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L.I.S.A Inc
 
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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Sunday, January 20 2013

The residents of most group homes are there because of their limited ability to properly care for themselves. Their limited intellectual ability means that most have little value in their lives. They and/or their carers have to seek all possible avenues which have the potential to enhance their quality of life. One of these avenues might be to have a pet.

This might seem quite simple, but not within DHS Victoria. Having a pet is a major concern for direct care staff. Most of whom say, “We have too much to do, to have the bother of a pet. So whether a resident or residents have a pet, is directly dependent on the view of the direct care staff. That is why most DHS group homes are considered to be hostels.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:46 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 23 2012

Go home on time day was on the 21st of November. Do you know what time you'll leave for home at the end of the day? Do you finish at a precise time every day of the week?

Apparently, more than two million Australians head out to work each morning, and have almost no idea what time they will knock-off at the end of the day.

Now in its fourth year, ‘Go Home On Time Day’ is an initiative of The Australia Institute, a public policy think tank based in Canberra.

Go home on time has a somewhat different connotation for many DHS/DS direct care staff, with the department working towards clock on and off machines in an attempt to counter the rorting of work hours.

Many direct care staff working in department group homes consider they have finished work when all the domestic work is done. They do not see a significant part of their duty of care as consistent and meaningful PCAS and PBS – Interaction, developmental and social activities with the residents – quality of life care, rather than minder care.

NOTE: The above mentioned questionable occurrences are as a direct result of the failure of all levels of department management to properly, proactively and consistently manage the business of ensuring their direct care and support services for people with disabilities are well within the direction, intention and spirit of the department’s comprehensive and extensive care policies, standards and values.

These questionable occurrences are most disturbing to the great many direct care staff who want to do the job right, but are often intimidated by staff lore and house politics if they attempt to do so. This is especially so for those who have just completed 'Certificate 4', and are motivated by the quality of life aspect of the course.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:40 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, November 23 2012

The intention of the State Government of Victoria in providing funding for care and support services for people with disabilities was/is that the funding shall provide entitlement services.

In total contrast, the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, sees their provision of direct care services, from this state government funding, as a charity hand-out to people with disabilities and their families – the consumer.

This department, therefore, in practical terms, sees no reason to be proactively accountable to the consumer, no reason to consider the consumer as at the centre of service provision and no reason to do other than force the consumer to prove the department is failing to provide services within the department’s care policies, standards and values. Rrather than they, DHS, having an obligation to prove to the consumer, in very practical terms and values, that they are providing services within the department’s care policies, standards and values.

One of the main intentions of the NDIS was that of moving existing care and support services out of the captive market/charity hand-out service philosophy, into a marketplace/customer focused service philosophy. This seems to have been placed in the NDIS too hard basket.

Nevertheless, marketplace/customer focused services can still be achieved within current state funding, by redefining service funding from the present ‘block’ funding, to ‘ISP’ funding, and remove the current DSR.

The residents of current group homes, for which they pay rent, would be free to, as a group, change service providers and service contracts or, individually, move to another service

NOTE: The above mentioned questionable occurrences are as a direct result of the failure of all levels of department management to properly, proactively and consistently manage the business of ensuring their direct care and support services for people with disabilities are well within the direction, intention and spirit of the department’s comprehensive and extensive care policies, standards and values.

These questionable occurrences are most disturbing to the great many direct care staff who want to do the job right, but are often intimidated by staff lore and house politics if they attempt to do so. This is especially so for those who have just completed Cert4, and are motivated by the quality of life aspect of the course.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, November 20 2012

The Department of Human Services, Disability Services Management, has a long standing track record for incident reports conveniently going missing when they want to sweep problems under the carpet. In comparison with DINMA reports, this is quite easy to achieve.

DINMA reports are in a pad of duplicated sheets which are sequentially numbered, making them much easier to track in comparison with one-off, no-numbered, incident reports.

DINMA Reports

Incident Reports

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, November 17 2012

This is a project initiated by the Disability Services Commissioner to support effective relationships between service providers and the families of people using their services.

The objectives include the development of policy principles and practice guidelines for service providers and resources for people with a disability and their families.

The first meeting of the Project Reference Group took place on 14 June 2012. It is expected that the project will continue into early 2013.

We will be seeking input from individuals and organisations who have asked to be included in any future updates and broader sector consultations. If you would like to be included in these consultations, or would like to learn more about the project, please contact us at contact@odsc.vic.gov.au

We continue to be encouraged by the significant amount of interest this project has generated throughout the sector and look forward to working with all stakeholders in further enhancing this aspect of disability service delivery in Victoria.

LISA Comment: This project appears to have been mooted in mid 2011. Yet the first meeting of the consulting group, with only the Eastern Region of DHS taking an interest, did not occur until a year later, mid 2012. and is expected to continue into 2013.

With what has been a major concern of families since time immemorial, service providers working with families, especially most of the DHS Regions, who have always treated families as undesirables, especially those families who dare to question the service on behalf of their family member, the ODSC is, as always, talking the talk.

All service providers, especially DHS direct service provision, need to be obligated, to the consumer and their family, to prove they are providing services and support which is well within the direction, intention and spirit of departmental care policies, standards and values - Not expect the consumer and their family to prove they are not!

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:47 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, November 14 2012

The Victorian Government will invest over $300 million for disability services for people in the Barwon area over the launch period. This includes $290 million of existing funding. The Commonwealth Government will invest more than $190 million towards individually funded packages in the Barwon area. In addition, the Victorian Government has allocated $900,000 in the 2012-13 State Budget to prepare for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

The Commonwealth Budget committed $1 billion over four years to launch the NDIS in five launch site areas across Australia. It included funding to establish the NDIS Launch Transition Agency, IT systems, research and evaluation.

LISA Comment: Please feel free to comment on these figures!

We see the this NDIS launch as little more than, more of the same old super despotic controlled DHS ISPs. A few crumbes for those who have nothing, but must be eternally grateful. Rather than real needs/entitlement packages... Like, what about those with highsupport needs who have been for ever on the DSR (waiting list) for a group home.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, November 01 2012

Story Link

Single parents and people with a disability are twice as likely to have serious legal problems than the rest of the population, a study shows. (STUDY LINK)

The study, commissioned by state and territory legal aid commissions, found almost half of people aged over l5 had experienced a legal problem in the past year.

The most common types of problems were consumer (21 per cent), crime (14), housing ( 12) and government ( 11) .

National Legal Aid chairman Bevan Warner said legal problems for single parents and people with a disability were "more pronounced" than for others.

"Disability is linked to increased rates of most problem types, including clinical negligence, discrimination, neighbour issues, rented housing, unfair treatment by police and government organisations . . . whereas single mothers' legal problems are more likely to be in the poverty space.”

The findings come after the federal government plan to get 100,000 single parents of parenting payments and onto the Newstart allowance - aimed at encouraging parents to enter or rejoin the workforce – passed the Senate this week.

"People with legal problems get sick, have relationship breakdowns or lose their home. This [does] not only have a severe impact on individual but an additional burden on the health system, family counselling services, government and community services and charities," Mr Warner said.

"The frustrating aspect of this is that our clients … also qualify for other government funded programs that rarely include a legal assistance component. It would be good if government recognised that people with a disability, single parents unemployed and indigenous people are more likely to have legal problems so we should be investing in more intensive services for them."

The study, conducted by the New South Wales Law and Justice Foundation, found that while a little more than half of Australians sought professional help for their legal problems, l8 per cent took no action and achieved the poorest outcomes.

Mr Warner said only the very poorest people could now access legal aid services, largely because Commonwealth finding had dropped, "falling from half of overall funding in 1997 to only a third this year.”

Hugh de Kretser, the Federation of Community Legal Centres' executive officer, said the gap between those eligible for legal aid and those who could afford a lawyer had grown into a chasm and called for the government to double its legal assistance spend.

A spokeswoman for Commonwealth Attorney-General Nicola Roxon said the government had pledged $l .3 billion to legal assistance services over the next four years in the largest commitment in more than a decade.

LISA Comment: Most people with disabilities and their families are overwhelmed by the arrogance of many captive market service providers, especially government direct services

Government direct service, especially, consider they are always right, and consumers are always wrong. And that consumers should be content with whatever they get, or don’t get.

In Victoria, the Department of Human Services, Disability Services (DHS), have the total support of the various pseudo government departments – the Ombudsman, the OPA, the ODSC, VCAT, etc.

These, so called, independent statutory bodies protect the DHS against all but the most blatant consumer complaints.

This all powerful government department is further protected by its huge financial resources, providing it with the very best and most experienced legal support.

People with disabilities and their families, even if they can afford, or can get pro-bono legal support, are often denied access to those legal firms with experience and expertise in the disability field. Many of these firms work for the DHS, and are therefore unable to support those who challenge the DHS - as it would be a conflict of interest.

Incorporated organisations like LISA Inc. can approach PILCH (Public Interest Law Clearing House) for legal support to challenge that which is seen to adversely affect systemic service provision. Nevertheless, it is still that of jumping through blazing hoops and walking on fire to get to the actual law firm. Then the law firm has to convince PILCH that the case has merit. This means, “Is there any chance against the DHS.”

Recently, LISA Inc, with a very smart legal team, lost at VCAT against the old DHS legal guard. The case was that of the release of service provider independent accreditation results to people with disabilities and their families… Our legal team, and almost everyone we know considers it so obvious that these results should be available to consumers – if the consumer, the person with disabilities

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:49 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 26 2012

The practical effect of administrators having no legal right to check their adult person’s property under the Guardian & Administration Act in Victoria. And the power of DHS staff to restrict families.

Parent ‘A’:

Over the years the staff of the DHS group home have not let me go through my son’s personal effects - his clothes, mainly.

My son, very much an adult in body, is unable by reason of his disability to make reasonable judgements in respect of all or any matters concerning his personal circumstances and/or estate.

Every time I have asked to do this, the staff told me they will do this, and I will be told what he needs, or will be given a bag of clothes to be repaired. This has gone on for years!

Quite recently a new house supervisor suggested, to my utter surprise and delight, that we should both go through my son’s clothes and see what he needs.

Well, we spent a very productive day sorting through the whole of my son’s clothes, ending-up with 13 (standard green garbage) bags of clothes which were far too small for him, damaged or unsuitable.

Most of the 13 bags were of clothes which were now so small that they must have been there for years – clothes which would fit a small child. Clearly, the various staff, over the years, had sorted nothing and had restricted me from doing so.

In sorting through the whole lot, we put labels on the clothes which were relevant and good, ironed them and put them away. We then discarded the 13 bags to the charity bins.

Parent ‘B’:

Over as many years as I can remember, I have been treated like an intruder whenever I go to see my son at his DHS group home. Anytime my son invites me to his room, staff are watching.

Whenever I have suggested to him we really should check his clothes together, he is happy for me to do this. But staff have always told him that his mother is not to touch his personal property.

As my son has a business friend of ours as his administrator, I suggested he should give me authority to check my son’s personal effects for integrity. He said that legally, he does not have the power under the Guardianship & Administration Act to even do this himself.

Finally after much pressure on the DHS, the staff were directed by DHS management to go through my son’s clothes. They found many bags of old clothes which had been thrown under the group home for years. The staff then had the gall to dump these on me, for checking and disposal.

