Home' Community Care Review : CCR Nov-Dec 2015 Contents of concern, especially in relation to
rehabilitating injured staff.
'IR SYSTEM IS MOVING
Patrick Reid, CEO of Leading Age Services
Australia (LASA), says the current
application by the Australian Council of
Trade Unions (ACTU) to amend all modern
awards to include a minimum four-hour
shift length would be a retrograde step for
staffing and rostering flexibility and would
push up costs for home care employers.
"This goes against the very foundations
of consumer directed home care that serve
to enable people to remain at home for
longer because they can access the care
and assistance they need as and when they
need it," he says.
"Instead of moving towards increased
options for consumers -- and importantly,
employees -- at a time when society
expectations are for more flexibility, not
less, our IR system is moving backwards."
Mr Reid says potential solutions would
be to create an enterprise agreement,
or an individual flexibility agreement,
specific to age services, which would
negotiate alternative arrangements to
award conditions without reducing an
"As an industry, aged services need an
option for an employer and employee to opt
out of the modern award system and create
an arrangement they agree to, which matches
the need of the service being delivered and
the needs of our ageing population."
ACSA CEO John Kelly says the potential
for further casualisation of the workforce
under CDC would not be in the interests
of consumers, employers or workers, and
should be monitored closely.
However, he says it is too early to get
a clear picture of the full implications and
risks to emerge for the aged care workforce.
ACSA's workforce position paper released
in April also identified as a priority area the
need to modernise industrial arrangements
to enable providers to respond to a
consumer-driven model, including designing
contemporary enterprise agreements.
Helen Gibbons, assistant national
secretary of United Voice, says the union
is concerned that provider requests for
more flexible working arrangements could
deteriorate working conditions if it means
less hours and/or less predictable hours
for staff. "In a sector which is notorious for
low pay this would make earning sufficient
income to live on even more difficult."
She says for CDC to be effective,
government funding has to be adequate. n
Community Care Options
From clients taking part in staff selection and
training, to transforming how workers and clients
are matched, the philosophy of consumer directed
care is having a profound impact on how one
service provider is managing its workforce.
Enhanced consumer choice and control means clients
at Community Care Options now have a seat on staff
selection panels and a say in the interview questions
that are asked of prospective employees.
Liz Anscombe, the organisation's operations manager, says a
pool of clients has undertaken basic HR training and is available
to sit on recruitment panels as a consumer representative.
Involving consumers in the recruitment process sends a
clear message that their opinions matter and clients should
feel empowered to give their feedback, Anscombe says
"It can be quite confronting for some applicants but I think it
is a really positive thing to know from the outset that as a staff member you're not just
committing to an organisation but to an individual," she tells Community Care Review.
Some aged care and disability clients also open up their homes to participate
in paid staff trials, where clients are asked to critique how they feel about a
Feedback is collated from the client and staff observing the applicant to
determine whether the person proceeds to employment with the organisation.
Anscombe describes this as passing the 'client test'.
Other clients have also developed their own training plans specific to their
particular needs, which they implement with their carer.
With clients being encouraged to exercise greater choice and control over their
care, including the voice of the consumer in recruitment practices and training is
another way of empowering clients, she says.
THE RIGHT MATCH
As part of the NSW provider's review of its workforce, Community Care Options
also undertook a skills and interests audit of its staff to more appropriately match
clients' needs with suitable workers.
New and existing staff were quizzed on their hobbies and interests, and what they
were passionate about in life, which unearthed a number of hidden skills and talents.
"For example, through this process we discovered that a young female staff
member had been involved in cadet training and had a strong interest in military
weaponry. I would have never paired her a few years ago with an older gentleman
who was a war veteran, but those two clicked over their common interests," she says.
"It has been quite remarkable in terms of the relationships that have developed.
We realised that in the past we had made assumptions that were incorrect, but by
asking a few questions we've been able to be more creative in our matches."
In order to be responsive to consumer choices and preferences, Community Care
Options has also developed targeted strategies to diversify its workforce to include
more men and young people.
While there may be pressure to casualise the workforce to achieve the flexibility
required of CDC, Anscombe says her organisation has made the decision to move to
a more permanent workforce to cement itself as an employer of choice.
"In a changed marketplace where there is lots of competition, it is vote
of confidence." Approximately 80 per cent of the organisation's 170 staff are
permanent, up from 50 per cent, she says. n
By Linda Belardi
aaa community care review | 9
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