19 July

Thanks everyone for being so responsive and flexible with the urgently rearranged activities following the lockdown announcement by the Premier last Thursday afternoon. It says much about our collective experience here in Melbourne that we can swing into action for a lockdown almost as if it is business as usual; a teensy bit scary really! Thanks to our clients and families and also a huge call out to the amazing team here at Bayley House who, without complaint and without notice, shifted gear to get back to online activities and bolstering support across our residential services. As in earlier lockdowns, we have moved quickly to ensure that we can continue to offer Day Programs within our own houses with our Day Program staff; (and thank goodness we did given that it appears the lockdown will be extended). Feedback from clients and families has been incredibly positive for this in the past so we know how valuable it is. Please be aware that, as on other occasions, clients may be charged at a smaller ratio at home than they normally would at Middle Crescent. If you are concerned about how this may impact your funding, you may wish to discuss it with your Support Coordinator if you have one.

As the list of public exposure sites on the DHHS website increases, it is critical that if any clients or close family members have been at a listed site that we are notified immediately. We manage this information confidentially of course, but require it for our own internal contact tracing purposes in the event of an exposure or close contact.

I hope you are faring as well as can be expected. Please ensure that you contact one of the team at Bayley House if you are struggling, uncertain about what is happening or need support in any way.

Anthony Di Battista – GM People, Culture and QualityAnthony Di Battista

By way of welcome I would like to introduce you to Anthony Di Battista who joins Bayley House today as General Manager, People, Culture & Quality. Anthony has extensive experience in the commercial and not-for-profit sectors and is excited to join the Bayley House family in this important role. Anthony has a strong commitment to Leadership Development, Learning & Performance Culture and to Employee Engagement which is driven by a commitment to meaningful and sustainable client outcomes. We are very much looking forward to getting to know Anthony and welcoming all that he has to offer to our workforce.

Stay Safe and Well.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

12 July

Good news finally last week with an announcement from the Government following the meeting of State and Territory disability ministers with the Federal Minister for the NDIS that Independent Assessments are officially scrapped!   It would be hard to overestimate the significance of this win for people with disabilities.  As earlier stated, the assessments were anything but ‘independent’, being conducted by staff employed by the NDIA.  Furthermore, the structural amendment to the scheme, so substantial that it would have required Parliament to amend the NDIS legislation, would have ensured that individual planning of support packages was only ever to a predetermined budget, set by the NDIA’s computer algorithm following an (anything but) Independent Assessment.  So much for the core principle that eligible participants receive support packages individually assessed and relevant to their ‘reasonable and necessary’ needs.  Make no mistake, this is a change which was essential if the NDIS was to continue to have any chance of meeting the needs of participants and we are grateful that the broad-based concerns of people with disabilities, families, advocates and service providers ultimately convinced politicians that this proposed change was indeed…a bridge too far.

Not so good was the news on Friday that the federal Cabinet, despite the Minister for the NDIS proposing mandatory vaccination of the disability workforce, decided not to proceed down that path.  Bayley House has lobbied for, and supports the National Disability Services (NDS) policy that people with disabilities are best served and protected from COVID-19 through a vaccinated workforce.  The Federal Government’s position that vaccination of our workforce is ‘strongly recommended’ is entirely inadequate and we will continue to utilise whatever opportunities we have to advocate for a change to this position.

Programs of Support will roll out across all our day service activities commencing today.  All families should have received notification of this from me last week and, as advised, our Client Service team will be in touch with families in the coming weeks to finalise the necessary documentation.  We are very excited about this change introduced by the NDIA last year.  It recognises, finally, that group activities are developmental, structured, and that each session/activity forms part of a weeks-long program.  All Bayley House group activities will be delivered via the Programs of Support model.

You will have heard already but worth repeating here that our Art For All fundraiser wrapped up June 30th with a grand total of $355,763. What an amazing result!  Fundraising in a COVID environment is none too easy and we very much appreciate the incredible support of the Bayley House extended family in digging deep to ensure that our much anticipated Arts Hub will really happen…and soon (stay tuned….)

Stay Safe and Well.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

7 July

Important Information for Day Programs families and friends at Bayley House – Programs of Support

We wrote to you in May to introduce a number of changes to the way in which we deliver our Day Programs as well as the way we charge you for them. Shortly after that, following an announcement by the Minister for the NDIS deferring implementation of the pricing changes, we wrote to you to advise you that we would put our proposed changes on hold whilst we reviewed the Minister’s advice.

The proposed changes to pricing, which have now been deferred, were challenging and complex and it is a relief that we are not required to proceed with those at this time. We are pleased though that we can continue to implement the Programs of Support (PoS) model which, as earlier advised, is a significant and constructive change, acknowledging as it does that activities within our Day Programs are developmental in nature and build over a number of weeks, centred around goals and outcomes. We have delivered Day Programs this way for years so you will not see major changes at a practical level. In other words, the PoS model introduced by the NDIS in many ways acknowledges what we already do.

You will see some changes at the administrative level regarding cancellations though. For example, the PoS model acknowledges that Bayley House costs do not change when a participant does not attend. Our staffing does not change, our heating costs do not change, other participants in the group attend and are provided with a service. And so, as provided by the NDIS PoS model, we will continue to charge a client even if they are not in attendance. A two week notice period is required for anyone wanting to exit the PoS.

Day Programs will officially move to Programs of Support from Monday July 12, 2021. Members of our Client Services Team will be emailing out PoS agreements to all families over the coming weeks. We would appreciate it if you would sign and return the documentation as soon as possible, understanding that a delay in this process could result in services not being provided. This is a wonderful initiative of the NDIA, and Bayley House are excited to move all our Day Programs to this model.

Please be aware that, as earlier advised, Bayley House will only provide group activities through the PoS model because we believe it is the most appropriate way to do so. You may exercise your choice not to access services offered by Bayley House. The conditions which apply to exiting Bayley House services are detailed in your existing Service Agreement and also covered in NDIS requirements.

Thank you for your patience and support as we work through the changes with each family. We look forward to continuing to provide great services for all our clients through the Programs of Support.

Stay Safe and Well.

Community and Lifeskills

10 June

Important Information for Accommodation families and friends at Bayley House – Programs of Support

The NDIA has released a major overhaul of the NDIS price list which means changes to the way we provide supports, deliver programs and invoice for services.

These new requirements, which include the roll-out of Programs of Support (PoS), have been implemented by the NDIA in conjunction with the new SIL pricing structure introduced in July 2020.

Given this change was announced without prior consultation, Bayley House, like other disability service providers has been required to make many changes both at service level and back of house, before implementing PoS with clients and families. We acknowledge that the challenge of communicating with you all about the changes has been significant and we anticipate that the recent appointment of a new Deputy GM Accommodation Options will assist us to do this better. Andy Gabriel has considerable experience in supported accommodation, SIL in particular, and we look forward to his commencement on 28th June 2021.

Understanding Programs of Support

The NDIS has introduced PoS and over time Bayley House intends to adopt this model of service delivery across Accommodation and Day Service. A PoS helps us provide better support by ensuring that goals/outcomes are a standard part of all that we do. Goals are reviewed at the conclusion of the stated period, normally 12 weeks. The goal may continue for a further 12 weeks if required or relevant. An example of a recent PoS goal is to “help residents maintain healthy choices and preparation of healthy snacks and meals”

With this approach, providers claim against the plan based on an agreed weekly Roster of Care, via the PoS. The PoS gives greater certainty to clients and families that the supports are delivered at the agreed levels and monitored more frequently throughout the year. Under the Program of Support model, providers can charge even when a client is absent, as supports delivered as part of a Program of Support are not subject to the cancellation rules.

In implementing Programs of Support, Bayley House needs to specify that arrangement in each signed agreement. Please be aware that without a signed agreement we are unable to deliver services. Clients are able to exit from the Program of Support without cost, subject to a two (2) week notice period. But please note, Bayley House will only be providing Accommodation services via the Programs of Support model, so a choice to not access services through the PoS model is a choice to not receive services from Bayley House.

How Programs of Support will be adopted at Bayley House

A Program of Support agreement will have been issued to you via DocuSign or will be sent once you transition to the new SIL pricing model at your next plan review.

  • Programs of Support will be run for 12-week periods within each residence. If a Program of Support agreement is not signed service delivery cannot continue.
  • All Bayley House Accommodation Supports will be provided under the Program of Support structure and pricing model, effective from your transition into the new SIL pricing model, which was introduced on the 1st July 2020.
  • At the beginning of each 12-week period, you will receive a new Program of Support agreement to sign via DocuSign. As noted above, this is a requirement from the NDIA.


We hope we have laid out these changes in a comprehensive understandable way and you have found this letter informative.

Please contact us if you have any questions

Programs of Support/Non Face to Face Time/Capital Centre Costs

Return to Day Programs:

As the government has announced an easing of lockdown restrictions, Day Programs will be open Friday 11th June with regular transport. It has been so wonderful to see so many people join us online and we hope you enjoyed the program that the staff put together for you.

A freeze to Price Guide Changes:

The NDIA is keeping us on our toes and last week the Minister announced that the new pricing model with the deadline for Day Programs to move to the new NDIS pricing structure from 1st July 2021 has been further deferred to 1st July 2022.

We had completed a great deal of planning to prepare for the move to the new price guide which was going to incorporate the rollout of Programs of Support, Non-Face-to-Face time and Capital Centre Costs and had scheduled a webinar to discuss these changes with you. Given the complexity and in our view negative impact of some of the pricing changes, Bayley House will accept the Minister’s office and defer these changes for the time being. We will advise you further when the time is appropriate to make further changes.

The Day Program team has put in a great deal of work and training to move to Programs of Support and even though we will not adopt the new pricing structure at this point we will still implement the day-to-day practical side of Programs of Support. This means that every activity/program that clients engage in through Day Programs will have a specific goal and an overarching outcome that the groups of clients will work towards.

We will continue to provide progress and feedback reports for your NDIS meetings and will continue with our quarterly goal monitoring and annual check-ins with clients and families.

Term Break:

A reminder that Day Programs will be closed as scheduled from Monday 28th June to Friday 9th July. Community Leisure and Recreation are running holiday options during the term break and details will be emailed out shortly for this exciting program.

Stay Safe and Well
Community and Lifeskills

27 May

I hope this finds you well. As you know the Victorian Government has today announced a 7-day lockdown in response to the number of community COVID-19 infections in Melbourne. We do not relish the inconvenience of this nor the anxiety that it will cause for many people. Nevertheless, it is a necessary response to the situation and as Melburnians, we know all too well what can happen if strong action is not taken early.

Detailed arrangements will be provided to you by staff shortly but essentially the following key changes will be in place –

  • Day services will cease other than for a small number of high ratio clients/activities
  • A number of online activities will be available from Monday 31/5/21. Details will be provided tomorrow
  • Residential services will continue, but no visitors will be permitted
  • Existing short stay bookings will proceed, but no additional bookings will be taken for the period of the lockdown
  • As in previous lockdowns we will endeavour to provide more activities in residences utilising day service staff

It was encouraging to note that yesterday the queues for vaccination were as long (or longer) than those for testing. If there is a silver lining to this recent outbreak perhaps it will be that our community’s complacency about vaccination has been given a good shake.

This lockdown comes at a busy time and I apologise in advance if you feel as if you are being bombarded with information from Bayley House. Yesterday families should have received a survey seeking your input about Bayley House. This is important for us and will help guide what we do and how we do it. If you have not already completed the survey I urge you to do so.

In coming days you will also receive information about changes to the way in which we provide some of our services and how we charge for them. These changes, initiated by the NDIA, are complex and we have done our best to explain them clearly. Please reach out if you need assistance to understand the proposed changes. Client Services staff will be in touch over the next few weeks to ensure that all Service Agreements are current.

Thank you for your support of Bayley House. We will update you further if there are any additional announcements from Government.

Stay well and stay safe.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

20 May

I hope this update finds you well. As we head rapidly towards June and the shortest day of the year being only a month away, it is surprising that we still manage some mild days (weekends even) though nights are a different matter!

Life at Bayley House is busy of course. I am thrilled that after a year and more of working largely from home I will be able to return to being office-based at Middle Crescent shortly… my office having been returned to me from its secondary use as a ‘quarantine room’. I have had the opportunity to attend Middle Crescent several times in recent weeks and it is just such a delight to be back in touch with many of our clients. I confess it brought tears to my eyes and perhaps brought the real trauma of last year into clear focus.