LISA Comment: Under the Guardianship & Administration Act, administrators have no legal right to check the integrity of their person's personal property - clothing, for example.

If the person's family is restricted from doing so, no one independent of the service provider does a check.

State Trustees are administrators for many people. Not only do they, also, have no legal power under the Act, but they have few resources to regularly check the integrity of their clients' personal property.

As Heather discovered when she worked behind the closed doors of group homes, especially DHS group homes, clothing integrity can be very questionable.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:02 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, October 26 2012

The following experiences are very common throughout the Department of Human Service, Disability Services (Victoria).

They are as a direct result of the failure of all levels of department management to properly, consistently and proactively manage the business of ensuring the level and quality of care and support is consistently within the direction, intention and spirit of departmental care policies, standards and values.

Story 1.

When I first started working for DHS, Disability Services, group homes, I would go home crying, and thought I may not be able to do this job.

After five years, I still feel the same. And, constantly think about those who live in these places, and are left day after day to stare at four walls, with little or no engagement or interaction.

Most staff actually believe that as long as we provide food and shelter, that's enough. How can that be enough for people who are so disadvantaged in having so little in their lives?

I an repeatedly told ,I have to leave my work, at work. And be professional. How can one do that when one works with people, not material objects.

I was thinking about becoming a Community Visitor, as I am always happy to see them.

What makes me angry, is staff pretend to community visitors that everything is perfect, and the residents receive high level of care. So untrue!

Then you have people who say, “You can't change the system, just learn to live with it. If you can’t do that, leave!”

I do casual work now, as I am sick of house politics – staff more concerned with bickering and back-biting, than caring for the residents.... I was on contract few times, but still found the general staff negative attitude towards the residents so depressing.

In the Cert4 classes, they say you will be able to do all these lovely things. But but this is rarely so in reality, at the group homes.

Everything is about intimidation, bullying and unions. The big one is the OH&S issues. It’s all about staff rights and choices, not the residents. Such negative attitudes!

Story 2

After working with scope in the early 90's I was talked into crossing over to DHS EMR.

I thought that such a big organisation must be at the forefront of disability reform.

Whereas, I discovered the culture to be toxic and lacking in those areas of equality that I was so used to at Scope.

My time with the DHS, Disability Services, was a constant battle with a culture of falsehood and embedded ongoing conflicts of interest that lead me into a world of cover your butt at all times.

This never sat well with me, so I was constantly isolated.

I witnessed the most degrading withdrawals of human rights and accepted levels of abuse. I was repeatedly being transferred to other houses, because I was reporting this.

The cover ups were always under the control of area managers and their underlings.

I moved to DHS NWMR, thinking it couldn't get any worse. Wrong! The total acceptance of the degrading, abusive and inappropriate treatment of residents is terrifying at first - then just plain unacceptable!

So I resigned from the DHS, and moved back to the non-government sector.

LISA Comment: Most care level and quality within DHS direct care services is by staff lore, not management 'law' (control & direction). Staff integrity fluctuates without good and consistent management direction.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:58 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, October 24 2012

Thousands of disabled young people across NSW are stuck in nursing homes because of the fragmented nature of services and agencies responsible for their care, a summit has heard.

About 6500 disabled people nationally, some as young as 20, live in aged care facilities.

In NSW about 2,500 young people are housed in facilities set up to care for those aged 65 and over.

Speaking at the Young People in Nursing Homes (YPINH) Leader's Summit, Disabilities Minister Andrew Constance said while nursing homes have the staff and equipment to support disabled young people, the quality of life for those young people suffers.

"I once met a young person forced to live in a nursing home who said to me ... he's sick of watching Days of Our Lives in the middle of the day and having to endure the same activities that are on offer to those who are over the age of 65," Mr Constance said.

YPINH spokesman Alan Blackwood told AAP more funding and better coordination between service providers and government health, housing and disability departments was needed to help young disabled people leave nursing homes.

Several programs and pilot schemes have been launched, but because they span over several government portfolios and service providers, there is a danger of people "falling through the cracks," Mr Blackwood said.

Funding from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will help service providers better organise their approach to caring for young disabled people, Mr Blackwood added.

"But it won't solve all of (the problems) unless we get health to actually work with the NDIS and do its bit."

LINK

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, October 21 2012

"Community Visitors regularly report that residents have limited opportunities to realise their individual capacities".

This might be due to poor access to affordable transport or staff shortages or inadequate support. In many cases, residents are not able to make genuine choices about such things as who they live with, activities they engage in or even when they retire.

Sadly, many people still have unmet communication needs, so are unable to actively participate in the decisions that affect their lives or to understand the information that might help them to do so.

The principles of the Disability Act state that people with a disability have the same rights as other members of the community to:

  • respect for their human worth and dignity live free from abuse, neglect and exploitation
  • realise their individual capacity for physical, social, emotional and intellectual development
  • exercise control over their own lives • participate actively in the decisions that affect their lives and have information and be supported where necessary to enable this to occur
  • access information and communicate in a manner appropriate to their communication and cultural needs and services to support their quality of life.

In practice, it is often difficult for people living in residential services to fully exercise these rights.

The Public Advocate says in the OPA Annual Report:

“A pressing concern this year has been increased reporting of allegations of abuse and neglect. Consequently, the Public Advocate has implemented a ‘notification’ process to ensure staff alert her formally in writing of any serious abuse allegations. The information enables her to take the necessary informed action with the Department of Health and DHS to protect the safety of the vulnerable residents visited”.

Community Visitors Report (LINK)

Public Advocate Report (LINK)

LISA Comment: Questionable activities against vulnerable people in both its direct and indirect services will never be reduced or eliminated whilst the Department of Human Service, Victoria, totally fails to properly, consistently and pro-actively manage its care and support services.

This may be a bridge too far, as traditional public service culture is safe employment and an obligation only to be at one’s workplace. Therefore, it is almost impossible for a DHS group home supervisors, for example, to direct staff per se - certainly not to provide more than minder-care.

All our inside contacts say that most staff who attempt to provide residents with quality of life care, with regular engagement/interaction, PCAS and PBS, are often intimidated and ridiculed and told, “We don’t do all that rubbish here!” “Why are you talking to that resident, he can’t understand you?”

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:08 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, October 14 2012

Where a consumer makes a complaint to public service management about the level and quality of service. Management insists any meeting in relation to the complaint(s) be attended by both the staff in question and the consumer.

This way, the manager can assume the role of ‘mediator’, rather than ‘director’, inferring he or she is not taking sides. Therefore staying sweet with the staff - and that he or she is on their side.

In contrast to taking a responsible management role of hearing the consumer’s complaints without staff present or having any knowledge, covertly investigating the consumer’s complaint(s) and, if necessary, taking action against the staff as if the complaint was as a direct result of the management’s investigation of service delivery and procedure – proper business management

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 09 2012

Advocacy, Self Advocacy, Rights, Accessibility, & Community Living for People with a Disability in Supported Accommodation Group Homes by Mary Reid, Amida, Melbourne, Phone: 9650 2722 Fax: 9654 8575 Email: amida@amida.org.au Website: www.amida.org.au Inc No: A001608SV ABN: 32 993 870 380.

“My role is to visit, explain and empower the residents of shared supported accommodation (SSA) group homes with information about their housing rights. This is important, as these rights are now law in Victoria”, says Ms Reid.

“I have already visited many SSAs around Victoria, to explain and provide all residents with information about their housing rights”, she says.

Sessions with residents and family members are interactive and focus on the rights and responsibilities of residents living in ‘their’ home.

In a circular letter, Ms Reid says she will be visiting more houses soon, and asks that people submit the visit request form.

LINK to what Amida says are RIGHTS

LISA Comment: We consider the process is little more than a DHS HO funded smoke and mirrors exercise!

The DHS can't consistently implement their own care policies, standards and values in their group homes, due to public service staff lore, staff intimidation of management and peer pressure.

Their group homes are staff workplaces, not the residents' home!

Intimidation is the number one ODSC reason people with disabilities and their families don't complain. So why would they want to risk speaking-out about their rights in the house?

The only people with rights in a DHS group home, is the public service staff. DHS management protect the staff no matter what they do, or don't do!

DHS HO tell it how it should be, not how it is… They fund this sort of project, so they look good, but have no power over the regions to ensure it is effective, hence - smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:22 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, October 08 2012

Family members who are supporting a person with a disability, need to unite yesterday, today and tomorrow. The "sea of discontent" is a thousand miles wide and a millimeter deep.

Get busy(-er) and express your issues/opinions in newspapers, to your local member of parliament, to all members of parliament, to community leaders, on websites (like this), on TV, on radio, to friends, relatives, people everywhere.

Tell them until they can't stand it and they join the fight!

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:25 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 27 2012

This cocktail has just as much potential to be a bucket of worms as the present, traditional, system of bulk-funded services for people with intellectual or multiple disabilities.

The Productivity Commission decided it was too difficult to attempt to make service providers accountable to consumers for service level and quality when they have little reason to be as they receive bulk-funding and have a captive market.

They put the consumer in the driving seat to establish marketplace driven quality services, by giving them the service money as an ISP to shop around for what they consider is best for them - being able to change service providers if they wish.

Having consumers in the driving seat, certainly provides the potential to realise customer service and rights based services.

The Productivity Commission appears to have assumed that consumers will shop amongst the traditional service providers. Whereas many parents/families, of people with limited intellectual capacity, will see ISPs as an opportunity to seek the cheapest possible service.

This could mean any unqualified, unregulated, unsafe, renegade service provider with no security rating, little training or experience, and no public liability insurance – the next door neighbour or backyarders, for instance.

The establishment and growth of such as these, will lead to the decline of traditional service providers who, at present, have the ability and resources to properly plan, integrate, maintain and monitor service provision packages, rather than ad-hoc processes by backyard operators.

Rather like one is expected to use a registered electrician, plumber, gas-fitter, etc. People on ISPs should be expected to use a registered service provider. And, those providing services for people with disabilities should be registered as having the necessary provisions to meet recognised standards.

Without a degree of regulation surrounding the use of ISPs to purchase services from registered service providers, the ISP principle could result in a lesser service/s than services under traditional, bulk-funding.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 25 2012

It is the role of government to fund the provision of social services to the public. Government uses public money, the result of taxes and charges, to do this. It must, therefore, be the role of government to regulate the provision of social services.

The organisation funded by the State Government of Victoria to provide and to arrange the provision of social services across Victoria, is the Department of Human Services (“DHS”), Victoria.

The regulation of this organisation, this government department, must, therefore, be the responsibility of the State Government of Victoria. One of the social service roles of DHS Victoria, is to arrange the provision of support services for people with a disability, through its ‘Disability Services’.

As part of the state government’s responsibility to regulate DHS Victoria, it established, under the Disability Act 2006, the Office of the Disability Services Commissioner.

The Disability Services Commissioner is, (a) not empowered to direct service providers (including DHS Victoria) and , (b) not empowered to consider systemic complaints (complaints about that which causes individual complaints to arise) – system failures. The Commissioner is empowered only to conciliate individual complaints.

