23 January 2023
The BCCM has started work on a new Commonwealth funded education, training and advisory program to start and grow more co-ops and mutuals in social care. The Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises Support Program (Care Together) will help improve the quality and diversity of services provided to older Australians, people living with disability, and veterans in remote and regional areas and other areas of high need.
The program is designed as a cross-sector, place-based program using human-centred co-design methods to demonstrate innovative ways to improve service quality and safety in priority areas, including aged care, disability care, veterans care, allied health, and primary care.
The BCCM will work with communities to co-design social care projects in areas deemed by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety most in need. These include rural, remote, and regional communities, Indigenous services, and more housing options allowing people to ‘age well’ in community settings.
BCCM CEO, Melina Morrison, welcomed the Government’s funding of the Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises (CME) Support Program with a 2.5 year rollout. “This funding is recognition that the aged care and broader care sector should explore business models better suited to people-centred care. Co-operatives and mutuals are organisations that are owned and run by members, such as consumers, non-profit service providers, care workers or people in the local community,” Ms Morrison said.
“Co-operatives and mutuals are ideally suited to the provision of aged care and broader care services because they place those being cared for, as well as those providing the care, at the heart of the solution. In a co-op, people, not profits, are the beginning, middle and end purpose of the business.”
The BCCM is funded by the Department of Health and Aged Care to establish a national support program to advise communities on how to start new co-operatives in aged care and other care sectors and help existing co-operatives to grow.
As part of the Care Together program, the BCCM will continue to host the popular Social Care Community of Practice, comprising a network of people and enterprises interested in business model innovation involving new models of ownership that empower consumers and workers in social care.