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Council to transition from aged care due to Federal Government reforms

10 March 2022

Council has confirmed its in-principle decision to transition from aged and disability services at last night’s ordinary Council meeting.

The in-principle decision to transition was made at the November meeting last year after significant reforms were introduced in the aged and disability services industry making it difficult for Council to meet new requirements without significant change and increased cost to clients.

Southern Grampians Shire Council Mayor Bruach Colliton said it was a difficult decision for Council to make but future service delivery and supporting clients’ needs weighed heavily in the transition confirmation.

“Our priorities throughout this process have focussed on service delivery for clients whilst ensuring community has the best possible support,” said Cr Colliton. “Federal Government reforms in the aged and disability sector have really changed the way services will be managed and delivered in future which has led Council and other Councils across the State to this decision.

“As part of the due diligence process, Council has undertaken a confidential Expression of Interest (EOI) to seek potential values-aligned successors and has notified the Commonwealth of the EOI recommendations. We now wait on Commonwealth acknowledgement, appointment decision and transition timeframe.

“It’s important to note there will be no immediate change to the services provided by Council. Staff are still here to support clients and will do so during the transition process so if you or your family have any questions, please get in touch with staff.

“Council has worked closely with 39 impacted employees over the past few months and will continue to do so to support them through the transition process. We understand some staff will use the opportunity to retire, to look at other roles within Council or will seek employment with the Commonwealth appointed provider,” said Cr Colliton.

Council endorsed a range of recommendations at last night’s meeting including:

  • Accepts that due to inherent service cost, financial constraints, competition policy, and other structural challenges, Southern Grampians Shire Council along with many other Victorian councils will not be able to play a meaningful future role in service delivery.

  • Notes that since 2011 the Commonwealth has progressed implementation of a consistent and integrated national aged care service system based on increased consumer choice and control and competition between providers to drive quality improvements and service efficiencies with a final transition date of 1 July 2023.

  • Confirms that it will not accept the service agreement extension for the 2022/23 year and transition out of direct service delivery roles in the following programs:

    (i) All funded Commonwealth Home Support Programme services
    i. Domestic Assistance
    ii. Personal Care
    iii. Flexible Respite
    iv. Social Support – Individual
    v. Home Maintenance and Modifications
    vi. Delivered Meals
    vii. Sector Support & Development

    (ii) All HACC-PYP funded services
    i. Domestic Assistance
    ii. Personal Care
    iii. Property Maintenance
    iv. Social Support Group
    v. Volunteer Coordination

  • Commits to working with the Commonwealth and Victorian governments to negotiate timing and transition processes that will protect the interests of clients, their families, much valued staff, and the broader community.

  • Notes that under its service agreements all processes and matters related to the transition process (i.e., names of future providers) will remain confidential until the Commonwealth and Victorian governments provide consent for release of information.

  • Reaffirms that in taking this decision it will continue to play an active role in ensuring its community will receive high-quality aged care services and will advocate for the needs of vulnerable members of the community.

  • Notes that Council has undertaken an expression of interest process and has identified values-aligned potential a successor provider that it will recommend to the Commonwealth on a without-prejudice basis.

  • Notes that the appointment of a successor provider is the responsibility of the Commonwealth and Council is bound to confidentiality under its service agreement and cannot release any information about the appointment and transition process.
  • “Council will work closely with the Commonwealth-appointed provider to ensure the continuity of services for impacted clients and their families,” concluded Cr Colliton. “Council will continue to support our aged and home support services within the community from an advocacy position in future to promote equitable health and wellbeing for all Southern Grampians residents.”

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