CITY of Canning will begin community consultation into its care and disability services after changes to Federal Government funding.
In November 2015, Ansell Consulting conducted an independent review of the City’s care and disability services.
The report proposed community engagement on the findings, which was approved at a special council meeting on April 26.
Ansell will begin one-on-one consultation with all 2000 clients using the services within weeks.
The existing care model costs $11.5 million to run using Federal and State government funding, with negligible cost to the City, which manages the grants.
Canning chief executive Lyn Russell said the new model, which begins in February 2017, would mean funding would no longer go directly to the City.
“Generally they have been fully funded and we run the services on the basis they pretty much break even,” she said.
“But one of the issues is whether that will continue under the new Federal funding arrangements and what that might mean for us financially.
“We’d very much like to continue doing what we’ve always done but the reality is that in the model, we need to look if we can do that.
“The feedback from the consultants is that there are different models we have to look at; some of these options will be run past the clients.”
The City currently runs four nursing and retirement villages, as well as $11 million worth of Home and Community Care (HACC) services for people, including those with disabilities.
Ms Russell said the community consultation was not a sign that anything would change, but rather a way to explore how the current system would work with the different funding model.
“The aged community is growing so the resources will have to grow but the way in which it’s delivered means instead of going centrally (to the City of Canning), it will go to the user and the user will make their choice about which provider they want to use,” she said.
“It’s a whole new world and we are trying to get our heads around it… but it’s happening very fast because the first changes occur early next year.”
Ms Russell said some options suggested by Ansell included continuing the structure of the current model, upgrading existing infrastructure, tendering manage- ment and privatisation.
“We have to make sure whatever happens, our standard of services are not diminished in any way in the new environment,” she said.
“This is a massive policy shift from the Federal Government.”
Ms Russell said the impending retirement of baby boomers was also cause for extensive research into the sector.
“A lot more people will need the services in the future,” she said.
“They are going to have a different set of expectations than the people currently using the facilities.”