Project Spotlight: Analysis of Regional Situation Tables

Host organization: HKPR Regional HSJCC

Student: Callum Stanford

The Project: Situation tables are a relatively new approach to delivering social services to individuals who are at risk due to mental health, addiction, poverty, or other issues. The tables bring representatives from various social service agencies together to develop collaborative responses to individuals experiencing multiple risk factors at once. Callum’s project aimed to evaluate the functioning of regional situation tables and make recommendations on how they could be improved.

Research Question(s): What agencies are most active on local situation tables? How much time are agencies committing to the tables? What type of risk situations are most often discussed? Have local situation tables been successful? How could they be improved?

Methods: Callum conducted a literature review to identify common policies and procedures for situation tables. He then analyzed spreadsheet data that had been collected to describe the functioning of three local situation tables and, lastly, he surveyed and interviewed participants in those local situation tables to determine whether the tables were successful, and how they could be improved.

Findings: Callum’s interviews with situation table participants found that the initiative was greatly improving interagency communication and collaboration.

His analysis of the data provided to him by the HSJCC found that police services were the most active agencies at local situation tables and that mental health was the most common risk factor that the tables were meeting to address.

Impacts: Situation tables are a new approach to delivering social services to people at risk, and Callum’s project is the first to study their success in the Peterborough, Northumberland, and City of Kawartha Lakes areas. He hopes his work will lay the groundwork for future study. That might happen soon: the Peterborough Police are currently using Callum’s results to apply for funding to pursue further study on the value and potential of situation tables.

For Callum, this project was an opportunity to develop new skills and get outside of his comfort zone. “I’d never really done qualitative research,” he says. “So to be able to do that, and have success doing that, it’s opened up more doors, more opportunities, more possibilities in the future.”

This project won the TCRC Community Impact Award at our 2017 Celebration of Community Research. Congratulations, Callum!