One of the major problems for people with an intellectual or multiple disability, and their families, is service level and quality outcomes – What is happening, if anything, behind those closed doors? Is the service meeting consumer expectations, service agreements and service standards? Is the service actually meeting consumer needs and family expectations?
Those in our society who are limited in their ability to enjoy all the facets of the life most of the general population take for granted, deserve the very best their ability will allow, and the best they can be proactively encouraged to achieve.
With the present captive market service provision, as a direct result of an under supply of services directly resulting from inadequate funding and government bureaucratic waste, service provision attitude is mostly: “take it, or leave it”.
Therefore, with little opportunity for market-place driven quality until NDIS, there are a few factors intended to look behind those closed doors. Although the present captive market service providers are not too keen on being scrutinised by such as, “Community Visitors and Independent Accreditation”.
They are certainly not keen to release the outcomes of such scrutiny. Despite DHS publications which say, (a) "It is the responsibility of the disability service provider to communicate audit findings to service users, family members and carers", (b) "Disability service providers must inform service users, family members and carers about how they can be involved in the audit process" and, (c) “Service user participation is an important part of the audit process. Disability service providers are required to inform all service users of the audit and provide them with an opportunity to:
• participate in the audit, particularly providing an invitation to attend the
opening and closing meetings.
• be involved in the continuous improvement process.
The initial phase of NDIS should bring new service providers, as more federal funding gets into the market place to provide services to those on the waiting list. It is the second phase which should be of concern, as this will provide ISPs (Individualised Funding) to the current residents of group homes, many of these being government direct service (DHS in Victoria).
Having had captive market and power over people luxury for years, these large government services will not wish to compete for ISP business with non-government services, We, therefore, estimate they will be devising methods to retain their empire at the expense of consumers. Many residents of DHS group homes have no family or no interested family, and many families would do little more than hand a NDIS ISP to the DHS, to carry on as usual.
Currently in Victoria, the DHS is an out-of-control juganaught. It is the landlord and service provider of a large number of group homes in the state, it funds and regulates most non-government services, it controls most placements in Victoria, it retains its group home residents by refusing to give them residential tenancy rights and individualised funding. And the same despotic action restricts its residents bringing in a non-government service provider.
Without serious Federal Government intervention, there is little hope for the existing residents of DHS group homes ever realising the primary intention of the, “National Disability Services (NDS)” – Victorian Disability Services Transition Plan – that of:-
• People with a disability, their families and carers at the centre of service delivery.
• Real outcomes for people with a disability