Message from the CEO and Chair
As Civic moves into its 65th year, it is important for us to celebrate the progress made. The past 65 years have seen significant change, driven by evolving social attitudes, legal developments and advancements in technology and healthcare. These changes have driven greater equality, inclusion and levels of support. But, our work is not done as the health and life outcomes of people with disability continue to be far lower than other Australians. We must continue to adapt and innovate our service delivery in constant pursuit of our vision, Human Potential Realised.
From our family-centered foundations in the Sutherland Shire, Civic now provides services across all areas of a person’s life in many NSW locations, while remaining true to the values that inspired our creation. We continue to adapt to the environment and embrace co-design principles to review and grow our programs to meet the needs and desires of those who use them.
The Civic Crew model is one such model that we are particularly proud of and is our response to addressing the disadvantage people with disability face in employment. We received generous funding from the Ian Potter Foundation to get our Civic Crew model ready for scale. This workforce model provides labour crews who can be embedded within a broader work team, but still receive the tailored support and training that they need to thrive. Our Crews work at various scales, from small local events, to everyday operations at Naval barracks, to fulfilling national contracts. Our lawn mowing Crew won awards this year and our ever expanding Kitchen and Catering enterprise shows the commitment and expectation that all employment be inclusive.
This year we launched our Big Idea’s initiative to continue to foster a grassroots co-design approach that extended to all staff and clients. The innovation sitting within our organisation is palpable and we were excited to fund new ventures in inclusive fitness, peer mental health and creative retail products. We have just commenced our second cohort of Big Idea’s and we look forward to seeing this program ripple through our organisation; creating a culture of co-design and problem solving that helps both clients and employees realise their potential.
This year we celebrate being awarded as an Employer of Choice. This public acknowledgement validates the work we have done to ensure we are a place where people want to work. Civic’s current workforce is over 850 people with more than 140 people with disability. We have focused on providing people employment security with 75.5% of people on a permanent contract – outstripping the industry average that has seen increasing casualisation. Our employee engagement scores were phenomenal with more than 85% of employees understanding how their work contributes to our collective success and our Employee Net Promoter Score of 23 compared to a -2 benchmark for all companies. Our turnover remains incredibly low at 1.85%, whereas our industry is at 26%. The numbers speak for themselves in that Civic has truly become an Employer of Choice in this sector.
Looking back over the past year, we reflect on our journey of ‘Walking Together’. We commenced working with Sharlene McKenzie OAM to bring to life Civic’s commitment to supporting First Nations justice. We are committed to ensuring the physical, cultural, spiritual and family wellbeing of First Nations people through our role as a provider. Key to the success so far has been the alignment of initiatives to the unique needs of each team or region. Sharlene has worked closely with our teams to listen to and connect each team with the knowledge they seek that is relevant to their community. This has seen teams build connections with local elders, resources and organisations. Beyond that, we have started to develop more sophistication as an organisation to recognise and support a person’s cultural needs and consider what more we must do within our policies, practices and culture.
‘Walking Together’ has been at the heart of our discussions over this past year. It reminds us that the journey we are on is not one we must embark on alone. Instead, it is a journey that is more fulfilling and impactful when we walk side by side. We continue to embrace our ‘Walking Together’ mindset as we design new advisory functions to ensure people with lived experience of disability have their voices heard within our governance and decision making.
The Disability Royal Commission released 222 recommendations to promote a more inclusive society for people with disability. We have carefully considered what each finding and recommendation delivered throughout this process means for our organisation. We commit Civic to doing the work required to ensure people with disability can thrive.
As we approach three years under our current strategy, we have made great progress across all of our outcome areas. We set this strategy in place with a strong commitment to the human rights of people with disability and supporting the social determinants of health. This has guided our work to deliver:
- Social inclusion and connection
- Economic inclusion and meaningful work
- Safe homes, community and stable tenure
- Life-long education and self-development, and
- Pathways to equitable health
We are positive that the founding families would be proud of the remarkable progress, developments and work we are all doing today to ensure their legacy lives. We take forward their legacy with great pride, and ensure that all of our actions bring us closer to our vision, Human Potential Realised.
We want to acknowledge Peter Lewis who retired from Civic’s Board of Directors this year after 23 years of service. We also want to thank Dunstan de Souza for his 4 years of tireless service as Chair to the Civic Board of Directors, having been on the Board since 2010. The Board of Directors will now be led by Les Roelandts, who has served on the board since 2017 and is currently the Chair of Civic’s Innovation and Quality Committee.
Finally, we must thank everyone who continues to work together to build the community that is Civic.
To the clients and families who place their trust in our services, we do not take this for granted. We hope we can continue to partner together and grow our services in line with your hopes and aspirations for the future. To the employees whose dedication and skill drives our success, we thank you for being with us on this journey. Each and every day we hear stories of how you put our values into action in the way you learn, connect, explore and support people to belong to this community.
Annie Doyle, CEO and Les Roelandts, Chair of the Board of Directors.
Read the Civic Disability Services 2022-2023 Impact Report here.