Whilst on the topic of COVID-19 you may well have read or heard many references in the last week to the unacceptably slow pace of the vaccine roll out to people with disabilities. It seems that political pressure has finally had an impact as we received advice yesterday that our residential clients and staff would be offered the Pfizer vaccine in the near future. I understand that the first visit may be as soon as May 25th. Residential staff are working right now to ensure that information is up to date and hopefully that the process goes smoothly.

The leadership team has been working intensely over recent months to prepare the 2021/22 budget. Budgets are always a challenge, pitting what we would like to do or have against the reality of what can be afforded. Nevertheless, this year has been particularly challenging. And I want to be frank about this; NDIS revenues in virtually all of our activities continue to be squeezed by the NDIA (the government authority with responsibility for delivering the NDIS). The Bayley House Strategic Plan strategic planendorsed by the Board in December last year enthusiastically embraces growth and focus on delivering fantastic outcomes for our clients and families. We know we have the skills and drive to do that but there is no doubt that the unrealistic pricing imposed by the NDIA coupled with the constantly increasing cost of doing business with them proves very challenging. I want to acknowledge the efforts of the leadership and finance teams in particular in managing to meet those imposed constraints whilst ensuring we continue to deliver for our clients.

Part of the changes imposed by the NDIA in July last year were to the way in which group activities (Day Service) are both charged and delivered. In classic NDIA fashion, these changes bound together the good with the bad. The good is that group activities can now be provided by means of a model called ‘Programs of Support’. This structural change reflects lobbying by Bayley House amongst others that the activities we provide are developmental and that they need to be seen as part of a program over weeks; so, Programs of Support are developed over a (generally) 10 – 12 week period. The bad is that this welcome change is coupled to changes in the pricing of group activities; both the actual hourly rate as well as requiring us to separate out what is referred to as ‘non face-to-face time’. Again, let me be frank; this is a complete waste of our time, and yours, and only adds further to the cost of delivering a valuable service. My team will be in contact with all families to further explain the changes and to arrange necessary administrative amendments to agreements. I urge you to respond to their request promptly to ensure there is no unnecessary interruption to services for your family member.

The end of the tax year is approaching and you would be surprised if I did not take this opportunity to alert you to our Art For All fundraising appeal. The appeal will raise funds to help launch our new Arts Hub, which will provide us with the exciting opportunity to provide much needed and requested art programs and art therapy – far in excess of what we can offer in our space at Middle Crescent.

The appeal is open now and will culminate in a Giving Day on Tuesday 22 June.

If you would like to find out more or make a donation to the appeal, please click here. If you donate on or before 22 June, your gift will be matched!

If you would like to become a very special Matching Donor (enabling us to match community donations!), then please get in touch with Fiona, our Director of Philanthropy here or on 0427 303 346.

We need volunteers too! Telethon volunteers for the Giving Day on 22 June are critical to the success of our appeal. Please click here to find out more about the volunteer role – we hope to hear from you!

Stay well and stay safe.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

21 April

The vaccine rollout across Australia has certainly hit more than a speed hump in the last couple of weeks. As you know we were already concerned that the process for delivering vaccines to people with disabilities was well behind schedule prior to the recent policy changes regarding the Astra Zeneca vaccine. At this stage, we have no firm information about when the vaccine will be available, for whom it will be available, or indeed where and how it will be offered.

We absolutely believe that the best way for our community, and people with disabilities, in particular, to be protected from COVID-19 is for as many people as possible to be vaccinated as soon as possible. (I’m thrilled that I had my first Astra Zeneca jab last week!) We are also conscious that many families and clients have not accessed their annual flu vax because we were not able to proceed with onsite arrangements given the complex interface of the two vaccines.

We know that some families are finding the level of uncertainty very challenging, and whilst we cannot solve the problem, we have today made some decisions which we hope will be of assistance–

  • Flu vaccinations: (due to the delay in the COVID-19 vaccination rollout) will be offered onsite at Middle Crescent on May 12th, 2021. Further details will be provided to clients and families in the coming days.
  • Vaccination support service: we are happy to offer 1:1 support for an appropriate member of our staff to attend a relevant GP clinic with a client to receive their COVID-19 vaccination (or flu vax for that matter). We understand that this can be a stressful and challenging experience and sometimes our staff can assist. Clearly, consent forms and other documentation will need to be managed in advance and this service will be billed as a 1:1 support (day service) or as an ‘unscheduled support’ if it is with a client who is a resident of one of our houses.

Staff will be in touch with families this week regarding the flu vax opportunity at Middle Crescent. Any families who wish to take advantage of the vaccination support service should, in the first instance, contact Leonie Kent at Bayley House on 9982 1500.

Chris GlennenOn another note, Janet Batey will be taking some extended leave commencing next week. We will miss Janet and know she will be missing us. In her absence, Chris Glennen will do his best to wrangle the complex responsibility of Janet’s role of GM Accommodation Options. Chris has extensive experience in the disability sector as the former CEO of Active Community Housing amongst other roles and will be with us three days a week whilst Janet is away. Chris can be contacted via email here or mobile 0438 991 600.

I hope you are keeping well and despite the recent change in the weather, have been enjoying the increased freedoms of 53 days with no community transmission.

Stay well and stay safe.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

31 March

News on vaccinations remains patchy. For our residential clients, whilst we understand that vaccinations will ‘come to them’ we have yet to be provided with any advice on timeframes for that. We continue to urge authorities to consider place-based vaccinations for day services as well but have not seen any progress on that. Unless there is a change it will remain the responsibility of families to arrange for vaccination of their loved ones through their local GP (if registered for COVID vaccine) or one of the vaccination centres. We appreciate that this will prove challenging for some clients. We will do what we can to support clients and families through funded 1:1 support if appropriate. Please contact Natarsha Warren if you wish to access this assistance. This opportunity is also available for the flu shot which we are unable to offer on-site this year due to the logistical complexities of separating flu shots from COVID shots.

Meanwhile, staff are racing off to be vaccinated! All our staff are now eligible for vaccination being eligible in either class 1a or 1b of the rollout. It feels like we have waited a long time for a vaccine to be available and no doubt everyone is making the most of it.

Last year the NDIA announced a new model for delivering day services called “Programs of Support”. This is a change that we have advocated for over a long period of time because it provides both clients and service providers with long-term clarity around activities and goals and recognises that group activities are developmental in nature and that program sessions build on each other as part of a longer-term outcome. Like many other service providers, Bayley House will be moving to this model in the middle of the year consistent with the NDIS pricing structure. We will work with you in the coming months to ensure you understand what is involved and that service agreements and schedules of support are adjusted accordingly.

The NDIA has not released any specific guidance for participants and families at this point but we will share anything which is helpful as it becomes available. As a result of Bayley House adopting the new model, group-based pricing will change. Please be patient while we work on the new schedules, activity fees, and revised agreements. We will send more information soon along with an updated service agreement to ensure that you can benefit from the new Programs of Support.

Stay well and stay safe.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

19 March

The rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations has commenced in Australia.  We know that it is a complex process involving huge logistics and supply chain challenges.  The sequencing of priorities is difficult to understand and what I can tell you is that the disability sector is not treated as one cohort.   

Residential services are assessed as 1A and day services as 1B, reflecting the higher risk factor associated with any residential setting (disability and aged care).  So far, we have had only preliminary information from the relevant authorities, but we understand that vaccinations will be offered on a site-by-site basis for residential settings but not for day services.  Houses will be allocated times when vaccination teams will attend to vaccinate anyone who is present and has a signed consent form.  At this stage, I believe clients who are not in a residential service will need to access the vaccination through one of the approved GP clinics or the clinics being set up directly by the Commonwealth Government. 

We appreciate that vaccinations are not something that some of our clients take to readily. Traditionally, with the flu vax, our staff have provided much support to make the process run as smoothly and with as little stress as possible.  We will do our very best to manage this process just as well, but it is fair to say that the size and speed of the rollout is such that our capacity to influence our clients’ experience may be limited.  You know we will do our best! 

Our staff have been contacting families with the official consent form.  If your loved one is going to be vaccinated and you have not returned the form, I urge you to do so without delay.  I believe we may be given very little warning of the timetable for specific sites.  There is zero possibility of anyone being vaccinated unless the consent form is on hand at the time.  Further information will be provided as it becomes available. 

Last week we had quality audit assessors with us for three days for our Stage 2 Quality Audit.  This is our first full audit under the standards as laid out by the NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission.  We are yet to receive the formal assessment but know that we will have some areas of improvement to work on.   

Audits are a compliance requirement, but more importantly, they are an opportunity to stand back and see our service as someone else does and, most importantly, they are an opportunity to learn and to improve.  The quality assessors interviewed a number of clients and families as part of the process and in our closeout meeting with them last Friday, it was both wonderful and humbling to hear how positively those clients and families spoke of Bayley House.  Thank you. 

Exciting news: at the February meeting, the Bayley House Board approved management’s proposal to establish an Arts Hub.  Consistent with the new Strategic Plan, this will be our first communitybased hub and recognises both our appetite for strategic growth and our desire to share our expertise in the creative arts with more people.  We are presently negotiating the lease of a fantastic property close to Cheltenham Railway Station and will share more with you in the coming weeks and months. 

So far, 2021 may not be what we would call a ‘normal’ year, but it is certainly looking more optimistic than this time a year ago.  I look forward to being in touch again soon – in the meantime, please stay well and safe. 

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

17 February

We are delighted that the Victorian Government has announced an end to the additional COVID-19 restrictions which were imposed effective 11.59 pm Friday, 12 February 2021. 

For all practical purposes, all our services will return to ‘normal’ effective as of tomorrow, Thursday, 18 February 2021.  Specifically, that means that services will operate as they were last week. 

Thank you once again for your support and patience. 

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

12 February

Bayley House welcomes the announcement by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to impose Stage 4 restrictions across Victoria as a means of limiting the spread of COVID-19 from the Holiday Inn exposure.  We appreciate that these restrictions will impose additional challenges for our clients, families and staff but understand that this response is necessary.  Please note that effective from 11.59pm Friday 12 February 2021 and at this point in place until 11.59pm Wednesday 16 February 2021 the following restrictions will be in place at Bayley House –

Residential services

  • NO visitors to the premises
  • Clients not to leave the premises for any reason other than a medical appointment
  • We will staff some limited additional activities
  • Short Stay continues and existing bookings proceed; no new bookings
  • Existing hygiene controls remain in place

Day service

  • All face to face group activities suspended
  • All Community activities suspended
  • We are actively exploring online services and will make further announcements about this soon

You will be aware that vaccinations for COVID-19 will commence being rolled out across Australia in the coming weeks.  Bayley House supports the National Disability Services (NDS) policy position that vaccinations for all disability support workers should be mandatory.  Whilst we appreciate that the Commonwealth Government messaging is that this will not be legislated we believe that the best way in which we can support and protect our clients is through a vaccinated workforce.  We will do what we can to assist with community education and a comprehensive understanding of the value of vaccination.

Bayley House will be subject to our first full accreditation under the NDIS Standards in early March.  The external auditors will seek to engage with a number of clients and families and we will be in touch in the coming days to facilitate this.  The audit is an important part of ensuring that all service providers deliver services to an appropriate standard and I encourage you to participate if you have been selected.  Equally, participation is your choice, and if you feel uncomfortable about doing so please advise us and we will advise the auditors that you do not wish to be involved.

Thanks everyone for your continuing support.  2021 will no doubt be better than 2020 but we know it will not be straight forward.  I do hope that this latest escalation of concern can be addressed quickly and effectively and that we can return to delivering a full suite of services in a few days.

Stay well and stay safe.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

11 January

Great to see COVID infections have not escalated in the last week. Whilst this was not the start to 2021 that we had hoped for it is encouraging that local outbreaks appear to have been effectively contained. Hopefully, this bodes well for the way that new infections are managed in coming months prior to the availability of a vaccine.

