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LISA... is a parent support and lobby group, for parents and families with a family member having an intellectual or multiple disability, and living in a supported accommodation group home in the State of Victoria, Australia.
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Friday, December 30 2011

Business in the market place uses this philosophy to ensure its staff have the right customer relationship which helps to maintains good customer relations and retain the customer.

It is important to understand the phrase, “The customer is always right” does not mean the customer is always right. It means the customer should always be treated as they are always right. Customer management is an important part of customer retention, the customer no bad-mouthing the business and the business maintaining its market share.

In total contrast, public service, captive market, government direct service provision, especially the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, has a reactive management culture of, “The Customer is Always Wrong”. This state government clearly demonstrates it has no reason for customers or customer service – See the next LISA Forum item, entitled, “Yes Prime Minister!”

Avoid Bad Customer Service

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:22 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 28 2011

Holiday time is extra, extra cost for many accommodation service providers. Support costs are up, as residents are home. Frequently, support costs are extra high as all residents do not have their holiday breaks at the same time.

Group homes with five or six residents, may have each resident attending a different day service. Extra support has to be provided to cover the different holiday periods of the various day services.

Whereas, all day services could easily have standard holiday periods, like state schools.

Despite most day services are government funded, governments appear reluctant to insist day service standardise their holiday periods. 

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:23 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, December 25 2011

All employees planning to dash through the snow in a one horse open sleigh, going over the fields and laughing all the way are advised that a Risk Assessment will be required addressing the safety of an open sleigh for members of the public. This assessment must also consider whether it is appropriate to use only one horse for such a venture, particularly where there are multiple passengers. Please note that permission must also be obtained in writing from landowners before their fields may be entered. To avoid offending those not participating in celebrations, we would request that laughter is moderate only and not loud enough to be considered a noise nuisance.

Benches, stools and orthopaedic chairs are now available for collection by any shepherds planning or required to watch their flocks at night. While provision has also been made for remote monitoring of flocks by CCTV cameras from a centrally heated shepherd observation hut, all users of this facility are reminded that an emergency response plan must be submitted to account for known risks to the flocks.

The angel of the lord is additionally reminded that, prior to shining his/her glory all around, s/he must confirm that all shepherds are wearing appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to account for the harmful effects of UVA, UVB and the overwhelming effects of Glory.

Following last year’s well publicised case, everyone is advised that Equal Opportunities legislation prohibits any comment with regard to the redness of any part of Mr. R. Reindeer. Further to this, exclusion of Mr R Reindeer from reindeer games will be considered discriminatory and disciplinary action will be taken against those found guilty of this offence.

While it is acknowledged that gift bearing is a common practice in various parts of the world, particularly the Orient, everyone is reminded that the bearing of gifts is subject to Hospitality Guidelines and all gifts must be registered. This applies regardless of the individual, even royal personages. It is particularly noted that direct gifts of currency or gold are specifically precluded, while caution is advised regarding other common gifts such as aromatic resins that may evoke allergic reactions.

Finally, in the recent case of the infant found tucked up in a manger without any crib for a bed, Social Services have been advised and will be arriving shortly

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 22 2011

On Wednesday 14 December 2011, the Victorian Government released Human Services: The case for change.

The Hon. Mary Wooldridge, Minister for Mental Health, Women’s Affairs and Community Services, and The Hon. Wendy Lovell, Minister for Housing, Children and Early Childhood Development, launched the document to key sector partners at the Human Services Partnership Implementation Committee (HSPIC) Partnering Dialogue - Realising our potential: department, sector and community.

Minister Wooldridge and Minister Lovell said the document outlines the need for system-wide change, and explains how we can, and should, be building on the strengths of the existing system to make a real difference to the lives of vulnerable Victorians and their families.

Many improvements have been made in all of the services that DHS funds and delivers, and in the human services system more broadly, but we need to consider whether our services are making a lasting positive impact on the people we assist.

Despite decades of growing prosperity, significant levels of disadvantage persist in Victoria. Even where services have positive outcomes, external drivers – in particular population growth and ageing – make it more difficult to reduce overall levels of disadvantage. If growth in the volume and complexity of demand is not addressed, the system will be unsustainable over the medium to long term.

A new approach is needed to reverse this trend, starting with changes in the way DHS does business.

