In this issue:                                                                     November, 2015

Aged Care Reform HACC Transition Forums underway
Statement of Intent
Mapping Social Cohesion: national survey report
Dementia-friendly Communities Project and council consultations

MAV Preventing Violence Against Women Forum
Victoria Against Violence and 1800RESPECT toolkit
Victorian Women’s Health Atlas
100 Resilient Cities project update
Child safe standards

Ratios impact data
No Jab No Play
Children in Out Of Home Care
Vulnerable children
DET/MAV Central Enrolment Project
Victorian Aboriginal Population Health Recruit Program
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy
Promoting council as a workplace for multicultural communities
News in brief
Events

Aged Care Reform HACC Transition Forums underway

The MAV HACC policy advisers have attended Transition Forums across Victoria over the last two weeks, as senior officers from DHHS and the Commonwealth Department of Health provide briefings on the transition process. These general sessions are followed by HACC assessment workshops to engage aged and disability managers for advice and consultation on the change process.

So far council representatives in attendance said they appreciated the opportunity to receive information, provide feedback and ask questions.

Q&A advice combining all questions and responses from all sessions will be collated and distributed following the final forum on 1 December. It is anticipated DHHS regional offices will distribute this information to all participants in mid-December.

Statement of Intent

The Statement of Intent, a trilateral agreement between local, Victorian and Commonwealth governments is now in the final draft with endorsement anticipated shortly through the Joint Officials Committee. Signing of the document is expected in December.

This important document recognises the significant role of local government in the planning, funding development, and delivery of service to older people and commits to retaining the benefits of the Victorian HACC system.

For further information, contact Jocelyn Fuller.

Mapping Social Cohesion: national survey report

The Scanlon Foundation Mapping Social Cohesion national survey report was released on 29 October and shows that Australia remains a stable and highly cohesive society.

Each of these national surveys builds on the previous year and informs the Scanlon-Monash Index (SMI) of Social Cohesion. Some key findings include:

  • A majority of Australians feel immigration has strengthened society, however this was held more firmly with those aged 18 to 34 than those aged over 60
  • Younger Australians felt more positive about temporary skilled workers, with 67 per cent in favour, compared to 44 per cent of older Australians
  • An increasing number of Australians support government assistance to help multicultural communities maintain their culture, and almost two-thirds felt that Australians should ‘do more to learn about the customs and heritage of ethnic and cultural groups in this country’.

Dementia-friendly Communities Project and council consultations

Alzheimer’s Australia Vic (AAV) has secured funding to lead a project that seeks to help councils take a leading role in the creation of dementia-friendly communities.

It has two main components, a pilot with Manningham City Council, and the development of a dementia-friendly toolkit tailored for local government. The project aims to improve levels of engagement with people living with dementia and ensure that local communities are inclusive. The toolkit will outline the processes councils can use to lead and support dementia-friendly initiatives and principles. Two consultation sessions have been held in Benalla and Melbourne, with one more on 3 December in Ballarat.

The project received funding from federal and state governments through the Home and Community Care Program, and is supported by the MAV. To register, email Christine Pappon.

MAV Preventing Violence Against Women Forum

The MAV, in partnership with Our Watch and the City of Melbourne, is holding a Local Government Preventing Violence Against Women forum on 16 December.

Special guests include Minister for Women and Prevention of Family Violence, Fiona Richardson; Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty; and City of Melbourne CEO and Male Champion of Change, Ben Rimmer.

Prevention projects from Whittlesea, Macedon Ranges, Maribyrnong and Darebin councils will be showcased at the event, along with initiatives from the Phoenix Youth Centre, and Great South Coast councils.

Attendees will also be given an overview of the world-first framework: Change the Story – a shared framework for the primary prevention of violence against women and their children developed by Our Watch.

The event will be held at the Melbourne Town Hall, 90-120 Swanston Street from 9am-4.15pm.

Registrations can be made online.

Victoria Against Violence and 1800RESPECT toolkit

Councils are invited to join the inaugural Victoria Against Violence - 16 Days of Activism education and awareness campaign to unite Victorians to end family and gender violence.

During the 16 Days, from 25 November to 10 December, the whole Victorian community is encouraged to ‘go ORANGE’ and join the Unite and Change movement to end family and gender violence.

