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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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Saturday, August 18 2012

The Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, blocked the release of the independent accreditation of all government funded services for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities in Victoria. Now they are blocking the release of a review by KPMG of its staff workpractices!

Our FOI request was:- We request, under FOI, a copy of the latest (final) KPMG Report on the “Workload Review” of DHS Services.

FOI Decision:

It is my decision that the document you have requested is fully exempt from release under sections 30(1), 33(1) and 35(1)(b) of the Act. Material not released to you is exempt on the basis of the following provisions of the Act.

Internal working documents

Section 30(1) of the Act exempts from disclosure documents that are internal working documents. For section 30(1) to apply, the documents must:

  • disclose an opinion, advice or recommendation prepared by an officer, or relate to a consultation or deliberation that has taken place between officer(s) and/or Minister;
  • have been prepared in the course of, or for the purpose of, deliberative processes involved in the functions of an agency; and
  • release must be contrary to the public interest.

In this instance the Review of Workload for House Supervisors and Operational Managers (Final Report) report by KPMG was commissioned by the department, and its content forms part of the deliberative processes involved in the ongoing review of roles and responsibilities of direct care staff. As the material considered in the report has been superseded by events subsequent to its finalisation I have determined that the potential for its release to create confusion and ill-informed debate outweighs any benefit in providing access. Therefore, its release would be contrary to the public interest.

Personal affairs information

Section 33(1) of the Act exempts from disclosure any document (or any part thereof) that would unreasonably disclose information relating to the personal affairs of another person (including a deceased person).

For this exemption to apply, the information must:

  • relate to the personal affairs of a person, and
  • be unreasonable to release.

Section 33(9) of the Act defines 'personal affairs' to include information that identifies any person or discloses their address or location or from which any person's identity, address or location can reasonably be determined.

In this instance the documents concerns the personal affairs information of individuals other than yourself as the applicant, and it is my decision that the release of this information in this instance would be unreasonable.

Information obtained in confidence

Section 35(1)(b) provides that a document is exempt if its release would divulge information communicated in confidence to the department and the disclosure would be contrary to the public interest on the basis that it would be reasonably likely to impair an agency's (or Minister's) ability to obtain similar information in the future. Below, are the two components that must be met before the exemption can apply to documents.

  • The documents must be communicated in confidence by or on behalf of a person to an agency; and
  • Disclosure would be reasonably likely to impair the ability of the agency to obtain similar information in the future.

Further, were such information and the source of such information revealed, it is reasonably likely that the department's ability to obtain such information in the future would be impaired.

The report contains information provided to the consultants by department staff on the understanding that the material would be treated in confidence. It is my decision that to release information of this nature to the world at large would be likely to lead to a reluctance by staff to participate in similar reviews in the future, and impair the department's ability to obtain similar information on which to base workload or other reforms in the future.

LISA Comment: We see little chance of an 'Action Plan' being produced or made available as a result of this report. We expect the report to do little more than, like others, be a costly dust collector.

Posted by: Hatton AT 06:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 09 2012

Tensions have again flared between the Baillieu and Gillard governments over the National Disability Insurance Scheme, with a proposed Victorian trial bogged down in a wrangle over details.

The impasse has left carers nervous about whether a Victorian trial due to start mid-next year will get a go-ahead. It would cover 5000 people living with a disability in the Barwon region and around Geelong.

It is believed talks have stuck on sorting out details of how much Victoria now spends for each person with a disability in the region.

The Commonwealth is demanding the state funds $20,779 for individual care and support packages for each person with a disability under the trial, with both sides still debating whether a $42 million deal put on the table from Victoria meets that threshold.

The Commonwealth also appears reluctant to agree on Geelong as the site for a National Disability Transition Agency to be set up as part of the insurance scheme, a component of Victoria's trial offer.

Officials from both governments met yesterday to try to break the impasse, with both parties saying the talks had ended on a positive note.

The talks come almost a fortnight after Victoria put its $42 million trial package on the table following a funding standoff between the two governments out of a meeting of the Council of Australian Governments last month.

The Commonwealth recently reached a formal agreement with New South Wales for a trial there, despite a similar funding dispute. Trials have also been agreed in South Australia, Tasmania and the ACT.

Premier Ted Baillieu yesterday called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to confirm the Victorian trial, saying the state's proposal had met the threshold set by the Commonwealth and was consistent with other accepted trials in other states.

"Victoria has offered an additional $42 million over the period of the trial. This is more than the $40 million that the Prime Minister publicly proposed for a Victorian trial," Mr Baillieu said.

"There is no valid reason why Prime Minister Gillard cannot now agree to announce a trial for Victoria's Barwon region."

Federal Community Services Minister Jenny Macklin said: "The core question that remains is whether the Victorian government will put money on the table for the costs of care and support for people with disability, in the same way that other states taking part have done."

Daryl Starkey, chief executive of Geelong-based disability services group Karingal, said carers in the region were worried the trial might not go ahead and he was unsure what the hold-up was because the money appeared to be on the table.

LISA Comment: Support packages of $20,779.00, when a DHS group home service fee is $123,545.00 per person - figure from Auditor General of Victoria.

The basic intention of NDIS is funding based on personal assessment. It is hard to believe none of the 5,000 would be considered in need of a high support needs Group Home and a five day, Day Service.

Posted by: Hatton AT 06:55 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, August 07 2012

The parents of a physically fit, high support needs, young man were called by the direct care staff of the group home in which he was living, to say he was limping.

Staff were advised to give him a full check, especially his feet, socks and shoes for splinters and stones. They subsequently called to say nothing was found.

As the parents were having their son with them the next day, they said to monitor him, and to advise them if his condition deteriorated.

On arrival at the group home the following day, the parents clearly saw their son limping.

Medical examinations and X-rays, and all the trauma that, naturally went through their minds.

Nevertheless, Mum was determined to fully check her son at home.

What she found was, a sock jammed right up in the toe of one of her son’s shoes. With this removed, no more limping!

Their son having little or no meaningful communications, was unable to tell anyone of his discomfort for a whole day.

The million dollar question is, “How long would this have been missed?”

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:16 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, August 02 2012

Article 40 of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities stipulates that “The States Parties shall meet regularly in a Conference of States Parties in order to consider any matter with regard to the implementation of the present Convention.” Since 2008, four sessions of the Conference of States Parties have been held at United Nations Headquarters, New York.

The fifth session will be held in September 2012. The theme is “Making the CRPD count for Women and Children”. The following are the sub-themes of the Conference: “Technology and Accessibility”, “Children with Disabilities” and “Women with Disabilities”.

More information on the fifth session can be found at: http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?navid=46&pid=1595

The Commission invites interested organisations to submit proposals that meet the criteria of the Commission’s international participation program

Networking/capacity/capability building events that will enable Disability Peak Organisations (DPOs) and Disability Advocacy Organisations (DAOs) to promote the work of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and/or meet Australia’s obligations under the UNCRPD.

Networking/capacity/capability building events that will enable DPOs and DAOs to promote the priorities under the National Disability Strategy (NDS)—Key Policy Area 2: Rights protection, justice and legislation.

Proposals should Disclose any other sources of funding available to them

Indicate need and justification for funding including any particular needs related to location and impact of disability on travel costs

Address each of the criteria identified in the Commission’s published template for nominations.

Information on how to apply for funding is available at: http://www.humanrights.gov.au/disability_rights/convention/funding_faq.html

Proposals are requested by COB Friday 17th August, 2012

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:19 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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