Australia’s First Charity Restructures

The country’s longest running charity, The Benevolent Society, released its restructuring plans on Monday, with the aim of improving service delivery and doubling its operational revenue to almost $200 million by 2019.

Chief executive Jo Toohey said the organisational restructure was in response to the aged care and disability sector reforms, which presented opportunities for service growth and potential collaboration with like-minded organisations, including mergers and acquisitions.

“This means we will need to reorganise how we work, be more agile and be more strategic in our focus,” Toohey said.

“The new organisational structure, which will include a new executive structure to take effect from 1 June, is a blueprint for how we will deliver on our vision of a just society where all Australians can live their best lives.

“To continue our mission we must be successful in the provision of services which provide our organisation with revenue and focus on growing our commercial capability.

“The new structure has been designed to ensure we have the right leadership and capability over the next three years to focus on supporting our service delivery and operations, and delivering on critical components of our strategy.”

She said the organisation needed to become more consumer focused to stay competitive, and, as part of the restructure, two new leadership roles have been created to drive growth, actively seek business opportunities and double the organisation’s $97.7 million revenue by 2019.

An executive director of business development will lead the charity’s national growth strategy, and seek partnership opportunities and fundraising. A director of consumer engagement will focus on the attraction and retention of consumers, particularly in ageing and disability services.

“We are now working in a highly competitive environment where consumers can choose from a vast array of service providers,” Toohey said.

“Our strategic goal is to become a leading provider of healthy ageing services and home support for older people and people with disability.

“We will aim to increase our overall competitive advantage in the market and double our revenue by focussing on growth in ageing and disability services.

“The changes provide us an opportunity to flourish by leveraging our well-earned reputation over two centuries, working tirelessly for social justice and supporting vulnerable people.”

Toohey said that the charity would be “actively seeking merger, acquisition and partnership opportunities” in the ageing and disability sectors.

“Supporting those who are aging has also been a commitment of ours and this will continue with renewed vigour.

“Our new business model will focus on growing our market share in consumer home care across Australia, including regional and remote communities from early next year.

“Our work on how older Australians and those with a disability contribute to the richness of our community and economy remains steadfast. We aim to play a stronger role in shifting the current policy debate focussed on costs and burdens to empowerment and ability.”

The Benevolent Society would also focus on its support services for children and families.

“Our first strategic priority is to improve the protective environment for children by focusing our support on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, parents who experienced abuse or neglect as children and areas of entrenched disadvantage,” she said.

“We anticipate that there will be greater demand for these services and we will aim to expand the services we offer and the regions in which we deliver them.”

The Benevolent Society currently employs more than 1,000 staff working in 55 locations across New South Wales and Queensland.

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