We have been monitoring the situation closely and I am pleased to advise that, providing this week does not see an unexpected escalation in COVID numbers locally, we will ease the restrictions presently in place in our residential services effectively for next weekend January 16th, 2021. Visits to houses will not be limited to one hour for one family member at a time and residents are free to go with families as well as staff to other places. Some restrictions will remain for the foreseeable future; in particular visitors to houses should not access other areas of the house other than necessary. In the main this will be a designated area for visits. It may include the resident’s bedroom on occasions. It most certainly does NOT include shared spaces in the house (kitchen, living areas) or the bedrooms of other residents.

Please be conscious that the risk from COVID remains real and one of the most effective strategies in protecting our community is to limit activities, in particular social interaction. Visits to busy places like shopping centres or enclosed spaces such as cafes and restaurants is a higher risk than a walk in a park. Please bear this in mind so that we can all endeavour to keep everyone safe and well.

Our community and recreation activities have continued and are heavily booked. Tess Rouvray has made appropriate changes to some of the planned programs and we will continue to monitor and adjust the activities over the coming weeks. Thank you for your patience if some of these changes have impacted you.

Day services will return as planned on January 21st, 2021. Of course they will still not be the same as pre-COVID but almost all our clients will be back in face-to-face group activities. We have leased additional space in a number of venues to ensure that activities comply with Government COVID regulations as well as introducing additional ongoing hygiene and cleaning practices and we anticipate, given our experience at the end of last year, that the groups will run smoothly and safely.

It is increasingly clear that the first half of 2021 at least will be impacted significantly by COVID risks and therefore our strategies to provide services whilst mitigating those risks as best we can. We continue to liaise with DHHS, the NDIA and many other relevant organisations and partner agencies to bring you services and support which are of the quality you expect from Bayley House and which meet all safety and risk mitigation requirements. We are committed to keeping our clients, staff and families safe and to working with you and communicating with you to that end.

Once again, thank you for your patience and your support. Stay well and stay safe.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

Read our quarterly Bayley Bulletins here

Read our Annual Report here

4 January

I hope you had a happy and safe Christmas and New Year. We certainly hope that 2021 evolves into a much better year than 2020. Having said that, it has not started out as well as we had hoped and the Bayside area in particular has seen a significant number of new COVID-19 infections and risk sites.

Given this news, you will not be surprised that, following discussion with Janet Batey, we have decided to impose renewed restrictions across our residential services. Hopefully, this will be for only a few weeks until the number of cases in the Bayside area diminishes.

We will return to a status that will be all too familiar to all of you, effective immediately:

  • Visits to residents are limited to one immediate family member at a time
  • Appointments must be arranged in advance with the residence team leader
  • Visits will be in an area designated by the staff. No visitors may enter any other part of the house
  • Visitor register, including COVID attestation, must be signed on arrival
  • Sanitiser must be used on arrival and masks worn for the duration of visit
  • Family may not take residents off the premises
  • Staff may take residents from the house, but outings will be restricted to ‘safe’ open areas i.e. parks, local areas. Shopping areas, movies and other enclosed spaces are to be avoided.

I appreciate that these changes will not be welcome news, but I hope they will contribute to keeping our residents safe. 2021 will be a year of managing COVID-19 risks and there will be times where outbreaks in other parts of Melbourne do not warrant action on our part.

Feel free to contact me directly if you have any concerns regarding this decision. Residential staff and team leaders will be responsible for managing the changes in a practical sense.

I hope that over the coming weeks we will see evidence of a strategic approach by DHHS contact tracing and an accompanying rapid decrease in infections. Once the risk reduces significantly at a local level, the management team will re-evaluate the situation and I will be in touch with further appropriate changes.

I appreciate your understanding. Stay safe and stay well.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

Read our quarterly Bayley Bulletins here

Read our Annual Report here

21 December

There were times this year when Christmas seemed an impossibly long way off. There were times when next week did! The anxiety of 700+ COVID-19 positive test results per day, the isolation of Stage 4 lockdown and a community divided by the requirement to wear a mask remain experiences that most of us will not forget in a hurry and which, frankly, we are all too happy to leave behind with 2020.

Nevertheless, for me the standout of this challenging year has been the way the community has actually come together. Whether our measure of community be across Victoria, across Melbourne or indeed Bayley House, overwhelmingly people have endeavoured to learn about the threats we face, to take on board the almost daily changes to restrictions and requirements and to reach out to those around us who are or who appear to be more vulnerable, more at risk.

At Bayley House we focused on two main challenges; keeping everyone safe and keeping everyone engaged and connected. In our houses, we separated out the staffing rosters and we imposed significant access restrictions which inevitably impacted everyone; residents, families and staff. Never did we lose sight of the fact that rights and risk are a fine balance, and I can tell you it was with huge relief that we were finally able to ease those restrictions in November.

In our program delivery areas, we had no choice but to close most face-to-face activities, but in doing so we reached out to clients and families regularly to support people as best we could and of course, we pivoted quickly to deliver a diverse and professional range of activities through Bayley House Online. In addition, we have provided limited 1:1 and 1:2 support for people at risk throughout the lockdown period.

Our office-based staff went home with minimal preparation in March and have not returned to Nepean Highway since. I am very grateful to our ICT partners NiceIT who worked long hours during that time to get us off-site and to establish stable platforms that enabled us to effectively manage the organisation remotely.

Across this difficult year we have continued to provide activities and we have striven to keep people connected and involved. We have reinvented ourselves and we have pushed ourselves to do more and to do it differently. Overall, despite the challenges, I believe we have achieved much progress and feedback from our clients and families has been overwhelmingly positive. Clearly, none of this would have been possible without the extraordinary contribution of many people and I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge them:

  • first and foremost, our amazing staff team who remained determinedly client-focused and who repeatedly found new ways of staying in touch with clients and continuing to provide developmental programs and activities, as well as safe accommodation
  • my leadership team who have worked tirelessly and cohesively to ensure a safe environment for clients and staff and who have supported each other through some genuinely difficult times
  • our volunteers, some of whom had no choice but to NOT be involved and for whom that was a challenge, and others who stepped up to assist us in delivering online services
  • the Bayley House Board who maintained an appropriately strategic perspective and who, most importantly, backed the management team in our decisions and resource allocation
  • families, who without question shouldered the additional load of supporting their loved ones in challenging and frustrating circumstances
  • but most of all, to all our Bayley House clients whose resilience and positivity remained an example to all of us, who looked out for their friends and who inspired our staff each day. Whilst their worlds were turned upside down, routines abandoned and friendships seriously interrupted, our clients mostly accepted the situation with a glorious equanimity, seemingly understanding better than most of us that there are some things you just cannot influence and, in those circumstances, best just to muck in and make the most of it!

2020: how ironic that a term hitherto associated with perfect vision now conjures up a nightmare. I know I am not alone in hoping that 2021 will deliver less drama and more positivity. We know already that it will not be back to business as usual, but we have a clearer idea of the challenges and risks we face and I think we have a strong sense of confidence in our capacity to deliver terrific outcomes and to do so safely.

Unabashed baby boomer that I am, I offer no apology that each year I tear up with the season’s first rendition of John Lennon’s iconic ‘Happy Christmas (War is Over)’. Outwardly a Christmas song but in truth a song of protest, Lennon entreats us to reflect at Christmas time on what in the preceding year ‘…we have done..?’ Arguably this COVID year it would be easy to think….not very much; that at best we have marked time. But I prefer to take a more optimistic view. We pulled the shutters down when necessary, we kept everyone safe until the worst of the storm was past and now we cautiously seek out old friends, pick up where we left off nine months ago and tentatively rework the plans we had to put on ice. Having just completed our new Strategic Plan I know there is plenty on the agenda and anticipate that 2021 will be an exciting time in the life of Bayley House.

Whatever your personal circumstances and whatever your faith (or lack thereof) I hope that you can enjoy the festive season and have the opportunity to reflect on what is important to you. This past year has presented us with more than enough challenge and adversity and for the many who have lost family and friends along the way it has been particularly difficult. One thing we had reinforced though is to value the people around us because, ultimately, they are what we exist for.

Thank you for whatever part you played in the life of Bayley House this year. Take care, stay safe…and see you in the New Year!

We hope you enjoy this celebration of the year that was, thanks to all involved and especially to Kelly Smith who brought it together.

Read our quarterly Bayley Bulletins here

Read out Annual Report here

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

17 November

I am delighted to inform you that we have just received formal advice from the Department of Health & Human Services that residents of disability supported residential services “….now have greater access to the community with family and friends in line with gathering and activity restrictions: e.g., can go for a walk, have a picnic, go to a café etc….”

I understand that throughout these months of necessary restrictions our residents and families have struggled with the limitations which have been imposed and I thank everyone for their patience and forbearance. I do believe that these restrictions have played a vital part in keeping people safe as well as contributing to the remarkable COVID recovery in Melbourne. As we enter the third doughnut week it is very appropriate to step cautiously into a brave new world. The Spring sunshine is a blessing but it is essential that all of us remain aware that an uptick in infections, as evident in South Australia this week, is only just around the corner if we do not continue to be vigilant and cautious.

It is neither practical nor appropriate for Bayley House to endeavour to ‘police’ what you and your loved one/s do away from a residence but I do urge that everyone approaches these returned freedoms slowly and carefully; a walk around the block, visit the local park or a trip home with family are greatly less risky than trips to busy shopping centres for example. I know that some families will be keen to have their loved one stay the night and this is of course entirely reasonable and appropriate if this is your practice. Again….please be cautious in the level of social activity involved and of course at all times abide by the restrictions still in place for visits to your home.

Residential team leaders will be in touch with families to share further details and of course, as always, to assist us with managing houses efficiently, your communication with residential team leaders about visits and trips is much appreciated.

As always I appreciate your patience and support. I am thrilled that finally residents and families can enjoy some quality time together. This is the reward for a job well done! Thank you.

Stay safe and stay well.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

November 12

Another COVID term to add to our lexicon…doughnut days; days with zero new infections and zero deaths. And after all that we have experienced, especially Melbourne in the last four months, it is a new term we are all too happy to adopt. I do hope that you are enjoying, probably slowly…gently, our new freedoms as well as the glorious Spring weather. Across Bayley House there is a sense of cautious optimism that the year will come to its close, certainly not the same as other years, but with a strong sense of achievement and of the promise of a less tumultuous 2021.

The first two of our four-stage return to day programs have been implemented safely and efficiently utilising our premises at Middle Crescent Brighton and at Nepean Hwy Hampton East.  Clients are happy to be back and have adapted well to the new COVID-safe environment. We are keen, and we know that families are also, to move to the next stage, but this will be governed by anticipated changes to government restrictions. Once these are eased we will be in touch with families about the next steps.

Our residential services remain under very strict restrictions in compliance with the government directives as laid out in the Roadmap to Recovery.  Limited visits by family have been occurring and it has been wonderful to see the positive impact of this change. As you know Bayley House has taken a strategically cautious approach to manage the COVID risk throughout this year and I believe that has been appropriate in the circumstances and has contributed to keeping our residents safe. I have always been acutely conscious though that this is a trade-off between rights and risk and at this stage, it is my view that the risk is minimal and that our residents need to have the opportunity to leave the house and, as with the rest of the community, carefully return to activities and connections which have been denied them for months now. We have raised our concerns with the government through our peak body and are hopeful that we will see some changes soon.

Early this year, the Victorian Disability Services Agreement (VDSA) was formally endorsed as the industrial instrument covering our residential and day program staff. The VDSA is a multi-employer agreement and was negotiated by employers and relevant unions over a number of years. It incorporates many conditions of earlier agreements, as well as many new ones. Inevitably there are changes which we need to work through with our staff, key amongst which are employee rosters in the residential setting which are required to ensure our rostering practices are consistent with the VDSA.  Our Residential Options and Human Resources teams have been working on this for some months and are soon to commence a formal consultation process with staff. Whilst there will be no changes to staffing ratios in our houses, there may be some minor changes in the staff assigned to each house to accommodate amended rostering practices. An important part of the industrial process is to consider any staff feedback prior to implementing any changes – as such we need to follow this process before we can communicate any changes, however minor they may be. We recognise that consistency in support staff is important for our clients and family and will seek to minimise any impact on clients and family.

As always, thank you for your continued support and patience as we continue to move through this most challenging of years.

Stay safe and stay well. 

