Action to Empower

Social Care Mutuals

Why Australia needs more co-operative and mutual enterprises in health, community, and social services

Action to Empower is our campaign to empower consumers and carers in social care markets to take back control through business model innovation.

Co-operative and mutual business models can increase diversity and choice in health, community and social services in Australia with positive outcomes for accountability, innovation, quality and productivity.

The Action to Empower report is a ‘call to action’ for targeted policy measures focused on enabling different forms of ownership. We discuss the potential contribution of co-operatives and mutuals to innovation and reforms in aged care and disability services, informed by Australian experiences and a BCCM study tour of UK mutuals.

BCCM provides advice and helps organisations, staff, clients and other stakeholders seeking to learn about, form and grow co-operatives and mutuals in health, community and social services as well as aged care. We have a demonstrated track record of helping organisations to transition to mutual models at all stages of development.

In 2021 BCCM is hosting a series of roundtable conversations, webinars and information sessions about Action to Empower. To find out more about the campaign or for advice about setting up a co-op or mutual contact Gillian Mcfee.

Social Care Community of Practice

About the Social Care Community of Practice

The Social Care Community of Practice (CoP) is a series of online meetings and events designed to develop a network of people and enterprises interested in business model innovation involving new models of ownership that empower consumers and workers in social care.

These collaborative meetings enable the sharing of information and resources about co-operatives and mutual enterprises fostering a spirit of self-help and innovation in social care. Being part of the CoP is an opportunity to learn from other co-operatives and mutuals both in Australia and overseas.

Emerging from the Action to Empower Report and Roundtable held on 25 August 2021 the CoP is designed as a place for sharing ideas and learning from co-op experts about how the co-operative and mutual business model can help transform social care services.

Terms of reference
  1. The purpose of the Social Care Community of Practice (CoP) is to develop a community of practitioners to share knowledge, learnings, and experiences about how to establish co-operatives and mutual enterprises in social care.
  2. Social Care CoP members will consist of people who are interested in knowing more about co-operatives and mutuals and understanding how this business model can apply either to existing enterprises or start-ups.
  3. The Social Care CoP will start as a self-help initiative based on open sharing of ideas and knowledge. As commitment grows, and as resources become available, the aim is for this to evolve to foster deeper learning and application through the establishment of a Mutual Support Program for some targeted innovation projects in thin markets.
  4. Social Care CoP members should ensure regular representation at the CoP meetings.
  5. BCCM will provide a secretariat function for the Social Care CoP.
  6. BCCM will invite practitioners to join the Social Care CoP based on a registration of interest.
  7. BCCM members may request to join the CoP.
  8. Following two introductory sessions led by BCCM, the CoP will co-design a program of meetings and/or events that will be promoted by BCCM and members of the CoP.
  9. BCCM commits to organising three free CoP meetings annually with an agenda circulated prior to the meeting. Other events will be held on a cost-recovery basis reflecting the shared interests of the CoP.
  10. Discussions and sharing of information will be done under the Chatham House Rule.
Join the Community of Practice

Please email Nicole Vlakic to apply to join the Social Care Community of Practice.

Upcoming meetings

The next Social Care Community of Practice will be held on Wednesday, 8 December 2021, 4pm – 5.30pm AEDT.

Find out more about the December Social Care CoP.

Aged Care Industry Roundtable

play videoRobert Fitzgerald AM

Robert Fitzgerald AM, NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner

Robert Fitzgerald AM, NSW Ageing and Disability Commissioner speaking on empowering workers and consumers: why now is the time to address leadership, governance and cultural deficiencies in health,...
play videoLinda Seaborn and Kathryn Johnson

Linda Seaborn and Kathryn Johnson

Discussion on 'Different perspectives on ownership' facilitated by Gillian McFee with Linda Seaborn and Kathy Johnson (TAS).

Social care news

elderly woman and young man playing board game
1 September 2021

ACSA and co-op peak sign MOU

The MOU will give aged care provider members greater opportunities to explore and consider different models of ownership and governance.
Close up of carer supporting patient by hand, aged care, istock
30 August 2021

ACSA and BCCM MOU expands opportunity for diverse models of aged care

ACSA and the BCCM have signed an MOU so ACSA member non-profit aged care providers can find out more about the attributes and benefits of co-operative and mutual enterprises models of care giving.
carer helping elderly client into house
11 May 2021

The key to aged care transformation is consumer choice

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) welcomes the Government’s recognition of the aged care sector in this evening’s budget announcement.
1 March 2021

Service diversity is key to aged care transformation

The BCCM welcomes the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety’s final report and its emphasis on placing those being cared for at the centre of the aged care model.
carer helping elderly client into house
12 February 2021

What aged care could look like

Member-owned organisations are a perfect match for those who need aged care services and those who provide it.
3 February 2021

Are co-ops the way to fix aged care?

"Social care is at its best when the community it is designed to serve is at the heart of its governance."
carer helping elderly client into house
27 January 2021

Member-owned aged care puts the consumer at the centre

By empowering members, be they consumers, employees, communities or a hybrid of these, providers can be held accountable for outcomes
Kudos client and staff member playing Connect 4 game
22 October 2020

Co-operatives and mutuals as social enterprises

Co-operatives and mutuals are member-owned enterprises that exist to meet the social, economic and cultural needs and aspirations of their members and communities.
Public service mutuals offer hope of higher quality care and support
8 March 2019

Public service mutuals offer hope of higher quality care and support

Public service mutuals, owned by their customers, employees or a combination, are gaining popularity as a way to provide consumer-directed social services with limited public funding with more...

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