The Tasmanian aged care and disability services sector experienced significant change in 2015/16, and there is more to come.
While Community Based Support, a Tasmanian not-for-profit organisation, has provided home and community care services in this community for 27 years, more recently it has been offering National Disability Insurance Scheme services across the state following its expansion.
We have kept a watching brief and played an active role on the roll out of the Federal Government’s aged care reforms, the expansion of the NDIS and the transition to consumer directed care.
While the proposed changes can be confusing for clients, broadly speaking the sector will transition from a block grant-based system (where essentially we find clients) to a consumer directed care model (where we hold funds on behalf of clients).
CBS is a major supporter of client choice where people who can should have control over their individual circumstances.
CBS’s focus is to make the transition as painless, but as impactful, as possible.
The changes have been on the government’s agenda for some time.
The CBS board and management expected that the changes would be significant, so it was an important process for CBS to be closely involved with.
CBS has invested in its people to help our clients and the broader community understand and then transition from the old system to the new system.
As we see it, our job is to make the transition happen as smoothly as possible.
CBS has a Launceston-based coordinator that is simply there to help.
CBS has also been running free information sessions in the north for people wanting to find out more about aged and disability support at home.
These sessions have been primarily focused on assisting people to navigate the disability support system, including the NDIS, as well as providing information about the support that is available from CBS.
CBS has a strategy map to take us through to 2019 that is in lock step with the government’s changes – it simply states that CBS supports individuals to live the life they choose, that we want to maximise client independence and deliver high quality services that meet customer needs.
While change can be difficult to accept, and it can be difficult to understand at times, not-for-profit organisations like CBS is well-placed to manage through these changes.
CBS is an organisation that employs about 230 highly experienced and professional Tasmanians who, in 2015/16, provided services for 5,665 clients in the state.
If you add up every hour of service delivered during the 12 months of the last financial year, it would equate to 24-years of support.
In addition, the organisation provided 21,000 hours of respite to carers (who spend time looking after a family member, a friend or a neighbor on an ongoing basis without pay) who needed a “break” throughout the year.
Importantly, it is overseen by a skills-based 10-member board of volunteer directors who take on the full responsibility of directors of a typical corporate organisation.
Just as importantly, given our not for profit status, every dollar that we receive is reinvested in the Tasmanian community rather than distributing surplus to shareholders.
- Murray Coates is the chief executive officer for Community Based Support