Welfare Merger a ‘No-Brainer’
Thursday, 5th June 2014 at 10:44 am
Two major welfare organisations with their roots in the Anglican Church will officially merge in Victoria from July 1 in an operational decision described as a “no brainer”.
Anglicare Victoria chairman Damian Neylon and St Luke’s Anglicare Board President Bishop Curnow have confirmed their welfare organisations will merge from July.
According to Bishop Curnow, the coming together of such like-minded, Not for Profit organisations will present an opportunity to better serve communities together, rather than apart.
“The aim of this decision is to better respond to the needs of disadvantaged and vulnerable people in our community, and to ensure stability and growth for the future of both agencies,” Bishop Curnow said.
Bishop Curnow also said the merger was a decision reached by both boards of directors during nine months of talks.
Anglicare Victoria CEO Paul McDonald said governance was an issue that was on any Not for Profit Board’s mind and Victoria was no exception.
“Operationally there is not a lot of difference between the two organisations with our out of home care, residential care and domestic and emergency services for young people and families,” McDonald said.
“We glove each other in many ways. It would be foolish for the boards to ignore the issues that could put the organisations onto a stronger governance footing. Both boards viewed the coming together as a no-brainer.”
He said St Lukes Anglicare managed an annual budget of about $22 million with about 400 staff – about a third the size of Anglicare Victoria – with an exposure to government funding of about 95 per cent.
Anglicare Victoria employs about 1000 staff with Government funding of between 75 and 95 per cent.
McDonald said St Lukes had struggled financially in the past and the merger would leverage the back of house areas to continue to deliver quality professional services.
“Depending on continued funding there is no intention to trim operational programs,” McDonald said.
“While we have worked in the same welfare space our services have not overlapped in Victoria.”
Operationally two board members from St Lukes Anglicare will join the board of Anglicare Victoria. The merged organisation will continue with Paul McDonald as CEO while a regional director from St Lukes will be appointed within the operational executive.
“Branding is also important,” McDonald said. “We will retain the good name and reputation of St Lukes as a Division of Anglicare Victoria.
“We believe that we will also deliver staff and career opportunities through the merger and attract more experts to the organisation.
“Given the environment of uncertain government funding, the newly merged organisation will also be looking to attract more philanthropic support.
“We can argue strongly that the organisation has a sustainable future now,” he said.