Abstract: With the passage of time valuable lessons have been learnt about both effective practices for program and system integration and the sizable barriers, including the challenges in sustaining constructive integration. This paper is a reflection on sustainable integrative practices and is grounded in the direct experience of one of the authors, who held the post of the South Australian Social Inclusion Commissioner. We reflect upon the structure and mechanism of the South Australian Social Inclusion Initiative (2002–2011) as well as using a case study of a successful integrative program of the Social Inclusion Initiative, a program in South Australia’s School Retention Action Plan 2004 Making the Connections (South Australian Social Inclusion Board, 2004) that was implemented to improve school retention. The case study draws out salient factors of clear rationale, coordination, collaboration, communication, team work and trust as skills and ingredients to bring about integration in policy and programs. While the integration literature affirms that these ingredients are primary skills for the development of an integrative framework, we also assert that they are not enough for successful and sustained integration. Absent from much of the literature is a discussion about the use of power and the manner in which horizontal integrative work occurs. We take up this theme to draw out some implications for analysis of sustainable integrative practices.
Keywords: education; integration; integrative practices; school retention; social inclusion