The document outlines a vision of a service system which supports and protects the vulnerable as its first priority, which is client-centred and demonstrably achieves improved outcomes for clients, to reduce disadvantage in Victoria in the long term. It sets out five core principles that will guide our approach to moving towards such a system:

People are at the centre of everything we do.

We take all of our clients’ life circumstances into account, and work with individuals and families to improve their outcomes. We recognise the diversity of our clients and are guided by their needs and choices

People in need should have access to the right support, provided in a cost-effective way.

Supporting clients to lead independent and meaningful lives by building their capabilities is the long-term goal.

All parts of the human services system should work together.

By aligning and integrating the human services system we can reduce duplication and focus on shared outcomes for our clients.

A skilled workforce is key to a more integrated system and to better client outcomes.

Our workforce should have the skills, tools and the right accountabilities to support clients to improve their lives.

Victorians who access our services will be valued, respected and treated fairly at all times.

The first step in this process of change will be delivering on the Government’s commitment to reform case management in two lead sites: Dandenong and Geelong/South West.

Case management reform will immediately assist those clients in most need, with the most complex problems, while providing a strong platform for larger scale system reform.

Consultation with the broader human services sector, our workforce and service delivery partners and other stakeholders will be undertaken in the coming months to inform the next steps on this reform journey.

The Case for Change - Full Report

LISA Comment: Clearly there is either a 'hidden-agenda', or a 'too-hard-basket'. As the serious need to reform or remove DHS/DS/DAS direct care group-home services is conspicuous by its absence.

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:27 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 22 2011

Deb Rouget - Manager- Personalised Lifestyle Assistance Program (PLA).

PLA is a new statewide service that aims to inspire, support and empower people with disabilities and their families to manage their own funds and support.



Posted by: Hatton AT 01:25 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 15 2011

Many of the findings of this social work review can be applied to disability services in Australia.

Professor of Social Policy at the London School of Economics, Professor Eileen Munro, spoke on the ABC’s “7:30 Vic”, on Friday 9 December 2011, about Victoria’s ongoing child protection problems.

Professor Munro considered there was too much red-tape. There was too much focus on compliance with the state’s gigantic set of regulations, rather than focus on the needs of the child

The professor's first report on children’s social work, released in October 2010, explains that social workers are hindered by an over-emphasis on complying with rules and regulations, limited time with service users, and a target-driven culture.

Professor Munro stated that previous attempts at reform led to social workers spending less time with vulnerable children and families, and thus their needs are not being met. The key observations put forward include:

• There is an over-emphasis on complying with rules and regulations.
• As a result, less time is spent actually assessing the needs of children.
• Too much time is spent on administrative tasks and completing documentation.
• A target-driven culture is stopping staff from exercising professional judgement.
• Delays in the family court system have had a negative impact on children.
• Social workers are often blamed when children are harmed.

The first four dot points can be equally applied to disability services, especially government direct care services – Group homes, for example.

Direct care staff in many DHS group home are overloaded with rules and regulations (red-tape). A very large percentage of staff time is spent on paperwork and domestic work - frequently most - often all.

In comparison, little time is spent with the residents on developmental interaction – person centred active support and positive behaviour support. That which frequently has a positive influence on reducing negative behaviours - improving the person’s quality of life and social acceptability.

Professor Munro suggests bureaucratic forces have come together to create a defensive system that puts so much emphasis on procedures and recording that insufficient attention is given to developing and supporting the expertise to work effectively with children, young people and families.

The level of increased prescription for social workers, while intended to improve the quality of practice, has created an imbalance. Complying with prescription and keeping records to demonstrate compliance has become too dominant. The centrality of forming relationships with children and families to understand and help them has become obscured.

Reform of the social work profession should significantly improve outcomes for children and young people by making best use of available evidence about what helps to resolve the problems in children’s lives.

LISA Comment:
There is an urgent need for a similar review into disability services in Australia, not just rely on the potential for ISPs (Independent Support Packages), money in the consumer’s pocket, to drive service quality.

Purchasing services for those with complex needs, is far removed from choosing or swapping ones telephone provider.

The Munro Final Report

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:32 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, December 10 2011

"A peek at an excellent, must have, publication!"