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

October 20

I noticed the sign above outside a local primary school earlier this week. Aside from bringing a tear to my eye it made me think, once again, of the toll which this year has taken on our community. And whilst the wording may not be entirely consistent with how we would put it at Bayley House, nevertheless the poignancy and the sentiment is so very close. We have all done so remarkably well to rise to the challenge of COVID-19, to rise above it in fact, to innovate and create, but as the end of the year draws closer we yearn for some sign of normalcy, for actually seeing each other and being in a shared space.

I am delighted to report that the small number of clients who have accessed support at Middle Crescent in recent weeks have done so safely and well. Once again we are struck by the resilience and acceptance of our clients to the changes swirling around them and once again we learn from their positivity and practical approach. Consistent with the State Government’s Roadmap to Recovery we are optimistic that almost all our clients will be able to return to group activities before the end of the year and of course we will keep you informed about the next steps.

All residential services continue to operate in a formal ‘lockdown’ strategy, endorsed by the State Government and supported by Bayley House. As you are aware, we implemented very limited and controlled visits to the houses in recent weeks, and, despite the restrictions, families, and residents have found this a welcome change. We certainly look forward to the opportunity to safely ease those restrictions further as we can do so.

As we approach what we hope will be a significant easing of restrictions across Melbourne I know that many in our community, whilst welcoming those changes, are anxious about the risks inherent in greater direct contact and in gatherings of people in groups. This is entirely understandable for everyone…clients, families, and staff. We are working hard to ensure that everyone feels reassured, confident, and safe as we slowly move forward. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out so that we can work with you in the coming weeks.

Beneath the COVID-19 façade, many exciting things continue to happen and to be planned –

  • The Bayley House Strategic Planning process is well underway with further stakeholder engagement anticipated in coming months
  • Bayley House Online services continue to thrive, and whilst of course, these will be scaled back as we return to face to face group activities, we have learned much from the experience and are looking at ways we can leverage this opportunity in the future
  • Our Hampton East Hub is now well developed with the addition of the adjoining property at 922 Nepean Highway which will ensure we can continue to provide group activities whilst complying with social distancing requirements
  • The long-anticipated and dreamed of Bayley House Arts Hub has been given a good shake behind the scenes this year and we hope that next year will see this concept become a reality

No doubt it has been a year full of surprises and if you were in need of any further examples of that, here we are on the brink of the Victorian AFL Grand Final Eve holiday….except that it’s late October; and the game will be played…(must we still whisper it?)…at night, under lights….in…Brisbane!! Yes, indeed strange times. Perhaps an even greater sign of the times being that Premier Andrews’ press conference the day after the Grand Final may attract an even larger following than the game itself. Now that would be a first!

Whether you follow the football or not, whether a Cats or Tigers supporter (or not), I do hope that you have a glorious weekend and that, as always, you stay safe and stay well.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

September 28

It certainly has been wonderful to watch the number of new COVID19 infections falling consistently in recent weeks. Yesterday’s announcement by Premier Andrews of the removal of the nightly curfew and some minor but welcome tweaks to the Victorian Roadmap for Reopening encourage further optimism that finally we are on the way out of these truly challenging restrictions.

Our many weeks of planning are ready to be implemented and I am delighted to confirm positive news for group activities as well as for our residential services. Stage A of our return to group activities commences today with approximately 50 clients provided with activities at Middle Crescent. We anticipate that a further 50 clients will commence in Stage B at the end of October with the remainder of our day service clients recommencing over the following month. In order to comply with social distancing, services will be spread across 50, 52 and 54 Middle Crescent, Brighton as well as at our Hampton campus at 928 Nepean Highway, Hampton East.

Restrictions for our residential services have been deliberately tight throughout the last six months. Whilst I appreciate how hard this has been for clients and families, I am confident this strategy has kept our residents safe. Nevertheless, with positive infections across the community back at low levels it is time to ease those restrictions…carefully. Effective Saturday 3 October 2020, subject to strict conditions, visits by one family member will be permitted on a weekly basis. Janet Batey, General Manager Accommodation Options, will communicate with families this week to confirm details but broadly we will require the following arrangements to be respected –

  • One family member (this is a DHHS restriction) for one hour per week
  • Masks must be worn at all times (where possible by residents as well)
  • Social distancing requirements must be observed
  • Visits must be arranged with the house staff prior to arrival
  • All visitors must have temperature taken prior to entry and answer standard COVID questions regarding exposure risk (visitors will be required to sign a formal attestation)
  • Visits will be in a dedicated room. No access to other parts of the property or contact with other residents or staff is permitted.

Whilst these conditions may seem onerous, I expect that you will appreciate they are important in order to continue to keep everyone safe and secure. These have been challenging months and I know that these changes will be welcome. Thank you once again for your support and encouragement.

As always, stay safe… stay well.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

August 25

As Stage 4 restrictions continue, it is encouraging to see the number of infections trend downwards and I know that all of us look forward to the time when we can leave home after 8.00pm… even if it is just a trip to 7-Eleven for an icecream!

Following the positive coronavirus (COVID-19) test result at one of our accommodations services a couple of weeks ago, I am delighted to inform you that everyone is well, including the affected staff member. Whilst it was a challenging experience for all affected, it nevertheless demonstrated our preparation was sound and it provided valuable learnings.

There has been much in the media in recent weeks regarding staff in the aged care and disability sectors working for multiple employers. Most recently the Victorian Government announced funding to assist organisations in limiting workers across more than two organisations. Whilst this is a sensible approach, I want to emphasise that, here at Bayley House, we have had a one staff – one work site policy since March this year. As required under the health directives, we have sought information from staff as to any other work they may engage in, outside of Bayley House. Whilst the requirement is only to track this information, we will seek to consult with staff to, so far as reasonably practicable, limit any potential risks that outside employment may pose to our clients and staff.

On a positive note, I was thrilled last week to see the latest amazing array of activities which we offer through Bayley House Online. Whilst I know that this service is not available for everyone and cannot replace face-to-face activities, it most certainly has been key to keeping many clients engaged and connected. If you have not had any contact or involvement with Bayley House Online, I recommend that you acquaint yourself with the wide array of exciting activities on offer.

Finally, I’d like to let you know that, this week we had confirmation that a client who attends Middle Crescent has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). The client receives 1:1 support and has extremely limited contact with other clients or staff. Nevertheless, once we were aware of the client’s close contact with someone externally who had tested positive, we placed the client in quarantine before arranging for her return home. Staff and clients with any level of contact have been isolated since that time and have subsequently tested negative. A deep clean has been provided at Middle Crescent and we remain optimistic that no further intervention will be required.

One of the things that make Bayley House strong is our enduring sense of community. Since the beginning of COVID-19, my team and I have endeavoured to provide transparent communications to staff and clients, whilst upholding their privacy. Whilst most of us have been fortunate enough not to have a loved one infected with COVID-19, these recent infections within the community have and will affect some in our immediate circle. To this end, I can assure you that my team and I are supporting those immediately affected. As with any community, it is a strength that we wish to support those in need, but it is as equally important that we respect everyone’s right to privacy and refrain from speculation.

Thanks, as always, for your support and patience as we work through these challenging issues.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

August 21

I hope you are managing well under Stage 4 Victorian lockdown. No doubt it is heartening to see the daily numbers of infections finally dip below 200 but disconcerting that we are still dealing with numbers that eclipse anything we had to contend within the first round of COVID. I am pleased to report that our residential support services, Bayley House Online and our limited activities at Middle Crescent are proceeding smoothly and safely. Clients and families continue to give feedback that they feel engaged and supported which is encouraging given how long we have all now been dealing with this challenge.

I have previously explained that at Bayley House we put the safety and well being of our clients and staff first. We monitor the advice, guidelines and directives of Government authorities in order that we comply with what is required of us; and we go further. That has been our strategy since early this year and I intend it to continue. I know that, with the many changes to COVID related restrictions it can become confusing as to what is permitted and what is not, so I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of your obligations under the current Government determined State of Disaster –

  • If you are feeling unwell, do not go to work
  • If you have any of the known COVID symptoms, get tested at a nearby testing station and then
    • Return home immediately
    • Wait for your test results
    • Do not go to work or go out shopping; stay at home 
  • If you have tested positive, you must isolate until you receive clearance from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)
  • You must quarantine if you have come into close contact with a person who is confirmed to have coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • If you live with a person who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) you must quarantine yourself
    • If you can avoid close contact with the person, for 14 days since your last close contact with them
    • If you cannot avoid close contact with them, you should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick and quarantine for 14 days after the person who has coronavirus (COVID-19) meets the criteria to end their isolation

To be clear, the above applies to clients, and family of clients, and their access to disability support services. If clients are unwell or clients are living in the same private residence as a person who has tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19), it is vital that you advise my team immediately and that the client and any close contact of the client must refrain from attending Bayley House.

As I mentioned above, we comply with Government requirements and we go further. That is our right as an organisation and I believe it is our responsibility and what you expect of us by way of protecting your loved ones. In the event of a positive test result which impacts our clients or staff, we will advise you of the time-frame for a return to Bayley House and the testing arrangements we require. In all likelihood, they will be longer than those recommended by DHHS.

Throughout these challenging months we have worked strategically to protect our clients and families, but without your support and cooperation, it amounts to nothing. We need families to work with us, to keep us informed, and to comply with government and Bayley House requirements in order that everyone remains safe and well.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

August 9

Consistent with Bayley House policy and practice of keeping all clients and families informed, I wish to let you know that, regrettably, today we became aware that a staff member at our Lubrano Street, Brighton East residence has tested positive for COVID-19. We are optimistic that the situation will remain isolated and note the staff member has not been on site since Monday 3 August and we are taking all appropriate actions and further precautions.

Whilst Bayley House has stringently enforced a segregated workforce across all our services we have been made aware today that another of our Lubrano Street staff shares a home with one of our staff who works at Earslfield Road, Hampton.  Neither of these individuals have any COVID19 related symptoms.  Nevertheless, we have made the decision to quarantine both our Lubrano Street and Earlsfield Road residences.

I can provide you with the following information-

  • No staff or residents are symptomatic
  • Staff and residents at Lubrano Street have been tested today
  • Staff and residents of Earlsfield Road have been advised they do not qualify for testing, though some have managed to be tested in any case
  • Tested staff have been provided with paid leave and advised to isolate
  • Alternative staffing is being sourced
  • DHHS and the Quality & Safeguards Commission have been formally advised
  • We are in the process of contacting all families presently

With the onset of COVID19 Bayley House had already implemented a comprehensive COVID Safe Plan aimed at preventing infection but also where necessary to delay the spread of infection, contain with preventative actions, and to control over time and then recover and restore services. This has been updated throughout various stages of the pandemic.  We are now working closely with the relevant authorities to implement the control phase of this plan.  Lubrano St and Earlsfield Road residences will remain quarantined until further notice.

The Bayley House COVID Safe Plan actions include –

  • Notify all managers, supervisors, and staff – Completed
  • Isolate the individual in strict quarantine to contain the spread – Completed
  • Suspend the service in entirety until further notice – Completed
  • Trace the origin of the infection, if possible, and notify – Completed
  • Trace other possibly impacted staff and clients, notify and direct them to quarantine at home and seek COVID19 testing  – In progress
  • Deep cleaning of all impacted facilities and equipment – In progress
  • Completed an incident report – Completed
  • Notify DHHS and NDIS Quality & Safeguards Commission – Completed

We will continue to monitor the health and wellbeing of all clients and staff and will keep you informed as appropriate. Please be patient while we focus on managing the situation and maintaining the health and safety of all Bayley House clients and staff.  Please be assured that we will contact you if we believe that this individual result may affect you or your loved one.  Whilst I appreciate you will have many questions, please appreciate that our focus is and needs to be on responding to this situation and it will help us to do that if you refrain from contacting staff for the time being.

Thank you for your understanding and support.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

August 2

Some of you will have seen the article published this morning in The Age “Emergency ‘looming’ in disability care sector”. Journalist Wendy Tuohy paints a picture of a sector which has been left out of the loop by authorities, is underprepared and inadequately resourced. The overall messaging is an accurate assessment of the way in which disability support services have felt almost invisible throughout this challenging COVID experience and I hope that this media at least draws some much-needed attention to the risks our clients and staff face.

