultants
The Miller Group is a ‘boutique’ social policy, management and research consultancy that for over 20 years has worked across the human services – primarily with the non-government/not-for-profit (NFP) sector, and with social enterprises, governments, and with small and large community groups. Our work has always been driven by our values, which are derived from our desire to make a positive difference in the lives of disadvantaged Australians and to transfer our knowledge and our skills to those we work with – our clients – so that they can empower their clients to fulfil their potential and make choices that will improve their lives.
We work primarily with community based organisations and/or at the intersection between government, business and community organisations. We are aware that the environment in which community organisations is operating is changing rapidly. It is becoming increasingly complex and competitive. New paradigms of outcome driven service delivery (such as person centred approaches or integrated service delivery) requiring high levels of transparency, accountability and a focus on client choice and need, now dominate. They present both new challenges and new opportunities.
We provide a suite of high quality services in areas where we have extensive experience and expertise. Together or individually these services constitute the building blocks required by our clients to successfully negotiate the challenges, and capitalise on the opportunities that a changing environment presents. Our services assist our clients to achieve high levels of performance, and to deliver high quality outcomes-based client services which contribute to inclusive, resilient and sustainable communities, and engaged and empowered community members.
All of the services we provide are underpinned by the following Values and Principles:
In order for any positive change or improvement to take place – and to take hold – it is critical that all key stakeholders have the opportunity to participate and to have their voices heard. Not only does this mean that ideas or strategies that might not otherwise have been considered can be captured, but that the changes necessary to improve performance – even when they present challenges – are more likely to be ‘owned’ and supported by those upon whom they will impact, as well as by those introducing and implementing the changes.
We value and respect the knowledge and experience of our clients. It is important to us that we build strong, longstanding relationships with our clients – relationships built on two way communication. A good client relationship, based on trust and confidence in our work, with the most junior staff member, or the ‘clients of our client’, is as important to us as the relationship we build with the CEO or with senior management.
Wherever it is appropriate and relevant, we build the skills and the knowledge of the clients/organisations with whom we work. Transferring knowledge to our clients builds independence, sustainability and expertise within the organisation. It also strengthens the capacity of staff to at all levels to understand and analyse a problem and to make more effective decisions regarding the best strategy for addressing that problem – either internally or by engaging external assistance.
In all of our work we are accountable to our clients as well as to our own professional and ethical standards. We are also aware that Governments and other funding bodies are increasingly requiring accountability regarding the results that are achieved through the resources they provide. We work closely with our clients to assist them to deliver measureable results that demonstrate their ability to perform at a high level and to make the changes that achieve their objectives, and those of the funding body as set out in service agreements.
We provide the following core services:
While not always the case, cultural change processes are often initiated by, and follow structural reviews. When this is the case, there are often sensitivities as proposed changes are implemented. We are experienced change managers
With skills and qualifications in organisational assessment we offer a range of services to support our clients align their Strategic and Operational Planning and Monitoring with the service standards of relevant industry or sectoral quality assurance (QA) frameworks. Regulatory bodies and funders often require alignment with quality standards and we are able to support clients understand their existing capacity within a quality paradigm.
We facilitate small or large groups to reach mutually agreed outcomes linked to purpose. All team members have excellent ‘people management’ and interpersonal skills, and extensive facilitation experience. In addition to specific facilitation commissions, the majority of the consultancy projects we undertake involve some form of facilitation with either;
We design fit for purpose workshops as a component of projects in order to meet the goals and objectives required. We also focus on building capacity and on ‘knowledge transfer’ – one of our core values.
Much, but not all, of our work with our government clients involves commissions to work with government funded organisations and programs, to build capacity and meet the performance standards required by the funder. Other work includes social research, policy development and review, stakeholder engagement and stakeholder management. Again the majority of our government work involves repeat business.
We have been engaged by:
Our non – government services are focussed on capacity building and accountability, with a view to supporting the sector to stay ‘on mission’ and achieve its identified outcomes through the delivery of high quality client focussed services.
Our services include:
Without sound and strategic leadership from its governance body, an organisation’s capacity for innovation, success and sustainability in an environment of change is considerably diminished.
Work with the Board to:
Identifying the ‘right’ partners, engaging and maintaining strategic partnerships that will maximise the capacity to deliver desired outcomes are crucial but often underrated components of a successful organisation.
We have extensive experience working with organisations that are implementing new service models either because they wish achieve better outcomes – and have made this decision independent of any other party such as a funding body – or because government/the funding body has introduced reform processes which require that funded services implement new models of service delivery.
While a successful transition to a new service model requires strategic expertise, changing the culture, reducing fear of change, and building commitment to and engagement with the new model across all parts of the organisation is often undervalued and receives little attention, yet it can often be the critical success factor.
