Ageing Well Service Review

At its meeting on Wednesday night, Ballarat City Council resolved to cease providing the Federal Government’s Commonwealth Home Support Program from 30 June 2023.

Council also resolved to cease providing the Regional Assessment Service no later than 30 June 2024 and to note consideration of the feedback from the consultation period on the proposed changes to the Ageing Well service.

The decision means the City of Ballarat will not transition to be a Support at Home provider of Commonwealth services from 1 July 2023.

City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Des Hudson said the City of Ballarat was committed to ensuring a smooth transition.

“This is a significant issue for our community. None of us want the most vulnerable members of our community to be placed at a disadvantage,” he said.

“Local Government does need to transition out of this service. It is not moving in the direction that is set up for Local Government to sustain with boundaries and funding. The important work in connectivity and wellbeing is where we are far better equipped to support our ageing community and that is what we can establish and strengthen in the coming months while we transition other services to external providers.

“City of Ballarat, like every Council in Victoria, has considered its response to the changes being implemented through the reforms and after much deliberation we have reached this decision”

Council also endorsed the initiation of a new City of Ballarat funded Ageing Well service model to commence operation from 1 July 2023.

The new service model will provide social support, community transport and other active ageing services that aim to reduce social isolation and improve health and wellbeing.

As a result of the decision, the City of Ballarat will now work alongside the Federal Government to implement changes that will see clients receiving Commonwealth Home Support Program services transition to new providers over the months leading up to 30 June 2023.

The City of Ballarat invited staff to provide comments and suggestions on the proposed change and have also consulted with the union throughout the process.

City of Ballarat Chief Executive Officer, Evan King thanked the staff in the Ageing Well team for delivering outstanding services to the Ballarat and surrounding community for many years.

“Since starting as CEO with the City of Ballarat I have seen the Ageing Well team work through an incredibly disruptive couple of years,” he said.

“I recall staff and volunteers embracing the challenges of adapting to the constant changes of the pandemic from the way they cared for service recipients, implementing vital workforce bubbles and additional Meals on Wheels storage to ensure continuity of service and wearing full PPE in the depths summer.

“These changes to reform are about ensuring we meet the needs, aspirations and priorities of our older residents and our entire community.”

Ballarat City Council considered the feedback received during the consultation period on the proposed changes to the Ageing Well service.

There are 57 staff in a range of full time and part time positions within the Ageing Well service.

The City of Ballarat is committed to the safety and wellbeing of our older residents.

The City of Ballarat will continue to play an active role in ensuring our community receives high-quality aged care services and will strongly advocate for the needs of vulnerable community members.

This decision provides the City of Ballarat with an opportunity to play a more focused role in supporting all older residents in our community in areas that align to our strategic focus in the Council Plan 2021-2025 and our new Ageing Well Strategy 2022-2026.

The City of Ballarat contributes a little over $1.2 million toward the cost of delivering the Commonwealth Home Support Program.

Following this decision, the City of Ballarat has committed to reallocating $1.2 million toward the initiation of the new City of Ballarat funded service model for Ageing Well and is extending the target group to include residents aged 55 and up.

The new service model role is supported through the Ageing Well in Ballarat Strategy 2022-2026.

The decision at last night’s Council Meeting impacts existing positions in our Ageing Well team. The City of Ballarat has met with impacted staff to discuss the changes.

Impacted staff will be able to access retraining and redeployment opportunities and will be able to apply for positions within the proposed new council service early next year in accordance with the City of Ballarat’s recruitment process. This process will commence early in 2023. Redundancies will also be offered to impacted employees.

The new City of Ballarat service model is planned to begin from 1 July 2023.

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