Resources have been emailed to council communications staff.

Councils can also access a new 1800RESPECT online toolkit which launched on 25 November. It has been developed with experts to educate frontline workers, help them to better identify signs of domestic and family violence, and equip them with the skills to safely refer to specialist services. Council frontline workers could include MCH staff, youth workers, HACC workers, child care staff, local laws officers, library staff or customer service centre workers.

Councils are encouraged to promote the toolkit to staff, networks and colleagues using the materials in the campaign kit.

Victorian Women’s Health Atlas

Women's Health Victoria has developed a new online resource called The Victorian Women's Health Atlas.

The Atlas is a statistical tool that provides sex-disaggregated data to assist local government, health services and other organisations to bring a gender lens to health issues.

The purpose of the Atlas is to increase the availability of reliable data for evidence-based decision-making about service design, emerging priorities and program planning. Indicators are grouped into four main themes:

  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Violence against women
  • Mental health
  • Gendered demographics.

There is a short training video to assist in navigating the Atlas. For further information, contact communications@whv.org.au.

100 Resilient Cities project update

Councils across Melbourne are participating in the 100 Resilient Cities initiative, funded by the Rockefeller Foundation. The Resilient Melbourne Strategy is currently being drafted.

To help metropolitan Melbourne become more resilient to the physical, social and economic challenges of the 21st century, the project team is working with 32 metropolitan councils, government, the MAV and other stakeholders to develop a framework for community, business and government to adapt, thrive and survive at times of unprecedented change and great uncertainty.

All council staff and elected representatives are invited to attend a project update and hear about how they can be more involved.

Dates are as follows:

Please register online using the links provided for each session. For further information, contact Nicholas Barda.

Child safe standards

The Victorian Government is introducing new compulsory child safe standards (the standards) by legislation to help protect children from abuse. The standards were released on 29 September, and it is intended that they will apply to all organisations providing services for children.

From 1 January 2016 the standards will apply to government departments and organisations funded or regulated by government that deliver services for children.

The initial focus of the standards will be on education and driving cultural and behaviour change to help organisations better protect children from abuse.

Ratios impact data

An email was sent to all F&CS managers on 27 October regarding access to survey results for your municipality. See below in case you missed it.

The Department of Education and Training has undertaken a statewide survey to assess the impact the new educator to child ratio will have across Victoria in 2016. The results have been used to develop reports that include an LGA overview of the anticipated impact of the new ratio and service level detail for each municipality.

The survey was directed to providers of community-based sessional kindergartens with 20 or more enrolments. Information collected as part of this survey included kindergarten services’ plans to:

  • Increase, maintain or decrease enrolments in 2016 as a result of the new ratios
  • Employ additional educators to meet the new ratios
  • Increase or maintain parent fees.

These reports may be useful for local councils to assist in their forward planning for the 2016 ratio implementation and ensuring all eligible children are able to access a kindergarten program. If you would like a copy of the survey results for your municipality, please email kindergarten.funding@edumail.vic.gov.au.

No Jab No Play

From 1 January, all children enrolling in early childhood education and care services will need to be up-to-date with their vaccinations, or have an approved exemption. Enrolments that are confirmed in writing by your service before 1 January 2016 will not be impacted by the legislation.

The best advice you can give families who will be finalising enrolments after the legislation comes into effect is to ensure their child’s vaccinations are up to date.

The online version of the fact sheet will continue to be updated as required. We encourage you to direct families and staff to the online version for the latest information.

In addition, a Toolkit for services is currently being developed and will shortly be available.

Children in Out Of Home Care

Great progress is being made with the implementation of the Out of Home Care Agreement, with councils at the forefront of supporting children to have access to the universal services of MCH and kindergarten.

Recent figures show that since the beginning of 2015 over 500 contacts have been made to councils seeking assistance or information to support a child in Out of Home Care. In the majority of instances there was no further action required on the part of the council, however it was about ensuring that the child was linked to services.

A recent workshop held between MAV, DHHS and DET highlighted the different approaches to the implementation of the agreement being taken across regions, and the work that councils are involved in, such as being part of Regional Implementation Groups; child and youth area partnerships; attending local forums and workshops to ensure links are established and maintained with DET and DHHS; and setting up dedicated secure emails for information sharing and exchange.

