Developing an Aged Care Industry Driven Workforce Strategy for the Future – engagement and consultation
The Taskforce will develop a strategy for growing and sustaining the workforce providing aged care services and support of older people, to meet their care needs in a variety of settings across Australia.
The Terms of Reference and membership announced by the Australian Government on 1 November 2017, with the independent Chair, Professor John Pollaers, appointed on 14 September 2017.
The Taskforce reports directly to the Minister for Aged Care and will submit a strategy and report to him on 30 June 2018. This report will incorporate an associated implementation plan to address short, medium and longer term priorities.
Backdrop for the Taskforce − many interests, much said
Over many years, much has been written and said about workforce matters by many interests. Several recent inquiries or reviews have taken submissions and evidence dealing with or touching on aged care workforce matters, particularly a Senate inquiry on the workforce, the Legislated Review of Aged Care, the Review of National Aged Care Quality Regulatory Processes and a Law Reform Commission’s report on elder abuse.
The issues canvassed have ranged from features of systems – such as aged care, health, NDIS, employment, tertiary and vocational education and training – through to the day‑to‑day interactions between workforces and older people, and their families and communities.
In shaping a workforce strategy, the Taskforce will take into consideration what has already been said (acknowledging an extensive body of knowledge exists), and build from there.
The Taskforce’s remit
The Taskforce will oversee and steer the development of an industry driven workforce strategy. This strategy will recognise the shift to consumer directed care and take a wider view of the workforce interacting with older people.
The Taskforce is committed to engaging and consulting widely to ensure all points of view are heard and considered.
Engagement and consultation
The Taskforce will use a number of ways to engage with and consult the variety of interests in the aged care workforce.
Technical Advisory Groups
The Taskforce plans to form a small number of specific purpose advisory groups to provide detailed technical input to the work of the Taskforce and enable particular issues to be explored in depth. The results will be fed into the Taskforce’s considerations.
The Taskforce plans to sponsor several roundtables to access expertise, tap specialist skills and gain practical insights to inform strategy development, from the aged care and other sectors, together with the wider community.
Workshops − why the sector and the work people do in the sector matter
Workshops are being held to establish why growing and sustaining the workforce needed to meet the care needs of older people across Australia is so vital to the nation.
The workshops create an opportunity for people from all parts of the sector to unite around insights, truths and beliefs about ageing and the aged care industry. This work will form a part of the foundation for shaping the Taskforce’s thinking.
The first four workshops were held : in Ballarat, , Launceston , Brisbane and Adelaide.Another five workshops are to be held in Sydney, Melbourne, Alice Springs, Perth and Port Macquarie during February 2018.
Participants include aged careworkers and consumer representatives, cover include residential aged care, Home Care and Commonwealth Home Support Program services, and provide a reasonable spread of occupations and levels.
The Taskforce is sponsoring two working summits − the first on 4 December 2017, and the second on 17 April 2018.
The first summit is to provide an early opportunity for the wide range of interests in the workforce to contribute to shaping thinking about an industry driven strategy. Feedback from the workshops will be fed into the summit, along with the results of some initial work being done on strategic imperatives, trends and potential scenarios to consider in developing a workforce strategy.
The second is to contribute to building a strategy, with the aim of informing the development of an exposure draft for wide dissemination and feedback.
Public submissions processes
At two points in its program, the Taskforce will be seeking written submissions – the first on strategic imperatives stemming from the Terms of Reference (January –February 2018) and the second on an exposure draft of the strategy (May-June 2018).
Aged care community consultations
The Taskforce plans to seek directly the views of providers, consumers and their families, workers, volunteers, and informal carers across the country. It will seek the support of providers, provider peaks, consumer organisations in the aged care community, trusted intermediaries, health networks and consumers, families and informal carers across the country.
These consultations are planned for the first quarter of 2018, in metropolitan and selected regional areas.
Through specialist advisers
The Taskforce will engage specialist advisers experienced in collaborative development of industry vision, analysis of trends and scenario thinking and workforce design. In addition they will be supported by resources provided by the Australian Government Department of Health.