Council confirms jobs to go

SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council will make 43 jobs redundant when it withdraws from providing Home and Community Care (HACC) services.
Council will no longer provide care for the elderly and people with disabilities from October 1, conditional on a suitable alternate provider being found.
Council will pay redundancy packages worth approximately $1 million.
HACC staff wept as council made the decision at last Wednesday’s council meeting, where councillors acknowledged the work done by staff and the difficulty of council’s decision, which was forced by changes in government funding.
For disability services, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will replace the model of providing block funding to council to meet service targets, resulting in funding for each hour of care falling by about 20 percent. Clients will receive funding to fit their needs and are able to select their own service provider.
For aged care services, the current block funding model continues to June 2020.
Council’s director of corporate and community services Faith Page said, “There is uncertainty of funding beyond that point although it is anticipated that this will follow a nationally consistent consumer directed model which may be similar to the NDIS.”
HACC services are provided to senior clients aged over 65 years and clients under 65 years with a disability.
The service provides short term restorative care or longer term services to enable clients to remain independent and at home for longer.
Such services include home care, personal care, respite and home maintenance. Council has approximately 1300 such clients.
Council is not profitable in the sector and would most likely be uncompetitive once all governments’ changes came into effect.
Cr Don Hill said, “This council does not think we are able to continue to provide the service in this competitive environment the government is introducing.
“It is not something this council or the previous council wishes to have happened but we feel we do not have any option.”
Cr Andrew McEwen was the only councillor to oppose council’s decision, saying 85 percent of privatised service models fail and end up providing a lower quality service at a higher price.
He said not all HACC staff would pick up a job and those who do were likely to receive a pay cut of five to 10 percent.
Cr Meg Edwards told the staff gathered every councillor valued their work and that by council making a decision, staff could now decide their futures.
A council officer’s report to last Wednesday’s council meeting stated, “Training, counselling and other supports will maximise staff opportunity to continue their employment with a new provider.
“It is recognised that transition will mean change which may well be a cause of anxiety for both clients and staff. With client consent, the electronic transfer of existing client details will minimise disruption to their service provision.”
The officer’s report stated the decision would mean the loss of skilled and older staff, with 80 percent of staff aged over 55 years, “with minimal redeployment opportunities within the organisation”.
The officer’s report to council identified there were risks involved in council withdrawing from HACC services: services may not be transferred to a single service provider, there could be reduced expertise and knowledge, and the quality of the service may be impacted.
On the other hand, the officer’s report stated, “No action would lead to council providing a steadily declining service to an increasingly cost-prohibitive cohort of clients.”
Gippsland Southern Health Service and South Gippsland Hospital were contacted for comment about whether they could provide HACC services in place of council.

Futures in balance: South Gippsland Shire Council’s Home and Community Care services staff were among those in the gallery at last Wednesday’s council meeting, as councillors voted to withdraw from the services

Short URL: http://thestar.com.au/?p=24578

Posted by on Apr 4 2018. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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