I want to reassure you though, that despite the general sector-wide concerns, at Bayley House we have worked hard from the first appreciation of the threat of COVID to ensure our clients are kept safe-

  • Staff teams for each house were separated as a very first priority in order to ensure that staff were not working across multiple sites
  • We have no residential staff working in the aged care sector
  • We have very few casual staff, Bayley House preferring to offer permanent full and part-time contracts to staff as a means of providing better quality support to our clients
  • In April we joined with a group of 70 disability agencies in Victoria to privately import an initial 40,000 masks and other PPE (later topped up with further purchases)
  • Residential support service staff have been fully trained in the use of PPE. External online training has been required as well as direct training through our own Quality Manager. We have recently assessed all residential staff for competence in this area and are continuing to provide training and support
  • Our participation in the Hospital In The Home pilot provides us with direct access to medical and nursing staff who are highly trained in infectious diseases and in infection control. The pilot provides for health support directly for clients but also for support, training, and education of our staff across all houses
  • Cleaning in all houses has been increased and attention to hygiene constantly highlighted
  • Visits to our houses have been restricted from April and as you know are now completely suspended

One thing as a community we have learned this year is that there are no guarantees in life, especially where COVID is concerned. I believe that the disability sector deserves better resourcing and greater recognition of the risks inherent in the communal living context which is the experience of many people with disabilities. Nevertheless, I do want to reassure you that at Bayley House our approach to protecting our clients from the threat of COVID has been strategic and measured at all times. The Board has supported the management team with appropriate financial and human resources to do everything we can to keep everyone safe.

Once again, thank you for your support and for your patience.

Take care and stay safe.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

July 29

As a community, we watch on with a mixture of horror and disbelief at the COVID numbers coming out of the aged care sector these last few weeks. I know I do not need to tell you that, whilst the aged care sector is a very different one to disability, the overlap of risk factors in residential settings is considerable. Shared facilities, communal living, staff coming and going are all risk factors which can be mitigated but not eliminated. Bayley House adopted a strategic approach to our residential services at the beginning of this challenge back in April. We segregated our teams of staff to eliminate staff from working across more than one site, we limited residents leaving the premises for any but the most urgent of reasons and we severely restricted the opportunities for external visitors to our houses.

Thank you for your patience and support as we have worked our way through these last few months. It has been very much appreciated. Bayley House is fortunate to be part of a pilot program with Monash Health which will extend the existing Hospital In-The-Home service to the disability sector. Through this pilot we will have access to highly trained medical and nursing service who will work with staff and residents of all our accommodation services to keep them safe and, if someone is unwell, to support them with skill and experience in their familiar environment. I am thrilled that we have this opportunity and feel confident that this will prove hugely beneficial to residents of our houses.

As part of this pilot program the decision was made this morning that, effective immediately, there will be no visits to our houses at all until further notice.

I understand that this will prove challenging for a number of family members and we will do all in our power to provide alternative means to ensure ongoing communication; telephone, skype, facetime, etc. I do need to be clear though, there will be no exceptions. There will be no physical visits permitted at any residence until further notice. If you have any queries regarding this decision, please do not contact the house or any of the support staff. Janet Batey and I will be available to discuss the matter.

These are difficult and stressful times. This decision is not taken lightly nor with a lack of understanding of the impact that it may have on our residents and families. Nevertheless, it is my belief that we must do everything possible to maintain the health and safety of our clients and staff. The high number of community infections leaves us with no option but to implement this further restriction at this time. Rest assured that we will monitor this and ease these restrictions as soon as we believe it is safe to do so.

Thank you for your understanding and support.
Take care and stay safe.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

July 21

As you are aware, the Victorian Government has mandated the wearing of masks in public as of midnight this Wednesday. Residents in metropolitan Melbourne and the Mitchell Shire will be required to wear a face mask or cover when they leave their homes for any of the four legal reasons: Going to work or school, Care or caregiving, Daily exercise, or Buying food and other essentials. 

The Government direction also extends to all Victorian workplaces. As such, all Bayley House staff MUST wear a face mask or face shield whilst at work, with effect from midnight Wednesday. The choice of mask or shield will depend on preference, availability and type of work.  Whilst the requirements for people with a disability to wear masks are a little more complex, I believe that it is in the best interests of all our clients, staff, and families if clients wear masks whenever possible. 

Because we recognise this as a health priority Bayley House will provide masks for all staff and clients.  Clients will be supported to wear masks and where this is not possible a letter of exemption from their doctor will be sought.  All our staff have been reminded that a mask or face covering must be worn in the workplace, even if theycan social distance.This direction is regardless of the 1.5m distancing and 4m2 space requirements. 

The Commonwealth Government has today announced changes to the JobKeeper subsidy.  It is encouraging to note that the scheme will not be concluded at the end of September as previously anticipated.  Clearly there are proposed changes to the details of the scheme and I will have more to say about the impact on Bayley House as details become clearer.  

Back in March, Bayley House implemented roster changes across residential services that ensured that discrete teams of staff worked with each particular house.  Similarly in group activities, we aimed to offer activities with strictly limited movement between groups or with staff working across multiple groups.  The inherent logic in this approach is to minimise the potential for infection across multiple sites.  The government has recently announced changes to the aged care sector in an effort to reduce the number of staff working across multiple sites with multiple employers.  Whilst no such restriction has been put in place for the Disability sector, we know that a number of workers in our sector do also work across the Aged Care sector and we are working to quantify and reduce this risk wherever possible. 

No question the Victorian COVID experience has taken a turn for the worse in recent weeks and our community continues to grapple with the regrettable results of people not taking the threat seriously.  At Bayley House, we have always taken the issue seriously.  We have strategically put in place measures to reduce the risk to our clients and staff whilst endeavouring to continue to offer support of the highest standard.  This is what you should expect of us and it is what we pledge to continue to offer. 

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

July 14

As we settle into the second widespread lockdown, I can reassure you that across Bayley House, we are managing well, and people are safe. Unwelcome as it is, at least this time around we are more experienced in how to implement the necessary changes, and in the many ways, we can continue to support clients, families, and staff. 

Online service delivery returned in full on Monday and we are actively considering ways in which we can improve on what we provided last time. We learned a lot about what works and what does not, about how people like to be involved, and of course vitally important… the ICT platform, which is more sophisticated and more robust than when we first started this journey back in April. 

Last weekend, it was announced, by the Victorian Government, that the wearing of masks in public is recommended in circumstances where it may be difficult to maintain social distancingand this morning, it was announced that staff in aged care settings must wear masks. At the time of writing, this directive does not apply to our own serviceshowever, we have tightened our own protocols with respect to masks (and other PPE). 

  • Staff are strongly encouraged to wear masks (or other PPE) if a client is unwell or in circumstances where social distance cannot be maintained 
  • Clients are encouraged to wear masks in those circumstances also (though we appreciate that this may be impractical for some) 
  • All visitors to any Bayley House venues will be required to wear a mask at all times. Please note that this includes family members visiting a house under our existing and quite comprehensive conditions 
  • Visits by family members are required to be contactless. I appreciate this is challengingbut this is necessary to maintain the health and safety of all residents in our houses. Please note that I have advised residential staff that anyone who fails to comply with this requirement will not be permitted further access 

The Commonwealth Government’s JobKeeper scheme has been a genuine game-changer for Bayley House. This funding scheme provides a subsidy directly to Bayley House to assist us with continuing to employ our staff at a time when our revenue has diminished dramatically due to the closure of group activities. Without this subsidy, we would not have been able to deliver online services or maintain a wide range of supports for clients and families throughout this challenging time.  We are grateful to the Government for this focused assistance. 

We trust that you value the quality of professional service you continue to receive from Bayley House during these complex times and we greatly appreciate your ongoing support. One of the core planks of the NDIS, and one which all of us at Bayley House value, is to increase ‘choice and control’ for people with a disability. Sometimes though, it is unclear that choice may come at increased risk. We’d like to take this opportunity to remind you that only bookings made through Bayley House, are delivered by staff who are covered by Bayley House standards, training, and the relevant insurances. Should you receive support from other providers we strongly urge you to check that they offer the same assurances. The responsibility rests with the provider you select to safely deliver you the service in your agreement and this may include service with staff who are also employed by Bayley House.

Thank you once again for your support throughout this difficult period in our history. All of us at Bayley House remain committed to supporting our clients and families to the highest standards whilst ensuring a safe workplace for our staff. Once again, I appreciate that many people are ‘doing it tough’ at the moment. Please do not be silent if you are struggling. Reach out to any of my staff and we will move heaven and earth to find a way to assist you.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

July 8

Following the announcement by the Victorian Premier regarding a six-week lockdown of the Melbourne metropolitan area, we sadly have no choice but to close our group activities once more.

As you know, we had recently implemented Stage A of our return plan and Stage B was scheduled to commence next Monday.  Hard as it is to confront these latest changes, we absolutely appreciate that the government is acting on the basis of sound evidence and that without serious action our entire community will be at considerable risk.  Given this the following actions will be implemented:

  • Middle Crescent based group activities will cease at the end of this afternoon, Wednesday 8 July 2020
  • Online services will be fully restored effective Monday 13 July 2020 but in order to provide staff with the capacity to gear up for this…
  • No online services will be available on Thursday 9 or Friday 10 July 2020
  • Access restrictions, which had been slightly eased across our residential services, will be reversed

I am acutely aware that this turn of events will be profoundly confronting for many Bayley House families.  The shutdown of services has been profoundly felt by many and, despite our best endeavours to support clients and families through a range of online and remote supports, we know this does not compare to face-to-face service delivery.  As a community we felt we were on the way out of this challenge, only to find our hopes dashed.  Our staff will be contacting all families and clients over the coming days.  We will be checking in to see how you are faring and to ask if there are ways we can support you over the coming weeks.

This is not where we expected to be at this point, but we have managed over recent months and in fact, we have innovated, we have supported each other, and we have learned that, as a community, we are resilient and resourceful.  No doubt the next six weeks will challenge us further, but I have no doubt we will get through it.  Please, if you are struggling, if you need additional support, do reach out to any of us so we can work together to find solutions.

Thank you, as always, for your patience and for your support.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

June 19

Thanks once more for your support for the work we have done in recent months to assist Bayley House clients and families through this challenging COVID-19 period.

As you know, Stage A of our planned return to group activities went live one week ago and it has certainly been a success from the perspective that clients are on-site and participating in group activities and we have had no unexpected dramas. It is strange, however!  Perhaps it is unsurprising, given the bustle which generally characterises a visit to Bayley House, that the absence of numbers and the necessary restrictions in place mean that a whole lot of human interaction is just not happening; and that we notice it and miss it!

Still, people are safe and well and that is our primary concern. We understand that, especially for some of our very….social clients, the limitations on movement around the building are frustrating. I certainly know, from the number of regular visitors I have to my office, that many of our clients love a chat and that ‘doing the rounds’ is an important and valued part of their routine. But for the moment it cannot be. Staff find the limitations a challenge as well as they are limited to the area in which they are working and cannot go to other areas or catch up with friends and other clients. For the moment these are the limitations which as a society we have come to accept as a necessary evil. Like you, I will be delighted when we can put them behind us….but truthfully that will not be for quite a while.

Stages B, C and D of our phased return are planned to happen over the next 6 weeks. Online activities will remain throughout stage B although slightly reduced in number of activities running each day to ensure we have enough people in each group. GM Community & Life Skills, Natarsha Warren will be in touch with families to let you know further details. Similarly, having started to ease some restrictions on our residences last week, we are now finalising a phased plan to once more, with care, see our residents able to interact with their community. GM Accommodation Options, Janet Batey will provide details of that plan soon.

Inevitably the changes of recent months have been wide and varied. Whilst our response to the COVID-19 challenge has been swift, the back of house processes required to adjust Schedules of Support and invoicing to reflect those changes are regrettably complex and oft-times cumbersome.  We seek your patience as the Client Services Team endeavours to sort these issues out and hope that you will understand that there may be some delays in this and also in answering your queries.

In other exciting news, the NDIA has released the new 2020/21 Price Guide.  Whilst the actual prices will not be available for some weeks the Guide does include many significant structural changes to the way in which services can be delivered in both group activities and the accommodation space. We are working our way through these complex changes and will be in touch with clients and families over the coming months as we seek to amend service agreements….again.