Active Support is a systematic approach to assisting people with disability to become engaged in a range of everyday activities that are meaningful to them and enhance their quality of life. It is a person-centred approach, in that the support provided is individualised according to the interests and needs of each person supported. Furthermore, it is an evidence-based approach to providing support.

Over the past 30 years research has consistently demonstrated that where Active Support is implemented, people with disability do become more involved in everyday activities, acquire new skills, show improvements in mental health and show positive changes in their behaviour. Importantly, Active Support can benefit people with a range of support needs.

However, some of the greatest successes have been observed when it has been applied to the support of people with extensive to pervasive support needs and/or severe challenging behaviour (Stancliffe, Jones, Mansell, & Lowe, 2008).

Jones and colleagues (2010) define Active Support as a service model designed to make sure that people who need support have the chance to be fully involved in their lives and receive the right range and level of support to be successful' (p. 3).

Essentially, Active Support involves training staff in specific skills and procedures to focus their work on the direct support of people in meaningful activity, and to establish formal systems that allow for the ongoing evaluation and modification of service provision informed by measurable outcomes for individuals.

Active Support provides both a philosophical and a structural framework tor organisations and their direct support staff. These various aspects of Active Support at an operational level are summarised by Mansell and colleagues (2002) in terms of:

• Everyday activities - People with disability are offered a wide range of everyday activities to become involved in, both in their home and out in the community.

• Teamwork - Support staff work together as a team to generate ideas and plan for available opportunities. This requires staff to plan activities and collaborate to determine who will do what and when, to ensure that opportunities are not missed and that support is provided in a consistent way.

• Recognising every moment has potential - Staff recognise that the people receiving support are able to engage in parts of every task or activity, through appropriately tailored support to achieve completion of individual parts.

• Outcome measures - Staff closely monitor and record the level of engagement in everyday activities of the people being supported and the form and level of support required to achieve maximum engagement. Regular person-centred meetings provide staff with opportunities to monitor their own service achievements and update colleagues on how to implement new strategies.

Whether to address the needs of people with high support needs, people with behaviours of concern, or people with disability more generally, to sustain the changes made at the individual level the organisation as a whole must look at systems and procedures to ensure they are compatible with Active Support. Personnel practices that encourage staff development and teamwork at all levels are essential, to ensure an environment that is knowledgeable and skilled, and which promotes opportunity, choice and respect for human rights. A developmental and action learning focus in which the organisation is committed to obtaining important measures and holding itself accountable to further and continuous growth is also essential to keep Active Support fresh and viable.

Purpose of this guide:
There are a number of good resources already available to support the professional development of staff in Active Support. However, this guide is the first to specifically address organisational and management issues relating to the establishment, implementation and continuous growth of Active Support at an organisational level.

To date, organisations have typically drawn on either one or a combination of two training resources. The training package developed by Jones et al. (1996/2010) focuses on the practical application of the Active Support principles and includes designs for the delivery and recording of meaningful activities and opportunities.

The training materials developed by Mansell et al (2004) place an emphasis on staff culture and the philosophical values behind Active Support. Both training packages emphasise opportunities for «art to develop specific skills to enable the planning, delivery and evaluation of support for people with disability, and both emphasise the importance of delivering these professional development opportunities using structured workshops conducted in conjunction with on-shift mentorship programs.

Furthermore, details of how to conduct mentorship programs, sometimes referred to as interactive training, are described in Toogood(2010).

However, much more than just staff training is needed to establish and sustain Active Support. Indeed, Active Support is much more than just an approach to staff training and direct service delivery. It is both a philosophy and a system to advance major organisational development in services supporting people with disability.

Consequently, there needs to be a well thought through organisational approach, and a soundly established organisational infrastructure. Discussion among service providers in Australia and elsewhere has highlighted that the different cultures and available resources within support services has resulted in the widely varied implementation of Active Support across organisations.

Successful organisations will often have a certain level of readiness prior to engaging in Active Support. Much of the background information needed by organisations and the practical details of what needs to be done to prepare for, implement and sustain Active Support to date has been passed by word of mouth via various trainers, or discovered by organisations as they go about the implementation process - often when unforseen challenges have been encountered.
This guide has been prepared to help fill that information gap, with respect to the organisational issues that affect the success of Active Support.

