It is a privilege for us to share in the recovery journey of over 7,000 Australians. We do this by supporting people to identify their values, strengths and goals in life – and then supporting them to achieve their goals. We prioritise health, wellbeing and independence through our strong evidence base and a focus on each person’s individual needs and choices.
This year has seen us focus on consolidating an extraordinary stage of growth in services. New staff and an increasing diversity of services means it is vital we put in place the systems, structures and resourcing required for an organisation of our size to maintain quality, safety and innovation.
This includes the development of our first Quality, Safety and Clinical Governance Framework; an external audit of our corporate structure; and firmly establishing our significantly expanded service presence in Victoria and South Australia.
We have also been successful in tendering for and establishing new programs. We added the Crisis Respite Service in Adelaide; opened two new homelessness services and secured additional funding for Way2Home in Sydney; and stepped into the lead agency role for Central Adelaide and Hills Partners in Recovery (PIR). We have also been consolidating our approach to prevention and early intervention through our sub-acute services in four states with very strong outcomes for consumers and health systems.
Changing government funding priorities and re-tendering meant we were forced to close the Neami Splash Arts Studio after nearly 20 years. This was a very sad event for all of us. The very successful Intensive Home Based Support Service (IHBSS) also closed due to funding changes and we saw a reduction to our outreach services (IPRSS) in Central Adelaide.
Funding uncertainty remains around the limited extensions to important federally funded programs and there are also important times ahead with there-tendering of significant programs in some states. We await news around these and will continue to advocate to Federal and State Governments the value of these vital recovery support services.
This year has also been a reminder that despite our strong and sustained growth over many years, we are now operating in a more fiscally constrained funding environment. We encourage all levels of government to provide as much funding certainty as possible to our sector, in particular finalising how the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will operate with existing state programs. This is vitally important to ensure thousands of people do not lose the support they need for their ongoing health and recovery.
We also updated out current Strategic Directions during the year. The headline change was a broadening of our scope to support people who may not yet have developed a significant psychosocial disability. This will see us exploring opportunities to intervene earlier in order to avoid people reaching crisis point and/or developing more severe mental illness and disability. We already have a track record in preventing hospital admissions through our sub-acute and crisis respite services.
At a Board level, we farewelled Margaret Springgay AM, who resigned from the Board in June, and welcomed the return of Douglas Holmes, who was reappointed to the Board in March.
We commend this report to you and would like to thank our staff, the people we support and all our valued partners and funders who make this work possible.
Chief Executive Officer