Every organisation is different in some way however the principles involved in successfully implementing new service models are not. We work closely with and support the Board and management to:
While strategic and operational skills are fundamental for those assisting with mergers and amalgamations, successful outcomes often fall short because of poor change management processes and the inability to ‘bring’ all of the boards, management, and staff along together – and positively – on the ‘journey’ to the new entity.
We work with Boards and with management to identify and communicate the strategic opportunities that becoming one entity will entail for all employees. We:
The Miller Group team members facilitate small or large groups to reach mutually agreed outcomes linked to purpose. All team members have excellent ‘people management’ and interpersonal skills, and extensive facilitation experience. Our workshops reflect the strengths of interactive learning with high levels of engagement from all participants. In addition to specific facilitation commissions, the majority of the consultancy projects we undertake involve some form of facilitation with either;
We design fit–for–purpose workshops as a component of projects in order to meet the goals and objectives required. We also focus on building capacity and on ‘knowledge transfer’ – one of our core values.
With skills and qualifications in organisational assessment we offer a range of services to support our clients to align their strategic and operational planning and monitoring with the service standards of relevant industry or sectoral quality assurance (QA) frameworks. Regulatory bodies and funders often require alignment with quality standards and we are able to support clients in strengthening their existing capacity within a quality paradigm.
Not for Profit/Government funded bodies
Because we have a high percentage of return business, we have worked with many of these clients on several projects.
We deliver one and two day workshops for Councillors and Senior Management teams covering the following three topics, individually or combined within a one or two day workshop.
Assist councils to determine the extent to which programs achieve desired results.
Quantitative and qualitative research to identify and analyse impacts of community trends and social issues and plan future directions
Facilitate, design, review and improve government service delivery partnerships and government grant programs.
Prepare clearly written, well documented reports and submissions on key issues of concern.
Funding bodies are faced with complex challenges in ensuring the best possible return on grant allocations. The situation is compounded when organisations are delivering social or ‘soft’ outcomes. To optimise returns funders need the capacity to identify and manage the risk in projects, documentation to clearly specify expected results from projects, and independent data measuring these results.
The Miller Group has developed this suite of services to assist Philanthropic bodies to feel confident that their support is well directed and will deliver the agreed returns. Funding bodies may choose secure these services individually, or in totality, depending on their requirements.
Due Diligence Report – assesses a funding candidate’s capacity to deliver on agreed outcomes
Project Specifications – this documents agreed outcomes and the way they will be measured
Progress Report – provides an independent appraisal and early advice if remedial action is needed and:
Project Evaluation – provides an independent evaluation of the project to facilitate ongoing funding decisions and provide tangible measures of the project’s impact
Libby has over 20 years working successfully as the Director of The Miller Group – Social Policy and Management Consultants. She works at a high level across the government, corporate and community sectors. Libby has an academic background in the social sciences. Before establishing The Miller group Libby lectured at universities in Australia and Canada, was a Deputy CEO of a Commonwealth Authority and has extensive Board experience.
Libby is an experienced social researcher. She has led national, state and local government projects and works with large and small NGOs to build capacity through improved governance, continuous performance improvement organisational and cultural change processes, strategic and business planning, mergers and amalgamations, development and implementation of new service delivery models, team building and team culture change, evaluation and measurement of social impact.
Libby is regularly sought out for her facilitation and strategic skills; she undertakes high-level specialised governance and strategic planning work with boards, and facilitation of workshops with diverse stakeholders. She has high level strategic and interpersonal skills and has a reputation for being able to deliver mutually agreed outcomes in environments that are often changing and challenging, and where there are diverse and often opposing views held by stakeholders.
Libby is a graduate of Social Leadership Australia
Robin Miles is a highly experienced social researcher specialising in social sustainability and program/process improvement. She has a strong history in the provision of programs and services, research and evaluation to support improved outcomes for clients (organisations or programs). In the past year Robin has taken a lead role in many SHS capacity building projects and similar work in other parts of the NGO sector. She has taken the lead on numerous GHSH reform projects with which the Miller Group has been involved – including a merger of two SHS Services. She also supported multiple services with prequalification and tendering support.
Robin is an excellent communicator and facilitator who has worked successfully with government, private and non-government sectors clients. She has extensive experience in communicating with communities, Boards and program managers.
Robin has been the recipient of a number of awards for projects and teams that she has worked with, or has managed.
Please contact the Miller Group for detailed information on the projects Robin is currently leading and has recently delivered.
