Our experience of 2020-2021 has continued to be dominated by the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have been largely protected from the full impact of the virus in SA, restrictions on travel and connecting with loved ones, and the uncertainty of changing restrictions, has shaped our lives.
It has been a priority to pass on relevant messages about COVID-19 requirements from SA government and ensure that people can be clear around what the rules mean to them. Over the last year, we have interpreted these messages, identified how they relate to working in people’s homes and community, and provided concise updates. Many staff and families have expressed their thanks for the updates that have helped to keep people informed and safe.
In 2020, the Board determined that each family should be able to make choices about whether the workers supporting their loved ones had been vaccinated against infectious diseases such as flu and COVID. The communication and conversations around the new Immunisation Policy with families and staff enabled people to discuss their preferences and seek advice from a range of sources. Support was facilitated where requested to assist people to access their nearest vaccination clinic.
Regular online team meetings for CLP managers and admin staff started during 2020 out of necessity due to lockdown. When restrictions lifted, it seemed that bringing the group together online would no longer be necessary, however the ‘Zoom group’ has been reinstated monthly due to popular demand. Staff value learning about the roles and work of different areas of the organisation, and it is an opportunity to celebrate things that have gone well, and discuss the issues impacting our work. There’s a real sense of collaboration and learning from each other.
Despite ongoing change, what has been a constant is the need to be present for each other and to reach out to those who are not coping as well. Building relationships is critical to our wellbeing, and through CLP’s day to day work, our goal is to facilitate opportunities for each person to be supported through relationship with the people in their personal and community networks.
One of our new projects, Neighbourhood Circles, is about strengthening neighbourhood initiatives that include and look out for all members of their community. Neighbourhoods where all individuals, regardless of circumstance, can experience inclusion and belonging. Similarly, the Introducing Circles of Support project aims for more people with disability to learn about Circles of Support and the important safeguarding role they can play through the intentional engagement of freely given relationships in the life of a vulnerable person.
In November the Board formally welcomed Henry Elliott as Treasurer, and family member Jackie Hayes, and we thank our continuing members Pam Coutts, Sadik Hurem, Kerrie Ashcroft, Michael Mooney and Patrick Faulkner. We would like to thank all our Board members this year for their work on the Strategic Plan, with a key aspect being future safeguards through learning from families, and ensuring succession planning is in place for key roles. One step towards this has been Jayne Barrett’s handover in July of leadership roles in Micro Enterprise and Circles of Support to Wendy Butler and Katrina Fredberg. We congratulate Wendy and Katrina, and look forward to continuing to work with Jayne in the leadership of our strategic projects.
Managers across the organisation have continued to provide strong leadership, with growth being experienced across all service streams. A Leadership Development course for 20 upcoming leaders covered topics including adaptive leadership, values and mindsets, and family leadership. Kerrie Ashcroft facilitated a Working Mind program for 20 key leaders, including a family member, focusing on the impact of mindful communication on collaboration and decision making.
Finance and Admin staff have continued to provide seamless support and the reliability of our payroll, invoicing and debtor management has again been outstanding. MYP progress is very positive with live testing of automated payroll and invoicing underway. We would like to thank these staff and also acknowledge the support of Darrin Hepworth. The Finance and Risk Management sub committees have also been pivotal this year in developing our Investment Strategy to ensure that the assets of the organisation are working hard to build our future sustainability.
CLP’s management of safe work practices continues to be outstanding, with no workplace injury claims for the past 3 years. This is a credit to the focus managers on individual, role based training, and to the approach of our Return to Work Officer, Kathryn Knaggs.
In September, CLP successfully passed the requirements for our midterm NDIS audit. The auditor noted that CLP’s values are ‘at the forefront of all decision making and planning, and that staff, people supported and families confirmed that each individual is supported to articulate their unique needs and preferences, rights and feelings which feeds into a deeper understanding of support responses and solutions’.
After discussion with families, we provided submissions into NDIA consultations on Home and Living, and Support for Decision Making. We also met with the Disability Advocate David Caudrey around safeguarding people with disability, specifically if their family members can no longer support them. We also took part in round table discussions with federal and state MPs around gaps in planning and support for people with complex needs.
Sadly, through the year we mourned the passing of Mark Penezic after a stalwart battle with cancer, and send our deep condolences to his mother Kay and family. We also acknowledge the passing of long-term family members: Bev Brooks, and our thoughts are with Lynne, Grantley and all the Brooks family; Wendy Lamming, with deep condolence to Julie and her family; and Reg Coutts, husband of Board member, Pam. Again, our deepest sympathy goes to Pam and Louise.
We would like to acknowledge and thank our funding partners, JFA Purple Orange, Julia Farr McLeod Benevolent Fund, The Norman H Johns Trust and the Australian Department of Social Services for their continued support of the projects which are detailed in the coming pages. We sincerely thank every person we support, family members, our amazing managers, staff and Board, for your continued trust in CLP and we look forward to the challenges and joys of the year ahead.
As Chairperson I would like again to acknowledge the tireless leadership from our Executive Officer and our senior managers. The leadership team work collaboratively and cooperatively with staff, families and individuals, all while making a contribution to the sector through their willingness to share, advocate and innovate. CLP has a very holistic approach to the delivery of human services with an emphasis on the human, the people, the relationships and our connection to each other. Thank you Prue, for once again steering a complex set of connections and relationships through waters that have been often choppy, sometimes murky and other times smooth. It is a privilege to be Chairperson of a wonderful community of staff, families, individuals and board members.
Caroline Ellison, Chairperson Prue Gorman, Executive Officer