Chamber of secrets: Council conceals crucial home care cuts decision

Hobsons Bay City Council is preparing its chamber of secrets for another crucial decision on home care services, and in particular, whether it will make a move to outsource services following a recent tender process.

As reported by Willy and Hobby in September last year, Hobsons Bay City Council used the Local Government Act to conceal a conversation in Council chambers about the future of home care services.

Following the meeting, which is understood to have been about the tender, Willy and Hobby revealed that Council advised its staff that there would be no conversations regarding the matter until after the tender was completed.

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Since the first meeting about outsourcing home care services inside its chamber of secrets, Council received correspondence from Labor’s Melissa Horne, Katie Hall, Ingrid Stitt, Tim Watts and Bill Shorten.

In a statement, Councillor Tony Briffa also opposed the outsourcing of home care services to the 2,500 Hobsons Bay residents that receive the 70,000 hours of support services provided by the council each year.

“My position is that home care should remain a service provided directly by the council to the community, so I support the continuation of in-home support services,” Cr Briffa said.

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“It is one of the services our community values most, and ensures our most vulnerable residents receive quality services in their home and are afforded high levels of care, dignity and respect.”

“I’m proud of the services the council delivers to people needing assistance to remain in their homes, and want to see them continue in its current form.”

In a letter which was sent one day prior to the Council meeting where it is understood the decision will be made on whether it will outsource its home care services, Hobsons Bay City Council Director of Community Wellbeing Peter Hunt issued a warning to all staff.

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“I acknowledge this may be a difficult time for staff however I wish to remind you that if you are planning to attend the Ordinary Council Meeting you are expected to adhere to your conditions of employment, which includes Council’s Code of Conduct and values,” Mr Hunt said.

It is understood that a meeting will be held on Wednesday 20 February at 2pm in the Council chamber where Hobsons Bay City Council Chief Executive Officer Aaron van Egmond will be in attendance to advise staff of the Council decision.

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