FRSA National Conference 2016 – a success by many measures!

Just over 400 people attended this year’s FRSA Conference in Canberra. The theme Measuring Success in the family and relationship sector – for the wellbeing of children, families and communities attracted practitioners, managers, researchers, government workers and others with an interest in the family and relationship sector – from right around the country.

So far around 20% of all conference delegates have submitted an evaluation form. Survey responses to date indicate a number of highlights, and high satisfaction with the quality of presenters, session content, facilities and social events:

  • Our international and Australian speakers set the bar high when it came to the quality and depth of keynote presentations. Those attracting the most ‘excellent’ and ‘very good’ ratings for their presentations were Professor John Toumbourou (Deakin University), who made a persuasive case for prevention and early intervention, and Associate Profesor Moira Inkelas (UCLA), who encouraged a system, learning-focussed approach to improving outcomes.
  • Evaluation respondents ranked both panel sessions highly for ‘vibrancy and presentation – How best to take a prevention and early intervention approach… and What is ‘good enough’ evidence? both generated animated audience discussion.
  • Satisfaction with quality and relevance of concurrent sessions also ranked highly, with fewer than 5% noting specific dissatisfaction with content, and under 10% noting only partial satisfaction with presentations. Accolades included:
    • Brilliant – almost too good to choose!
    • Broad range of topics; knowledgeable and well-prepared presenters
    • ‘Excellent and refreshing’
    • Overall a great mix of input and expertise from both practitioners and researchers, well informed
  • When asked which concurrent session was the highlight, respondents gave a variety of responses, suggesting that the breadth of topics on offer ensured ‘something for everyone’. The topic most often selected was When hate takes hold after parental separation, co-presented by Bruce Smyth, Timothy Broady, Rebecca Gray with discussant Lawrie Moloney.
  • Most respondents were complimentary about the conference ‘scaffolding’ such as the program structure and duration, venue, facilities, catering, exhibitor area and administrative support; and comments about the social and networking events were largely favourable:
    • Loved it and can’t wait for next year!
    • Dr Michael Carr-Gregg was a perfect choice for dinner speaker
    • The thought wall was a good idea and linking it in the plenaries made people notice that their thoughts were actually being read and heard.
  • We did receive some very thoughtful comments about specific aspects of the conference program, content and ‘operational’ elements, and will be taking these on board in planning for future events. There is always some ‘balancing’ required in order to ensure sufficient momentum and depth, as well as opportunities for networking and socialising, so we appreciate your feedback.
  • Finally, the pre-Conference workshops on Family Law Services, Communities for Children and Transformation of the social services system were also well-attended, offering opportunities for group discussion on key issues that are currently shaping our sector.

If you attended the conference but haven’t yet submitted an evaluation form, it’s not too late – and you’ll still be in the running for a ‘lucky door’ prize. Your frank reflections about what worked well, what didn’t, and what might need to change are important for helping us shape the next conference to meet the learning and networking needs of our sector. Click here to complete the evaluation form.

Whether or not you attended the conference, you’ll be able to access the powerpoint presentations via the FRSA Conference page early next week. We are currently in the process of seeking permissions and editing our website to feature the presentations.

And – don’t miss next year’s National FRSA Conference – details to come soon!