What is the Council Navigation Service?

Council is going to trial an ‘age friendly’ information, navigation and support service that will be set up to  support an older person (and their family)  to understand their options and choices for accessing any aspect of the aged care system.

Council's Navigation Service - How does it work, what does the service do?

The service is intended to provide a safety net, and to offer a range of support from basic guidance, tailored advice and information, through to episodes of personalised and practical help. Support for those older people and carers who are facing challenges or hardship may include advocacy and more hands on involvement. Council officers with expertise in aged care and community services with relevant qualifications will provide the service.

Council's Navigation Service - When will it be launched?

The launch of the service is planned for later in 2019.


Council's Navigation Service - How can I find out more?

You can come along to the Seniors Month Springtime Event launch on Thursday 3rd October from 10.30am – 12pm at Preston Market (near food section). The Age Friendly Darebin team will be available to answer your questions.

Council's Navigation Service - How can residents access the service?

The person needs to be over 65 and a resident of Darebin, or they are a carer for a Darebin resident.

There will be a telephone service that can respond to enquiries. The telephone and email contact will be communicated in 2019.

Council's Navigation Service - Are there any associated costs for residents?

No, the service will be free of charge.

Council's Navigation Service - What services are on offer?

The navigation service will range from basic guidance, tailored advice and information, through to episodes of support for those older people and carers who are facing challenges or hardship and need personalised and practical help.

Council's Navigation Service - Who is developing the service?

Council’s Aged and Disability Department is developing the service and will keep consulting with the community to keep improving our services.

Council's Navigation Service - Will officers act as advocates for clients or purely an advice bureau?

The service is intended to provide a safety net, and to offer a range of support from basic guidance, tailored advice and information, through to episodes of personalised and practical help. Support for those older people and carers who are facing challenges or hardship may include advocacy and more hands on involvement. Council officers with expertise in aged care and community services with relevant qualifications will provide the service.

Council's Navigation Service - How much is this costing Council?

Council allocated $200,000 to trial this service out of the $500,000 Council had already budgeted for Age Friendly Darebin implementation in 2019/2020.

Council's Navigation Service - Why is Council doing this?

In July 2019 Darebin Council accepted most of the recommendations in the Age Friendly Darebin Report- which was about how Council can better support older members of our community. One of the new initiatives recommended was an innovative service to assist older people to navigate the complexities and challenges of the national My Aged Care system.

What’s happening to Council’s existing home care services?

Darebin Council provides a range of home care services funded by the Federal Government such as personal care, domestic assistance, delivered meals, and social support groups at Yanada House. These services will continue to be provided by Council.

The Federal Government funds home care services through the Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP). Current funding arrangements were due to finish in 2020. Darebin Council had lobbied the Federal Government to extend these funding arrangements instead.

On 2 April 2019 the Federal Government announced that the block funding of CHSP services would be extended until June 2022. This was very welcome news.

Darebin Council is also hopeful that the Federal Opposition will also commit to at least this period of extension, or longer.

It means that Darebin Council will be continuing to provide existing Commonwealth Home Support Program services for a further three years and possibly beyond.

Darebin Council had previously committed in September 2018 that if the Commonwealth extended block funding arrangements, Council would continue to provide those funded services.

What is My Aged Care?

The Federal Government’s My Aged Care system was introduced in 2016. It requires all people requesting home support services to contact My Aged Care and be assessed under that system. Darebin Council’s home support services are substantially funded by the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth has clear requirements in our agreement with them. If Council is to provide Commonwealth funded home support services we must be part of the My Aged Care system.

Do I have to use My Aged Care to access Darebin Council services?

Home care services for older people used to be run by Council as part of the Home and Community Care (HACC) system. The services were funded substantially by State Government in Victoria, with contributions from local government.

Since 2011, the States and the Commonwealth agreed that home support services would be the responsibility of the Commonwealth with a national service delivery model.

A new My Aged Care system was introduced in 2016 which requires all people taking up home support services to contact My Aged Care and be assessed under that system. Darebin Council currently provides assessment services under My Aged Care.

Darebin council’s home support services are substantially funded by the Commonwealth and the Commonwealth sets clear requirements in our agreement with them. If Council is to provide Commonwealth funded home support services we must be part of the My Aged Care system. In 2017-18, the Commonwealth contributed $5.97 million to Council’s services.

Council believes that the My Aged Care system needs to be much more helpful and supportive to people who must use it. The Council made a submission to the Federal Government in February 2019 arguing for significant improvements to My Aged Care.

Council has also recommended to the Government that planned future reforms to assessment services should still allow for the possibility of Councils continuing to provide assessment services.


How was the Age Friendly Darebin report developed?

The report was developed by the Independent Panel, consisting of Rhonda Galbally AC and Peter Allen. It was informed by feedback from the Darebin community, industry research, case studies from other places, Council data and Council strategies.

Over 1, 000 people participated in the first round consultation for the review, with 773 people providing feedback which was used to inform the independent panel as they were making their recommendations.

“This extensive review into aged care services in Darebin will transform the way we support and involve older people in our community.  We will implement new services, improve our existing services, so that older people live their lives well, be healthy, be socially connected, and live independently within our own community.,” Darebin Mayor Cr Susan Rennie said. “I would like to thank our distinguished panel, Dr Rhonda Galbally AC and Peter Allen, for their contribution. I look forward to seeing Council implement as many of their findings as possible.”

For more information about what the community said as part of this consultation please see Age Friendly Darebin Review- Community Engagement & Consultation Report.

What did Council decide about the Panel’s recommendations?

On Monday 22 July 2019 Darebin Council considered the final Age Friendly Darebin report along with a majority of its 98 recommendations. 

Darebin Council advocated strongly to the Federal Government for the continuation of block funding. So we are very pleased that on 2 April 2019, the Government extended this current arrangement until 2022. 

Council will continue providing its existing home support services whilst the Federal Government continues to provide block funding to these services.

The Federal Government’s recent announcement means Council will continue providing these services until at least 2022 and possibly beyond.


Will Council implement the Panel’s recommendations?

On Monday 22 July 2019 Darebin City Council considered the final Age Friendly Darebin report along with a majority of its 98 recommendations.

This will see many new initiatives implemented, new and improved services, increased advocacy, and Age Friendly principles embedded in Council’s plans and strategies.

Some of the major new services and initiatives recommended include an innovative service to assist older people to navigate the complexities and challenges of the national My Aged Care system, and a new volunteer program to address social isolation.

The report also recommends a new gardening service to assist older people to maintain their gardens or lawns, via a volunteer program or another service model, subject to a future report for consideration by Council.

A new Service Improvement Plan will make additions and improvements to existing Council aged care services to better address social isolation and promote independence and inclusion. This will include trailing the provision of services to people receiving Home Care Packages.

A Senior Citizens Groups Action Plan will also be prepared to consider future funding and infrastructure needs for Senior Citizens Groups.

Several Age Friendly recommendations suggest inclusion of older people in the planning and review of Council approaches through co-design. The Participatory Information Project is one way that older people will be able to influence Council communications so that they better align with their needs and preferences.


What does the report recommend about future aged care services in Darebin?

The draft report also recommends that Council consider expanding into providing Home Care Packages in some circumstances.  It also recommends adding to existing services in some cases.

Many new services and programs are also recommended, especially in relation to social isolation and social inclusion, volunteering, gardening, community hubs, housing, accessibility and transport.


Does Council want to privatise aged care services?

Council wants the current Federal funding arrangements to be maintained so that Council can continue to deliver aged care services to older people in Darebin.