National survey of FaRS-funded service providers

Overview of services and service provider perspectives
Research Report – August 2018

Appendix B: Interview schedule

The Family and Relationship Services survey

Qualitative component: Topic guide

Interviewer guidance note

The following is a guide to the questions to be asked as part of the consultations/discussions for the FaRS survey. The discussion will not be a strict question and answer exchange nor do questions have to be repeated verbatim. Rather, the questions listed here are a guide to overall topics and/or are open-ended to allow participants to freely express their opinions/experiences in their own words. Prompts can be used for clarification or for eliciting further information.

It is not necessary to ask every question if a topic has already been covered earlier or it is not relevant to a specific participant. Issues raised by participants that are not part of the interview schedule should be followed up if deemed to be of relevance to the research questions.


The Australian Institute of Family Studies have been asked by the DSS to undertake some surveys and consultations about FaRS and SFVS services so that they can better understand how these services are working on the ground. Many of you will have already completed the online survey part of this project. This discussion is for exploring topics that weren't covered in the survey or that might benefit from being explored in more depth.

Your participation in this discussion is voluntary and you don't have to answer all the questions we ask. If you need a break at any time just let me know.

[For group discussion] Can I also ask that everyone honours the privacy of others in the group by not identifying who said what after the focus group has ended.

Question and prompts. Note: the order of questions and prompts may vary depending on the participant narrative/trajectory of the discussion Intent of question/interviewer guidance
1. To start, can you tell me a little bit about what your service(s) does well? 


How is this different from other services?

How are SFVS different from other FaRS?

This question and follow-up probes aim to develop understanding of service strengths and distinguish between SFVS and other FaRS.

This line of questioning can also lead to discussion of barriers and challenges. If not, this can be discussed in subsequent questions.

2. How do you make sure you are responsive to your local community? 


How do you identify community needs? How can you make sure you're meeting them?

Are there community groups that need special attention or focus? CALD, ATSI, LGBTI, WWD, homeless? How are their needs different? How do you work differently with these groups?

Understanding community responsiveness 

The extent to which FaRS/SFVS are dealing with particular groups with high needs

Strategies for working with groups with high needs

3. Can you tell me how you work with other services? 


Internal or external?

If no:

Why not?

If yes:

What kinds of services? Are these mostly internal or external services? Do they work with Family Law Services?

How do you work with them? (e.g. referrals, service coordination, collaboration?)

What is the nature of your relationship with other services? Co-location? Is it a formal arrangement (e.g. MOU)? Co-location? Personal networks? Regular or ad hoc?
(if different relations for different services - why?)


How easy is it to work with/refer to other services? Do you do it enough? Are there barriers to working with other services? What are they?

Is there an appropriate service network around you? Are there any gaps?

Extent and type of service collaboration 

Barriers to collaboration

Service gaps

4. What do you think would help your service better meet community/client needs (besides more money)? 

5. How well do you think you work with other services? What might help you to work better?


What do you think is stopping that from happening?

How do you evaluate how well the service is working?

Barriers and service gaps