This leaves the only body with the right to directly investigate the systemic aspect of consumer complaints against DHS Victoria, and to subsequently direct DHS Victoria to correct its system failures, as the State Government of Victoria.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the Minister for Community Services to direct DHS Victoria to correct its system failures. If necessary, through the Minister engaging and empowering external expertise to ensure this occurs.

We suspect this failure of governments to act in the interest of consumers and tax payers, is very wide spread. We certainly saw it with the, ‘Victoria Police Service Areas’. Their management failed to ensure public service staff provided sufficient equipment to ensure police vehicles were on the road, and had to, therefore, outsource the work – government paid twice for the work to keep police vehicles on the road.

Whereas, where vulnerable people are provided with insufficient or inappropriate care, the work is not outsourced, so these vulnerable people suffer directly!

Posted by: Hatton AT 06:17 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, September 25 2012

The ‘Victorian Public Service Code of Conduct’ for public service employees has since time immemorial been a tool to protect public service management from having their questionable reactive rather than proactive management exposed.

The Department of Human Services recently stated to The Age, following exposure of abuse and intimidation of vulnerable people by direct care staff:-

“The department has statutory and legal obligations to ensure quality of care for disabled clients. If there are allegations this is not taking place, the department needs to understand why important information relating to client care is not getting through to senior management. Senior management needs to speak to the person involved, as the department takes breaches of the Victorian Public Service code of conduct and client privacy seriously”.

This is a standard statement used by public service management for public consumption… It means this is how it should be, not how it really is.

Standard practice in the public service is that management punishes any public servant reporting questionable occurrences to them, by intimidating them in various ways, including exposing them to those against whom they are reporting.

This ensures the employee will never, ever, again give management work, by expecting management to take action against another employee – leaving management to enjoy their public service leisure at work.

A member of the LISA team has personal experience, as a public servant, of being seriously intimidated by public service management for reporting the questionable actions of other public service staff.

The LISA team has wall to wall material showing how public service management will manoeuvre every which way to avoid taking meaningful and business like action in relation to questionable occurrences and practices.

As no one controls the public service (the department), the above mentioned material will not be considered, despite the department’s ‘Quality Framework’, 2.2.2 says, “Principles that underpin the quality framework are, ‘Human Rights’ and ‘Quality Management’

We suggest the ‘Victorian Whistleblowers Protection Act’, is no protection for public servants under the ‘Victorian Public Service Code of Conduct’.

Whistleblower Protection Act - LINK

Victorian Public Service Code of Conduct - LINK

LISA Comment: DHS Victoria should have nothing to hide in their role to provide care and support for vulnerable people in our society.

If they were doing their job properly, they would welcome transparency throughout all aspects of the organisation.

The Age, 27 September 2012, reports the US Military as having designated Julian Assange and WikiLeaks as enemies of the US - the same legal category as the al-Qaeda terrorist network and the Taliban insurgency. Communicating with the enemy can carry a sentence of death!

It would seem that DHS Victoria classify their consumers, vulnerable people and their families, as the enemy, and their employees as military personnel

Posted by: Hatton AT 06:13 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, September 20 2012

One of the quality of life factors for all with intellectual or multiple disabilities is to have good clothing and footwear.

In many group homes, direct care staff consider clothing and footwear integrity is not their responsibility to repair or replace. Clothing and footwear can, therefore, become shabby and the person looking unkempt.

One answer is to have a “damaged clothing box” in each resident’s wardrobe, with an instruction to staff to place any items of ‘damaged’ clothing or footwear in the box, for the house manager to check each week and take the necessary action of repair at the local repair shop, or purchase replacements.

Posted by: Hatton AT 06:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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
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, July 26 2012

The recent COAG meeting failed to reach broad agreement from all states and territory leaders on the funding arrangements for the National Disability Insurance Scheme. The question is, “What funding arrangements?”

The Productivity Commission recommended no state involvement in the NDIS. This was as a direct result of the basic reason for the NDIS - that the states had made, and were making such a mess of the provision of services for people with a disability and their families.

The Commission also recommended that NDIS services should have an ISP funding format – money in the pocket of, and control of consumers. Not in the pocket of, or under the control of service providers or state governments.

In Victoria, at least, the reason is clear to see. The Department of Human Services can’t even get its own very limited ISP process to be consistent across its regions or within its staff.

If the DHS are in anyway involved in the NDIS, services will be just more of the same we have now. What the Productivity Commission described as, “underfunded, unfair, fragmented and inefficient, and gives people with a disability little choice and no certainty of access to appropriate supports”.

State governments should be totally removed from providing or being responsible for the provision of services for people with a disability and their families.

The states should hand over all their existing services and associated funding to the federal government’s NDIA.

The NDIA would then be responsible for all services. Services provided only by non government service providers – community service organisations funded by NDIS ISPs paid directly to consumers – people with a disability and their families.

Sight should not be lost of the original intention of the NDIS, that of, (a) reducing/eliminating the waiting list for services and, (b) making services a right, an entitlement, rather than the present charity handout where people with a disability and their families are made to feel guilty for daring to ask for, or question services.

Reduction of the waiting list can only be achieved by eliminating the present bureaucratic waste by state government direct services and their bungling, bureaucratic and despotic control of CSOs, as well as additional funding from the federal government.

Entitlement to services can only be achieved by removing the present ‘service provision captive market’ where consumers are often treated as undesirables, towards ‘market place services’ where consumers are the centre of service provision – valued customers.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 25 2012

All government funded services for people with a disability used to be, through ‘bulk funding’ – government general revenue paid directly to the service provider – money directly in the service provider’s pocket. This method equals little or no consumer choice of service provider compounding the natural captive market service provision.

With many families having major concerns over the quality of day service programs, they sought to have access to the funding, to access more diverse services – ISP funding to be, in principle, paid into the pocket of the consumer.

With the main intentions of the NDIS being to, (a) reduce the waiting list for services and, (b) get consumers out of the ‘take it, or leave it’ captive market, the Productivity Commission saw the ISP as having the potential to achieve market place driven service level and quality.

The Productivity Commission also recommended against State involvement in the NDIS. Yet we are moving towards this, and where Victoria, at least, is attempting to negate the basic principle of the ISP – that of the consumer having primary control of their support service funding.

We are advised that many families who have obtained an ISP from DHS Victoria are finding it to be a pseudo ISP, with the DHS insisting, in many cases, that they (DHS) pay the funding directly to the service provider.

In respect to day service client assessment levels (1 to 5.5), and the associated service level and quality, we are advised that most consumers are not provided with a service plan which shows the service, in-detail, that they can expect at their assessment level, and that the service provider’s percentage for overheads is the same at all assessment levels.

A consumer on level 3, at around $18,000pa, with the service provider overheads at 20%,cost would be $3,600. Whereas, a consumer on level 5, at around $31,000pa,with the service provider overheads at 20%, cost would be $6,200.

In summary: We call on DHS Victoria to either show they are consistently, across the state, providing ISPs within the core principle of ISPs – funding in the pocket of the consumer. Or, at least, under their control. Or show where their defined policies allow otherwise. And, we call on service providers to justify their overhead charges.

In conclusion: We are interested to hear from people with a disability and their families in respect to the concerns outlined above. If you wish to provide comment anonymously, please send us a letter.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, July 16 2012

More than 100 intellectually disabled people in state-funded care are alleged to have suffered sexual abuse and other harm at the hands of their carers, amid accusations that senior public servants are trying to cover up incidents.

The Department of Human Services recorded 112 cases of alleged "staff-to-client" abuse in 2011-12 in government and community managed housing for the intellectually disabled across Melbourne. Many of the alleged abuse cases are serious, with molestation, withholding food, inappropriate use of sedatives, verbal and physical assault detailed in internal incident reports.

A carer later promoted to management has also been accused by colleagues of feeding cat food in sandwiches to an intellectually impaired resident at a state-run facility in Melbourne's North. (We suspect this was PRS)

The department has commissioned an external inquiry into how senior public servants responsible for managing disability accommodation in Melbourne's East responded to recent abuse allegations.

LINK

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:44 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, June 29 2012

There has always been a question as to what happens to vulnerable people behind closed-doors - whether this be children at kinder, the elderly in nursing homes, or those with limited capacity living in supported accommodation and attending day centres.

Mum worries about her regular three year old at kinder, but he or she can tell mum... Mum, therefore, worries far more about her 33 year old with limited intellectual capacity and little or no meaningful communications, and living in a supported accommodation group home.

The ‘Community Visitor Program’, under the ‘Disability Act’ in Victoria, helps to weed-out some of the questionable activities behind those closed doors, but families were still concerned that many services still lacked the level and quality of service they considered necessary to provide their vulnerable family member with consistent quality of life care. And, the ‘Community Visitor Program’ does not check ‘Day Centres (ATSS)’.

In the early 2000s, it was considered there was a need to evaluate all service provision, day services and group homes, independent of government or pseudo government - through independent accreditation by external accreditation agencies.

This was flagged by DHS Victoria in their publication entitled, ‘The Quality Framework for Disability Services’ as starting in 2009. Those families complaining about services were encouraged to look forward to 2009, when services would be scrutinized by people independent of service providers and government and the outcome results made widely available.

Well, 2009 came, and went and little happened, as the DHS was then under pressure from non government service providers (CSOs), that they would not take part in the independent accreditation program if outcome results were released to families.

So DHS, Victoria, went to water. They made a deal with CSOs that they would not sanction the release of outcome results, if the CSOs would agree to join the program and be independently accredited to help them justify their funding to these CSOs.

This action shows very clearly, that people with a disability and their families are far from the centre of service provision. Rather than at the centre of service provision, as is suggested in most department care policies, standards and values, and is directly proposed by NDS ( National Disability Services) in their ’Disability Services Transition Plan, 2012 – 2016’

This plan says, ‘The central recommendation of this report is for a major capability uplift of the entire Victorian disability system, in order to better position the service system to realise three objectives that are thought to encapsulate NDIS readiness:

  1. People with disabilities, their caring families and supporters at the centre of service delivery.
  2. Achieving a sustainable, integrated and equally regulated disability service system.
  3. High performing organisations achieving real outcomes for people with disability.

And, DHS Victoria says in its publication, Understanding the Quality Framework for Disability Services in Victoria (2007)’:-

3. Elements of the Quality Framework for Disability Services in Victoria (2007), page 7.

3.3 Independent quality monitoring Central to all robust quality frameworks is a mechanism to independently monitor and verify the quality of the product or service.

Independent quality monitoring is a process independent of the organisation that will require service providers to demonstrate how their systems and processes meet each of the standards.

As part of a staged approach to the implementation of the quality framework, independent quality monitoring will commence from July 2009.

An independent mechanism for monitoring the quality of support to people with a disability will:

  • focus on outcomes
  • involve support users, their families and carers in the process
  • be cyclical
  • be consistent with or complement existing quality systems
  • be applied consistently to department-managed and community service organisations
  • be applied across Disability Services Division funding models and activity types
  • be aligned with divisional, departmental and government policy objectives
  • promote continuous quality improvement.

LISA Inc. was provided with a very good legal team through PILCH, Victoria, to challenge the DHS, Victoria, decision (agreement with CSOs) not to release independent accreditation results for any service, including its own direct care services.

As is the general situation, the all-powerful DHS won the day!

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 26 2012

The relatively few meaningful assets people with limited intellectual ability through intellectual and multiple disability have, need to be treasured and enhanced.