Without being prescriptive with respect to how Active Support is to be implemented, the guide provides a menu of implementation options that will support organisations to adapt Active Support to their own settings and cultures, while still remaining consistent with the procedural integrity accessary to achieve the well-established person-centred and evidence-based outcomes associated with Active Support.

As this resource is focused entirely on how to implement Active Support at an organisational level and how to go about setting up services and preparing individuals for the implementation of Active Support, it is not intended to replace the existing training packages.

Rather it complements these training packages by supporting boards of management and service managers to prepare and plan for a consistent service response prior to commencing staff training, during the implementation of Active Support, and when embedding and sustaining it within their organisation.

For further reading on how to implement staff training in person-centred Active Support, we recommend reading:

• Person-centred Active Support: A multi-media training resource for staff to enable participation, inclusion and choice for people with learning disabilities (Mansell, Beadle-Brown, Ashman, & Ockenden, 2004).

• Active Support: A handbook for supporting people with learning disabilities to lead full lives (Jones et al., 2010)/

• Interactive training: Supporting people with severe and profound intellectual disabilities in meaningful activity (Toogood, 2010).

"The impetus to always keep CRUs looking clean detracts from the need to provide support to residents" - see attachment from the OPA.....

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:38 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, December 09 2011

Disability flavour of the month, but federal government makes a meal of it

The introduction and implementation of a National Disability Insurance Scheme will transform the way disability services are provided to Australians with significant disabilities. It is a serious business for which the state governments are already earnestly preparing.

Ultimately it will be the states that deliver an NDIS with accountability to the Australian taxpayer for how the money is spent, which is as it must be.” says Mary Lou Carter, secretary of the Carers Alliance.

“Yet, so far the Federal government is basically saying to people with disabilities: ‘Look at what we are doing. We are doing anything that looks like we're going to do something to prepare to seek to find a way to be moving forward while actually standing still.’ People with disabilities deserve better than that” said Carter.

“While disability appears to be on everyone’s lips and flavour of the month, the Gillard government is making a meal of it through small-beer announcements that do not confirm the Scheme is good to go. “

“Playing ducks and drakes is unworthy of a government that’s fed the hopes and expectations of hundreds of thousands of people with disabilities, their families and supporters” said Carter.

“People know how the political process works. If it’s not in the budget forward estimates it doesn’t exist nor does it exist if there is no legislative timetable.”

Mr Swan’s mini-budget announced last week does not have an NDIS in the forward estimates and there is no announced legislative timetable.

So announcements at National Conference remain as gestures without budgetary backup.
Unless of course an NDIS will be implemented off-budget like the NBN, now that would be historic.

Carers Alliance says to the Gillard government: We’ll believe it when you “show us the money” and the legislative timetable.”

Carers Alliance is a federal political party formed to promote a better life for and advance the full inclusion of people with disabilities and carer-families who support them

Media Contact: Mary Lou Carter, Secretary, Carers Alliance: 0425 363 421

Carers Alliance is a federal political party formed to promote a better life for and advance interests of people with disabilities and carer-families who support them

LISA Comment: The Dental Lobby is jumping on the NDIS bandwaggon format for a whopping 12 billion dollar need. Given they will easily have the whole population in support, is there any hope for NDIS.

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:40 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 08 2011

Liberal spokesperson on disability Senator Mitch Fifield has called the bluff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard on the desperately needed National Disability Insurance Scheme

Fifield’s comments echo the thoughts of over 80% of the respondents to the Disability Speaks online survey on NDIS.

In an address to CEO’s of major disability organisations in Canberra Fifield has indicated that Bi Partisan support by the Liberals was no longer a given.

In strong language the Liberal spokesperson has belittled the financial commitment of the ALP to additional disability support claiming

· The ALP has provided no guaranteed timeline for NDIS

· The recently announced NDIs agency is questionable

· There is no new money for NDIS

In what will be seen by the disability sector as a devastating blow to NDIS, anger is sure to erupt particularly given the failure of Fifield to suggest an alternative to NDIS given his personal admissions of the depth of understanding of the disability crisis.

Disability Speaks knows if Gillard wants to regain the faith of the disability sector she has only one option available to her.

That is to put her money where her mouth is!

This needs to be in the form of short term crisis funding as recommended by the Productivity Commission and a long term NDIS funding plan attached to a commencement date.

NDIS now officially has the wobbles. Only Gillard and the ALP can save it!

