Council to transition out of Aged and Disability Services
At its Ordinary Meeting on 21 November, Council resolved to end its current contracts and transition out of direct Aged and Disability service provision in December 2019.
This is due to the Commonwealth Government’s newly imposed health reform changes that affect Aged and Disability services and impacts Council’s ability to continue delivering these services to the community.
These reforms aim to encourage more providers to join the market so there will be a number of subsidised services for the community to choose from in the future, not just one provider which currently is Council.
The current service costs $4 million to run. Council budgets approximately $1 million annually from rates revenue and $3 million from government funding and client fees.
Council has provided this highly valued service to older people and people with disabilities since the 1980’s. Unfortunately, the changes to the aged care system from 2020 will make it unviable for Council to continue delivering these services as it would be unable to compete with private providers.
Council will leave the service on 31 December 2019 and a new service provider will begin in January 2020. The timing of Council’s decision last Wednesday provides Council over 12 months to undertake a considered and supported transition to another suitable service provider, to ensure continuity of care for clients and carers and support for staff.
Bass Coast Chief Executive Officer Paul Buckley PSM said that the Commonwealth Government funded Health Services reform has been unfolding throughout Australia over the last three years. It has caused Council to review its Aged and Disability services to consider whether Council is best placed to provide these services.
“Council highly values the Aged and Disability services it provides to the Bass Coast community. Council has only reviewed the future of this service due to changes in the Commonwealth funding,” Mr Buckley said.
“If the changes had not occurred, Council would still be committed to delivering this much valued community service into the future.
“Council has considered community need, the viability of the service and what other quality and skilled service organisations are currently operating in or close to our municipality.
“We have considered our clients, carers, staff and the broader community first and foremost in our investigations and understanding our options. Council is committed to making sure that there are quality alternative service providers who are able to continue operating a service of this size,” Mr Buckley concluded.
There are several large community based not-for-profit providers with extensive experience in aged and disability service provision who are interested in providing service to the community of Bass Coast.
Initial discussions with service providers have indicated that they wish to employ locally based carers and support staff if they were to commence service provision here.
Council will work in close partnership with Commonwealth and State Government agencies to ensure there is an appropriately experienced and accredited organisation that will be engaged to provide the services commencing from January 2020.
Council will advocate on behalf of the community that the level of service clients currently receive will continue through a change in service provider.
These changes will have an impact on staff and future employee numbers across Council. It is anticipated that this may result in the loss of up to 56 individuals (44 full-time equivalent positions).
Council’s focus is on supporting staff directly impacted by the decision as well as valued clients.
Council is genuinely committed to supporting staff through any proposed transition. Where appropriate and if possible, securing suitable redeployment options for staff will be a priority.
Redundancy will also be offered.
If current clients, or members of the community, seek further information on the changes and how it impacts them, please go to Council’s website at www.basscoast.vic.gov.au/hacc or call 1300 BCOAST (226 278) or (03) 5671 2211.
Client email enquiries can be made through firstname.lastname@example.org