Most in our general society take a pride in their appearance. Although, in today’s trendy and liberal world, there are few boundaries.

Those who have to be well presented all week for business reasons, tend to be very liberal at weekends and holidays. Yet, at such times they are well accepted by society as being way-out dress wise, but having quite acceptable behaviour in comparison.

Whereas, those with unusual behaviours, as a result of their intellectual or multiple disability, tend not to be so well accepted, especially if they are not well dressed and groomed.

It is, therefore, essential a person’s clothing be the very best they can afford, and maintained at the highest standard. It is not good enough to use the old adage – ‘the person has no ability to know how they are dressed, so it doesn’t matter’.

Clothing standards can be a significant problem for those with limited intellectual ability who are living away from their family in a supported accommodation group home, for example.

In such circumstances, it is essential the service provider establish practical policies to ensure their residents are always well dressed and groomed, from the purchase of appropriate attire, to its maintenance and replacement. Not only to enhance the person’s acceptance in the community, but for their self-esteem and confidence enhancement.

Just two of the areas of frequent neglect are ‘footwear’ and ‘buttons’. Shoes dirty, well worn and with insufficient choice of different types for different occasions. And buttons missing, so the clothing sloppy.

Daily shoe cleaning is not a difficult or time consuming task, but makes so much difference to the person’s appearance in, and acceptance by the public. A clothing review policy helps to ensure all clothing is regularly checked for integrity- damage, missing, cleanliness, size, etc, etc.

A box in the residents’ wardrobes for staff to drop questionable clothing and notes of noticed deficiencies, for the house supervisor to check each week to arrange repair, replacement or new purchase, is not rocket science.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 19 2012

Those in our society with an intellectual or multiple disability, very vulnerable people, frequently have few meaningful and beneficial assets per se, but especially in comparison with the general society

Although the asset to which we refer is very important to the general society, the end result of this asset is far more important to those who have so little in their lives, as this asset provides them with an area of enjoyment not generally limited by their disability. We refer to teeth, providing the ability to enjoy food as we were all intended.

Despite the need for teeth to be kept in good condition, to allow this one real avenue of enjoyment, this area of personal hygiene has, and frequently does receive poor attention by many direct care staff in accommodation services.

Many of those who came out of institutions had lost most or all of their teeth through neglect, and now have to have their food pureed

In the present group homes, teeth cleaning and regular dental appointments are not a personal hygiene priority for many direct care staff.

Certainly, there are few behaviour management programs focused on moving residents with resistance to teeth cleaning and regular dental care, towards a meaningful process, rather than the person having a general anaesthetic (“GA”) to allow dental care, by a dentist, to occur.

An example of how a ‘behaviour modification program’ can achieve good results, was where an autistic person would not allow any form of dental care by a dentist.

Although it took four years to move from periodic GA’s, to a full and regular clean and check in the dentist’s chair, this was real quality of life/normalisation move for the person.

The move was achieved with the use of a ‘banana lounge’ and a few ‘dental tools’, simulating the dentist’s chair. Steady programming using these tools, followed by gentle trials in the actual dentist’s chair - gradually achieved meaningful results.

Moving those with resistance to standard community practices requires time, effort and dedication. Most of all, an ‘action plan’ focused on the task and desired outcome.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:07 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, May 31 2012

Mum worries about her 3 year old at kinder! Are they doing anything, or is it just minder care? But the little one can tell Mum …

Mum worries far more about her 33 year old with little ability and no meaningful communications, living in a government group home!

So what has mum to worry about with her 33 year old? It’s all about, “Who Cares”.

Who cares about those special things mothers do so well for their vulnerable family member, whether he or she be 3 or 33.

In most group homes it is the person’s key worker who is supposed to emulate the person’s parent – take care of the person’s special needs.

Those who can do little for themselves, need someone to take special care of them …

  • Proper showering and bathing.
  • Food prepared and presented nicely.
  • Dressed well in good and well fitting clothes and shoes – not stained and shabby clothes with buttons missing and/or dirty unkempt shoes.
  • Having good bed linen – not with a pillow like a biscuit.
  • Teeth cared for properly (brushed at least twice per day) – regular visits to the dentist
  • Feet cared for properly – taken to a podiatrist regularly.
  • Any skin damage or bruises attended to immediately
  • Ears checked regularly by a GP
  • Taken to a GP as and when needed, not just as and when convenient to staff.

Yes, we know there are many more, but we feel this shows the concerns most parents have in respect to group homes. And why many parents look to ‘Self-Directed Approaches” through ISPs. Nevertheless, not everyone has the health or energy for SDA, and must resort to a group home.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, May 19 2012

It is the role of government to fund the provision of social services to the public. Government uses public money, the result of taxes and charges, to do this. It must, therefore, be the role of government to regulate the provision of social services.

The organisation funded by the State Government of Victoria to provide and arrange the provision of social services across Victoria, is the Department of Human Services (“DHS”), Victoria.

The regulation of this organisation, this government department must, therefore, be the responsibility of the State Government of Victoria. One of the social service roles of DHS Victoria, is to arrange the provision of support services for people with a disability, through its ‘Disability Services’.

As part of the state government’s responsibility to regulate DHS Victoria, it established, under the Disability Act 2006, the Office of the Disability Services Commissioner.

The Disability Services Commissioner is, (a) not empowered to direct service providers (including DHS Victoria) and , (b) not empowered to consider systemic complaints (complaints about that which causes individual complaints to arise) – system failures. The Commissioner is empowered only to conciliate ‘individual complaints’.

This leaves the only body with the right to directly investigate the systemic aspect of consumer complaints against DHS Victoria, and to subsequently direct DHS Victoria to correct its system failures, as the State Government of Victoria.

It is, therefore, the responsibility of the Minister for Community Services to direct DHS Victoria to correct its system failures. If necessary, through the Minister engaging and empowering external expertise to ensure this occurs.

However, the ‘Mandarins of DHS Victoria’ have all politicians well controlled!

'Yes Minister', portrayed this perfectly as: ”With respect Minister, you cannot do that because of a, b, c, etc, etc. If you do that Minister, we will have to do this and that as a result. What would the Opposition and the Electorate think of that, Minister?”

Ministers are prisoners of their department! There is a phrase in the Public Service called, 'Mirror Treatment'

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:34 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, May 01 2012

Students of TAFE Certificate 4 in disability, receive significant theory and practical instruction in PCAS and PBS {Person Centred Active Support and Positive Behaviour Support), throughout the course.

Most students are keen to practice their new found skills of providing intellectual and developmental skills to the residents of group homes and the clients of day services, both during their work experience times, and when they get work after the course.

Rather similar to police recruits, who are equally keen to get into practical work on the streets, but are told by the station sergeant to sit quietly at a desk, and not go looking for work on the streets which will cause paper work. Those with, or doing Cert-4, are told, mainly in government direct care, that their role is basic minder care, not all this intellectual and developmental rubbish.

These keen new workers, ex TAFE students, are frequently told on their first day in a government direct care group home, if you do this PCAS/PBS rubbish, we will all have to do it. So sit quietly, mind the residents, enjoy the TV, have a coffee and a chat. And what is especially relevant, you are not paid enough to do other than basic minder care!

This is how the traditional institutional mindset of ‘minder-care’ is maintained throughout the ‘group home in the community’ concept.

Young people, just off the TAFE course, with the energy and enthusiasm to really help people with a disability develop a real quality of life are often so disillusioned that they leave the field, having failed to convince government direct care reactive management of the need to help people with a disability in the way their TAFE course showed them.

Government direct care management see their primary role, to keep the majority of direct care staff happy in doing whatever they want, or don’t want to do. The residents are no problem, they will not, and mostly cannot complain. If they do, they will not be believed!

The following extract from a Community Visitor Report, Victoria, illustrates what is quite common

DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES - RELEASED UNDER FREEDOM OF INFORMATION
​Community Visitor Visit Reference XXXXX (extract) Issue 6.

Community visitors concerned with staff not following instructions regarding active support because of staff conflict.

Response 6:

Active support has been an issue since its introduction to XXXXXXX. Some staff have objected to active support as it "forcing the residents to do things they do not want to".

There was a letter produced by an unknown person stating that "active support was not in the basic care that DDSO workers provide".

My response to this situation is that the residents need to be engaged in meaningful activity that will reduce the amount of boredom and to motivate the residents to take an active role in their daily lives.

The skills the residents have can be built on as well as retaining the skills they already have. By staff doing everything and sticking by a "basic care" attitude, the residents will never be able to "own" their own lives.

We are here as DDSO workers and not the residents in our workplace. If there is a further issue you wish to discuss with this one I will be more than happy to sit with you and discuss it.

This applies for any of the staff you would like to discuss this with as well.

The concerns with staff conflict is a very real one and as the house supervisor I have been trying to resolve this issue for 12 months.

Again I would ask you to contact the house again if you would like to discuss this and I will ask management to come along so the situation can be discussed with all concerned..

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, April 16 2012

People with an intellectual or multiple disability, very vulnerable people, are potentially at greater risk where their direct care staff are government employees. As government employees, public servants, have relatively and traditionally safe employment.

The following scenario, a true story, illustrates the difference between the public sector and the not for profit sector, in this regard.

A group of people with very high support-needs was taken in their group home bus, from their non-government, community service organisation , group home, to a beach around 20 Kilometres away.

The driver subsequently lost the vehicle keys on the beach. Neither of the two staff had a mobile phone. So the driver had to ask a nearby resident to use their telephone to call the group home for the spare set of keys.

Fortunately, there was a staff member at the house, but had no vehicle. So police were requested to help get the spare keys to the beach as quickly as possible.

Nevertheless, the group were not able to access their bus for over two hours. As a consequence, the staff member was instantly dismissed.

In total contrast, there have been many far more questionable occurrences than the beach incident, by staff in government direct care. At worst, these staff are moved sideways – moved to another house.

One of the main attractions of working for government, is safe and secure employment - almost no matter what the person does, or does not do.

All of this does not mean there are not a great many public sector staff with very good integrity and work ethics. What it shows is, those not in this category also have the luxury of safe employment.

This provides little incentive for good workers to continue being so. After all, why should people do it right, when others do not, and are not penalised

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:50 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, April 08 2012
  • A ‘Catch-22’ is a ‘no win situation’.
  • Supervise or manage without conflict is a public service avoidance technique.

Public service managers and supervisors within the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, have a unwritten lore which expects them not to give the manager above them any problems. They are expected to be self-sufficient, and not to expect assistance to manage their staff.

Although this lore extends through all levels of management, the most affected area is that of House Supervisor in DHS group homes (SSAs).

Manage or Supervise without conflict is a traditional public sector management issue avoidance tool, allowing managers and supervisors to maintain their comfort zone and avoid the need to use fortitude and effective man-management practices to set, monitor and maintain direct care staff work value expectations necessary to ensure service level and quality is within departmental care policies, standards, values, guidelines, and community expectations.

The manage and supervise without conflict philosophy, allows the managers and supervisors of government direct care services in Victoria, services for people with an intellectual or multiple disability, to ensure that they are always considered nice people by their direct care staff. Being content to reduce service standards to clients/residents, rather than risk having discontented staff.