Thanks once again for your ongoing support for Bayley House.  Take care and stay safe.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

June 8

Please read the following update to stay informed about important dates.

We are rapidly heading towards the middle of June and only weeks away from the shortest day, traditionally Melbourne’s darkest and most dreary time when we tend to hibernate.  Yet as I write this the sky is blue, the sun is shining and Melbournians are ever so slowly starting to emerge from a different kind of hibernation.

Thank you once again for your support and your patience as we have endeavoured to steer our way through this COVID challenge. We are starting every so slowly to return to life, though it certainly will not be as we have come to know it…for a while at least.  We are taking ‘baby steps’ and we are doing this deliberately.

As announced from next week we will begin to ease some restrictions in our residential settings so that families will be able to take clients out of the house to visit family or very close friends. And on Wednesday we will welcome the first group of clients back to Middle Crescent. We are as excited as you are that hopefully the worst is past and that, social distancing permitting, we can start to interact more directly and less via zoom!

Also like you, we are apprehensive about how it will go. We have planned and strategised.  We have prepared. We have hand sanitiser and thermometers. We have signs and masking tape on the floors and doors and walls! We are ready. But we know there will be issues we have not foreseen and that we will need to address and resolve at the time. As ever we will do our best and we thank you in advance for your patience and forbearance when we need to make further changes.

But we will get there!  As my mum used to say in such circumstances, “Warwick…worse things happen at sea”. Given that she hated the water and couldn’t swim I am not quite sure what her evidence for this was? Or perhaps that was the point? In any case, her message to me, and mine to you is that no doubt we will face some challenges over coming months but we have done all we can to prepare and whatever issues arise I am 100% confident that we will meet and resolve them and that with your assistance we will soon hear Middle Crescent awaking to its usual bustling state of activity, fun and learning.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

May 27

Please read the following update to stay informed about important dates.


Consistent with its cautious easing of restrictions across the community, the State Government has released guidelines to facilitate a return to centre-based group activities. Encouragingly the guidelines, whilst comprehensive and detailed, are consistent with our own planning; no surprises.

As anticipated the cornerstone of the return is social distancing in all the forms that we have come to expect; high levels of hygiene and cleaning and physical distancing of individuals at all times.  The ‘four square metre rule’ as it has come to be known is required to be implemented for all indoor activities and in all locations.  This means that not all activities and all clients will be returning to Middle Crescent for the time being at least.

GM Community & Lifeskills, Natarsha Warren, will be in touch in the coming days to provide more detail.

We anticipate that clients in Stage A of our staggered return to service will commence on June 10th, 2020.


Bayley House residential services have now been in ‘lockdown’ for 10 weeks. We took the decision to seriously restrict access to and movement out of all our supported accommodation residences early on as the potential impact of COVID-19 became clear.  I am enormously indebted to all staff, clients, and families who have supported this decision and this approach. I appreciate that is has been genuinely testing for many but I have no doubt that it has kept everyone safe through this challenging time.

In consultation with GM Accommodation Options, Janet Batey, and the Bayley House leadership team I believe we are now able to plan to ease some of the restrictions in place at our houses. Please appreciate that, consistent with the Government approach to the general easing of restrictions, initial changes will be minor as we continue to assess the risk.

Changes will commence from Monday, June 8th, 2020. Janet will be in touch next week to provide further detail.


Please note that Government guidelines provide parameters with which we must comply. Bayley House has and will continue to require restrictions beyond those guidelines in the interests of client and staff safety and wellbeing.

Thank you for your continued support and patience as we endeavour to manage our way sensibly and cautiously back to life!

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

May 26

Thank you to everyone who completed the Request to Return survey, we have recorded your return preferences and are now planning Stage A in preparation for when the Government announces changes to the restrictions, hopefully, in early June.

As we prepare to return with much excitement and a tiny bit of anxiety, Bayley House would like to reassure you that our leadership team has put in place the following measures to protect the safety and wellbeing of clients, staff, and families:

Return to Bayley House

  • Returning clients will remain with the same group of peers and staff all week in the same room.
  • Staff, clients, and visitors will be checked for temperature prior to entry to premises and boarding buses.
  • Anyone with a temperature of 37.5C or above will be denied entry.
  • Anyone that develops a temperature (as noted above) during the day will be quarantined while their family is notified for immediate pick-up.
  • Visitors will be subject to COVID risk assessment questions asked and may be denied entry.

Hygiene and protection

  • Increased cleaning throughout the building of all surfaces throughout the day
  • Hand sanitisers used throughout the building
  • Strict handwashing processes will be in place for both staff and clients

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

  • Additional PPE Equipment is available throughout the building
  • Outbreak kits available at each site
  • Staff supporting clients with personal care will wear PPE
  • Staff will wear PPE (masks, gloves, gowns) to support any clients that are unable to socially distance themselves.
  • Training and assessment for all staff required to use PPE.

Physical distancing

  • Physical distancing of at least 1.5m for both staff and clients in place at all times
  • No more than one person per four square meters of floor space
  • Clearly visible signs stating Bayley House distancing requirements
  • Specific entry and exit points per site
  • No more than 3 clients per transport run

Please note that we understand that some clients may take a while to get used to staff wearing PPE and to the 1.5m boundaries that we need to put in place to ensure safety for everyone in the building.  We will work closely with any individual who is struggling with this.


  • Entry restricted to only essential visitors
  • Visitors to register at entry
  • Visitors temperature is taken, if 37.5C or higher entry is declined
  • Visitors asked to hand sanitise prior to moving through the building and maintain social distancing.

Thank you for your support during this time – we would also like to remind you that the decision to move the two-week mid-year holiday break to April means that that there will be no July holiday break. 

Please contact me  for further  information:
Natarsha Warren
GM Community & Lifeskills
Phone: 03 9982 1505 or Email: Click here

May 18

Access to Bayley House residential services 

In light of recent slight easing of restrictions announced by the Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews last week, we have received a few enquiries from families wishing to have additional access to our residential services and/or to take residents out for social activities.

I understand that these restrictions are challenging for families but reiterate that they are in place for the protection and well being of Bayley House clients, who are in fact doing remarkably well despite the extended ‘lockdown’!  Whilst some minor easing of restrictions was announced by the Victorian Premier none of these are applicable to residential services and our arrangements, as put in place back in March remain the same –

Entry to our Homes effective today Friday 20 March 2020 

  • For the safety of residents and employees and on the advice of the health authorities access is now available for essential visitors only
  • Visits will be limited to each resident’s authorised representative or their nominee (two people maximum at any given time)
  • Visits to houses will be restricted to specified times which will be advised separately
  • Travel outside of the house for residents will be restricted to essential appointments only and preferably accompanied only by staff
  • If this is not possible, residents need to be returned directly to the house without attending any other location
  • Families may, of course, choose to have their loved one return to live with the family.  If this is their choice returning to the house will not be possible until the situation clarifies and will be at Bayley House’ discretion
  • We ask you to stay away if you have come in contact with someone who has contracted the Coronavirus, traveled overseas or have felt unwell during the past 14 days

Visitors will be required to 

  • Visit only with prior arrangement with staff
  • Follow the designated sign-in procedure and check in with reception staff prior to entry
  • Adhere to our infection prevention and control procedures and practice social distancing (1.5m apart)
  • Only visit your loved one in whatever is the identified physical space within (or outside) the house
  • Enter and leave directly without spending time in the communal areas or interacting with other residents or staff

Thank you for your ongoing support.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

May 15

Welcome to the start of a return to life as we (used to) know it!

Yes, governments at both national and state levels agree that Australia can safely start, ever so slowly, to put our heads above the metaphorical parapet.  It has been a challenging journey so far and indeed it is anything but over, but no doubt like me, you are keen for any sign that the light at the end of that tunnel is sunlight

The Bayley House team is strong and strategic as I know you would expect of us and our attention in the last week has been to shift our focus from just dealing with the present to considering how a return to face to face activities might look and how it can be managed whilst providing a safe space for our clients and our staff.

Request to Return

Last Friday we asked you to complete a survey to assist us in better understanding your own preferences about that return and the response has been very strong.  If you have not had a chance to complete the survey you can still do so until Sunday at 8 pm, please click here. Interestingly the feedback we received (a summary is provided below) has very much reflected our own preliminary plans for bringing clients back in stages according to a range of factors.

125 people responded to the question asking, “At which stage would like to come back?” and these are the results so far;

In the earliest Stage A when Bayley House reintroduces individuals living independently or with families at home who are not managing to participate in online activities – 33%

In Stage B when Bayley House reintroduces the remaining individuals living with families at home – 36%

In Stage C when Bayley House reintroduces individuals living in external residences – 15%

In the final Stage D when Bayley House reintroduces individuals living in Bayley House residences – 16%.

Return to Bayley House

Following the Victorian Premier’s announcements Monday, 11 May we have now moved to the detailed level of planning and logistics which is required in order that we can deliver group activities on site whilst complying with social distancing requirements.  This is no easy task but we hope that we will be able to return clients as part of Phase 1 during the first week of June. We thank you for your input, support, and patience whilst we put these vital measures into place.

Coronavirus Testing

The State Government has been actively encouraging Victorians to access COVID-19 testing now that it is available to people who are not symptomatic.  I am encouraging every member of our Bayley House staff to be tested and in fact to do so on a regular basis.  As we move from a state of high-level lock down the best defense we have as a community is a high level of preventative testing as a means of keeping the rate of infection low and enabling swift and accurate contact tracing.  Everyone who works in the human services sector can play their part by proactively being part of the testing regime.

Coronavirus App

I would like to remind you that the Federal Government released the COVIDSAFE app a few weeks back for smartphones as a preliminary to easing restrictions. Bayley House does not have a view on whether you should or should not download the app, the decision is entirely yours however I do urge you to ensure that you are at least well informed.

Flu Vaccinations

Finally, please understand that flu vaccinations, because of Health and Safety issues will not be available at Bayley House this year.  Whilst this change from our standard practice was communicated some weeks ago it is possible that it got lost amongst the many changes which were suddenly upon us in March.  Health authorities continue to emphasise the importance of flu vaccinations and I urge you to arrange this directly through medical clinics or many pharmacies.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

May 8

As Victoria prepares to ease restrictions, Bayley House is developing our plan for a return to Day Programs. We will send a fixed return date when the new government decisions are announced however, in the meantime, we are making plans for a 4-part staged return (see below for details).

It is important that you complete the online Request to Return form for us to plan these stages appropriately. We expect that we will have capped numbers for each stage and not everyone will be able to return at once.

These are the proposed Stages of return

  • Stage A Clients living independently or with families at home, focussing on those not engaging with online activities.
  • Stage B The remainder of clients living with families at home.
  • Stage C Clients living in external residences.
  • Stage D Clients living in Bayley House residences.
  • Please note we will be taking the following precautions to ensure everyone’s safety:
  • Temperature checking prior to boarding transport and entering Bayley House, anyone with a temperature will not be able to attend.
  • Implementing the 1 person per 4 square meter rule per room.
  • Reducing the capacity on all Bayley House transport to allow for social distancing.
  • Individuals will follow an altered timetable and remain in the same area with the same staff each day – this will be reviewed as the state government restrictions are eased.
  • Ceasing all community-based activities – this will be reviewed as the state government restrictions are eased.
  • Restricting non-essential visitors. Parents/carers will need to drop off and pick up at reception.
  • Increasing the cleaning of all sites.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

April 30

NDIS funding is providing opportunities for clients and Bayley House to re-enter the not-for-profit housing sector. Short Term Accommodation (STA), respite, was identified as the most urgent need.

