Most traditional block funded services for people with disabilities, like group homes and day services, have developed a captive market, charity hand-out culture towards consumers.
As demand for services has always exceeded supply, service providers (especially government direct services) can, and mostly do take the attitude of, “Take it or leave it, be forever grateful and never, ever, complain!”
Many of these traditional services provide little more than ‘basic minder care’, despite recognised care policies, standards and values say care should be quality of life care. Where demand exceeds supply, there is little motivation to meet service standards.
ISPs, money in the consumer’s pocket, will not drive service quality where demand exceeds supply. The ‘futures funding’ for day services is a failure in its intention, as the exercise was too small and restricted to motivate an increase in places and new providers.
National Disability Services is very actively motivating their CSO members to change from a traditional block funded, captive market culture, to a marketplace driven culture to accommodate NDIS ISP finding. This is fine in theory, but the concern of the traditional CSOs will be, “Will the ISP ‘passing-trade’ be sufficient to maintain their infrastructure?”
Businesses in the marketplace fail where they have insufficient ‘passing-trade’. The major supermarkets consistently do all in their power to attract customers - and they have a large audience in comparison with service providers in the disability field.
Equally, people do not start businesses without first ascertaining the potential demand for their service. Newly registered service provision in the disability field, and those with the infrastructure to provide quality support services, will be restrained by a number of factors which include:-
- the difficulty for, and the reluctance of many people with disabilities to change service providers,
- the potential for consumers use almost anyone in the community, including family members and,
- the potential for registered service providers to be held to account against service standards.
Whereas there is little real potential of unregistered service provision to be similarly held to account.
In conclusion: “Will the ISP process be little more than, more of the same in respect to the traditional culture of block funded service providers towards onsumers”? Whereas what is needed, is service providers who,
- always consider the consumer as at the centre of service provision,
- treat consumer as always right,
- treat the consumer as respected and valued and,
- provide meaningful evidence services are being consistently and meaningfully provided within recognised care policies, standards and values, not expect the consumer to prove beyond reasonable doubt that they are not.
The original intention of the NDIS was,
- to reduce the overall waiting list for services and,
- ensure all services were rights based, entitlement services where consumers are respected and valued.
Note: The word ‘consumer’ encompasses the person with disabilities, their family and other stakeholders.