The majority of the residents of government direct care supported accommodation services, have insufficient capacity to effectively question their service level and quality standards. And most advocates have been driven away by the overwhelming and long standing ability of government departments to treat customers with contempt, saying that any complaint they may have is just their opinion.

The supervise without conflict principle can work, but only where the staff being supervised do not have the job security of a government captive market service.

In a government, public service, captive market, secure employment situation, like the Department of Human Service, Victoria, house supervisors do not actively and consistently set, monitor and maintain direct care staff work value expectations to ensure service level and quality to the resident is within the direction, intention and spirit of departmental care policies, standards and values. Rather, most ensure their staff are content, at the expense of the residents, to meet the ‘Supervise without conflict’ lore.

This ‘lore’ also extends to the non-government, CSO, sector. As the department funds the CSOs, it is responsible for their service standards. Where a consumer complains to the department about service quality, the department frequently sides with the CSO, to avoid conflict with the CSO, as department bureaucratic processes can easily silence consumers who have no choice of service provider within captive market service provision 

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:01 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, April 05 2012

Hits on the LISA Forum-item, ”Reluctance to Complain”, has exceeded 1000!

There is, as there should be, a major concern over the intimidation of those who dare to complain about the level and quality of care services, especially government direct care services for people with disabilities and their families.

The Disability Services Commissioner, Victoria, rates ‘intimidation’ as the number-one reason people are in fear of making a complaint, especially against government direct care services.

Overall ‘reactive’ management of government direct care services is the number-one reason their service provision is inconsistent between group homes and between regions, and frequently extremely questionable throughout.

In Victoria, the government controlled DSR (Disability Support Register) ensures 99% of consumers have no choice of service provider, except – “Take it, or leave it!”

Government direct services have additional restrictive practices:

• Their management and staff have secure employment within a traditional public service culture where there are few expectations on management or staff.
• No one owns the ‘company’, therefore no one is responsible for anything, including the service level and quality, but especially the problems.
• No one takes ownership of the problems. These are swept under the carpet.
• Problems, therefore, go around and around in the their revolving door.

People are an easy target for intimidation when:

• The service provider has a captive market.
• People are vulnerable.
• People have no service entitlement rights.
• People are frequently reminded they are lucky to have anything.

Some of the reasons people are reluctant to complain are:-

(a) They fear retribution and intimidation of their vulnerable family member and themselves, and the threat of service withdrawal or reduction,

(b) They don't fully understand their rights to service level and quality,

(c) They don't want to be seen as a whinger,

(d) They don't fully understand the service
process,

(e) They have concerns about how complaining will affect their relationship with service management and staff,

(f) They have insufficient information on how or where to complain,

(g) Their previous negative experiences of complaining, put them off,

(h) They don't 'know' anything other than the service they're receiving and,

(i) They feel, complainants can lose more than what they have lost as a result of that which they were complaining about.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:18 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, March 23 2012

Abuses of Power – Bullying and Retribution

These terms describe the actions of the big-two supermarkets against their suppliers.

These terms also describe the actions of government departments against people with a disability, their families and non-government service providers.

Suppliers to the big-two supermarkets get ‘pushed off the cliff’ if the do not ‘assume the position’ – cooperate with the big-two. Sign the contract and stay in the 'cone of silence', or get pushed off the cliff!

People with a disability, their families and non-government service providers are treated in a similar way by government human service departments.

Non-government service providers fear sidelining and funding restrictions if they do not ‘assume the position’ – work-with and never- question.

People with a disability and their families fear intimidation, Families fear intimidation of themselves, but mostly of their vulnerable family member behind the closed doors of a government service

The toothless efforts of the ACCC, and the two Senate enquiries have achieved little in redressing the problem food supplies face from the big two supermarkets.

People with a disability, their families and non-government service providers have similar toothless tigers in the Ombudsman, the Disability Services Commissioner, the Office of the Public Advocate, the Health Services Commissioner, VCAT and the government of the day.

The general public have a real, day to day, personal interest in food, so there is potential to motivate the ACCC to take action against the practices of the big-two supermarkets.

There is little public interest in a similar abuse of power by government human service departments against people with a disability, their families and non-government service providers.

No one cares! The media gives little coverage to the questionable actions of government departments who hold the purse strings over people with a disability, their families and non-government service providers.

The Productivity Commission addressed this problem with the NDIS funding intended to be in the pocket of the consumer, but the NDIS is looking less and less likely to occur in a way which will eliminate, for all, the present captive market, no choice, services for people with a disability and their families.

Posted by: Hatton AT 05:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, February 24 2012

The Sheriff of Nottingham demanded the common people show respect when he took their money: Robin Hood had different views – So has LISA Inc., in respect to people with a disability and their families.

This is a sign not only of obedience, but of subservience. An acknowledgement of the humble place in which people with a disability and their families are expected to be to receive support. Most of which is a charity hand-out, not an entitlement, in a world of captive market services for those with a disability and their families.

The moment your child is diagnosed with a disability, your life becomes a lone battle against bureaucratic barriers far superior to the well-known green zone in Baghdad, until you depart this world.

Captive market bureaucrats expect families to be totally respectful, obedient and subservient to them, no matter what they do, say, offer or don’t offer in respect to help and services.

The government of Victoria originally established departments with public funding to serve the people of Victoria through direct and indirect service provision.

Over the years many of these departments have become out of control juggernauts. Unlike organisations who compete in the market place, they have few reasons to maintain and grow their customer base.

As their funding is not based on customer service or customer satisfaction, they have few reasons to respond to the requests or concerns of those they are intended to serve.

The general attitude of public service staff is that everything would run much better without customers!

In contrast, those working in the market place realise and accept the custom of the customer as the important person without whom they would have no job

Successive governments realised just how much they had lost control of these juggernauts, and established a number of “Independent Statutory Bodies” in the hope of at least making the departments somewhat accountable to those they are intended to serve, and to the public who provide their funding.

The Department of Human Services is by far the most out of control, with its awesome despotic powers impacting adversely on the most vulnerable in our community. The “independent statutory bodies” such as the Ombudsman, Office of the Public Advocate, Office of the Disability Services Commissioner and VCAT have little hope of making this juggernaut accountable for its actions. They have become little better themselves!

Consumers and their families must be empowered to call the tune! Not the service providers dictating to the consumers! In outside industry, the customer is always considered right!

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, February 22 2012

It’s a government lottery, with no guesses as to which will be last or never occur in a meaningful way.

Bill Shorten says the NDIS pit is so deep, we will never hear the coin touch the bottom. Yet with that philosophy, Mr Shorten, on Q&A, claims it will occur. What he does not say is, how much it will be watered-down, if it does occur.

Certainly, there is an urgent need for NDIS funding to provide for the huge level of unmet needs – those families doing it tough with little or no hope for the future but to keep on keeping-on caring for their adult family member ‘till they drop. However, there is a lot of cleaning-up of existing services pending any level of NDIS, or similar.

The Victorian Government has produced an action plan entitled “Human Services – The Case for Change”.

This document 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. But despite our common purpose of supporting people out of disadvantage, major improvements can still be made to connect individual efforts and achieve better life outcomes for vulnerable people.

If existing services can be made more accountable for their service provision, including better customer service, then when some NDIS funding finally arrives, consumers and their families will have less battle to achieve reasonable quality of care for their family member.

Bill Shorten speech to ALP National Conference, NDIS

Human Services - The Case for Change

 

 

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:01 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 06 2012

Dental health is a concern for everyone. It is a major concern for those with limited capacity to understand the need for, or carry out dental heath routines.

As Community Visitors, and as an DSO (in Victoria), we saw the shocking conditions many residents of institutions suffered. One of these was the lack of proper and consistent dental hygiene.

Many who finally came out of the institutions, had lost most or many of their teeth. They moved into group homes where the dental health aspect was/is little better, given institutional cultures were allowed to be transportable.

Both the medical and dental professions agree it is easy to distinguish between those with intellectual or multiple disabilities living at home, and those living in supported accommodation group homes, especially DHS group homes, by their dental health.

The general community, has the ability to understand the need for, and result of various dental procedures. Whereas, those with limited capacity are further disadvantaged if they have limitations participating well in one of their major quality of life areas – being able eat and enjoy food properly. 

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:06 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, February 06 2012

All Telecom employees were in this comfort zone, Australia wide, for years. No matter what they did, or did not do, they were totally protected by the Telecom juganaught.

Telecom had no reason to attract customers or provide customer service. Consumers could go nowhere else!

Now, with consumers having choice of service providers, the attitude of employees towards customers has changed significantly.

The above example of the down-side of a captive market, relates to the product and service being electronic equipment.

Whereas, similar captive market down-side still exists for people with intellectual or multiple disabilities. Still treated as of less value than electronic equipment!

They have no choice of service provider, no effective complaints process, and with support staff having far more rights than they or their families, and staff safe employment protected by the DHS juganaught

It is little wonder, families are looking for ISPs to SDA – DIY. Where families can employ their own staff, they can set, monitor and maintain staff work value to reflect quality of life care, rather than minder care.

Nevertheless, it is encouraging to see one of the DHS regions actively, from staff level, addressing the need to provide meaningful customer service. More on this later. 

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:04 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, January 26 2012

With disability services there are care plans for almost every aspect of a person’s life. Service provision seems to consider a person’s quality of life is directly proportional with the number and complexity of their care plans, directives, standards, guidelines and values.

There are ‘Behaviour Support Plans’, ‘Residential Statements’, ‘Person Centred Plans’, ‘Action Plans’, ‘Oral Health Plans’, ‘Communication Plans’, Residential Services Practice Manuals, Quality Frameworks, Active Support Guidelines, Quality Assurance Handbooks, Day Service Procedures, Disability Standards, Disability Acts, etc, etc, etc.

Yet, with all this directive, there is almost no direction that this bevy of direction shall be implemented in a practical and meaningful way for those for whom all this direction is intended to benefit – those with disabilities and their families.

There is also no obligation within all this direction, that there shall be transparent, meaningful and accountable outcomes for those for whom all this direction is intended to benefit – those with disabilities and their families.

There needs to be mandatory expectations placed on those producing and responsible for regulation intended to benefit people with disabilities and their families, to ensure the regulation is implemented with its direction, intention and spirit. 

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:09 am   |  Permalink   |  1 Comment  |  Email
Thursday, January 26 2012

This is the Department of Human Services, Victoria, restriction on freedom of choice for people with disabilities and their families.

This all-powerful state government department uses its huge bucket of government/public funds to play its power-over-people game.

The Productivity Commission realised the only way to break this strangle-hold on vulnerable people by state governments, was to put ‘NDIS dollar-power’ in the pockets of consumers, by funding services through ISPs (Individual Support Packages).

With the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) some years away, if ever, state government power brokers, government departments like the DHS continue to enjoy their bevy of conflict of interest power over people – vulnerable people.

We ask:

• “If we must have a DSR, why should a CSO (Community Service Organisation) not run this, rather that the DHS?”

• “What is the CSO answer to having no DSR or ‘Central Placement Allocation Process’, given the NDIS ISP service funding process is intended to give consumers freedom of choice – with the potential of improved service?”

• Why will the DHS not allow its existing group home residents freedom of choice, by allowing them to take the full level of their existing service provision bulk-funding, in an exit-package to seek a group home with the CSOs, or a good ‘SDA’ (Self Directed Approach)?”

Release of the full level of their existing service provision bulk-funding, the residents of an existing DHS group home could replace DHS staff, with CSO staff and a firm service level and quality contract to provide them with real and meaningful quality of life care.

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:07 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, January 13 2012

by Lifestyle in Supported Accommodation (LISA) Inc.

Behaviour management is beneficial for those with adverse behaviours, as well as those with more moderate behaviours. Behaviours of concern often disrupt meaningful activities, and reduce the person’s acceptability in the community.

People living in group settings need reasonable compatibility with each other, if they are to achieve a living situation which is conducive with consistent quality of life activities. This is especially relevant where those living together have high-support needs.

One of the most important tools in the reduction of behaviours of concern is consistent, ‘Person Centred Active Support (PCAS)’ and ‘Positive Behaviour Support (PBS)’.

Like most people, people with limited capacity due to intellectual disability do undesirable things if they are bored. This is compounded as their limited capacity reduces their ability to do nothing meaningful or constructive without PCAS/PBS being consistently implemented by support staff.

The catch-22 is where the residents of the group home have one member with behaviours of concern , which can upset the other residents, disrupt the consistent implementation of PCAS/PBS and reduce staff incentive to do consistent active support through interaction and developmental activities.

The ‘incompatible client syndrome’ has a negative impact on all residents and support staff. The incompatible client with behaviours of concern is disadvantaged, as are the other residents.

Regular support staff are not trained, supported, remunerated, or have the time to do the intensive behaviour management. Frequently, therefore, all residents receive little more than compromise behaviour management and basic minder care.

Whereas, if the department (DHS/DS Victoria) had proper behaviour management facilities, clients with behaviours of concern would achieve a level of behaviour compatible with most residents, and manageable by regular support staff with regular quality of life interactive and developmental activities.

Achieving this level of compatibility would require, (a) a behaviour scale, (b) client assessment against this scale, (c) a proper behaviour management and correction facility and, (d) outcome expectations set-on well trained, motivated and remunerated facility staff. 

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:13 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, January 05 2012

It seems the movement of rubber stamp signatures for people with disabilities is growing.

Rather like company seals, automatic signature processes require tight security and integrity to reduce the potential of fraud, as a signature is a very personal mark of a person’s discretion.

A person’s regular signature is very personal. It is produced solely as a result of biological actions (brain controlling hand, for example).

Similar security with the use of a mechanical or electronic signature device will be quite difficult to achieve in practice. Nevertheless, a mechanical or electronic signature device may be the only way for those with just physical challenges to exercise their discretion,

In contrast, the concept of those intellectually challenged using a mechanical or electronic signature device would be very much dependent on their intellectual capacity to understand consequences and intentions. Similar to that needed to authorise an enduring power of attorney.

http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/UNSWLJ/1998/56.html

Seek Legal Advice!

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:16 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, January 02 2012

Show Link

This is a show, not only in theatre, but in every government department as a perspective of the type of bureaucracy which adversely affects the lives of people with disabilities and their families.

Dr Rhonda Galbally, at the National Press Club in Canberra, said, “What does it mean to be an Australian with a disability? What is life like in the lucky country, in this land of the fair go? One answer we might expect would be, A citizen with the same rights as everyone else!

But if you have a physical, sensory, psychiatric, or intellectual disability, what is life really like? Many Australians would say, It's better, isn't it? The bad old days are gone - Aren't they?

The horror and abuse that went on in institutions, that's all gone now, hasn't it. The poverty, the discrimination, the exclusion, the fear and hatred, that's all ancient history, isn't it?

I would love to be able to say yes, that is all ancient history, but I can't. I'm here to tell you that despite this nation enjoying the longest economic boom in its history, very little has changed for most Australians with a disability”.

Most of the problems people with disabilities and their families face every day are directly due to the type of bureaucratic bungling depicted in the classic BBC TV series, “Yes Minister!” and, “Yes Prime Minister!”

These shows which appeared on British TV in the 1980s, and which has been a hit stage show in London’s West End for sometime, is now in Australia from the end of January 2012

The episode which especially depicts the attitude of government departments towards people with disabilities and their families is entitled, “The Compassionate Society”. This is about a new public hospital which had been fully staffed for a long while, but with no patients. When it was suggested, after public outcry, there should be patients, the staff said the hospital was running fine as it was. This is very similar to most public services.

The public service doesn’t need or want customers, as they have a captive market, bulk funding and, therefore, safe employment - Where consumers are considered unnecessary, undesirable, always wrong, and should feel eternally grateful for anything they might eventually get after long negotiations. Consumers have no rights or entitlement to anything!

When governments decide there is a need for a “social service”, they ‘bulk fund’ a public service department to operate this. The first act of any such department, is to close its doors to the public, install wall to wall staff, bureaucracy and regulations, and make the public fight for everything the department is funded/intended to provide. As they are bulk funded from the government’s general revenue, all staff have safe employment no matter what they do, or don’t do.

The initial government concept is a “charity hand-out’ in itself, but the government department enhances this to develop the traditional public service power-over-people, to ensure consumers know their place. A place where consumers have no rights, must beg for everything, and must never, ever, complain about their captive market, no-choice service.

In total contrast, market-place business opens its doors, welcomes potential customers, and treats customers and potential customers as always right, as the customer has choice of service provider and staff are dependent on customers for their continued employment

This is clearly one of the main reasons the Productivity Commission has taken the ISP (Individual Service Package) track, for the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme).

The ISP is essentially a relatively easy way to reverse the standard public service restrictive practices against consumers. The ISP concept puts the money in the consumer’s pocket, rather than the bureaucratic pocket. Service providers will then have to provide customer satisfaction

Posted by: Hatton AT 01:18 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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
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
Sunday, November 13 2011

This is nothing to do with fat or thin people!

These terms used to describe stand-alone computers. Those with everything on-board – like the average home computer. As against a computer holding little more that the operating system, with data/files held at a remote location – a main frame.

The Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Victoria, has traditionally made its supported accommodation group homes almost stand-alone/self-sufficient through a large office and extensive equipment – with each house being almost a business in itself.

A large percentage of the reason for this is the department’s inability to make its reactive management, above house supervisor, responsible. House supervisors, therefore, being expected to be totally responsible for what is, in effect, a stand-alone business. House supervisors receive little or no support from those above them – hence the traditional large office and “fat client” computer in each house.

Recently, however, department management, above house supervisor, had a rush of blood to the head regarding privacy, and that house computers should become “thin-clients”, with restricted/designated access to the data/files now on a remote main frame.

It appears the trial with 100 houses has gone pear shaped, leaving staff unable to access vital information on their residents, and more

Posted by: Hatton AT 02:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, November 09 2011

The DHS Victoria, DSR restrictive practice culture outlined by a senior DHS manager…….

“This is a response to your client’s request to relocate from a DHS group home, to a group home managed by a Community Service Organisation (CSO).

You are advised that all requests for resource allocation from DHS, Disability Services. are registered on the Disability Support Register (DSR), and are subject to departmental guidelines.

The assessment of suitability of placement for individuals registered on the DSR for group homes are based on a number of factors including priority of access, compatibility with current residents and matching of the person's individual needs with level of support provided. These factors are applied when considering vacancies for both DHS and CSO managed group homes”.

The client in question has been on the DSR for four years! And this is a re-location, not an initial placement. So cost is not a factor!

Posted by: Hatton AT 02:21 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Thursday, October 20 2011

The “Office for Disability” is now within the power- base of the “Department of Human Services”!

The “Office for Disability” was set-up within the “Department of Planning and Community Development”, in 2006, independent of the “Department of Human Services”, with a mandate to put disability on the agenda across the Victorian Government.

The Office's role was to provide independent expert policy advice and support for the Minister for Community Services to implement a coordinated whole-of-government response to disability. And, to encourage all government departments, including the DHS, to have the right policies and practices for people with disabilities.

One of the main aims of the “Office for Disability” was to encourage and influence Victorian Government policy and activities to improve outcomes for people with a disability and to deal with barriers to participation in our communities.

Given there are few, if any watch-dogs over the DHS, it was refreshing to have the “Office for Disability”, isolated from the DHS, at the “Department of Planning and Community Development”, despite their gentle bark and no bite.

With the “Office for Disability” having no independent statutory, it was easy meat for the DHS to takeover this external voice - to tow the party-line from within their ranks.

Even so, those “Independent Statutory Bodies”, pseudo government departments, circle and protect the DHS from public scrutiny.

There is, therefore, only one person in the State of Victoria who can direct the DHS juganaught – “The Minister for Community Services”! It is, however, traditional government practice for Minister’s to defend their department from any form of customer or public scrutiny. 

Posted by: Hatton AT 02:24 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, October 04 2011

Looking outwards and helping others through volunteering, rather than focusing narrowly on our own concerns, can increase our sense of purpose and meaning and improve physical and mental health. People don't necessarily volunteer because they are expecting a reward, or they think it will improve their health.

Most do it because they hope to benefit others. Some people want to gain new skills or see it as a step towards a career. Others volunteer because generosity, or charity, is part of their religious practice. For people who are regular volunteers, volunteering for its own sake becomes a strong motivator, rather than volunteering for any particular cause.

Although most won't set out to volunteer for the sake of their health, volunteers do experience greater happiness and better health. Volunteering is associated with less stress, better life adjustment, fewer feelings of hopelessness or depression, better coping, better physical health and longer life expectancy.

There are many reasons why volunteering has health benefits. It usually offers opportunities to socialise and make friends. This can be particularly important for people who are retired or elderly and at risk of physical decline, inactivity and social isolation, or of feeling unproductive.

The physical health benefits may be directly related to the type of work someone does. In Australia, a large proportion of volunteers are active in sporting clubs. They may be coaches, for example, which means increased physical and outdoor activity.

Volunteering improves a person's sense of self-worth and purpose, which may help to protect against depression. There are other rewards from volunteering, including gratitude from others and the satisfaction that comes from being able to work in accordance with one's values.

The amount of volunteer work a person does may be important for health. An American study found that the more frequently someone volunteered, the more their wellbeing increased. Going from monthly to weekly volunteering improved wellbeing to the same degree that a very substantial pay increase did.

People who volunteer report being more confident and satisfied with life. Volunteers trained to provide telephone peer support report greater self-esteem and self-confidence and reduced depression. Former alcoholics who support and mentor alcoholics attempting to give up their addiction are less likely to relapse.

People who volunteer may be happier because they develop empathic emotions. Importantly, helping others means we are less focused on ourselves.

Self-involvement can have adverse effects on health; an early study found an association between heart disease and high numbers of self-references ('I, me, my') in speech. It's been said that when we are too involved with our own worries and concerns, it's like a weight pressing down, but when we open our eyes and look outwards, the clouds part and the sun shines through.

Want to volunteer?

  • Look for an organisation or a cause that you believe is important, and ideally get involved working with others.
  • Find work that suits you and adds to your enjoyment of life.
  • Balance your giving with a greater awareness of receiving.
  • Be realistic about how much time you can commit.
  • If volunteering starts to feel like a burden, is making you feel very sad about the world or critical of yourself or others, pause and think things through. While volunteers report having better mental health than non-volunteers, going beyond your limits could worsen mental health.
  • If you're someone who volunteers a lot, remind yourself occasionally that you can't fix everything and you'll never be perfect, but you aredoing your best.

LISA Comment: If we are ever to break the restrictive practices against people with a disability and their families, we must stand united! We must help each other! LISA needs help in all areas!

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:36 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, September 30 2011

“What are ‘House Politics’?”
Most group homes, especially DHS direct care, are a panacea of staff, manoeuvring, backbiting, lore, intimidation and peer pressure – generally referred to as “house politics”.

“How to stay out of ‘House Politics’!”

  1. Stay on the Casual Pool, or move to the Casual Pool.
  2. Become a Domain Manager.

“How to stay in ‘House Politics’!”

  1. Attempt to provide real quality of life care for the residents.
  2. Become a House Supervisor.

“What is a ‘House Supervisor’?”

  1. The meat in the political sandwich.
  2. The scapegoat for managers above, and staff below.
  3. The person told to ensure contented staff, at the cost of resident care.

“What is ‘Reactive Management’?”

  1. That which maintains the above factors from the very top of the management pyramid.
  2. That which only captive market organisations can afford.
  3. That which ensures and maintains covert operations.

Comment: I have seen a lot of the things you described such as intimidation, backbiting, back stabbing.. Even as a casual you go in with good intentions, you want to provide good quality of care for the residents but whatever you try to do for the residents you are ridiculed by the permanent staff, who always know better because they’ve done it for 20 years. Or when you walk into a new house you hear them giggling, see them rolling their eyes saying ‘oh it’s the casual’. No shame! There is a high level of unprofessionalism amongst direct care staff. Every so often you walk out of the the house feeling disheartened.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:32 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, September 05 2011

“Residents and families know their place in our workplace!”

If caught infringing road rules, one faces an almost zero tolerance, non-negotiable penalty! Whereas, public service direct care staff breaking the Department of Human Services, Disability Services (Victoria), care policies, standards and values for the care of very vulnerable people (people with an intellectual or multiple disability) face little more than being moved to another group home, to potentially do the same again.

It is well known, some direct care staff have even openly bragged about their questionable treatment of the residents of department group homes, knowing their public service management are powerless to do more than, at best, and with difficulty, move them to another group home.

A former care worker who witnessed the torture of an intellectually disabled man says he did not come forward immediately, because he feared for his job and safety.

This former care worker, and another, witnessed a fellow Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Disability Accommodation Services worker assault a resident of a DHS group home.

The resident’s feet were burnt with cigarettes. He was forced to drink detergent, was hosed down with a cold water hose in the garden and was pushed hard against the garden fence. And that was only the reported incident!

The witness said he did not report the incident for about 18 months, because he did not believe the Department of Human Services would protect or support him.

This witness said he had been ostracised from his workplace after reporting an incident of abuse in a DHS group home, previously. "I was moved from the group home, threatened with my job and ostracised," he said.

"If you report something, you're seen as a trouble-maker", he said. Despite claiming to uphold the principles of the “Whistle-blowers Act”, this government department’s management (above house supervisor) will persecute and intimidate anyone who attempts to report questionable occurrences against the residents of their group homes.

Why is this, you may well ask? Well, 98% of problems in DHS group homes are caused by the direct care staff. The standard cry of most house supervisors is, “The residents are no problem, it’s the staff!” Quite naturally, therefore, management want to keep the staff confrontation to a minimum, so they can, “Take the pay, and look the other way!”

Therefore, it matters little what happens to the residents, so long as staff keep it quiet, and don’t dob-in each other. Incidents involving residents can easily be covered-up, so long as no one writes an incident report. Even so, most of these conveniently go missing, anyway!

Any direct care staff who feel the urge to raise or report the questionable activities of other staff - don’t. You will be treated as if you are the guilty person! Best to take the pay and look the other way, anonymously (by mail) tell LISA Inc. about it, and/or leave the DHS.

As it is very frustrating for the great many direct care staff who really want to provide real quality of life care, but are frustrated by those who want to do little more than basic minder care.

What Constitutes Lifestyle Quality? What Makes a Good Group Home? See Our Personal Care section on the Resources page

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:11 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, September 03 2011

Most of the institutions, in Victoria, for people with an intellectual or multiple disability, were closed in the mid-1990s. Many of the residents went to live in six bedroom, DHS custom built, houses in the general community. One such house was built on a "corner-alcove" site, in a modern, narrow road, area.

The Department of Human Services failed to consider the "corner-alcove, precinct-style" area in which the house was built, left the house with no on-street parking what-so-ever. A small nature strip, and the gardens of other houses abutted the narrow driveway from the road. The only official parking, was a small area inside the property.

For years, staff, families and visitors manoeuvred their cars and the house bus, around this difficult area.

When a new resident arrived, the parents of this resident said, "The situation is ridiculous!” They observed there was enough nature strip to make in-dented parking bays. The local council agreed, and drew-up plans. A senior DHS manager, however, objected on the grounds that cars parked there, would set the house apart - would highlight it as a group home.

Finally, after more than five years of haggling, lobbying and a wet-weather quagmire, the council put in a simple hard-standing, large enough for 3 – 4 vehicles.

Staff no longer have to spend time manoeuvring vehicles, rather than what is intended – providing quality care for the residents.

"Crazy, mindless, captive market, power-game bureaucrats!"

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Friday, September 02 2011
Good in theory, but a problem in practice for supervisors, as many staff claim they can't use a computer, so shift changes are often not made to the rostercoster.
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:21 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, August 31 2011

The recent high court immigration decision (LINK) demonstrates the level of legal and media support available to those seeking to become Australians. Whereas, Australian citizens with a disability get little legal and media support in comparison.

There is an enormous amount of legislation and regulation governing the lives of people with a disability, especially those with an intellectual or multiple disability.

Yet these Australian citizens and their families, have little real access to legal support to help ensure the legislation and associated regulations are effective and implemented to ensure their often limited lifestyle is enhanced to the best possible.

In Victoria, residents of government supported accommodation group homes are denied residential tenancy rights under section 23 of the Residential Tenancies Act, despite they pay rent.

When those unable by reason of their disability to make reasonable judgements in respect of all or any matters concerning their personal circumstances and/or estate become adults, their family support is legally cut by common law which says any person is an adult, with adult ability and responsibilities, at 18 years.

Families who try to reinstate support for their member, through plenary guardianship, face the wrath of VCAT in its use of section 22(c) of the Guardianship & Administration Act to block the family’s application. This is despite their adult family member may be functioning at the level of a 3 year old child.

Even those families who are formal (VCAT) Administrators, for their family member with limited intellectual capacity, face legal constraints. These administrators are legally responsible for the finances of their family member. Yet, legally, they are not permitted to check their family member’s clothing and property, especially if their family member lives in a group home.

Families, naturally, have concerns about the treatment of their family member with limited intellectual capacity living in a supported accommodation group home, and is attending an adult day centre.

These facilities are often covert, with their clients unable to communicate concerns. Yet families are legally blocked, under the common law rule, from accessing their family members activity records.

So no one independent of the service provider ever sees these records. With such barriers to scrutiny and credibility (transparency), it is perhaps not surprising many families are looking towards self-directed services (SDA), through individualised service packages (ISP), in an attempt to move away from the service barriers produced by entrenched bureaucrats.

Whereas, families should not have to seek alternatives to questionable services and processes, as the legal and media fraternity should be willing to assist, as they have and are doing for those seeking to be new Australians.

We call on the legal and media fraternity to give people with a disability and their families more profile and assistance to break down the bureaucratic, restrictive practice, barriers.

Posted by: Hatton AT 04:05 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 29 2011

Government ministers are responsible for government departments.

When a member of the public has exhausted all complaint areas within a government department, they refer the matter to the Minister.

Quite naturally, they expect the Minister to question his or her department on their behalf. After all, the Minister was elected by the public, to serve the public.

Whereas, it has become common practice for Ministers to send an original complaint directly to their department, the very department the complaint was against. And to allow that department to reply directly to the person who made the complaint.

So the person making the complaint receives a letter from the department, stating this is a response on behalf of the Minister, referring them back to the actual area to which the original complaint was directed. Ater at least two months, the complainant is no further forward!

Whereas, the responsible action is for the Minister to send a copy of the complaint to his or her department, with a, “Please-explain directly to me!”

Then, it is the Minister who should respond directly to the complainant, having first checked the department’s response for credibility and relevance.

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:54 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, August 16 2011

Goal Attainment Scaling (GAS) - specifically designed to set and measure goals set jointly between the worker and a service user.

Participants will develop a working understanding of Goal Attainment Scales (GAS) and their application to their work, with particular focus on setting, reviewing and measuring SMART goals. The scales provide an individualised, criterion referenced measure of change, providing a clear expression of plans, outcomes and a measure of attainment of these goals.

Posted by: AT 03:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, August 09 2011

NSW Minister for Disability Services:
The Hon Andrew Constance, MP, said, “I have seen examples of shocking supported accommodation!" "I walked out with tears in my eyes!”

Prof Christine Bigby (La Trobe Uni):
"Choices, Outcomes & Evidence. Working practices of staff is a problem. Community Living is possible for people with very severe disabilities. Raising our Sights – Report (see LISA Website) Low engagement continues to occur in group homes. Right design of CRUs to get outcomes. What do staff have to do on an everyday basis? Staff need to be supported and monitored every-day. Everyone needs to have high expectations.

Anita Phillips, (ACT Public Advocate):
Assumption v Reality
Attitude of Staff
ACT Community Living Project

Aine Healy (NSW Council on Intellectual Disability):
We need a strong Voice. People have been so denied in their lives.

David Hoist (Disability Speaks). Kardinya:
Poorly Managers
Poor Attitude
Need to be living with compatible people
The knockers need to give ideas

Estelle Shields & Lyn Allen (parents):
Poor staff
Subject to Abuse & Neglect

Belinda Epstein - Family Advocacy:
”Supported Living” rather than “Supported Care”
People need relationships with people who care about them, rather than people who are only in their lives because the get paid to do so.
Separate Support from Housing!
With Supported Living, Supported Accommodation is not necessary!

Max Jackson (JacksonRyan Partners):
Despite all, Choice is rarely a reality! Options available to other Australians, should be available to those Australians with a disability.

LISA Comment: The seminar was first class! But, a coordinated and well financed effort is required to break the bureaucratic green zone defenses

Posted by: Hatton AT 03:33 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Monday, August 08 2011
DHS House supervisors guard their good direct care staff from the eyes of other house supervisors looking to improve their team, as 90% of house issues, are staff related.

The residents are no problem, it’s staff and management problems which take up most of a house supervisor’s time.

This is as a direct result of, “The inability of department management, above house supervisor, to man-manage staff lore – to properly manage the business within departmental care policies, standards and values, to ensure residents receive quality of life care within the direction, intention and spirit of departmental care policies, standards and values”.
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:39 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, August 07 2011
The Office of the Disability Service Commissioner in Victoria say the top reason people with a disability and their families don’t complain about questionable services is, “Fear of Intimidation”.

This also applies to direct care staff in supported accommodation group homes.

