The Shepparton News
26 April 2016
Three UnitingCare community welfare organisations have voiced their concern over the process aimed at reforming the network's operations across Victoria and Tasmania.
The boards of Kildonan UnitingCare, UnitingCare ReGen and UnitingCare Ballarat have unanimously passed resolutions declaring the current path could jeopardise the delivery of services to the community and put vulnerable clients at risk.
The agencies say their action comes before UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania network's project control groups meets with agency chairs and chief executives this week and is expected to announce its intentions to amalgamate 26 agencies under one board.
In 2014-15, the UnitingCare Victoria and Tasmania network conducted a strategic review into its community welfare operations across both states.
Its recommendation to remove overall governance of the UnitingCare network and form a single form of governance accountable to the Synod Standing Committee was announced in July last year.
The changes were expected to be implemented progressively over a 12 to 18 month period.
Kildonan UnitingCare operates in Shepparton.
Kildonan UnitingCare board chair Kate Long said the agencies believed they were at a "fork in the road."
"The path we take in these coming days and weeks will determine, without doubt, the future strength and viability of the UnitingCare network in Victoria and Tasmania," she said.
"We are not trying to derail the process. We understand the drivers for change. However, we firmly believe there is a way to deliver on key objectives of the church without engaging in a high risk change process, and that can better ensure the future success of our network."
Ms Long said many of the agencies involved in the proposed amalgamation were self-governed with strong community connections and were highly regarded for their responses to local needs.
Ms Long said agencies were calling on the standing committee to make no further decisions until more consultation happened.