Charity Says Volunteer Card is a Must
7 January 2016 at 11:44 am
South Australia’s largest community-based volunteer organisation has called on the State Government to introduce a volunteer card system.
Releasing its wish list for 2016, Meals on Wheels SA (MoWSA) said reviewing the My Aged Care process for arranging delivered meals, and the introduction of a card system that would allow volunteers to more easily work across multiple community roles were the top priorities.
MoWSA CEO, Sharyn Broer, said the card system would help reduce the frustration felt by volunteers at having to repeatedly complete forms and confirm their identity for a police clearance each time they volunteer.
“We encourage the State Government to look to other states that have a transferable card system in operation, with levels of clearance that make it easy for volunteers to volunteer,” Broer said.
“Our State Government must resolve to work together to make it easier for volunteers to volunteer, in 2016 and beyond.”
Broer said it was a fact that the majority of people who volunteer do so for a number of organisations, and that most government funded programs for services provided in the community to older people and those in need required volunteers to have a current police check.
She said in most cases, a clearance was not transferable and may only apply to the issuing organisation, yet others were transferable, creating a confusing situation.
MoWSA said it had processed 6,500 police checks in 2015 alone.
The organisation also called on the government to repeal the “unnecessary red tape and the extra layer of bureaucracy” created between Meals on Wheels and prospective clients, by the My Aged Care Gateway.
Broer said from 1 July 2015, the direct and responsive pathway for people to receive delivered meals was disrupted and the responsibility for determining the person’s eligibility for government subsidised prices was given to another layer of bureaucracy, the My Aged Care Gateway.
“This has created confusion, lack of clarity for consumers, delays and frustration for potential clients, and their families. We know of recent cases where people have approached the Gateway only to wait two months for action,” Broer said.
“There is simply no need for another layer of bureaucracy on a simple service like delivered meals. Indeed the reclaimed responsibility for aged care within the health portfolio only reinforces the key issue: A delivered meal is first and foremost a primary health care matter, not an aged care one.
“The ability for the public to call Meals on Wheels direct, to make an enquiry, establish services and determine eligibility for subsidised pricing, was a sensible and cost effective arrangement for providers, the Australian government and the people who need this valuable community service.
“So, after six months of perseverance and continued frustration we ask the Federal Government to review the My Aged Care system.”
With 88 branches located across the South Australia, MoWSA has over 8,000 volunteers working in a variety of roles and delivers on average over 4,300 meals each day.