Campaspe Shire Council has made an in-principle decision to withdraw from delivering aged and disability services at its May meeting.
Mayor, Cr Adrian Weston said in making this decision, council has committed to ensure that any change to a new provider will be managed to protect the interests of clients, families and carers, staff and the community. Council is working with the Commonwealth Government to undertake an expression of interest process to identify a suitable provider to deliver the services currently provided through the Home Support Program.
“This has been a difficult decision for council and one we have not taken lightly,” Cr Weston said.
“Our aged and disability services provide significant support to our community and we know the service is highly valued.”
“There have however been a number of reforms in the aged and disability service sector. It is now understood that council will not be able to compete effectively or viably in the changing marketplace.”
The reforms include:
- a need for the government to find the most efficient and effective model of service to meet the very dramatic increase in demand for aged care and disability services;
- a commitment by the government to introduce a standard national approach to the delivery of aged care and disability services;
- a shift to a model where the consumer controls their own care, including who will deliver it, when and where.
Council will shortly advertise an expression of interest process, starting the process to identify suitably qualified and skilled service providers.
In making the decision, council has also set guiding principles for any future provider. These are:
- Ensuring equity of access to services based on need and regardless of geographic location
- Providers demonstrating a strong safety system to protect both staff and clients
- Providers holding a similar ethos or values as council, eg. a commitment to the health and wellbeing of our community and a commitment to reinvesting back into the community
- Providers demonstrating a commitment to quality care with proven results through Commonwealth Aged Care quality processes.
If a preferred provider is identified, Cr Weston said council will be in a position to confirm its in-principle decision later in the year.
“We will then make recommendation to the Commonwealth Government of our preferred candidate,” Cr Weston said.
“They are the final decision makers, council is only able to provide a recommendation. Council however has a sincere interest in ensuring that the Commonwealth Government appoints a high-quality and reliable provider.”
The Commonwealth Government will undertake its own assessment and announce a new provider. Once the government makes the decision, council staff will work closely with the new provider to ensure any change is well managed through a partnership approach to protect the interests of all.
“Council understands this is a big change. We will work closely with staff and clients to ensure everyone is informed about the decision and the process underway,” Cr Weston said.
“To our community members who receive our aged and disability services, I would like to assure you that our focus is to maintain the availability and quality of the services we provide.”
If the change proceeds, Campaspe Shire will continue its strategic planning and advocacy roles in the aged and disability sector to ensure the community has access to services.