Aged care CEO to lead Wicking review panel

The CEO of South Australian provider Helping Hand, Ian Hardy, will lead a multidisciplinary review panel which will advise the Wicking trust on how to best allocate $4 million worth of ageing and dementia research grants each year.


Ian Hardy, CEO of South Australian aged care provider Helping Hand, says it is a privilege to be the inaugural chairman of the Wicking Strategic Review Panel

By Natasha Egan

Aged care innovator and Helping Hand CEO Ian Hardy has been named the inaugural chairman of the seven-member multidisciplinary Wicking Strategic Review Panel which includes experts in Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, social innovation, evaluation, neuroscience and communication.

Rather than making grant recommendations, the panel will give strategic advice on ageing research priorities to the trustees of the J.O. & J.R. Wicking Trust to help them decide where to allocate $4 million annually in innovation-in-ageing grants.

Mr Hardy said the trust was an enormous resource available to aged care and dementia research and that he was pleased and excited to be involved.

“It’s a great privilege in being given a role in how the trust can allocate that $4 million,” he said.

Mr Hardy, who was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2008 for his community services to aged care, was selected from among 68 applicants.

He said it was the panel’s unique model that piqued his interest in the role.

“Appointment of expert advisory panels to assist in grant determinations is nothing new. However, the difference here is that our panel will not directly make grant recommendations or determinations, but provide advice on social and policy trends in the sectors of interest to the trust,” Mr Hardy said.

“This model is designed to elicit frank and fearless feedback. I am looking forward to assisting the evolution of the panel to become a recognised leadership force in the field,” he said.

The development of the review panel will draw on the expertise of the six “outstanding panel members” of their respective fields, Mr Hardy said.

The panel comprises:

“We hope to be collectively thinking about and encouraging innovation,” Mr Hardy said.

Innovation is a key goal of the J.O. & J.R. Wicking Trust, which was established in 2004 substantially from the wealth of John and Janet Wicking to create impact and deliver leadership in ageing and Alzheimer’s disease.

Mr Hardy brings to the chairman’s role extensive experience with innovation in the field gained throughout his 23 years working in the aged care sector.

He played a pivotal role in introducing and piloting Ageing in Place at Helping Hand 18 years ago.

The South Australian provider has also done a lot in the areas of rehabilitation and mental health.

More recently Mr Hardy has been a champion and consultant for consumer directed care as the preferred model to deliver aged care services.

“They’re the things in that spirit of thinking about new ways of doing things that I will bring to the role,” he said.

The panel’s agenda

In addition to enhancing the effectiveness of grant making, the panel will assist in disseminating knowledge generated by the funded projects.

How the knowledge will be disseminated is for the whole panel to think about, Mr Hardy said.

But as a starting point, he said the trust was interested in running an annual seminar to showcase some of the good outcomes of grants.

“That is something on the agenda. If that proves to be worthwhile, then that can grow,” Mr Hardy said.

The panel will first meet in about a month’s time and the group get together face-to-face three or four times a year providing feedback on their thinking as it developed, he said.

First up they will look at the major grants the trust has made up to this point and analyse the characteristics of the successful and unsuccessful ones to try and carry those learnings forward, Mr Hardy said.

It will involve looking at what the sector will look like over the next 20 years to determine what would be most valuable while taking into account lessons from the past to help inform why some things will work and others won’t, he said.



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