Bayley House is pleased to announce another STA will be opening in Brighton during May. Future housing plans for Bayley House include:

  • The expansion of our housing options
  • Houses for 3-5 clients
  • Units  for 1-2 clients
  • Staffing, including overnight
  • Client compatibility is a high priority
  • Bayley House to facilitate staff and house/unit

Families, if you are interested in Bayley House assisting  your person to find
Accommodation in our future houses; there are a number of important steps you need to take:

  • At your NDIS plan meeting, the main goal needs to identify your person, wishes to explore housing options to live with friends/alone
  • Support Coordination to be included in the plan. One of the roles of a Support Coordinator is  to develop a housing plan to apply for  Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA), this is to cover maintenance and building costs
  • Supported Independent Living (SIL), this is to fund staff support in the house, to be included in the plan

Please contact us if you would like more information

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

May 6

Welcome Fiona

I would like to take this opportunity to welcome and introduce Fiona Atkinson who joined the executive leadership team last week in her capacity as Director of Philanthropy.  Fiona’s appointment follows an exhaustive recruitment process and I could not be more delighted with her experience in the philanthropic and fundraising sectors as well as her value ‘fit’ for Bayley House. Fiona thrives on a challenge, and well she might be given the extraordinary times in which she joins us.  I know you will enjoy the opportunity to catch up with Fiona once restrictions are eased; meanwhile she is doing everything she can to touch base with many stakeholders over the coming weeks.

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

May 1

Another week of service delivery amidst social distancing and another week of innovation and learning.  All our residential services remain safe and vibrant with many activities being delivered by regular residential support staff, by teams of day service staff and of course remotely through Bayley House Online.  By all accounts most residents are having a great time; the standing joke internally being that we may struggle to get them back to Middle Crescent! 

Bayley House Online 

As you may know, roughly 20 group activities  are being delivered through Bayley House online across the week. I do want to emphasise that we appreciate this medium does not work for all clients nor for all families, that abilities and technology sometimes mean this is just not a feasible option and we continue to try to find other ways to support those clients and families.  Thank you for your patience. 

Technical Support

A team of staff have been dedicated over the past two weeks to supporting families with their IT setups and to access Bayley House online through the website and zoom app. We are confident that all, bar a few, are now connected and able to log in each week.  

 Should anyone still have technical issues we will still have someone available to support you between 10-11 each morning. Please call Jack – 0402 528 229, Jason 9982 1530 (Tues-Fri) or Stanley – 9982 1506. If they are helping someone else, please leave a message with your issue and we’ll call you back as soon as someone is available. 

Technology Equipment 

To assist participants to continue to receive supports during the COVID period, the NDIA has temporarily broadened the flexible approach to the purchase of low-cost Assistive Technology (AT) items. 

Participants may be able to claim items such as smart devices and fitness equipment  If certain conditions are met, any participant can spend up to $1500 on low cost AT items from their existing budget but should not spend more than $750 on electronic devices if required. A systems update will occur on 9 May to ensure this new flexibility is available to all participants (even when they currently do not have funding in their core budget for consumables). 

This increased flexibility will be in place until September 2020. Participants and providers are urged to read the NDIA’s advice carefully to understand the parameters of this new, temporary, flexibility. 

The Future 

Whilst we would certainly never have chosen to experience a pandemic, it is undoubtedly true that we have learned new ways of doing things and we have gained insights into our clients’ needs and capabilities, which we otherwise may not have experienced.  We want to ensure that these gains are not lost and in fact that they inform the way we work in the future in some instances at least.  Already we are beginning to plan for what a return to ‘normal’ may look like.  We anticipate that restrictions will be eased slowly, and we want to be ready for that as soon as the Government announces those changes. 

As a preliminary to easing restrictions the Federal  Government last week released the COVIDSAFE app for smartphones.  There are differing views as to whether this app will make a practical difference, as well as any real or perceived potential breaches of privacy and security.  It is not my place to suggest whether you should or should not download the app but I do urge you to ensure that you are at least well informed about the app and give the matter serious consideration.  We are all acutely aware of the impact of social isolation on individuals as well as our society’s economy and we are keen to be able to return to direct support as soon as it is safe and appropriate to do so. 

Accommodation Funding Update 

Another key part of our forward planning is accommodation options for many of our clients.  SDA and SIL funding through NDIS packages can bring a whole range of options into play, but it is a complex area with risk as well as opportunity.  Bayley House has a wealth of experience in supported accommodation and we are keen to assist clients and families make the most of their options.  Janet Batey, GM Accommodation Options has recently communicated with families and I encourage you to familiarise yourself with her message and to make contact with Janet if you want more information or to be involved. 

NDIS Price Guide Updates 

As you may be aware, indexed prices due to Covid-19 have changed recently. Bayley House will commence claiming the new rate as per the Price Guide issued on 25/03/2020. For more information about NDIS price changes, short notice cancellations, and core funding for Support Coordination, please click here  

Please also be aware that the NDIS are triggering plan reviews when packages reach 90% capacity. Please work with the NDIS to ensure you have enough money in your package to cover your supports and remember to contact Bayley House as soon as the NDIA contacts you to review your package of supports. 

Thank you again for your ongoing support

Warwick Cavanagh
CEO Bayley House

April 24

Thank you for coming with us on this journey of discovery in recent weeks as we have worked hard to bring a range of supports and activities to clients and families in a ‘remote’ fashion.  We launched Bayley House Live immediately after we had to close Middle Crescent groups due to COVID-19 restrictions and our offerings have evolved in diversity and complexity since then.  This week we plunged full tilt into Bayley House Online with a timetable of activities across the whole week and many clients logging in to their chosen group or 1:1 support. 

Bayley House Online

As we anticipated there have been many challenges throughout the week but feedback from clients, families and indeed staff has been consistently positive and constructive.  It has been a steep learning curve for everyone and, taking into account all your feedback we will improve the online service to suit the needs of our clients. 

Reduced online hours from next week

One important change will be that sessions will reduce in length from three hours to two hours.   

This change was a result of feedback from clients, families, and staff that the current sessions were too long and it was difficult to maintain client focus.  It is interesting that across our whole nation people are coming to terms with working remotely/working from home and that to our surprise this work seems remarkably tiring.  No doubt sociologists will study this phenomenon and in years to come there will be well-evidenced reports on it.

Thank you

I do want to take this opportunity to thank my staff team for the super-human effort they have made to get us to this point.  I know that Bayley House staff would move heaven and earth to support each and every one of our clients and the last few weeks have been a very clear example of that.  But good endeavours should not be taken for granted and I know you too will join me in acknowledging the incredible contribution made by the team to bring these new services to you.  My thanks to you also for your patience and your creativity.  Between us, we are achieving something great out of a very challenging circumstance. 

NDIS Plans coming up 

Finally, on a very different topic, several clients/families are having NDIS review meetings.  When this happens it is really important that Bayley House is advised so that we have the opportunity to liaise with you around what activities you seek to have funded, and so that we can prepare a quote for the meeting.  Without this, there is a very real risk that packages may be approved by the NDIA which do not meet the participant’s needs and/or do not have sufficient funds for Bayley House to deliver the service.  Please let us know as soon as you can that the NDIA has been in touch to review your package of support. 

April 19

Another busy but constructive week in what is now beginning to feel scarily like the new ‘business as usual’. Already it is hard to believe that only a month ago we had barely heard of social distancing yet now we subconsciously move to one side as we pass someone on the footpath and are somewhat surprised if those little 1.5m separated marks are NOT on the floor or footpath to show us where to queue!

As a community, we adapt quickly once we understand the need and perhaps therein lies the key to Australia’s relative success in managing this challenge; early action and consistent messaging (mostly). In our own Bayley House community though, we understand that many of our clients find adapting to change very challenging indeed. We understand that consistency and predictability are characteristics that are key to our clients’ quality of life and that is why we have worked so hard these last few weeks to bring Bayley House to you. Starting with Bayley House Live Facebook Group in week 1 of Stage 3 restrictions, followed by a range of zoom and Skype and Facetime sessions our staff have engaged with clients at home in activities as diverse as community singing and aerobics. And this week another step forward, clients completing their Certificate 1 course have now successfully participated in live online training through Bayley House Online!

Thank you for the positive feedback we have already received. This will encourage us next week as we roll out a full array of online and remotely delivered ‘group activities’ to almost 100 clients. Thanks also to our training partners AST who have been supportive and flexible in helping us get to this point.

On an entirely different note, we recently discovered that we had incorrectly paid overtime for a small number of our residential staff. True to Bayley House values and culture though, we have investigated the issue, advised our staff and the Fair Work Ombudsman, and have commenced works to remediate this for impacted staff.

As ever Bayley House is working to support our community, seeking to find new and innovative ways to ensure that the quality of life of all our clients remains high and that families have the resources they need to get through this challenge. We are conscious that, whilst restrictions will be eased in time, COVID-19 will have a long-lasting impact on our society. Bayley House is planning for the future. We are working to support you next week, next month, and indeed next year.

Thank you for your ongoing support.

April 12

Thanks for your patience these last two weeks as we have focused on how we can best manage to continue supporting our clients and families whilst Stage 3 restrictions remain in place. It will come as no surprise to you that we are unable to reopen Day Service activities at Middle Crescent next week. Indeed we anticipate that situation will remain unchanged for at least Term 2.

I am, however, delighted and relieved to be able to confirm that Bayley House is eligible for the Commonwealth Government JobKeeper subsidy which was announced last week and that the Bayley House Board approved a package of support which will enable our staff to remain employed and hard at work developing and delivering a range of online support services and activities for clients at home as well as in our residential support settings.

Bayley House Chair of the Board, John Ashby commented, “It is a great relief that our staff can continue to support Bayley House clients whilst they remain at home due to Stage 3 restrictions. We are investing in a range of online technology and staff training to make this happen in the shortest possible timeframe. The Board appreciates the hard work of staff to continue supporting clients and families throughout this challenging time”.

Natarsha and her team will be in regular contact with families next week as we progressively roll out our online options and activities.  Feedback to Bayley House Live has been very positive and we are learning each day as we develop our ability to offer more activities through an online platform. Please understand that we are learning as we go; there may be some challenges but there will also be exciting achievements.

Thank you once again for your support of Bayley House. I would like to take this opportunity to reassure you once more that, to date, no Bayley House clients or staff member has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

We wish you all a happy and healthy Easter and Passover.

April 7

Video Transcript

Thanks everyone for your response to our survey of families which is helping us to plan alternative activities and supports for the coming weeks and months as we try to find ways to support you whilst we comply with stage three coronavirus restrictions.

We’ve received a few questions from families as to where the Bailey House Day Services will be open for Easter for term two. I’d like to take this opportunity to clear this up by confirming that the government restrictions in place mean that we are unable to provide Day Service activities for clients at any of the bailey house premises until further notice Middle Crescent will not be open for business next week or indeed for some considerable time given the projected time span of the response, however, we will be delivering an increasing range of day support services online as mentioned in my recent CEO update sent yesterday.

We do understand that remote and virtual services would only be of benefit to some of our clients and we’re trying to find ways other ways to support clients and families for whom this is not an option. We are diligently checking in with all families regularly and working on way to support you wherever we can we appreciate that this is not always possible given the government restrictions to enforce social distancing.

We will continue to support you all in whatever ways we can so everyone please take care and stay safe.

April 6

Your ongoing support for Bayley House is appreciated as we endeavour to navigate these uniquely challenging times.  As ever, we have our clients’ interests and needs at the forefront of all our thinking and planning. We will continue to provide information and support as the weeks and months of this crisis unfold.


Firstly, thank you to those of you who responded to our recent survey regarding the delivery of day service programs while you remain in isolation. For those who have not completed the survey, you will need to do so before 5pm Wednesday 8 April so that we are able to provide those services to you after Easter. SURVEY: Click here to tell us what you want next semester


We have had an overwhelming response to our Bayley House Facebook Group which launched 24 March to keep you all entertained during the holidays. We will continue to keep this channel open for our community to share isolation ideas and pictures.


From your survey responses, it is clear that many families are excited about Bayley House Online starting up soon. This is where we will continue to deliver many of the group activities you would normally enjoy at Bayley House but online through our website (using Zoom). We are still in the process of setting this up and testing it before we launch it after Easter. If you have not done so already through the survey, please notify us if you want to modify your Day Support services in Semester Two otherwise we will assume you are keen to keep the same activities (where possible).

Here’s how it will work:

Those of you who agreed in the survey to maintain your day service program for semester two will continue to be billed for the service but at reduced hours
You will be booked into the same activity days that you had in Semester One unless we hear from you
Reduced contact hours – instead of 6 hours a day we will be offering reduced hours to suit the delivery of online activities. For example, activities may run one hour on and one hour off throughout the day to help maintain interest and engagement, totalling 3 to 4 contact hours
We will assist you to log in at the appropriate time to join the small group online and encourage you to interact with the Bayley House Support Worker and other clients as you did previously
We will continue to adopt the Person-Centered Active Support principals that drive everything we do and ensure the focus remains on the potential that every support moment presents.


