Province hoping to examine effectiveness of Hub Tables

Herald file photo

The province is hoping to take an in-depth look at the Hub Tables program.

According to a request for proposals issued Monday, the provincial government is hoping to contract a neutral third party to design and implement a 30-month outcome-focused evaluation of the Hub Table model.

“The information collected by Hub Tables is limited to non-nominal information and dos not allow for further analysis beyond the connection to services rates,” the province wrote.

‘This has posed a unique challenge for evaluating outcomes given long-term follow-up is conducted with clients or the agencies that were involved in the mobilization of services. Previous evaluations have been conducted about the success of Hub Tables, however, the results have been limited to outputs. Therefore, it is necessary to evaluate outcomes.”

Hub Tables have met weekly across Saskatchewan since 2011 to address the needs of citizens.

According to the request for proposals, at Hub tables professionals from a variety of backgrounds discuss specific situations faced by citizens dealing with elevated risk, and then develop immediate, coordinated and integrated responses by mobilizing resources.

“Hub Tables do not deliver services; they are a way of sharing information and mobilizing services by using systems and resources already in place, to address specific situations where there is a reasonable risk of harm coming to an individual or family,” the province wrote.

“Hub Tables are part of a robust approach that focuses on community safety and wellbeing from a system perspective.”

The 30-month review of Hub tables will seek to measure if or how involvement leads to better outcomes for those involved. It will also focus on whether individuals did better after Hub table intervention than they would have without.

Other areas of the review include a cost-benefit analysis for participating agencies, a look at the social return on investment and a measurement of the impact on specific risk factors identified in each case.

The review sets out a 12-month timeline for data collection and analysis, as well as a six-month reporting period.

The Hub Table Model is overseen by Community Mobilization, within the Community Safety and Well-being branch of the Ministry of Corrections and Policing. Currently, 14 Hub Tables serve 15 Saskatchewan communities, with more communities looking at launching the program.

Locally, Hub Tables currently operate in Ile-A-la-Crosse, La Ronge, Melfort, Nipawin and Prince Albert.

The Hub model was pioneered in Prince Albert. In addition to the 15 communities currently served, the model has been adapted in three First Nation communities to create intervention circles.

In April, Community Mobilization Prince Albert’s Centre of Responsibility (COR) announced Tuesday that it would be ceasing operations by June 28. It had been in place since 2011.

The Hub table would continue operating.

“The centre of responsibility was a team of sector specialists and other analytical supports that worked together on various research-based initiatives that identified gaps and services in the community, and therefore, proposed some various initiatives that would fill those gaps,” said Tom Michaud, co-chair of the steering committee.

Michaud said the decision to wind down the COR came on the heels of a review of the organization’s strategic plan.

He said the COR “came to the realization that the local resources we have available in Prince Albert were not adequate to fully support the implementation and confidently anticipate its success with the strategic plan going forward.

“We’re not in a position here locally to give it its true justice and have it reach its full potential.”

When the Prince Albert COR shut down, Ministry of Corrections and Policing spokesperson Drew Wilby told the Herald that Hub tables are “crucially important.”

“They’re focused on reducing the demand on the system. For us in Corrections and Policing, that’s essential to begin to address those questions of demand and why demand continues to go up.”

The intention is to provide support before people come in contact with the justice system.

“That’s the benefit to the province and the benefit to society when you’re able to connect people to services and get them back out and on their feet,” Wilby said, adding that Corrections and Policing provides the leadership to ensure everything is functional with partner agencies, ministries and communities.

“If we can alleviate the stress on the system and try to intervene further, we’ll hopefully get people back on their feet so they’re not coming into contact with the criminal justice system.”