Changing the System

Prevention is a space where issues are complex, dynamic and sit in a web of interconnections - a system of changing loops and networks. To improve health we need to think and act differently. We acknowledge that complex problems require complex solutions.

Our approach details a four year vision for prevention in the South Coast (Bass Coast and South Gippsland). The vision merges placed-based approaches, systems thinking and developmental evaluation in health promotion to create innovative, equitable and sustainable change that improves community health.

We have been exploring a place-based approach, the places where people live, learn, work and play as the platforms for change. This approach recognises that health is not just the result of an individuals decisions, but is largely shaped by the places we spend time in.

Complex systems thinking gives us the opportunity to view prevention, places and issues as dynamic and non-linear. It is a way of working that allows interventions to grow, adapt and react to system shifts, giving us the freedom to respond to community demands and harvest momentum as it appears. Together with local people, influencers and partners we will mobilise change.

Place-Based Prevention Principals in Practice

Our everyday practice is aligned to the Victorian Government’s ‘Delivering places-based primary prevention in Victorian communities’ principals and ‘Advice for public health & wellbeing planning in Victoria: planning cycles 2017-21’. Below are the principals:

-Transparent line of sight

-Prevention at scale

-Whole of community, whole of system approach

-A focus on equity

-Outcome focused

-Innovate, experiment, reflect & adapt

-Leadership at every level

-Emphasis on multi-risk factor approaches

-Mutually reinforcing activities

Alignment with Local Practice

With a vision to improve the health of our whole community we are applying place-based approaches informed by complex systems thinking. Equity is embedded in all places. Our plan outlines transparent line of sight from the Victorian Public Health and Wellbeing Plan (VPHWP), their outcomes framework, through to our practice, places and local indicators of change.


In alignment Victorian Government’s place-based approaches utilise places as platforms to address multiple determinants of health and mobilise action from within places. The places within this plan are education, sport clubs and recreation facilities, community and food providers, outlets and suppliers. New and emerging places allow us to respond to arising momentum and trial different places over the four years of implementation. A place-based approach moves from traditional health priority areas to places, influencers and partners working collectively to identify where efforts and change is needed. Places can direct work towards a range of priority areas including healthy eating, oral health, physical activity and sexual & reproductive health.


To achieve these outcomes and contribute to population health and wellbeing we are using system approach to guide our thinking and way of working. This way of working is dynamic, responsive and aims to mobilise the system to change to create sustainable healthy communities

Indicators of Change

We have defined our pre-conditions for local system change as context, policy, practice, components, connections, infrastructure and scale.


Our local level pre-conditions (conditions that must be achieved first for outcomes in the long-term to be achieved) and actions align to the VPHWP domain, outcomes, indicators and measures. Our collective efforts will contribute to state-wide outcomes.

Key Partners and Influencers: