Annual Report 2017


2017 was a year full of both challenges and successes for Challenge Community Services. 

We look forward to sharing our accomplishments from the past year with you in this online version of our Annual Report.

The Annual Report may also be downloaded for you to read or print through the PDF button on the right.

Please use the tabs below as the menu to quickly and easily reach each section:

Challenge Annual Report 2017


The past year was one of milestones and hurdles for Challenge Community Services. Significant changes, from state and federal governments as well as within our organisation, has impacted all aspects of the work we do.

The roll out of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), changes to adoption laws, and adjustments to funding models have each presented a unique challenge. Despite these hurdles, Challenge has continued its path of sustained growth. Revenue for 2017 was 16 percent higher than the year before, and this represents an increase of almost 200 percent over the past seven years.

Our number of staff has also grown across our 68 sites throughout New South Wales, with 50 additional people employed over the past 12 months. Challenge proudly employs 83 staff who have a disability, a number we hope to increase in the future. All four service branches have achieved significant milestones in the last 12 months.

  • Foster Care have had to adjust to legislative and policy changes in both out-of-home care and the adoption process.
  • Disability Services has expanded to meet the influx of new NDIS clients and adapt to changing funding models.
  • Therapeutic Services also expanded to meet the needs of the public as well as providing support and behavioural plans for clients of our other services.
  • Business Services has continued to provide ongoing paid employment and skills acquisition for our clients, and quality products and services to the community.

It was not luck that enabled us to weather the storm of the past 12 months, it has been the result of careful planning and strategic growth. By remaining true to our core values of accountability, equity, innovation, integrity and client-focus, we have continued to be successful in our mission to assist people to reach their potential through innovative and people-centred services.

The test of an organisation is how it responds to times of change. Our management, board, and staff have proven time and again that they are more than up to the challenge. In 2018, Challenge Community Services will celebrate its 60th anniversary and we look forward to another successful year to mark this significant milestone.

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Chairman Report

In last year’s report I said 2017 would be hectic for everyone involved in disability services, a prediction that proved correct.

The transfer of the NDIS from the initial trial to the NSW-wide launch has proven difficult, with the NDIA greatly underestimating the impact the increased numbers would have on the NDIS system. This resulted in massive delays in payment for services already delivered and, at one stage, funding dried up for our group homes in Tamworth for four months. While this put pressure on our cash flow, prior planning of alternative funding streams enabled us to get through it. Other organisations weren’t so lucky, with a number finding they could not continue to operate.

From this, you could be forgiven for thinking the NDIS was a disappointment, but it certainly is not the case. There have been dramatic increases in funding for people with disabilities who had not previously had access. Everyone who satisfies the criteria of an ongoing disability is entitled to services that will assist them to lead a normal life. As our long-term supporters can testify, this was unthinkable 20 years ago.


The NDIS is the largest government undertaking since Medicare. The ‘pain’ suffered will be forgotten in the future, when Australia has the finest system of support for our most vulnerable in the world. We are now providing disability services in a very competitive environment. Competition brings with it reasonable pricing and quality services, which Challenge has recognised as pivotal to the future success of disability organisations.

From small beginnings in Foster Care five years ago, we have grown to be one of the largest providers of out-of-home care for children in NSW. This is testament to the quality of the service our Foster Care staff provide to children and their carers.

Thank you to my fellow board members who have made great sacrifices in their lives to play a meaningful role in the governance and leadership of this wonderful organisation. To Barry and his team, my congratulations for another great result and for the forward thinking that has prepared Challenge for the ‘challenges’ to come.

Ted Wilkinson

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CEO Report

At Challenge Community Services, one thing always remains the same: we are, and have been for years, in a continual mode of change.

While we hoped this year the ‘bugs’ would be removed from the NDIS, problems arose particularly regarding claims for payment of services rendered. At various times over the last 12 months, the NDIA was well over $1m in arrears to Challenge. Thankfully, our alternate funding streams have pulled us through and we are successfully removing barriers to timely payment.

Out-of-home care in NSW is changing as the Government reduces the number of children in foster care, especially young people living in group homes. With an emphasis on guardianship and adoption, our Foster Care team are embarking on a whole new level of service provision. I am optimistic of our success in this challenging area.

Originally providing ongoing services to our Foster Care team, Therapeutic Services has grown substantially to meet the needs of the NDIS, particularly in the provision of behaviour support and plans.