David Holst
Chair - Disability Speaks Steering Committee & Intellectual Disability Association of S.A (IDASA)

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:41 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, December 07 2011

To kick off International Day of People with Disability, the Australian Government has announced a new National Disability Insurance Scheme website.

The website,, is designed to keep people up to date with the Government's progress towards a National Disability Insurance Scheme.

It will provide easy-to-read information, up-to-date news, disability and carer resources, and fact sheets on reform of disability care and support services.

With feedback running 80% / 20% negatively against the federal government and it’s slow handling of NDIS from the comments received by Disability Speaks following our request for commentary last week, let’s hope Gillard gets the message she needs to deliver urgent crisis funding and a long term funding commitment plan.

Mary Lou Carter of the Carers Alliance [see entry on LISA Forum] put it best when referring to NDIS and the lack of funding “if funding is not in the budget estimate forecast then NDIS does not exist” The Carers Alliance sentiments have been echoed strongly by many who believe Gillard is playing a game of sorts although some still hold out strong hope that because NDIS is being talked about, it is going to happen.

No one talks disability better than Bill Shorten and his address to the ALP National Conference will inspire many to believe that there are still champions within Canberra who will not rest until NDIS is implemented.

Link to Bill Shorten's Address

David Holst
Chair - Disability Speaks Steering Committee & Intellectual Disability Association of S.A (IDASA)

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:43 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, December 04 2011

A field Professional Development Workshop
(field LINK)

This “Values & Attitudes in Action”, free one day workshop was designed for disability support workers to work together with the trainer to establish and explore a shared understanding of the values that underpin working in the disability sector and the attitudes required to perform their job.

These understandings looked at the difference between personal and workplace values, shared community values, laws and the expression of these in our work behaviour.

The workshop was specifically designed for disability direct support workers. It would also be valuable for the supervisors and managers of those workers. Learning activities in the session assume participants are working directly with people with a disability.

This all day workshop was very much about all staff having the right “Values & Attitude”. Number one factors in the provision of quality of life care.

It was FREE, provided a free lunch and it was FUNDED by the DHS. Yet despite this, just12 people attended, and only one was from the DHS!

So, again, we see DHS reactive not proactive management funding events, but unable to ensure their staff attend such valuable attitude training.

This is disappointing, but not surprising given this government department’s captive market, secure employment, reactive management, no customer service, the customer is always wrong bureaucratic ‘system’.

Or, as the Productivity Commission says, “The current ‘system’ cannot be called a genuine ‘system’ to achieve desired outcomes. 

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:45 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, December 01 2011

Little wonder a report by Pricewaterhouse Coopers shows Australians with a disability are at greater risk of living at or below the poverty line than people with disabilities in other OECD countries.

“The Federal government’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook mini-budget has not budgeted a single red cent for establishing a National Disability Insurance Scheme, not a cracker.

And in the week leading up to the celebrations of International Day of People with Disabilities, not much to celebrate ” says MaryLou Carter, secretary of the Carers Alliance.

“Since 2008 people with disabilities, carer-families and people who care for and care about people disabilities have had their expectations raised with a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in prospect, what now?”

“As recently as a week ago, at the National Disability Awards Night, Ms Gillard was assuring people with disabilities that her government was committed to the introduction of the NDIS.”

Yet when it comes to backing that commitment with the dollars necessary for establishing such a Scheme by 2013, the Federal government has squibbed.

Over 24,000 new Commonwealth Public Servants have been employed by the Federal government since 2007 – how many of those were people with disabilities?

While the Federal government has spoken many worthy words in earnest about a National Disability Insurance Scheme, the cruel reality was clearly shown in this week’s mini-budget: The Federal government’s intention is to do nothing to implement the very initiative that will give people with disabilities and their families .

Carers Alliance calls on the Federal government to make good its promises. Introduce the legislation to implement a National Disability Insurance Scheme. There is this guarantee Tony Abbott will not say No.

“It’s not what is said but what is done that matters. The recent Census made sure every Australian was counted it’s up to the Federal government to make sure Every Australian Counts.”

Media Contact: MaryLou Carter , Secretary, Carers Alliance 0425 363 422

Carers Alliance is a federal political party formed to promote a better life for and advance interests of people with disabilities and carer-families who support them

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:46 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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