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Three WA providers merge with further amalgamations in their sights

From left: Sheilah Cummins, Kath Snell and David Shelton

From left: Sheilah Cummins, Kath Snell and David Shelton

Three Perth-based not-for-profit providers have announced they will form a new organisation to provide a one-stop shop for home and community services to their collective client base.

Care Options, Volunteer Task Force and Community First will merge in early 2017 to provide aged, disability and mental health services in the community.

They say the name of the new organisation is yet to be decided.

The three similarly-sized providers cover South Perth, metropolitan Perth, and Perth down to Bunbury and Albany respectively and collectively provide a range of home and support services to seniors, those living with disability and mental health needs.

Care Options also runs a Regional Assessment Service in Adelaide.

Volunteer Task Force chief executive Kath Snell said the organisations would bring their strengths together to use best practice across service delivery and back of house to provide sustainable services in the state.

“There are going to be efficiencies in that but also quality,” Ms Snell told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“It will be more of a one-stop shop for clients because the diversity of our services has broadened,” she said.

The merger would make it easier for clients to access all of the services they needed, Ms Snell said. “We are hoping to give clients those quality services so they don’t have to go to a number of different providers because we will be providing mental health services, disability services, and aged care services.”

For the organisations’ workforces, the merger offered improved career path opportunities for staff and more options for volunteers, Ms Snell said.

But a key part of this strategy was gaining a competitive advantage in a rapidly changing funding environment to ensure the organisations thrived in an uncertain market, she said.

Sign of the times

In this time of change, Community First executive director David Shelton said the merger was a natural, prudent and timely move.

“Much has changed in the aged and disability sectors and we are positioning ourselves for success, excellence and accessibility for a greater number of people in this new era,” Mr Shelton said.

Care Options chief executive Sheilah Cummins said the three organisations had fostered a strong relationship to assist people to live and participate in their community and this merger was an exciting opportunity to grow their services and improve the quality of their clients’ lives.

Further amalgamations are also in their sights, said Ms Snell, adding the organisations were focused on getting this merger underway while keeping other conversations going.

“What’s important is that we don’t stand still while we go through the merger process. The world around you can be changing and you have become stagnant so we have been proactive in that area to keep those other connections. I would imagine over the coming months and years there will be growth from mergers and acquisitions.”

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