In the end, the success of an organisation comes down to the people that work there. Our front-line support workers, case workers, case managers, supervisors, and regional managers supply the services for which we receive funding. There is also a whole group of back office staff and managers, who ensure all staff are paid, people who owe us money pay and who we owe money to are settled quickly and efficiently, look after our properties and provide the information we need to make decisions. Without these people, Challenge could not exist. Their professionalism and dedication is outstanding and I thank everyone for your efforts.


Challenge is blessed with a stable, creative, and energetic board who contribute significantly to Challenge’s continued success. My thanks for their selfless dedication, hours of voluntary service as well as their ongoing guidance and support.

Challenge continues to receive wonderful support from the various funding bodies both in NSW and on a federal basis. The various local councils in the areas of regional NSW in which we operate along with their communities, assist us to provide these valuable services. I have no doubt their support will continue.

Somewhere, now lost in our history, the person responsible for our naming could not have imagined how accurate our name would be. I remain confident that our team is dedicated to meeting any future challenge.

Barry Murphy
Chief Executive Officer

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Deputy CEO Report

The last 12 months has brought many exciting developments for Challenge. Many projects, focused on our five strategic objectives, have been initiated and completed including:

  • Our Marketing team has developed and implemented a new website and their efforts have resulted in a record number of enquiries.
  • To become an Employer of Choice, we have implemented more flexibility for staff and greater company benefits resulting in a reduction of staff turnover.
  • We have continued to grow our services across NSW with the opening of several new programs.
  • We have created new products designed to facilitate a person-centred approach to ensure customers receive the service they want, when they want.
  • Our IT team have implemented new technology across all sites to ensure our staff and customers are connected, including implementing a new finance system that integrates with our client management system.

The Foster Care team continues to provide excellent care for children in both Residential and Foster Care services, with record numbers of children being restored home and an emphasis on facilitating guardianship and adoption. Perhaps the greatest achievement was successfully completing the Office of the Children’s Guardian accreditation process and receiving five years’ accreditation. The next 12 months for Foster Care will be extremely busy. The introduction of the NSW Government’s new out-of-home care framework will see changes across all our processes to ensure we effectively produce greater outcomes in Restoration, Adoption and Guardianship.


The Therapeutic Services team continued to expand, providing much-needed services to our Foster Care, Residential and NDIS clients. We also saw the development of our Medicare services and the opening of Therapeutic Services to the public. The team has doubled their consultations over the past 12 months and have been pivotal in working with other services to ensure client outcomes are achieved.

As we continue to facilitate our strategy over the next year, there is no doubt we will see more services developed with passionate and dedicated staff facilitating them. I look forward to seeing what the next 12 months brings for Challenge.

Stephen Doley
Deputy CEO

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Finance Report

2016/2017 saw the total revenue of Challenge Community Services increase over the previous year by $8.8m from $53.7m to $62.5m, an increase of 16.4%. Disability Services revenue represented 40% of the total, out-of-home care revenue represented 56% with other miscellaneous income representing 4% of the total. 2016/2017 further consolidated the organisations ongoing strategy to expand its presence in service sectors that have synergies with traditional disability services and supports.

Staff and employment costs totalled 57% of total expenditure, while direct out-of-home care costs accounted for 24% of that total.

2016/2017 saw the next stage of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) roll out across the remainder of our Newcastle/Hunter Valley sites and all North West/New England sites. Western area sites will transition during 2017/2018. Revenue from the NDIS increased from $1.450m in 2015/2016 to $9.316m in 2016/2017. Challenge continues to undertake considerable internal review of services and costs, and has placed itself in a very competitive position in the new NDIS world.

The Net Operating Surplus for 2016/2017 was $3.886m.

Challenge continued to invest in new assets during 2016/2017. Total investment was $822k and included buildings ($232k), computer hardware and software ($371k), and motor vehicles and plant & equipment ($219k).

Mark Crompton
Chief Financial Officer

Key financial ratios are:

  • Equity Ratio – increased to 62.51%, an improvement of 6.3% on the previous year. Target is >55%

  • Working Capital Ratio decreased to 93.15%, a decrease of 7.7% on the previous year. Target is >100%

Graphical representations of revenue by service area and type and key expenses by type follow:

CCS AR income2

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Disability Services

Our team is devoted to providing person-centred care to our clients. We provide choices to our clients so they can pursue their goals and socialise with others who have similar interests and life experience. Our emphasis on community participation and skills building provides our clients with tools that will last them a lifetime. We implement our client’s NDIS plan in such a way that they receive the maximum benefits to reach their goals.

