Developing an Aged Care Industry Driven Workforce Strategy for the Future – engagement and consultation

Page last updated: 09 May 2018

The aim

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 outcome

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.

Roundtables

The Taskforce plans sponsored 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.

Roundtables comprised:

  • Research and Data held  in Melbourne on 28 February 2018 
  • Diversity held in Sydney on  2 March 2018
  • Rural and Remote and very remote held in Darwin on 7 March 2018 and Alice Springs and on 8 March 2018
  • Palliative Care held in Sydney on 5 April 2018
  • Occupational Therapy held in Melbourne on 4 May 2018

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 during November 2017. Another five workshops were held in Sydney, Melbourne, Alice Springs, Perth and Port Macquarie during February 2018.

Participants included 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.

Workforce summits

The Taskforce sponsored two working summits − the first on 4 December 2017, and the second on 30 April 2018.

The first summit provided 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 working summit was held in Adelaide on 30 April 2018. Places were limited and were by invitation only. More information is available from the consultation and engagement relationship overview web page.

Public submission process

The Taskforce called for written submissions over five weeks from 8 February to 16 March 2018. The focus was strategic imperatives stemming from the Terms of Reference.

Aged care community consultations

The Taskforce held community consultations in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Hobart during February and March 2018 to directly seek the views of providers, consumers and their families, workers, volunteers, and informal carers across the country. It sought 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.

Through specialist advisers

The Taskforce engaged with 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.

National Seniors of Australia (NSA) was engaged to investigate consumer experience of home care. The report on this study was released on 30 April 2018 and is available from the NSA website.