Robin’s professional qualifications include:
Sarah brings twenty six years’ experience, much of it at a senior level, working in human service agencies in NSW, including in non-government, local government and state government agencies, in policy and program delivery areas include housing, health, youth at risk, aged, disability and home care, children’s services, community development and supporting vulnerable families. Many of the projects for which Sarah had responsibility were state-wide and involved diverse stakeholders including Aboriginal and CALD groups.
Sarah has particular expertise in the following areas: – program evaluation, project management, stakeholder engagement, change management, social research, data analysis, report writing and facilitation of workshops and groups.
As a senior officer in a state government agency she has also consulted and negotiated with senior personnel from another government agency around transferring a government funding program from one agency to another, and effectively engaged with key stakeholders in other government agencies to progress the Department’s priorities and commitments.
Sarah’s work as a senior consultant with the Miller Group involves working at the cutting edge of government and the NGO sector, including: assisting NGOs to build capacity to deliver more transparent and accountable client outcomes, reviewing and redesigning service delivery models and governance structures, undertaking program evaluations, facilitating workshops and reviewing and developing QA systems and policies and procedures.
Sarah’s professional qualifications include:
Leigh is a highly experienced consultant with 30 years’ experience of working in culturally appropriate ways to achieve positive organisational change through capacity building, training and mentoring in NGOs and government agencies in Australia and the Pacific to deliver services to their respective communities. Her work as a consultant has included: reviews of organisational structure with recommendations for change and implementation support; development of client feedback mechanisms; strategic plan development based on staff, customer and committee input; and policy development and review to meet changing organisational needs.
Leigh is experienced in assisting organisations to implement strategic plans through workforce management leadership and capacity building: Leigh worked with numerous NGOs – including many Aboriginal Services – to achieve success in taking their strategic plans to individual work plans with tasks and timelines and expectations for accountability to management. An integral aspect of this work was mentoring managers and Board members to lead and performance manage their staff.
Leigh is well recognised for her capacity building work with Aboriginal organisations and is the recipient of the Inaugural Aboriginal Health Award 2004 – For Outstanding Non-Aboriginal Person Contributing to Health Services
Leigh’s professional qualifications include:
Sue is a highly experienced consultant with a background in management, public finance, procurement, quality assurance, policy reform, stakeholder engagement, monitoring and evaluation and strategic planning.
As a senior consultant at the Miller Group Sue has led a range of capacity building projects with NGOs across the Human Services. These have involved assisting NGOs to develop better industry practices including governance, case management, budgeting and financial, partnership development and maintenance, and improved and new service design.
Sue has worked as a senior government officer in the Commonwealth Department of Finance and Administration where she provided advice to Minister of State on interpretations of the Australian Government’s Parliamentary Entitlements framework as well as ongoing policy development and the development of government submissions to the Remuneration Tribunal.
Sue’s international government experience includes leading teams to redesign an Australian Government Health Program in PNG, examining the strategic and operational elements of donor Trust Accounts in line with the Government of PNG priorities for future health financing strategies. She has also been contracted to provide expertise in public financial management. This role involved overall responsibility for quality assurance, strategic health financing, public financial management systems and development of a transition strategy for reduced donor reliance.
Sue’s professional qualifications include:
For over 20 years we have worked with government, with the non-government sector and with social enterprises. In addition to our work in Australia we have experience working internationally on a range of development projects in Africa (South Africa and Namibia) and Oceania Papua New Guinea, Fiji and Samoa).
We have a team of highly trained consultants who have held senior government positions and have also worked in a broad range of capacities and roles with the non-government sector – including in particular with CALD and Aboriginal organisations
Our experience is extensive and varied as our client list demonstrates.
Informed buy this experience we are aware that the environment in which governments and community organisations operate is changing rapidly. It is becoming increasingly complex and competitive. New paradigms of outcome driven service delivery (such as person centred approaches or integrated service delivery) requiring high levels of transparency, accountability and a stronger focus on client choice and need, now dominate. They present both new challenges and new opportunities.
We are able to support organisations to address these challenges through the provision of a suite of high quality services in areas where we have extensive experience and expertise.
Together or individually these services constitute the building blocks required by our clients to successfully negotiate the challenges, and capitalise on the opportunities that a changing environment presents.
Our services assist our clients to achieve high levels of performance, and to deliver high quality outcomes-based client services which contribute to inclusive, resilient and sustainable communities, and engaged and empowered community members.
For further information about our services please contact us.
Office: Suite 206/61 Marlborough St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010
Libby Darlison, Director
phone: 02 96988834
mobile: 0404 487 694
postal: As above
The Miller Group – Social Policy and Management Consultants Pty Ltd.
Australian Business No. 47 078 567 638
Australian Company No. 078 567 638