Negotiating Change: Refounding and MacKillop Family Services (1999)

MacKillop Family Services was established in July 1997 as a refounding of seven well-established child, youth and family agencies in Melbourne and Geelong. The pressures for change came from the desires of the directors of these agencies and the leaders of their auspicing religious congregations to continue and to improve their services and, at the same time, from the demands of government tendering and funding polices.

Several elements contributed to the success of the process of negotiating change: all parties were treated equally; the directors of the agencies were unwavering in their commitment to change; there was a shared sense of urgent social needs and of the opportunity to improve and stabilise responses to those needs; the traditions of each agency were accorded understanding and respect; time and money were made available for much discussion and careful planning; and, finally, a realistic time-frame for transition was provided.