The new Chief Operating Officer for CatholicCare Tasmania, Mandy Clarke, has commenced in the new managerial position.

Ms Clarke has a long history working within the human services industry, and brings to the position a wealth of knowledge and experience.

“I have worked in this industry for more than twenty years and have a huge commitment to it. I started out working as a practitioner in the housing area and gradually moved into management from there.

“I’ve worked with people experiencing mental illness, family violence, homelessness, and a range of different disabilities, including acquired brain injuries and rehabilitation work,” Ms Clarke said.

CatholicCare offers support services for children and families including counselling, childcare and multicultural support services, housing support, aged care, homelessness and mental health programs, with all services measuring rapid growth in the last year.  Ms Clarke said her focus will be to develop better systems to manage growth in the sector.

“I have spent the last ten years working in assisting organisations to implement changes to their operating environments, so I think that some of the things I have learnt, I can bring to this role,” she said.

“We will face as an organisation a shift towards much more demand driven services, much more client choice and control orientation in services, and a greater emphasis on outcome based work.”

With both state and federal governments currently reforming the not-for-profit sector, Ms Clarke said the challenge for the future is balancing the Catholic mission and the inevitable commercialisation of the industry.

“Governments do want to see a shift towards outcome based work and they do want to see increased value for the money that they are spending, there’s no doubt about that.

“I think one of the biggest challenges for us as a Catholic agency is adapting to the new world which is a commercialisation of the human services industry and staying true to mission.

“It’s a fine line sometimes, and I think that it’s a delicate balance and one that we need to carefully navigate and make sure we are clear about who we are as an agency and what contribution we make.”

Tasmania currently has some of the worst educational and health outcomes in Australia including care for our elderly population and people living with disability.

“I think CatholicCare has a strong advocacy role as an organisation to continue to advocate for people that are experiencing disadvantage here in Tasmania,” Ms Clarke said.

“We have a role in encouraging and building confidence and resilience in disadvantaged Tasmanians, and I’m committed in doing that.”