The Department of Human Services fails to condemn and properly control the driving of department vehicles in unsuitable footwear – especially thongs.
Failing to properly control quality of care practices, like driving department vehicles in unsuitable footwear, is yet another example of the department’s overall reactive management of its services for vulnerable people.
The department’s disability services has policies regarding the wearing of unsuitable footwear for staff safety, client safety and the ability of staff to provide a duty of care in often adverse circumstances in its group homes. Yet this department has no firm policy on the driving of its vehicles in unsuitable footwear!
There is almost an epidemic of direct care staff wearing basic thongs whilst on duty, even in the sight of their management. This is yet another a very clear illustration of strongly supported findings of ‘reactive’ rather than ‘proactive’ management being number-one reason for the massive range of on-going care problems throughout disability services.
Victoria Police say it is not against the law to drive in unsuitable footwear, but they strongly condemn the practice. Yet, there is no restriction on driving state government vehicles in unsuitable footwear. Therefore, DHS direct-care staff are free to drive vulnerable group home residents, in house mini buses, wearing basic thongs.
Many of these residents have little ability to help themselves if the vehicle was involved in an accident where there was significant damage and/or fire. The driver wearing just basic thongs (assuming they were still on the person’s feet) would be seriously limited in their ability to assist those for whom they have a duty of care, let alone a moral responsibility