The boards of Lutheran Community Care (LCC) and Lutheran Disability Services (LDS) are exploring ways for the two organisations to work more closely together.
This is likely to involve a merger, but that decision has not been made yet. These discussions are being held in conjunction with SA–NT District Church Council (DCC).
LCC, LDS and DCC have been discussing the principle of a merger between LCC and LDS for some time.
The matter was brought into clearer focus during 2017 when the Lutheran Church of Australia conducted a national review of aged and community services. The consultant who led the process included a recommendation that LCC and LDS in South Australia consider merging.
Subsequently, the three parties agreed on a high-level feasibility study. That study has just been completed and all three organisations have agreed in principle with the recommendation that a merged organisation be pursued.
There are a number of reasons for this, including:
1. The fact that two organisations have a common faith-based ethos and have been seen by the church and community as being service arms of the Lutheran Church SA-NT District. Both share a core commitment to supporting communities and people in need. Working more closely, they can help each other to do that more effectively.
2. Over time, a merger can open new doors in terms of integrating services to clients and optimising the effectiveness of business support resources. There are opportunities to improve services provided to clients.
3. Both organisations are small. We are operating at a time when funding bodies (largely governments) are wanting to deal more and more with larger organisations. From a funding sustainability perspective, a merged organisation gives a better chance of growing and thriving over the longer term.
4. Both LDS and LCC operate in ‘high risk’ areas in terms of the nature of the services provided, the clientele and the volatile availability of funds, and it is critical that the best possible governance and management arrangements are in place.
There are no plans for staff redundancies as a result of any merger. Also, while it is impossible to say what will happen in the future, for the foreseeable future, both will continue to operate from their current locations and continue the partnerships they have with many congregations.
Both LCC and LDS have an excellent track record of community service, and, regardless of the outcome of merger discussions, both are fully committed to maintaining and growing their respective services and forging even closer connections with communities and Lutheran congregations in South Australia and the Northern Territory.