An elderly long time widowed mother, with a son in a Department of Human Services (DHS), Victoria, group home, visits her son each week to take him into the community and lunch with him.
Most time she takes him out, he is poorly dressed. Yet she says he has good clothes, and she can’t understand why he is not dressed better per se, but especially when department staff know he is going out with his mother into the community
This mother feels so intimidated, she does little more than pass the time of day with the house direct care staff.
The mother feels so embarrassed when meeting people she knows, that she pro actively apologies for the way her son is dressed.
Yet, the Office of the Disability Service Commissioner (ODSC), Victoria, an independent statutory body, set up specifically to deal with complaints, actively encourages parents/families to complain, but does little to shield them from the wrath of the all-powerful DHS.
The ODSC, a pseudo government department, certainly does not actively and assertively encourage the DHS, a government department, to provide real customer service within the principles of its ‘Quality Framework’, Section 5.2, ‘Consumer Assessment’, and within the principles of AS ISO10002 - 2006.
Rather, the ODSC has a philosophy of “Equal Opportunity” for both the DHS and the parent/family.
The ODSC feels it is providing a level playing field, with the all-powerful DHS (with no reason for customers or customer service) at one end of the table, and a very weak parent/family at the opposite end. And, the ODSC conciliator in the middle, with a mandate not to help either side.
So why would any parent/family feel other than intimidated in the presence of a service provider who considers the parents/family are lucky to get any service, and should be extremely grateful for whatever they get, as there are many on the ‘Disability Support Register (DSR)’ who are only too willing to take anything on offer for their family member.