CCS Disability Services Infographic

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Foster Care

We are dedicated to improving the lives of vulnerable children and young people. Our mission is to find loving homes for children of all ages and provide extensive support to our foster carers. We guide our carers through their fostering journey, ensuring they have the training and networks they need to fulfill their vital role. Whether providing respite or a forever family: we provide our carers with the tools to help children who need them most.

CCS FC Infographic

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Therapeutic Services

Our dedicated and passionate team offers a wide range of supports to families and individuals. We offer therapeutic interventions and provide professional counselling to help our clients, their carers, and the community, overcome the challenges life presents us. As part of a wider organisation, we provide a coordinated network to ensure our clients have the tools and support they need to negotiate the world and reach their full potential.

Whether it is speaking to a Psychologist, participating in a group or managing family disputes, with the support of an Accredited Mediator, our service can help you get back on track and improve the day to day wellbeing of you and your family members.


CSS Therapeutic Services Infographic

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Business Services

Our passion is providing quality services to the community and meaningful employment for our clients. We believe that the confidence of a job well done combined with on-the-job skills development will help our clients in their life beyond their current position with Challenge.

CCS Business Services Infographic

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Organisational Chart


1879 Bistro   Mun Hing Restaurant
Acacia medical   Namoi Valley Motors
Allcoast Locksmiths North Gosford   National Disability Services
An Indian Affair   Quality Services Consulting
Arcadian Consulting   Rebecca Wolfgang Occupational
Armidale K-Mart   Therapist
Armidale Massage Centre   Reflections Hair Studio
Armidale Nail and Beauty   Regional Australia Bank
Armidale Pet Shop   Richardson’s Hardware 
Armidale Sport & Recreation Centre   Riding for Disabled Association
Belgrave Twin Cinema   Tamworth
Blackwoods Tamworth   RuralCo Property Gunnedah 
Boggabri Coal   Sandy Rawson Psychologist
Bourke Street Butchery   Singleton Archery Society
Bullimbal School Tamworth   Singleton PCYC
Bunnings Warehouse Armidale   Singleton Rugby Club
Bunnings Warehouse Tamworth   South Tamworth Bowling Club
Cascades Car Wash   Sports Power
Chaffey’s Black Belt Academy   Stan Ray
Chris Kelly Psychologist   Tamworth & District Antique Motor Club
CK Massage   Tamworth Hydrotherapy Pool
Club Synergy   Tamworth Public School
Coles Armidale   Tamworth Regional Council
ComServ Consulting   Tamworth Regional Gallery 
Dancing Devils: Line Dancing Tamworth   Tamworth Sports Dome
Dandelion Café   Taronga Western Plains Zoo - Walanmarra Program 
Danielle Northey   Tenterfield Bowling Club
Delroy Park Woolworths Dubbo   The Beauty Spot 
Department of Health   The Coughing Gherkin
Domino’s Pizza Armidale   The Good Guys 
Donut King Armidale   The Place - Charlestown Community Centre
Easy as Coffee   The Rockpool Foundation Ltd
Everingham Solomons Solicitors   Uncle Pete’s Dubbo
F45 Fitness Edgeworth   University of Newcastle - Tamworth Campus
Face to Face   Warialda Rural Fire Service
Fat Goose Crossing   Wonder Chinese Restaurant
Flourish Australia    
Gloria Jean’s Armidale   FEDERAL GOVERNMENT 
Good2Give   Department of Education
Gordon Barry & Co Pty Ltd   Department of Health
Greater Bank Armidale   Department of Social Services
Halo Hair Design   National Disability Insurance Agency
Hennessy Real Estate    
Hillside Pastoral Company Pty ltd   NSW STATE GOVERNMENT
Hovell Tree Inn Albury   NSW Department of Family and Community Services
Inland Café   Housing NSW
Jennifer Gale    
Jump Up Tamworth    
Kev’s Handyman Services    
Kirkwoods Singleton    
Mandarin Restaurant    
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About Challenge Community Services

Over 60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disability. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 900 staff, more than 90 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, Challenge Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders both past and present.
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