Outcomes of the forum will be made available shortly. For further information, contact Wendy Allan.

Vulnerable children

A dedicated Vulnerable Children Branch has now been formed within DET. The new branch will drive the implementation of the Navigator and LOOKOUT initiatives under the Education State. Navigator services will be established across the state and will link children and young people who have disengaged from education to services, and support them to re-engage. Four LOOKOUT Support Centres will be set up to provide education support to children and young people living in Out of Home Care.

DET/MAV Central Enrolment Project

Fifty councils have accepted DET central enrolment grants that are being administered by the MAV to either set up new central enrolment schemes, or strengthen existing schemes in 2015/2016.

The MAV is currently providing support for councils undertaking this work and will also be holding workshops in early 2016. Details of these workshops will be provided to councils in December.

In response to the interest by councils in consolidating their early childhood enrolment systems – the MAV is undertaking a systems requirements process to identify what would be needed to develop a central enrolment interface with, or platform within the new MCH Child Development Information System (CDIS), which is currently being rolled out across Victoria.

We encourage all councils to complete the systems survey as a first step in this process.

For further information contact Jan Barrett.

Victorian Aboriginal Population Health Recruit Program

In 2014, the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) established the Victorian Aboriginal Population Health Recruit Program in local government; the recruit program is part of the Victorian Government’s Healthy Together Victoria (HTV) initiative. The program is a model for the employment of Aboriginal people in health promotion and population health roles in local government through a mix of traineeships, graduate positions, and cadetships. The MAV’s local government Aboriginal employment framework is a key element of the program to assist councils and communities.

To date, Whittlesea, Mildura, Greater Dandenong, and Wyndham councils have participated.

This year the recruit program was open to all 79 councils, a high number of councils expressed interest in the program. The selection committee are finalising applications for a further four new recruits across the sector.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy

As part of the initial response to Andrew Forrest’s Review of Indigenous Training and Employment Programmes report, The Forrest Review: Creating Parity, the Commonwealth Government developed an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Strategy.

The strategy aims to increase the representation of Indigenous employees across the Commonwealth public sector to three per cent by 2018.

It sets out a road map to help agencies meet their targets and embraces four action areas:

  • Expanding the range of Indigenous employment opportunities
  • Investing in developing the capability of Indigenous employees
  • Increasing the representation of Indigenous employees in senior roles
  • Improving the awareness of Indigenous culture in the workplace.

Promoting council as a workplace for multicultural communities

On behalf of the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria (ECCV), the MAV invited local government human resources and diversity staff to a roundtable in November, in response to migrant and refugee residents expressing great interest in working for their local council, but requiring more information and assistance. The ECCV would like to hear directly from staff to discuss ideas on how to promote local government as a workplace to Australians with culturally diverse backgrounds.

Findings and recommendations will be anonymously presented in a policy brief similar to one on the experiences of Muslim mothers in Melbourne’s south-east.

For further information, contact Bianca Nutt.

News in brief

  • On 11 November, the MAV held a forum on the National Disability Insurance Scheme and its implications for local government and local communities. The presentations are available on the MAV website.
  • The extension of Commonwealth funding for 15 hours of kindergarten in 2016/2017 was confirmed through a formal offer on 12 November. More detail on funding for universal access is available online. For further information contact Jan Barrett.
  • All qualified early childhood teachers who are employed or engaged in a Victorian education and care service, or a Victorian children’s service, need to be registered with the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) from 30 September 2015.
  • The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare has released a literature review that examines research on the early years education of children
  • From January to June 2016, the Ethnic Communities Council of Victoria is seeking office space for 15 staff and volunteers. They are seeking expressions of interest from councils aware of any options in their municipality. They are able to supply their own desks and computers. Interested councils should contact Irene Bouzo on 9349 4122.
  • The first meeting of the newly formed MAV HACC Aged Care Reform group will be held on 10 December at 10am at the MAV office. Human services directors, and aged and disability services managers interested in joining the group, and /or adding items to the agenda can contact Jeannette Draper.
Upcoming MAV events...

3 December

MAV Mayoral Program

8 December

Local Government Shade Forum

16 December

Local Government Preventing Violence Against Women forum

 

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