Above: Ross Low, CEO of Baptist Community Services NSW & ACT
By Keryn Curtis
Baptist Community Services NSW & ACT (BCS) has announced a raft of strategic changes, including a realignment of the operational structure away from a regional model to one reflecting the core business streams within the organisation.
The organisation has spent the last six months with its senior leadership team and managers undergoing a thorough strategic planning process to firmly establish the organisation’s priorities in light of what it describes as the increasingly demanding and challenging environment that aged care presents.
The changes will include an expansion of the organisation’s focus and expertise in the key areas of dementia care and palliative care; the prioritisation of home care growth, enhanced by a centralised electronic management system and call centre; and an expansion of its retirement village portfolio with integrated in-home services.
Underpinning the new strategy are streamlined financial services “to effectively support operational performance”; and an organisation-wide integrated training approach.
The introduction, for the first time, of an electronic clinical care system across its 21 residential care facilities is another important foundation element of the strategy.
The former regional structure of BCS, based on four geographic regions spread across NSW and the ACT, will be replaced with a business streams structure which chief executive officer, Mr Ross Low, says will afford the organisation, “the opportunity to further develop the specialist expertise and delivery models required by increasing community demand and changes in government policy.”
“While our regional structure has served us well in recent years and enabled significant growth across all of our activities, a business streams structure gives us the opportunity to focus on the increasing specialisation of our core business areas, namely residential care, community or what we are now calling ‘home care’, retirement villages and LifeCare services,” said Mr Low.
Each of the four streams is headed by a general manager specialising in that stream and reporting to the CEO. Other members of the executive will provide support across the four key streams. These include a general manager of strategy implementation; a general manager of the corporate division, which includes the BCS Catering unit; and the company secretary.
“These changes will give us the ability to absorb and interpret and understand changes as they occur, centrally and consistently, and then implement them through directly to the services across the core business areas. The GM of residential care will be the sole sponsor and driver of the residential care strategy; they need to be able to say, this is how we are going to do it.
“In the past, changes and directions would be implemeneted across the four regions and interpreted at that level and then pushed out from there to the managers of the services.
“Moving to this new structure will take out that extra layer of complexity,” he said.
Mr Low said that the new role of general manager of strategy implementation, was integral to the changes to support and drive implementation.
“In the past we haven’t resourced implementation; we’ve usually asked the regional managers to take on new processes and implementations on top of their core role, more or less in their spare time!
“So that person will provide support to drive the process, as a resource,” he said.
According to Mr Low, the transition to the new structure, which will be completed by the end of June, ready for the 2013/14 financial year, will primarily affect upper middle to senior management and their support staff.
“From middle management down, there is very little change. If you are running one of our 21 residential facilities, it won’t change at all except that you will be reporting to a different person. The impact on residents and clients is a major consideration; we don’t expect any change at that level for now, but over time we anticipate that this structure will be felt positively for all involved.”
“BCS has an exciting future and I am grateful for the strength and quality of the BCS team right across the organisation. I am confident that these moves will set a foundation for BCS to be meeting the unmet needs of our communities with renewed vigour, expertise and passion,” said Mr Low.
BCS has been operating since 1944, for 69 years. It now has an annual budget of over $240 million and employs more than 4,000 staff and a further 1,000 volunteers.
Read the article about the restructure of UnitingCare Ageing NSW ACT from Australian Ageing Agenda in October last year.