It feels like the journey is at its mid-point as we near the finalisation of our contract with the Department of Social Services (DSS) to deliver the South Australian component of the Integrated Carer Support Services (ICSS). I say mid-point because Carers SA really began working on our grant application in July of 2017, well before the actual grant was released. It was at this point that the Executive Team and I began clearly informing the Board of the challenges ahead and what people resources would be required to successfully secure an ICSS grant. Have I taken a breath yet to reflect on how we got to this point, no I haven’t but at least this article has allowed me to reflect for a short moment.

I have been extremely fortunate that the Carers SA Board have been forward thinking and proactive throughout this whole process. After many discussions with the Directors the Carers SA Executive Team swelled by two to ensure we had a well-rounded team that had expertise in finance, human resources, operations and project management, specifically for the application process. Such was the grant application process this still left us short on skill and we invested further in a grant writer, consultant and a data scientist.

After the unsuccessful exploration of a joint venture it was decided that we would split from a long formed state network and lead our own bid and at a later time seek partners that would complement the organisations skills and abilities. This was a big decision and one that was not taken lightly but importantly once the decision was made we backed ourselves in.

It was from this point that our regular meetings with our consultant increased in frequency as we determined the model of operation that was required to respond to the demand driven model government had devised. We worked extremely hard all the way to the February 14 2019 deadline, in particular in the last five days. It was a huge credit to all involved that we submitted such a thorough grant application.

Picking the story up eight months later we are, as I have said, at the mid-point of the grant process. We are about to sign our contract, have nearly finalised the restructure of the organisation (a huge process in itself and one which difficult for all involved) and importantly in early 2020 we are about to engage with service providers and the community in earnest.

It will be this engagement of carers, current service providers and the broader community that will determine how successful the transition to the new model of service delivery will be. This is such a vital stage in the reform process that I could never do it justice in such few words. This transition is our mid-point and it will determine how well the second half of our journey, the implementation of the ICSS, will be.

To ensure we are well resourced for this period we will shortly be recruiting for two positions, one that will be focussed on short term engagement of carers, service providers and the wider community and the second on the longer term process of how this engagement will occur post the initial transition period. This engagement will be driven by the organisations senior people but will be underpinned by our staff on the ground who are vital as they actually will deliver the new services to carers.

If you would like to engage with us before the ICSS go live date of April 2020 you can do so by calling 8291 5600 or emailing icssenquiries@carers-sa.asn.au. This engagement can be anything from us providing fact sheets about ICSS to us coming and talking to your community.