Kudos is Australia’s first public service mutual to form from a government agency, operating in the NDIS. The mutual is an NDIA partner in early childhood early intervention services for children under five in South Australia and provides therapy services to children over five.
In 2017-18, BCCM was engaged by the National Disability Services Agency for its subject matter expertise, to guide the staff engagement process that enabled 100+ public servants to spin out from the South Australian Government to form Kudos Services.
This was an example of a thin market, where following a tender, the South Australian Government was unable to find an existing provider able to achieve key public policy objectives. The government wanted to retain and grow NDIS jobs in South Australia. It also wanted to retain workers able to demonstrate they had the required capability and experience in providing quality services and continuity of supports in the early childhood early intervention.
BCCM supported the staff, their union and other advisers involved in the project to help build understanding about well-designed co-operatives and mutuals and the implications of transitioning from employment to employee-ownership. Despite the wonderful aspirations that motivated this innovative public sector reform, in the beginning, there was very little awareness or understanding about how applying the international co-operative principles to business model development could help achieve the aspirations the South Australian Government and secure the NDIS in South Australia especially around proven capability in early childhood early intervention.
Despite challenges as Australia’s first employee-owned public service mutual, Kudos Services is performing well. It has been able to maintain and extend continuity of supports to children and young people with disability, retaining and growing the workforce in allied health where there is a significant workforce shortage.
In September 2019, an important milestone was achieved when the employee members of Kudos elected the board.
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