Despite the Whistleblowers Protection Act 2011, staff who speak out about questionable activities are treated like undesirables – sent to “Coventry”, at best.

Those who are really effective in penetrating bureaucratic green zone defences, can expect to receive the full impact of their missile defence system…..

For the past five years, the Department of Human Services in Victoria, with ministerial support, has electronically blocked/redirected, within the firewall of their statewide web-server, the Emails of LISA Inc Coordinators, Tony & Heather Tregale.

This all powerful government department implemented its discriminatory action with no consultation whatsoever. Tony & Heather had no knowledge of the six page, ministerial approved, directive against them.

It's presence was mooted by the State Ombudsman, and revealed by FOI application. But only two pages would be released. The DHS say they periodically review the matter, but Tony & Heather are never part of that review.

This government department has never justified that which they used to convince the then minister to approve the restriction order. There is no termination date - So it is a life sentence!

These despotic actions of this state government department is little better than those of many third world countries.
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:35 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, August 06 2011
It has taken 10 years for this state government department to produce any resemblance of a policy on “White Goods”. Yet the policy is not consistently implemented.

If the House Supervisor can screw the money out of the department for this or that, the residents don’t have to pay. Otherwise, they do!
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:34 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, July 31 2011
“Are we moving the full circle?”
People with a disability originally lived with their family, in the family home. Then institutions were developed. These were subsequently closed in favour of more individual support through group homes in the community. Now we see group homes, and similar, losing favour to self- directed approaches

CRUs came out of the failure of institutions, and SDA came out of the failure of CRUs and Day Centres. There are, however, those who say the principle of CRUs and Day Centres can never be right. They say it’s SDA or the highway!

CRU or SDA – That is the question!
LISA Inc believes it is “Horses for Courses”, and “SDA v CRU” will be the subject of a main LISA email bulletin, shortly. Nevertheless, LISA remains committed to consistent and meaningful quality of life care for people, no matter where they live.

We welcome your comments on this controversial subject!
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:32 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Sunday, July 31 2011
Time-in-lieu is a process allowing staff to take time off in lieu of payment. Time-in-lieu is also used where staff are, allegedly, not able to take a meal break.

The time-in-lieu process is frequently used in direct care services for people with intellectual and multiple disabilities. The process has the potential to seriously reduce the quality of life care of the very people the service is intended to serve – people needing PCAS and PBS.

Time-in-lieu of payment directly reduces the staff hours at the service point! This generally impacts on the level of developmental, interactive and social care being provided, rather than on basic care. This means that the lifestyle of the residents of supported accommodation group homes (CRUs) isolated in the community becomes more isolated and looking at four walls!

Time-in-lieu of meal breaks can be quite questionable, especially where the point of employment is isolated - like supported accommodation group homes in the community. It is quite easy for staff to claim they had no time for their meal break, and leave early. Again, those who are disadvantaged are those the service is intended to serve, the most vulnerable, the most disadvantaged – people with limited intellectual capacity.

The use of time-in-lieu makes it is very difficult for service management to monitor staff working hours. If a staff member leaves, say two hours early, unnoticed by management, then no excuse is needed! If, however, the action of leaving early comes to the notice of service management, the staff person can say that they are using accumulated time-in-lieu… “Always keep some T.I.L. up ones sleeve!”
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:30 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Wednesday, July 20 2011
Direct care staff who are frequently looking for a bargain, are a major problem for house supervisors, and can limit the quality of care of residents in supported accommodation group homes, through causing inconsistency of care level and quality Work shifts for direct care staff in group homes have a bevy of variable factors, with endless degrees of attractiveness or otherwise.

Most attraction is the remuneration – penalty rates! Other factors to be considered are, the hours, one’s personal needs outside the job, the residents, residents’ medical appointments, the staff, the amount of paperwork, the house supervisor, the expectations, the managers and the residents’ families – to name but a few

Where staff are rostered-on unattractive shifts, they can find a reason not to do these, and to seek more attractive extra hours shifts.

Many unattractive shifts could be made far more attractive, if remuneration was made directly proportional to the degree of difficulty and stress......

"Who would work in a challenging behaviour situation, when the same remuneration is offered for a low support situation?"
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:23 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 19 2011
Frequently heard at DHS House Staff Meetings, is the House Supervisor telling staff about a management directive to do - “Active Support (PCAS)/Positive Behaviour Support/PCP/BSP".....

“We all know this is crap, but we have to do it!”
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:19 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, July 19 2011
This state government department provides a large percentage of direct care services throughout the state, funds most of the non government direct care services and controls almost all placements throughout the state, through the DSR (Disability Support Register) – The waiting list for all services funded by the DHS – which is almost all of them.

The department considers the relatively few complaints it receives, in comparison to the number of services it provides, shows it must be doing it right.

It does not consider that any complaint, demonstrates it is not getting it right. The level of complaints is low for the reasons detailed by the ODSC:-
  • fear of being victimised for making a complaint
  • fear of having the service withdrawn
  • being branded as a trouble maker or appearing ungrateful to the service provider
  • lack of confidence that any real or lasting change will eventuate from the complaints process
  • costs that may be associated with pursuing a complaint.
These fears, combined with high levels of unmet need and a lack of alternative service options, are often a strong motivation for people with a disability and their families to put up with a poor service rather than complain. This is further complicated in regional Victoria, where there may be only one disability service provider in an area.

The following factors affecting frequency of complaints also need to be considered by providers when developing, putting into practice and assessing their complaints process and management:
  • Complainants may not be aware of the process
  • The complaints process may not be readily accessible
  • If a complainant has had a negative experience in the past, they may fear unpleasant or unfavourable treatment by the service provider when lodging a current complaint.
Whilst disability service providers may believe that they have sound complaints management systems in place it is important to ascertain the views of service users in order to confirm that this is the case.

Although DHS policy state this should occur, it does not consider complaints as tools to service improvement.

Its management is reactive, not pro-active. Consumers with service level and quality concerns have to repeatedly raise their concerns against department opposition and denial.

Department management frequently state, ‘complaints are the complainants opinion’. Inferring, the complainant is wrong from the outset.

They never come to consumers who have concerns - like good business in the market place who want to enhance their customer relations

It does not consider that 90% of solving a problem, is admitting you have one. The department spends more resources supporting its in-denial strategies, than it would have fixing its strategic problems.

It has no reason to solve customer concerns, as it has a captive market, and consumers can go to no other service which takes funding from the DHS, unless the DHS agree, as the DHS controls the DSR state wide

It cannot solve customer concerns caused directly or indirectly by staff lore, as its management cannot man-manage staff lore.

Staff with secure, public service employment, can claim bullying, intimidation and interference under work cover legislation.
Posted by: Hatton AT 12:15 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, July 16 2011
If you are a direct care worker with the Department of Human Services, Disability Services, Disability Accommodation Services, and you are keen to do good work, such as quality of life care, interaction, developmental and social activities (Active Support), as promoted within your ACRACS or Certificate 4, with the residents of DHS group homes, discourage anyone, especially parents/families, from saying you are good.

This government department officially considers all its staff are equal. They don’t, therefore, like tall poppies. So you will be cut down in one way or another.

Families also, get reprimanded for daring to praise good staff
Posted by: Hatton AT 05:48 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, July 09 2011
The iceberg does not exist according to the Department of Human Services.
Disability Services (DHS) Victoria!

The Office of the Disability Services Commissioner, in Victoria, is an independent statutory body - a pseudo government department - a ‘so called’ independent complaints body for people with a disability and their families.

The Disability Service Commissioner (DSC) says, “A positive complaints culture is one in which people feel comfortable to provide feedback, positive or negative, about the disability supports they receive. This not only empowers the people you support but can also assist in improving the overall quality of the services you provide”.

In contrast, the DSC considers the number of complaints received is just the tip of the iceberg, and the most common factor limiting complaints is fear of intimidation. This is not surprising, given the DHS is in total denial they have any service level or quality problems. They argue this to the extreme, with anyone making a complaint. And the complainant is made to feel guilty/punished/intimidated for daring to question their services.

The DSC is restricted to only being able to accept complaints in relation to ‘individual or personal issues’. They are unable to accept complaints in relation to ‘systemic issues’

As it is the systemic issues which generate the individual issues, the individual issues are “fixed today and back tomorrow” in the revolving door of public service, captive market, safe employment, staff lore - in contrast to management law (departmental care policies, standards and values).

It is the inability of DHS management to properly man-manage staff lore, which allows the generation, festering and re-festering of individual service level and quality issues.

With the DSC unable to consider complaints regarding the failure of DHS management to properly man-manage staff lore, individual issues go around and around in the issue avoidance revolving door.
Posted by: Hatton AT 05:45 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, July 02 2011
That which a great many people with limited intellectual capacity are unable to do, but what the general population takes for granted.

Those missing out on that considered standard by the general population, need real quality of life care to help compensate.
  • Meaningful relationships
  • Marriage and a family, or similar
  • An extensive number of friends
  • Regular school/university
  • Regular employment
  • Driving a vehicle
  • Air travel
  • Train Travel
  • Meaningful holidays, including overseas holidays
  • Using a computer
  • Using a telephone
  • Write a letter
  • Meaningful cinema/theatre visits
  • Playing sport
  • Shopping
  • Cooking
  • Riding a bike
  • Swimming
  • Reading a book
  • Budgeting
  • Communicating thoughts and emotions
  • Grooming
  • A home/house of their own
  • Having real fun at a party

Please offer additions to the list……
Posted by: Hatton AT 05:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Saturday, July 02 2011
Dr Rhonda Gallbaly said, "What does it mean to be an Australian with a disability? What is life like in the lucky country, in this land of the fair go? One answer we might expect would be, A citizen with the same rights as everyone else!

But if you have a physical, sensory, psychiatric, or intellectual disability, what is life really like? Many Australians would say, It's better, isn't it? The bad old days are gone - Aren't they?

The horror and abuse that went on in institutions, that's all gone now, hasn't it. The poverty, the discrimination, the exclusion, the fear and hatred, that's all ancient history, isn't it?

I would love to be able to say yes, that is all ancient history, but I can't. I'm here to tell you that despite this nation enjoying the longest economic boom in its history, very little has changed for most Australians with a disability.”


Much of this culture was developed in the old institutions, where residents were considered less than human. Much of the culture of few reasonable rights is still cultivated in many “staff workplace group homes”. Especially government direct services, where customers and customer service are foreign words.

In total contrast, is the customer service of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Hospital in Melbourne.

The total staff of this hospital, from the front desk to the hi-tech, is wall to wall customer service. Without exception, not one staff member is other than delightful to all patients.

This hospital management has clearly set a very high standard on staff, to ensure all patients experience the utmost respect and friendliness to offset their personal trauma.

Wouldn’t it be absolutely delightful if disability service staff, especially government direct care management and staff, were actively expected to provide similar high customer service standards for those with a disability and their families.

“We are dreaming, again!”
Posted by: Hatton AT 05:35 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 28 2011
Not providing regular children the opportunity and encouragement to develop, would be considered "Neglect". Equally, not providing quality of life care for those with limited intellectual capacity to develop to their full capacity, is also "Neglect"

Quality of life care is that of providing the person with consistent and meaningful interactive, developmental and social activities, within the basic principle of the attachment
Posted by: Hatton AT 05:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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