We have had a few queries about out-of-pocket expenses and transport fees. Please note that these are calculated on an annual basis and distributed across 26 fortnightly payments. This means that the fees are calculated only for the weeks for which day service operate but are spread across the entire year to make payments easier for families. You are not billed for services you are not receiving.

As I am sure you are aware from previous updates, we have brought the July term break forward to March/April to help manage our response to the coronavirus crisis and enable us to plan for service delivery during Semester Two. The service is not closed, simply on term break and staff are on leave. However, once the break concludes after Easter and center-based group activities do not return, transport fees and out-of-pocket expenses will not be invoiced.  I appreciate this is a complex issue and I hope this clarifies it satisfactorily. If you have any further questions please email us here and we will respond to you directly.


If your loved one is living in an external residence their day program funding may already be utilised in providing in-home support and they may not have any left for the online activities mentioned above. Please contact us to find out if this applies to you.


All our residential support services are now ‘locked down’ and have been for some weeks.  We took this action, consistent with Government direction, to limit the risk to residents.  Logistically this is also a means by which we hope to limit the demand on our resources in the event that a resident or staff member does test positive for Coronavirus.  Almost all families, despite the challenge of these necessary restrictions, have responded positively and supportively for which we are grateful.  Regrettably, a small number continue to put residents and staff at risk by repeated demands for access to properties. I have asked Janet Batey, General Manager Accommodation Options, to take this issue up with those involved and I know you will understand that if a change in approach is not forthcoming we will have no option but to restrict access entirely.

I thank you for your support and confirm that Bayley House remains absolutely committed to continuing to provide a wide range of activities and support options for clients and families over the coming weeks. These are challenging times, to say the least, and our primary responsibility, of course, is to the health and wellbeing of clients, families, and staff.


Following the announcement today by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews to implement a ‘shutdown of all non-essential services’ (including schools) our leadership team has met and, following consultation with Board Chair, has decided that –

  • Group activities will cease effective at the close of business Monday, 23 March 2020
  • We are actively exploring creative means to continue providing support and activities to clients and families in other ways; remote engagement, online activities, 1:1 in some cases and we will be in touch with families to advise of these opportunities as they become available
  • We are awaiting further confirmation from official sources as to whether or not our residential services are formally constituted as essential services but are acting on the assumption that they are. On that basis, our residential services will continue with restrictions in place as outlined in my update of 20/3/20
  • Bayley House counseling service will remain operating over Skype and families should make contact if they wish to utilise this service while day programs are closed
  • The status of our Short Stay service is unclear at this time and we will communicate directly with users of this service as soon as we are able.

I thank you for your support and confirm that Bayley House remains absolutely committed to continuing to provide a wide range of activities and support options for clients and families over the coming weeks. These are challenging times, to say the least, and our primary responsibility, of course, is to the health and wellbeing of clients, families, and staff. Rest assured that we will be back with you with a full range of services as soon as we are able to do so.


The advice from the Health Department has remained largely unchanged. On 18 March 2020, the Prime Minister, the Hon. Scott Morrison MP, announced new measures to protect Australians from Coronavirus (COVID-19).
These include:

At this time, may I remind you that we have no notification of any clients, staff or families who have tested positive for COVID-19. In the event we receive a concerning notification, we will be in contact with DHHS as advised and communicate accordingly with families.

Although the current advice indicates we will remain open, we have been working on arrangements for providing support remotely in the event of a closure. In the meantime, we respect families’ decisions regarding self-isolation, and again I would like to thank everyone for the positive communication with Bayley House. When recording an absence please provide some indication for the reason for the absence. We need to ensure that all absences are accounted for and will be recording them as COVID-19 if appropriate (even if the absence is for precautionary measures).

With consideration of the latest advice to disability services, we have been reviewing all activities for which the organisation has financial commitments. We are not paying further deposits or instalments and we are not making bookings for activities that may result in a financial loss for the organisation.  I have been actively working with our local MP Tim Wilson as well as the Minister for the NDIS’ office regarding the need for the Commonwealth and the NDIA to support disability service providers through this challenging issue as we try to support clients and families.  I am encouraged by the announcement following yesterday’s COAG meeting which promised additional support for the sector and looks forward to seeing the detail.

Our Board, in coordination with our leadership team, has been working daily on a fluid response plan to the virus and the proposed actions will be shared with you in regular CEO updates such as this, currently distributed on a weekly basis.
Day Services

Please remember for the safety of our clients, some of whom are extremely vulnerable, that the following measures are in place

  • All visits to Bayley House facilities have been restricted to essential only. This includes deliveries from suppliers, staff, friends, and families
  • We have adopted a zero-tolerance to any visitors who present with cold or flu-like symptoms. We simply cannot risk the health and safety of our community

Residential Facilities

  • We are working to roster individual staff to each house to prevent staff from working across multiple houses, effective immediately
  • We have worked with clients and staff in education regarding the Coronavirus and hygiene prevention strategies
  • We have upgraded restrictions to visitors as follows:

Entry to our Homes effective today Friday 20 March 2020

  • For the safety of residents and employees and on the advice of the health authorities access is now available for essential visitors only
  • Visits will be limited to each resident’s authorised representative or their nominee (two people maximum at any given time)
  • Visits to houses will be restricted to specified times which will be advised separately
  • Travel outside of the house for residents will be restricted to essential appointments only and preferably accompanied only by staff
  • If this is not possible, residents need to be returned directly to the house without attending any other location
  • Families may, of course, choose to have their loved one return to live with the family.  If this is their choice returning to the house will not be possible until the situation clarifies and will be at Bayley House’ discretion
  • We ask you to stay away if you have come in contact with someone who has contracted the Coronavirus, traveled overseas or have felt unwell during the past 14 days

Visitors will be required to

  • Visit only with prior arrangement with staff
  • Follow the designated sign-in procedure and check in with reception staff prior to entry
  • Adhere to our infection prevention and control procedures and practice social distancing (1.5m apart)
  • Only visit your loved one in whatever is the identified physical space within (or outside) the house
  • Enter and leave directly without spending time in the communal areas or interacting with other residents or staff

We absolutely understand that these procedures are confronting and challenging. We thank you for your support and understanding in helping us keep all our residents safe and calm during these difficult times.  Equally please understand that these actions are entirely consistent with Commonwealth guidelines and health authority recommendations and they will be enforced.  Any family members who breach these procedures will be unable to visit for the foreseeable future.


There are now over 70 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) in Victoria and growing. Victoria’s Premier Daniel Andrews has declared a state of emergency in Victoria, effective from today for four weeks in response to the coronavirus pandemic. At the present time, there remains only one confirmed case in Victoria that may have been acquired through community transmission.

Please let me reassure you that there is still no evidence of a known threat to Bayley House clients, staff or activities.

We continue to monitor the information and advice provided by the World Health Organisation, Commonwealth Department of Health, Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), National Disability Services (NDS), the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NIDS), various Melbourne Disability Service providers and other sources.

Our dedicated crisis committee has been working closely with me to develop the next stage of our prevention action plan with the following updates to services:

  • All community-based activities will be put on hold until further notice. Those who can, will be redirected to center-based activities to join appropriate groups
  • Some select groups will be given the opportunity to utilise our new Hampton facility to further develop skills in existing programs
  • We are limiting visits to day service and residentials to essential only
  • We will do our best to maintain continuity of service where we can but with the potential of schools closing and staff self-quarantining, we may be required to re-deploy community-based staff to the center and to any residence in need of support
  • As a result of food shortages and issues with hygiene controls, we will be canceling all cooking activities and replacing them with other center-based activities of interest
  • We are compiling a registry of people with compromised immune systems and will continue to monitor their health, activities and social contacts on an individual basis.


  • We have no plan to close at this stage. However, we are monitoring three key indicators closely; 1. the advice of the expert bodies, 2. the potential shutdown of schools surrounding Bayley House and 3. the unfortunate event that a staff member or client of Bayley House is diagnosed with the Coronavirus
  • We also are working on a plan to use remote IT services to enable all corporate services staff to work from home if required.
    Other measures already implemented
  • Bayley House Staff have been asked to monitor their health and hygiene closely and self-quarantine if necessary, we ask that families do the same and minimise visits to the center where possible
  • We have a register of all clients and staff in regards to overseas travel and, where required, will monitor each individual’s health status while in quarantine
  • We have been running workshops with the clients around hygiene and handwashing utilising available easy-read resources and signage
  • The facilities have a good supply of antibacterial gel and wipes for regular use
  • We have contracted our cleaning company to provide an extra shift each day cleaning the bathrooms and common area surfaces.
    Further information will be provided soon. Thank you for your understanding and support in the matter.


There are now over 109,000 confirmed cases of Coronavirus (COVID-19) worldwide, with at least 112 in Australia including 15 in Victoria. However, I do want to reiterate once more that there is no evidence of a known threat to Bayley House clients, staff or activities and we continue to monitor major sources to ensure Bayley House follows best practices in prevention and preparation.

According to the Department of Health, the Australian Government considers the following countries to be at higher risk for COVID-19:

  • Mainland China
  • Iran
  • Italy
  • Republic of Korea

The Australian Government considers the following countries to be at moderate risk for COVID-19:

  • Cambodia
  • Hong Kong
  • Indonesia
  • Japan
  • Singapore
  • Thailand

Bayley House is maintaining a registry of staff and clients who have informed us of their recent or pending travels and we will continue to monitor and support people through their safe return to our facilities.

If you have recently traveled to any of the above countries or are in contact with people who have recently returned, we ask that you notify us immediately and if required, isolate yourself for 14 days and seek medical advice prior to returning to Bayley House. We also ask that if you or your loved ones are feeling unwell and suffering flu-like symptoms to please follow the Australian Government’s advice and seek medical advice immediately.
Please help minimise the level of client anxiety by discussing the risks calmly and openly with your loved ones.

For more information about the virus, please visit what you need to know at the Department of Health website. Australians traveling overseas are encouraged to regularly review the Smartraveller website

Thank you for your understanding and support in the matter.


We are aware that many of you are concerned about Bayley Houses’ preparations for a possible outbreak of the Coronavirus in Australia.

I want to reassure you again with this update that whilst there is no evidence of a known threat to Bayley House clients, staff or activities, we are following best practices to plan for the future and to prepare for all possible eventualities.

For your information, the following outlines specifics in stage one of our prevention action plan.

For Clients

  • We are engaging a professional to run a workshop with the clients around hygiene and hand washing
  • All bathrooms have signage to prompt clients to wash and dry their hands and staff are prompting everyone to wash hands prior to eating
  • All rooms have a supply of antibacterial gel for all to use
  • All computer devices will be supplied with anti-bacterial wipes to clean prior to use
  • We have contracted our cleaning company to provide an extra shift each day in the Day Program area to assist with cleaning the bathrooms and common area surfaces.
  • We will support to communicate clearly and early should they feel unwell.
  • We will closely monitor any clients who may be traveling overseas.

For staff

  • We will issue all staff with access to complete the Disability Services Consulting training module to ‘Supporting People to Stay Infection Free’ more information here.
  • We will work with house and transport staff to identify symptoms of any illness early and avoid accepting individuals into the Day Program area who are unwell
  • We will closely monitor any staff who may be traveling overseas.

For Families

  • We ask that you support us in keeping clients healthy and safe by informing us of any current signs of illness and any future travel plans
  • We ask that you support us in maintaining the level of client anxiety by discussing the risks calmly and openly with your loved ones.

Thank you for your understanding and support in the matter, we are implementing all of the above and currently working on stage 2 action plan, should the virus present in Melbourne and will keep you informed.

Coronavirus Vaccine

Am I eligible to get the vaccine?
Click to visit the Government’s Vaccine Eligibility Checker


Covid-19 vaccination overview easy read

Visit health.gov.au
Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine roadmap

Coronavirus (COVID19) Information

NDIS Info pack for Participants

About the Coronavius

How to protect yourself and others

The importance of social distancing and isolation

Helping someone with intellectual disability during COVID-19

Practical strategies and ideas for Participants and Families

Coronavirus hotline 1800 675 398

If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.
Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

2021 Audit