Wednesday, March 27 2013
Almost all support services for people with disabilities are captive market – charity-based, non-entitlement.
These services are funded by government general revenue - provided through a government regulating agency such as the DHS in Victoria.
With block funded service provision and too few service providers, there is little reason for services to attract or retain consumers, as they have a captive audience who can go nowhere else.
All these captive market support services have wonderful, bright lights, consumer complaint policies and procedures which, at face-value, look fantastic. Whereas, in reality, these complaint policies and procedures are not worth a cracker.
Charity-based, non-entitlement, block-funded support services have no reason for customers, customer service or serious, proactive, complaint handling.
Captive market services consider the customer is always wrong. They, therefore, focus on showing the customer just how wrong they are to bring the complaint.
The consumer is told, "You are complaining because you don't understand what we are providing. We are arranging for a member of our staff to meet with you, to explain what you can expect.”
Consumers are, therefore, considered no brainers, and dismissed as little more than a nuisance factor which the service provider could well do without. Rather than, “Complaints are tools to service improvement.”
It should be noted that the top service provider practicing the above philosophy in Victoria, is the Department of Human Services, Disability Services.
Monday, March 25 2013
This community sector union says:
- People with profound and cognitive disabilities and are unable to self-advocate are at high risk of exploitation by unscrupulous service providers. HACSU recommended the rules be tightened to ensure quality care, support and standards are met with regards to police checks, qualification standards and experience.
- Disability support workers are at high risk of losing secure working conditions, with the sector moving towards insecure work. This in turn, will lead to qualified and experienced disability support workers leaving the sector to pursue more secure working conditions.
Full story LINK
Most of the problems for vulnerable people is the failure of service provider management to properly manage the business of ensuring recognised care policies, standards and values are fully and consistently implemented at the service point within their direction, intention and spirit. And, that families and other stakeholders are recognised, accepted and respected in their role of questioning, questionable service provision. In most cases this is not how it is at present, where service providers, especially the direct service provision of DHS, Victoria, treat families as intruders with their concerns avoided at all costs.
The movement from block funding towards ISP funding (insecure work as HACSU call it) has been brought about through the inability of service provider management to ensure recognised care policies, standards and values are fully and consistently implemented at the service point within their direction, intention and spirit. Good service management and staff should blame poor management and staff for ‘consumer control of funding’ being the only viable option for the Productivity Commission.
Friday, March 22 2013
The Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, has total despotic control over almost every aspect of support services for people with disabilities, and of the people themselves.
This is as a direct result of government general revenue funding for disability services being provided through this government department - rather than directly from Treasury, or via and independent agency.
With its huge public service bureaucratic infrastructure, the department has major conflicts of interest. Just to name a few… “It is the sole government funding body for disability services throughout Victoria. It is a major direct service provider/ landlord throughout Victoria And, it is the major regulator of disability services throughout Victoria”.
A large percentage of funding the department receives from government is chewed-up with its determination to have total and bureaucratic control over every service for, and all persons with disabilities, on its empire building and bureaucratic waste, and on its need to buy its way, rather than properly manage its way - a direct result of its reactive/disaster, rather than proactive management.
In total contrast, non-government, not for profit service providers, community service organisations, who provide services similar to department’s direct services, are expected to provide services equal to or better on the smell of an oily rag. And, they are intimidated by the department’s power hungry ignorant bureaucrats at the drop of a hat. Whereas, the department’s direct services do whatever they wish, at enormous cost.
There is little difference in the way the department’s captive market philosophy intimidates its consumers, their families and non-government service providers.
The department’s recent intimidation tool against non-government service providers is the “Funding and Services Agreement”.
The range and intensity of intimidation contained in this document forced National Disability Services to seek legal advice, advice which confirmed where the department’s despotics had worded clauses to allow the department to make, at their absolute discretion, unilateral decisions which adversely impact on CSOs – “Do what we say without question or redress, or else!”
The legal advice finds department power over CSOs has no limitations or application/negotiation benchmark/s, or natural justice such as equal opportunity for CSOs to be entitled to an independent review process.
Saturday, March 16 2013
The recent Victorian Government Cabinet reshuffle following Denis Napthine taking over as Premier, saw the Honourable Mary Wooldridge, MLA, previously the Minister for Community Services, appointed as Victoria's first dedicated Minister for Disability Services and Reform.
This appointment sends a strong message to the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, that the new Premier recognises the absolute circus and crises within all corners of this government department which has been wasting dollars and providing questionable services for years.
We trust the new Minister will examine the future of the DHS as a direct provider of disability services. And, as a matter of urgency, move her department out of direct service provision and make regulatory reform to enable and ensure non-government service providers are better able to focus on the delivery of customer centred, quality of life, support services.
Direct care services should be provided by non-government, not for profit, community service organisations which, unlike government direct care services, can be made accountable for service level, quality and customer service, as service management is marketplace-proactive.
This is in total contrast to the department’s overall, captive-market, reactive, crises driven, in-denial, issue avoidance, intimidating, consumer avoidance, dollar burning, management.
Whereas, the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, has an extensive range of very comprehensive care policies, standards and values which, if fully and consistently implemented within their direction, intention and spirit, would ensure people with disabilities and their families were at the very centre of first class, quality of life, service provision.
Tuesday, March 05 2013
- They fear retribution and intimidation of their vulnerable family member and themselves, and the threat of service withdrawal or reduction,
- They don't fully understand their rights to service level and quality,
- They don't want to be seen as a whinger,
- They don't fully understand the service process,
- They have concerns about how complaining will affect their relationship with service management and staff,
- They have insufficient information on how or where to complain,
- Their previous negative experiences of complaining, put them off,
- They don't 'know' anything other than the service they're receiving and,
- They feel, complainants can lose more than what they have lost as a result of that which they were complaining about.