The majority of older people and those with a mental illness or a disability now live in the community. They receive help from a vast range of community services, which are also expected to keep them safe and to keep their workers and the wider community safe. Risk management is now an important part of the work of all services and businesses involved in community care. This project studied the impacts, problems and challenges brought about by the rise of risk management, along with the tensions between providing care that respects the needs and preferences of service users and, at the same time, meets organisational risk management responsibilities. Based on in-depth interviews with senior managers, frontline workers, service users and family carers from aged care, mental health and disability services in Victoria, this project provided the first systematic research into the effects of risk management on community care in Australia.
This project has generated considerable public and community sector interest, and has led to a number of high-profile speaking engagements at national conferences and at professional education symposiums.