Sydney Drug Education & Counselling Centre
SDECC (Sydney Drug Education & Counselling Centre) provides free, counselling and support for young people (14-25yrs) with problematic drug use, and their families.
The organisation uses rediCASE for case management of approximately 1500 counselling sessions a year and to assist with management oversight.

“Moving from a paper-based system to an online system was a huge cultural shift for everyone. But we’ve done it and it’s been amazing.”

Read on to discover more about the work they do and how rediCASE helps enable their operations.

SDECC (Sydney Drug Education & Counselling Centre) based in Manly provides free, Not For Profit confidential counselling and support for young people, aged 14 -25 with problematic drug use, and their families. Their highly qualified counsellors understand the complexities of alcohol and other drug use, including any mental health issues, and how to support young people and their families to create stronger, healthier lives.

Traditionally providing over 1,500 counselling sessions per year for clients from Sydney’s Northern Beaches, with the recent addition of a new satellite office in Chatswood, their coverage will now include Hornsby to the north, Ryde to the west, and lower north shore suburbs such as Willoughby and Mosman.

In 2011 SDECC became Redbourne’s first rediCASE client, purchasing the software only, not the subscription upgrade service, hosting the software in-house as client server technology.

According to SDECC CEO, Susan Watson, in the early days they used it primarily to create sequential file numbers as their staff, who were more comfortable working off paper-based systems, found the online system somewhat clunky.

“It was a bit of a ridiculous situation as we had paid this money but we could not see a way forward to transfer to a contemporary online system. We had to decide to use it or dump it,” she said.

“After I became CEO I got in touch with Redbourne and discovered lots of new features and functions which were now part of the system. We signed on for the subscription service, got upgraded and stopped the paper records within a few months.”

“It was a huge cultural shift for everyone. But we’ve done it and it’s been amazing. Today we have six clinicians using rediCASE as well as myself as the administrator.”

“We now can’t imagine NOT using rediCASE!”

According to Susan, SDECC bought rediCASE for two main reasons:

One; as a case management system to support clinicians in managing their clients and the complexities of a dual client system that SDECC has for primary (14 – 25 years) and secondary (parents) clients.

Two; to help SDECC with MDS and NADA reporting, saving them entering information twice. Previously SDECC entered information in their Local Health District system and then the data was relayed to the funding bodies on SDECC’s behalf. With rediCASE they can update directly to NADA, which, said Susan, has been a big win.

One of the key requirements that SDECC had from a case management system was the ability to manage permissions for their clients. Most of their clients are self-referred by family or friends, or from Not For Profit Youth Housing organisations or Juvenile Justice.

“We need to keep our primary (young people) and secondary client (parents) information confidential and separate. rediCASE provides a system to inform the instructions and permissions granted from the primary client, and certain linkages when it comes to emergency contacts and procedures. rediCASE takes care of that for us,” she said.

“It is important for us to provide a safe space for our young vulnerable clients, who might not want their parents or other people involved in their care to know what they are discussing with their counsellor.”

A release of information form is completed and signed by the client, stating who can discuss their case and at what level. This is then uploaded into rediCase.

The rediCASE software takes care of the complexities and processes around this.

If a client is vulnerable to self-harm or suicide, SDECC has different levels of duty care that are automated with alerts.

On top of these aspects, SDECC uses rediCASE to develop and track case plans (client goals, modalities used, progress and feedback) following their case review.

“When a young client finishes counselling, SEDECC clinicians still make two calls and send a text within the first three months post their final session, to ensure clients are on track,” said Susan. “This information is entered under their follow-up record.”

One of the things that Susan likes about rediCASE, is it enables organisations to customise their own version of rediCASE.

“It has the ability to support a wide variety of organisations – the system options are massive – but some are just not relevant to us, for example, the features for residential providers (beds, client contributions etc.),” she said. “So we’ve gone in and hidden the tabs and fields we don’t need and we’ve added other fields to “contact session reasons”. Being able to adapt it to your needs without losing the core of the product is a plus.”

Part of making rediCASE work better for SDECC has been the way they have trained staff in rarely using the “Other” tab, cutting “other” entries down from 30% to 3%. “When ‘other’ is bigger than listed categories, you know you have a problem,” said Susan. “We fixed this by adding more relevant fields and by making staff more aware of the information they are inputting into rediCASE as it has the ability to track data more specifically.”

Susan said with rediCASE, because her clinicians have to tick all boxes in the software program before they can save and exit a file, better and more consistent client information was now being collected. “It’s not a like a paper-based system where they don’t know the answer, haven’t found it out, and so it’s left blank. It forces our clinicians to know more. So this potentially gives us more data to review and understand,” she said.

According to Susan, rediCASE had saved them a lot of time with respect to mandatory government reporting, paving the way for more reporting and analysis.

“As with many organisations like ours, reporting requirements are increasing,” she said.

“A lot of information is in rediCASE – we need to be able to extract it more easily and precisely and be able to view a snapshot of what is happening here on a day to day or week to week basis.”

“For example, I need to be able to access data to track organisational capacity and report on client load per counsellor and eventually costs per session or per client for our Board or funding bodies. Any further enhancement to the system that will give us this greater management oversight will be welcome,” she said.

For SDECC with the newly opened location at Chatswood, staff from the Manly office will work out of Chatswood using rediCASE on their laptops. “It means we can do client case notes there and then and the information is automatically uploaded and synced,” said Susan. “Over time we can add more clinicians in line with funding and demand.”

With respect to the future of rediCASE, Susan is looking to be able to use it more as a business management tool, not just a case management tool and looks forward to reporting capabilities being added to the product to enable this.

Since being on the rediCASE subscription service, Susan said she had seen valuable improvements to the product, for example a template added for case notes, customisable fields to track where referrals are coming from, even a prompt save button to ensure clinicians could not close down a file without saving it and losing their data.

“Our organisation does not have an IT person so having the support from Redbourne is critical. Mali from there is fantastic. She will come in on Team Viewer and help me clean things up. She can see from her expertise and say, why don’t you hide these buttons etc., and she does.”

One of Susan’s biggest tips for organisations new to rediCASE is customise, to make the screens relevant, easy and clean (hide what you don’t need), and to set up the capture fields with the right language and train staff accordingly. She said, otherwise they may find two years down the track that some of their staff added information into a tab or field they weren’t tracking. So set it up to eliminate the risk of information being entered in the wrong place, because as a new user you don’t know what you don’t know,” she advised.

“Redicase has really helped us,” noted Susan. “Things have gone in parallel. The system has been improving and we’ve been striving to keep up, and in some areas we are ahead and want more features and functionality.”

“It’s good to be working with an organisation that wants to improve what they do. I’m happy, always happy with that.”

“It’s good to be working with an organisation that wants to improve what they do.”

Major Benefits
Secure Reports

Able to maintain confidential records, easily assessed by staff with clearance access, that supports the complex counselling structure within our organisation serving young people and their parents separately.

Quality of Data

Ability to capture much more rich data on each case. It is hoped with improved reporting capabilities this will lead to better bench marking, trend analysis and client outcomes.

Paperless Office

No need to file, no need for excess paperwork, improved confidentiality and security.


Makes reporting with NADA easy – as data fields already in system. Saves time as no more entering figures twice.


Inbuilt alerts in the system to help manage at-risk clients.

Visit SDECC Website